It’s been awhile since the K&N Pro Series East has taken to the race track.
But fear not. The wait is over.
Seven weeks ago, the season opened up in Florida at New Smyrna Speedway with K&N West regular Derek Kraus claiming the checkered flag after conserving his tires throughout the 150-lap event. Kraus, along with a handful of other K&N West regulars, will make the trip to Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend for the Zombie Auto 150, the second race of the 2019 season.
ZOMBIE AUTO 150 AT BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY
WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
Last season, DGR Crosley led all 150 laps between three drivers (Todd Gilliland, Noah Gragson and Tyler Ankrum) and made up three of the top four spots. This season may be a little different, though.
Gilliland (two championships), Ankrum (one championship) and Gragson (K&N West runner-up and multiple-time winner) had a plethora of experience in the series and it showed. But this year, Tanner Gray, Drew Dollar, Riley Herbst and Natalie Decker lack that experience across the board.
However, that doesn’t mean that DGR foursome won’t contend up front. Gray’s impressive run at Irwindale Speedway this past weekend and Herbst’s 20+-plus starts in the series could be parlayed with fast race cars into a victory on Saturday.
FUN FACT: @tannergray5 is no stranger to success at Bristol, but will be in for a new challenge this year. The former #NHRA competitor will compete on the high banks in the #ZombieAuto150 next Saturday!#NASCAR | #ItsBristolBaby | @DGR_Crosley pic.twitter.com/0b6EVSlpkG
— BristolMotorSpeedway (@BMSupdates) March 31, 2019
For every inexperienced driver, there’s an experienced one. Rev Racing’s Chase Cabre and Ruben Garcia Jr. have each raced at BMS multiple times. However, Cabre hasn’t scored a top 10 in two starts, but Garcia’s second-place effort in 2017 marks his best career finish at the half-mile.
A two-time K&N East winner and reigning PEAK Mexico Series champion, Garcia comes into the Zombie Auto 150 off another win to open up the 2019 season at Monterey.
— NASCAR PEAK MÉXICO (@NASCARPEAKMX) March 31, 2019
Rookies Mason Diaz, Max McLaughlin, Sam Mayer and Anthony Sergi are also making their first starts at Bristol. In fact, only Chuck Buchanan Jr., Cabre, Garcia, Hailie Deegan, Kraus, Juan Manuel Gonzalez, Brandon McReynolds and Brandon Oakley have previous experiene at BMS.
Fans who can’t make it to Bristol on Saturday will get a chance to watch it live on FansChoice.TV. The race will air as a one-hour broadcast on NBCSN on Thursday, April 11 at 4 p.m. ET.
K&N West powerhouse Bill McAnally Racing will bring their usual stable of three cars (Kraus, Deegan and Brittney Zamora) to the high banks. However, a new driver in Raphael Lessard will also be piloting a BMR Toyota for the first time in the series.
Don’t sleep on Visconti Motorsports and Brandon McReynolds. Last season, the veteran driver finished fifth at Bristol and he brought home the No. 74 Chevrolet in third at the season opening race in Florida.
|RACE||ZOMBIE AUTO 150|
|PLACE||Bristol (Tennessee) Motor Speedway|
|DATE||Saturday, April 6, 2019|
|TIME||4 p.m. ET (approx.)|
|TELEVISION||FansChoice.TV (live), 4 p.m.; NBCSN – Thursday, April 11, 4 p.m.|
|TRACK LAYOUT||0.533-mile paved oval|
|2018 WINNER||Todd Gilliland|
|2018 POLE||Noah Gragson|
|EVENT SCHEDULE||FRIDAY: Garage opens: 9 a.m.; Final Practice: 4:05-4:55 p.m., Group Qualifying: 7:30 p.m. | SATURDAY: Garage Opens: 11:30 a.m., Zombie Auto 150: 4 p.m.|
CREW CHIEF HANDOUT: The starting field for the Zombie Auto 150 is 28 starters, including provisional positions. The first 24 drivers will secure starting positions based on group qualifying for the Zombie Auto 150. The remaining four spots will be awarded through the provisional process.
The number of groups for qualifying will be determined by NASCAR. Each group qualifying session will be five (5) minutes in duration and the fastest single lap speed of each vehicle will determine starting positions 1st through 24th. Adjustments or repairs may not be made on a vehicle after the vehicle enters the track to begin the qualifying session. Vehicles may not return to the track or make any further qualifying laps unless directed to do so by a NASCAR Official or in the event of a caution. If a vehicle returns to pit road, the vehicle’s qualifying attempt is complete. Once a vehicle’s qualifying attempt is complete the vehicle must proceed directly to the designated impound area once it enters pit road. In the event of a caution, all vehicle’s must exit the track. Vehicles that elect to continue must proceed directly to the re-entry area of pit road and stop to the outside of pit road. No adjustments or repairs may be made to any vehicle on pit road or in the re-entry area during a caution except the removal of tape on the grille opening only, once removed the reinstallation of tape will not be permitted.
The Zombie Auto 150 will be 150 laps (80 miles).
The Zombie Auto 150 is to be run in three (3) segments. The five (5) minute breaks will occur at or near the conclusion of laps 50 and 100. Once the yellow flag is displayed at the start/finish line, the caution vehicle will pick up the field. The "Free Pass" vehicle will be moved past the caution vehicle to the outside. Once pit road is open, vehicles electing to pit may enter pit road. No work is to be performed until authorized by NASCAR Officials. A maximum of four (4) uniformed crew members will be allowed in the vehicle servicing area. If TV approaches your vehicle, please lower your window net and stay in your vehicle. The time will start when the last vehicle stops on pit road and the NASCAR Official authorizes work to begin. At the three (3) minute mark, start moving your vehicle onto the track behind the caution vehicle. The caution vehicle will roll at the five (5) minute mark and any vehicle that is not on the track may be assessed a penalty. At the end of the breaks, vehicles will line up with lead lap vehicles to the front. Lead lap vehicles that elected to pit will line up behind the lead lap vehicles that elected not to pit in order of running. Lap down vehicles that elected to pit will line up behind the lap down vehicles that elected not to pit in order of running. Fuel may only be added during the breaks.
The maximum tire allotment available for this event is: Four (4) tires for practice, four (4) tires for qualifying and to begin the race and four (4) additional tires to use during the break for a total of twelve (12) tires.