• Kumpen Turns In Solid Debut In K&N East Season Opener
NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 15, 2015) – Nick Drake came away with a solid top-10 finish at New Smyrna Speedway on Sunday night to get his second season under way in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.
Drake finished eighth in the No. 15 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota, as the series kicked off its 2015 season with the Hart To Heart Breast Cancer Foundation 150 at the high-banked track in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.
Drake’s Bill McAnally Racing teammate for the event, Anthony Kumpen, also had a good showing – as the driver from Hasselt, Belgium finished 14th in his first NASCAR race in the United States.
Drake, who had set the fast mark in practice earlier in the day, was eighth in qualifying. He faded in the early laps to 12th, where he settled in for the first half of the race. He made the most of the first two cautions, moving up to 10th on the first restart and to ninth on the subsequent restart. Drake gained an additional spot to eighth on a restart with about 25 laps remaining and held on from there.
“We struggled right from the drop of the green,” he said. “We were just too tight the whole race and couldn’t pass at all.”
While it was not the finish Drake was looking for, the 19-year-old from Mooresville, North Carolina said he was glad to come away with a top-10 finish for NAPA and Toyota and his BMR team. In last year’s season opener at New Smyrna, Drake finished 15th in his first race in a stock car.
Kumpen, the 2014 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series champion, was making his debut in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series on Sunday. After qualifying 23rd, he steadily moved forward in the No. 99 Whelen Euro Series/Nexteer Toyota to finish on the lead lap in 14th.
Sunday’s race, won by Austin Hill, marked the second visit by the series to New Smyrna Speedway. It kicked off a 14-race schedule for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. The Hart To Heart Breast Cancer Foundation 150 will be televised on NBCSN on Feb. 19 at 10:30 p.m. ET.
The next stop on the series schedule will be at Greenville Pickens Speedway in Greenville, South Carolina on April 4.