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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A record-breaker in her first trip there back in April, Kenzie Ruston is looking to make even more history when the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East returns to Greenville (S.C.) Pickens Speedway for the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 140 on Monday, Sept. 2.
Ruston, a 21-year-old from El Reno, Okla., finished third in the series’ first event of the season at the historic half mile on April 6. That podium effort marked the best finish by a female driver in the 27-year history of the K&N Pro Series East.
That finish for the true K&N Pro Series rookie – which came in just the second race of the season – has proved to not be anomaly either. A member of NASCAR Next, she has recorded three more top-five efforts in the eight races since and ranks sixth in the points standings two-thirds of the way through her first campaign with Turner Scott Motorsports in the No. 34 AccuDoc Solutions Chevrolet.
With the K&N Pro Series East returning to Greenville on Labor Day, Ruston’s past experience and success at the track has her shooting for even better results this time around.
"I'm looking forward to going back to Greenville,” Ruston said. “I think we have a really good car for there and I really enjoy going there. I'm looking forward to improving on our best finish this year."
In addition to sitting sixth in overall points, Ruston also tops the competitive Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings. If she’s able to maintain pace, Ruston would once again add to her list of record-breaking accomplishments as no female competitor in series history has previously earned the prestigious honor.
"Our goal coming in to this year was to run for rookie of the year, so if we can pull it off, we have accomplished one of our goals for the year,” Ruston said. “And if I was the first female to accomplish that, it would be awesome."
|RACE:||Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 140|
|PLACE:||Greenville (S.C.) Pickens Speedway|
|DATE:||Monday, Sept. 2|
|TIME:||6 p.m. ET|
|TV COVERAGE:||Fox Sports 1, Sept. 22, 12 p.m.|
|TRACK LAYOUT:||Half-mile asphalt oval|
|2012 WINNER:||Corey LaJoie|
|2012 POLESITTER:||None (rain)|
|EVENT SCHEDULE:||Practice 11-11:45 a.m., Final Practice 12:15-1 p.m., Qualifying 4 p.m.; Driver Autograph Session 4:45 p.m.|
|TRACK CONTACT:||Tammy Hawkins, (864) 269-0852, firstname.lastname@example.org|
|EVENT TWITTER HASHTAG:||#WhitakerChevy140|
|NASCAR CONTACT:||Shon Sbarra, (704) 309-5493, email@example.com, Twitter: @ShonSbarra|
The Race: The third edition of the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 140 will mark the 11th all-time event for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East at Greenville Pickens Speedway, and the second of two in 2013.
The Procedure: The maximum starting field will be 28 cars, including provisionals. The first 24 starting positions will be based on two-lap time trials and the remaining four will be filled through the provisional process. The race will be 140 laps (70 miles), run straight through with no tire changes.
The Track: Greenville is a half-mile asphalt oval with five degrees of banking in the turns. The facility opened in 1946 with a dirt racing surface and was paved in 1970. There were 29 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races held there from 1951-71.
Race Winners: The 10 previous K&N Pro Series East races in Greenville have produced nine different winners. Only Darrell Wallace Jr. has won at the track twice. Brandon Gdovic captured checkers in the first 2013 race.
Pole Winners: Like with race winners, there has been only one driver to earn multiple poles at GPS – Brett Moffitt – with three. Moffitt set the qualifying record at 20.534 seconds (87.659 mph) in the 2011 season-opener, and his 2010 pole eclipsed Joey Logano’s series record as the youngest pole winner at 16 years, eight months.
GREENVILLE RACE NOTES:
Rhodes Tunes Up With Late Model Sweep: Set to make his first short-track start in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East with the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 140, Ben Rhodes got some laps in in advance at Greenville Pickens Speedway by winning twin features this past weekend at the historic half mile. Rhodes won the first NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model feature at GPS on Friday evening, and repeated the effort on Saturday after the second feature was postponed due to rain, to extend his recent run of success in Late Models to victories in five of his last six outings. Rhodes has recorded three top-10 finishes in his four previous K&N Pro Series East appearances this season, all at national series tracks.
Gdovic Looks to Get Back on Track: After recording his first K&N Pro Series East victory in the series’ first visit this season to GPS, Brandon Gdovic will look to end a recent skid. That April 6 triumph was the first of three podium finishes in a span of four races, but in the five outings since that time, his average finish has been 15th. Last time out at VIRginia International Raceway on Aug. 24, Gdovic suffered his second engine failure of the season and finished 25th. Gdovic can look at the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 140 with plenty of hope to turn things around, however. Including the April victory, he has three top-five finishes in five previous starts there.
Moffitt Always Strong at GPS: Brett Moffitt excels everywhere the K&N Pro Series East races, but he’s been especially successful at GPS. Moffitt is the series record-holder at GPS with three poles – including the first race there this year – and has finished in the top five in five of his seven previous appearances at the historic half mile, highlighted by a victory in the 2011 season opener. With Moffitt’s past success at the track, the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 140 could provide the perfect venue to end his career-long winless drought, currently at 16 races.
HOME TRACKS: Anders Vies for First GPS Title
Anthony Anders is in position to defending one title, and add another to his list of career accomplishments. The reigning NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champion in the state of South Carolina, Anders maintained a sizeable lead in defense of the crown as of the latest Division I national standings update on Aug. 20. The advantage on Sam Yarbrough stood at 485-424 entering this past weekend’s events. Meanwhile, Anders is also looking to add his name to the esteemed backstretch wall of champions at Greenville Pickens Speedway for the first time this season in pursuit of the track’s title. He had forged a 90-point lead in the track’s Late Model standings on six-time track champ Marty Ward entering last week’s double features.
LAST TIME OUT: VIR
The 10th event of the 2013 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season took place at VIRginia International Raceway on Aug. 24 in Alton, Va. Here are some highlights of the Biscuitville 126:
• Dylan Kwasniewski earned his fourth victory of the season following his second pole of the year. It marked his ninth career K&N Pro Series triumph overall, and first on a road course.
• Bryan Ortiz crossed the line second for his best career finish while Brett Moffitt joined him on the podium.
• Ortiz’s Rev Racing teammates Ryan Gifford and Daniel Suárez both led laps in the race before suffering engine troubles.
• It was the series’ first road course event since 2010 at Lime Rock Park.
NEXT TIME OUT: New Hampshire
Following the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 140 at Greenville Pickens Speedway, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will return to action on Saturday, Sept. 21 with the North American Power 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H. It will mark the 58th running for the series at the “Magic Mile,” which it has visited each year since the facility opened in 1990. Kyle Larson won last year’s Loudon event en route to the series title.