Go East, young man! That was the mantra for Bill McAnally’s three NASCAR K&N Pro Series teams Tuesday as Brandon McReynolds, Nick Drake and Patrick Staropoli had successful 2014 debuts for Roseville’s Bill McAnally Racing at Daytona International Speedway. The racing was part of NASCAR’s annual season-opening Speedweeks.
Tuesday at the UNOH Battle at the Beach on a .4-mile oval created in the infield at the famed Daytona racetrack, all three BMR drivers finished in the top 10. McReynolds took third after starting 19th. Drake, in his second start in a Late Model stock car, was fourth and Staropoli finished eighth.
“We had a shot at the win, but I’ll take a third, fourth and eighth at this high-profile race,” McAnally said. “It really says something about this team. We have three new drivers this year, and they did great and the team really gave them some good cars.”
The race marked the second event in three days as the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East completed a doubleheader to start the season. The series opened its 2014 campaign at nearby New Smyrna Speedway in Florida last Sunday. At that race, Staropoli was the top BMR driver, finishing 11th. McReynolds was 14th and Drake, who had a successful two-year career in the World of Outlaws sprint car racing, was 15th.
Drake, 17, will compete this season in K&N Pro Series East and will challenge for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year award. It’s the first time McAnally has fielded a team to compete weekly on the East Coast. McReynolds, son of FOX Sports analyst and former NASCAR crew chief Larry McReynolds, will drive for BMR’s top team in K&N Pro Series West, while Staropoli will drive selected Pro Series East and West events, McAnally said.
“At times, I’ll have as many as four cars at one event,” McAnally said. “I’ll also have Cole Austin, D.J. Kennington, Shane Golobic and Michael Waltrip drive for me this season.”
Austin, 16, already has won twice on the Pro Series East circuit, with wins last year in Iowa and New Hampshire. Kennington is a two-time NASCAR Canadian Tire Series champ. Fremont’s Golobic is a top sprint car driver, and Waltrip is a former NASCAR driver who won the Daytona 500 in 2001 and 2003.
“We’re going to be busy this season, and that’s the way I like it,” McAnally said. “It was good to get the racing started.”
Auburn’s Justin Foxworthy and Grass Valley’s Kevin Yoder were the only local racers to finish the grueling King of the Hammers endurance off-road competition Feb. 7 in Johnson Valley. Their vehicles are known as Ultra 4s, which are capable of speeds of more than 100 mph in the desert sections but are designed to tackle the rock-crawling sections of the 165-mile course. Ultra 4s are unlimited, and Foxworthy and Yoder custom fabricate their race vehicles.
Drivers started side-by-side, and each pair was released every 30 seconds. Drivers had to complete the course in less than 14 hours. Each vehicle had to pass through seven checkpoints and drive within 100 feet of the center line of the course throughout the race. Repairs could only be made on the track by the drivers or in the pit area at checkpoints. There were 16 local drivers out of the 158 who started, and just 32 drivers completing the race.
Foxworthy was 28th with a time of 13:12:15. Yoder finished two spots back at 13:19:06.
Mark Billingsley covers local motor sports for The Bee. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.