CONCORD, N.C. (March 18, 2013) – Ryan Gifford, once again, had a strong finish in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series (NKNPS) East season opener at Bristol Motor Speedway, bringing home a third-place finish for Rev Racing in his No. 2 NASCAR Technical Institute/UTI Toyota.
Bryan Ortiz was competitive all day in the DRIVE4COPD 125, but finished 21st. Daniel Suarez and Mackena Bell finished 26th and 29th, respectively.
Gifford – the highest returning finisher from this race last year – started eighth on the grid and finished third. It’s the second straight year that he kicked off the season with a third-place effort at Bristol.
“This is a good start to the year,” said Gifford. “This kind of race shows us that what we did over the winter was going in the right direction. I think we’ll be able to contend all year.”
Ortiz – Rookie of the Year runner up in 2012 – had a strong showing in his No. 4 Nike Toyota. He qualified seventh, and ran in the Top 5 most of the day. He was running in fourth place with one lap to go when he got a flat tire coming out of Turn 2, ending his day with a 21st place finish.
Suarez had a strong No. 6 Acapulco Toyota. He started in 24th position and was able to pass competitors and move up 13 spots, running as high as 11th. He had a good handle on the car and felt confident he could score a Top-10 finish. With 18 laps to go, he was forced to pit due to mechanical issues and didn’t have enough time in the race to make up missed ground; he finished 26th.
This was Bell’s first race at Bristol Motor Speedway. She spent both practices getting a feel for the track and her No. 21 Toyota Racing Development Toyota. Her lap times improved during both practice sessions and she qualified 25th. Once the race started she was able to run as high as 21st, but an incident on Lap 55 forced her to pit so the team could evaluate the damage. She was able to finish the race, and came home 29th.
The Rev Racing NKNPS East drivers head to Greenville Pickens Speedway (S.C.) this Saturday, March 23, for the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 125. Ortiz, Suarez and Gifford had top-15 finishes there last year, and are looking to improve on those results this weekend.
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