After the initial shock of Kyle Larson's last lap bump and run pass at night one of the UNOH Battle at the Beach had time to sink in, it was time for night two of action at the historic Daytona International Speedway.
On Tuesday, Feb. 19, Steve Park raced to the finish line to capture the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Race, the first of two races Tuesday night at the UNOH Battle At The Beach at Daytona International Speedway.
Park, a Daytona Beach resident, overtook Eric Goodale coming out of Turn 2 after making contact with Mike Stefanik’s back bumper on the white flag lap. Eric Goodale finished second in the RBS Showroom Chevrolet, while Ted Christopher took third place driving the Cape Cod Copper/Silver Dollar Construction Chevrolet. Stefanik claimed 13th place in his Robert B. Our Co./Canto & Sons Paving Chevrolet.
“You can win races all over this country but you are not going to have a Daytona trophy like we have here,” said Park, who had previously raced in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. “I’ve had the opportunity to race here 14 or 15 times and I never had a Daytona trophy but now I do. It’s a big deal for me.
“We started almost dead last and won the race,” said Park, who drove a Ford sponsored by UNOH. “We went from the outhouse to penthouse. I don’t think we had the fastest car. I thought if we could put ourselves in the position and have the wheels on the car, we would have something to race with at the end.”
Tuesday night’s opener included 18 cautions in the 150-lap, 60-mile race.
During the second race of the night, Cameron Hayley came from behind during a green-white-checkered finish to win the inaugural UNOH Battle At The Beach NASCAR K&N Pro Series race held on the .4 mile course on the superstretch of the track.
It was only fitting that the third and final race of the two-day event concluded with cars trading paint, given that the first two races ended with last-lap contact and late lead changes.
Hayley took advantage when the race leaders tangled in Turn 2 to drive to the victory.
Fifteen-year-old Gray Gaulding finished second in the Krispy Kreme Toyota, while Puerto Rican Bryan Ortiz took the third spot in the Putinka Vodka Toyota.
“It was a tough race overall,” said Hayley, who hails from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. “When I was sitting there on that last restart, I was thinking they were going to wreck in front of me. There’s going to be something happening in front of me. My crew chief and my spotter coming over the radio telling me to be patient and when you see a hole - go.”
Tuesday’s nightcap, the feature of the UNOH Battle At The Beach, showcased 28 drivers from 11 different U.S. states, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Spain.
Other notables included Ben Kennedy, son of International Speedway Corporation CEO Lesa France Kennedy, who finished fifth. Kennedy is the first France family member to race at Daytona International Speedway in a stock car.
“It was a great experience to run at DIS, really cool what the track has put together for tonight,” Kennedy said. “Unfortunately we got knocked around and messed up our rear end for the rest of the night. Really should’ve been in Victory Lane tonight but proud of the guys. We’ll go on to Bristol and set our sights on the championship.”
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