NASCAR Xfinity Series

Kaz Grala replaces Jade Buford at Big Machine for Talladega, Dover

2 Mins read
Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Big Machine Racing Team‘s sophomore season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series is off to a challenging start. Eight races in, Jade Buford is twenty-fourth in points with just one finish in the top twenty (an eighth at COTA, a road course which the former sports car driver excels on). Hoping to ignite a spark, the team has made the decision to put Kaz Grala in the #48 Chevrolet Camaro for the next two races at Talladega Superspeedway (23 April) and Dover Motor Speedway (30 April).

Buford’s 2022 results are a stark contrast to his rookie season in 2021, where he recorded four top twenties across his first eight starts for Big Machine Racing. Despite the driver swap, his strong runs on road courses—which included top twenties and an eighth in four starts as a ringer in 2020—could mean a return for such tracks if the team decides not to retain him for ovals.

The team has a technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing, which owner Scott Borchetta emphasised when explaining the driver change: “We’ve made a very serious commitment to the NASCAR Xfinity Series, including our strategic partnership with RCR, and at this time, we need to evaluate all aspects of the team as I am determined to run up front.”

Grala is running a four-race Xfinity schedule for Alpha Prime Racing, recording a best finish of twenty-third at Fontana three starts in. Although he has not raced full-time since 2017 in the Camping World Truck Series, he has occasionally been tabbed to race in the three national series. He is also a member of the RCR family, which included ten races in 2019 and 2020 with a pair of top fives at Road America.

The 23-year-old also débuted Cup newcomer The Money Team Racing in the Daytona 500, where he finished twenty-sixth. He is also on a limited Truck Series employment with Young’s Motorsports.

Grala tweeted, “Well this should be fun!! Huge thanks to @bigmchnracing and @scottborchetta for the cool opportunity!”

While he has never won at Talladega or Dover, his lone national series victory came at the former’s sister superspeedway Daytona in the 2017 Truck Series. He finished twentieth in his only Xfinity start at Talladega in 2018 for JGL Racing. In two Xfinity tries at Dover in 2018 and 2019, he placed thirty-seventh (crash) and fourteenth.

Big Machine Racing was founded in 2021. Danny Bohn piloted the #48 in its maiden race before Buford took over for the rest of the season and placed twenty-third in the standings.

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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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