Rookie drivers Gray Gaulding and Corey LaJoie faced one of the biggest challenges of their careers this week competing for the first time at Bristol Motor Speedway in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Both drivers conquered the “Last Great Coliseum” and brought home solid finishes in the rain-delayed Food City 500 on Monday, April 24th.
Having previously scored a top-ten finish at Bristol in the 2016 NASCAR Xfinity Series season, Corey LaJoie felt confident going into this week’s race. LaJoie kept the car clean in the caution-filled race and matched his season-best finish of 24th. “I was excited coming into the week because I’ve ran so well here in the past. It took the first quarter of the race for me to get used to how the Cup cars drive around Bristol. Throughout the race, my crew chief Randy Cox and the crew guys made the car better, and we raced the JAS Expedited Trucking Camry to the 24th spot.”
Gray Gaulding also came into the Food City 500 with some experience at the legendary track. Gaulding had also run at Bristol in the 2016 NASCAR Xfinity Series season and scored a 13th place finish. Early in Monday’s race, Gaulding had a right front tire start to go down and was forced to pit during a green flag. This cost him track position but ultimately saved to car from having a blown tire. The No. 23 SunFrog crew and Gaulding fought hard all day and finished 29th. “I am so proud of my No. 23 crew for everything we accomplished today. It is never good having to pit under green at Bristol, but we never gave up and finished the race with a clean car. I love racing at Bristol, and I can’t wait to be back there for the night race.”
Up next for BK Racing is the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway, home track to the Virginia-based team. Corey LaJoie will pilot the No. 83 E. J. Wade Construction Toyota, and Gray Gaulding will drive the No. 23 sweetFrog Toyota.