Story By: TRISHA WESTFALL / SHR & NHMS – LOUDON, NH – Kaz Grala, a native of Boston, Mass., will make his return to his hometrack of New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS) for the first time since 2019.
On Saturday, July 15, Grala will pilot the No. 26 Toyota GR Supra in the Ambetter Health 200 NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) race at “The Magic Mile” on the hunt for the trophy and Sam Hunt Racing’s first win.
“It’s been a few years since I’ve raced at NHMS, and I’m so ready to get back there in front of my home crowd,” said Grala. “It’s always nice to see the New England race fans and how passionate they are about our sport in addition to having more of my friends and family at the track than anywhere else. The track is just over an hour from where I grew up in Massachusetts, so that makes it by far the closest track to home for me. I’m definitely going to make the most of my trip home and hopefully cap it off by finishing up front on Saturday.”
At the young age of four, Grala strapped in to a go-kart for the first time at the former F1 Boston in Massachusetts, unknowingly on his way to multiple karting championships as he continued to grow his skills behind the wheel. By the age of nine, Grala had started his journey to and from short tracks throughout the east coast, grabbing wins and championships in Bandoleros and Legend Cars, which catapulted the young talent to stock car racing at the age of 14.
Grala’s career at the grassroots level of stock car racing provided him the platform to gain experience, make a name for himself and move up the ranks from NASCAR’s local and regional levels to the NXS today. Throughout those groundbreaking years, Grala set records that still stand today including his first NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series win. At 18 years, one month and 26 days old, Grala became the youngest winner at Daytona International Speedway in NASCAR’s national series history.
In 2023, the 24-year-old Grala became Sam Hunt Racing’s first full-time driver in the organization’s history, piloting the No. 26 entry for all 33 races on the NXS schedule. The 2023 season also marks Grala’s first full-time season in the series. Out of 15 races, Grala has collected one top-five finish and two top-10 finishes, and he’s on the hunt for his first career NXS win and a playoff berth.
New England’s only NASCAR weekend is July 14-16 at NHMS. On-track action kicks off Friday with practice and qualifying sessions for the NXS and Whelen Modified Tour (NWMT) plus Friday Night Dirt Duels presented by New England Racing Fuel at The Flat Track. The action continues with NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) qualifying, the Ambetter Health 200 NXS race and Mohegan Sun 100 NWMT race on Doubleheader Saturday and culminates with the NCS taking on “The Magic Mile” Sunday for the Crayon 301. Don’t miss all of the exciting off-track action including Trackside Live, The Groove fan hangout, concerts from Dirty Deeds and Shot of Poison, family movie night featuring “Top Gun: Maverick,” driver appearances, a variety of live performances, fireworks and much more.