Gaulding Wins First Race At PIR
In the final laps of the Casino Arizona 50 at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday night, Gray Gaulding closed in on runaway leader Cole Custer. With only a single turn to go before the drop of the checkered flag, Gaulding tapped the back of Custer and spun out the leader.
It appeared Custer had lost speed by getting loose when steering into turn 3. Gaulding motored on to his first victory on the K&N Pro Series West tour as Custer dropped to sixth. Gaulding explained the controversial finish by saying, "I was able to catch up to him when he had to go through lapped traffic. I barely touched him, and that's all it takes around here."
Pole-sitter Custer raced his way to an enormous 8.338-second lead just past the 50-lap halfway mark, but a caution flag bunched the field on lap 27. When the cars went back to racing, Custer built more than a second-and-a-half edge over Gaulding with 10 circuits to go. But, that lead gradually narrowed until the fateful conclusion.
Brandon McReynolds, son of former NASCAR Cup crew chief and Fox TV analyst Larry McReynolds, started 20th after bottoming out on his qualifying run but stormed his way to a fifth place finish.
Jesse Little copped second place, while Cameron Hayley was third and David Mayhew fourth. Derek Thorn finished 15th, but it was enough to clinch the series title for 2013.
Related PIR News
Two-time Olympian and current UFC star Dan Henderson will lead the field to the green flag behind the wheel of the Official Toyota Camry Pace Car at the start of the CampingWorld.com 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday, March 15. Henderson’s appearance was the result of a partnership between PIR and Niner Sports & Entertainment. As the official pace car driver, the 44-year old mixed martial artist will take an honorary lap around the one-mile oval.
Phoenix International Raceway was honored twice in recent weeks by NASCAR for outstanding work in the areas of marketing and community outreach. Earlier this year, PIR's 50th Anniversary was named NASCAR's Marketing Campaign of the Year and the PIR Track Services team received NASCAR's Track Services Teamwork Award; and today, PIR Communications Manager Greg Fresquez received NASCAR's Industry Ambassador Award.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet, is scheduled to appear at Phoenix International Raceway’s Budweiser ROLL-BAR Club for a moderated question and answer session before the CampingWorld.com 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, March 15.
Phoenix International Raceway hosted up-and-coming driver Ruben Garcia Jr. from the NASCAR Mexico Series as he spoke to more than 2,000 high school students at La Joya Community High School in Avondale on Wednesday, Feb. 18. In addition to his racing background, Garcia talked with the students about the importance of education and pursuing their goals.
Fans coming to the CampingWorld.com 500 at Phoenix International Raceway will be in for a treat prior to the race. That morning, the popular Grammy-nominated and multi-platinum rock group Tonic will perform a pre-race concert in the fan midway area at 10:30 a.m. MST.