Kaz Grala perseveres in his quest to join the Daytona 500 lineup for Floyd Mayweather, The Money Team Racing
Kaz Grala and his racing crew were on the ropes in the closing circuits of Thursday night’s inaugural Duel race. Grala had lost the draught and was one lap behind, then added to his woes with a pit road speeding penalty, putting him a full two laps down as his qualifying race came to a close. J.J. Yeley, the driver with whom he was battling for a slot in the Daytona 500 field, led by a lap and seemed to have a good chance of beating Grala into the field.
Grala was able to hook onto a group of lead lap vehicles in the closing circuits after spending several laps without the advantage of drafting. And when Yeley fell a lap behind approaching Turn One on the last lap, Grala, who was on the same lap as Yeley, was able to pass him and secure a berth in the Great American Race.
Grala subsequently noted, “It went from vomit to puke: puking anxious to puking happy at the finish.” “… I was thinking, ‘I believe we’re going to get there, I truly think we’re going to get there,’ as we were catching him with just two laps to go. I couldn’t believe it, but it all worked out in the end.”
Grala’s last-lap pass, against the odds, was the kind of knockout punch that The Money Team Racing, a fresh new Cup Series team owned by boxing legend Floyd Mayweather, was looking for. Mayweather is likely to go to Daytona Beach for Sunday’s race, his first as a NASCAR team owner, with his vehicle already in the Daytona 500, owing in part to a pep talk he gave Grala before Thursday night’s Duel.
“Before the Duel, he was on the grid with us through FaceTime. He was ecstatic about it. He was prepared, pumped up, and quite confident in our abilities. That was an interesting pep talk to get; I’d never heard anything like it before “Mayweather, Grala replied. “Having that affirmation that he’s enthused about this programme is really a fantastic moment for us, and I can assure you that coming out here to a sold-out audience on Sunday, I don’t believe anybody could be on this property and not feel that excitement and be thrilled.
“He’ll get completely infatuated with it, just like the rest of us.”
The Money Team Racing will likely take a step back and participate infrequently after Grala’s second Daytona 500 start on Sunday. Grala noted that the team’s calendar will most likely be made up of events that sponsors desire or races that the team believes they can compete in, especially road courses, which he has proved to be adept at in his short racing career.
“I believe the road courses are our greatest chance since there are less of them,” Grala added. “With the other teams who are going full time, we’ll be less behind the eight ball. If we enter a mile-and-a-half race, we will most likely be several races behind the other teams in terms of statistics. We’re thinking of taking the road courses.
Grala will make his fifth Cup Series appearance on Sunday, and he has has two Top 10 results, the greatest of which was sixth at Talladega in April. Grala will race part-time in the Camping World Truck Series for Young’s Motorsports in 2022, in addition to his Cup commitments for TMT Racing.