Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Kaz Grala Was ‘Terrified’ When Wheel Fell Off His Car in Daytona 500


Kaz Grala made it into the field for the 2022 Daytona 500 to give Floyd Mayweather’s The Money Team Racing their first-ever NASCAR Cup Series start, and the hope was for the driver to have a solid outing as he has had tons of success at Daytona International Speedway in his young career.

But things got a bit scary for the 23-year old driver very early in Sunday’s race.

On lap 40, the entire right rear wheel and tire on his No. 50 Pit Viper Sunglasses Chevrolet Camaro flew off (click here for video). Instantly, his car became uncontrollable and the native of Boston, Massachusetts thought his race was done for.

“Oh, that was terrifying,” Grala explained to TobyChristie.com after the race. “I mean, everything was fine and then it wasn’t really quickly. It swapped ends on me. I don’t even know if we spun all the way out or if we got sideways, but at one point I had my hands off the wheel because I was like, ‘oh we’re wrecking’ and stayed off the wall.

“Actually finished the race. In that moment, I did not think we were going to be finishing the race.”

Grala said the experience of having a wheel fall off of his car while running around the track was a brand new experience for him, and when it happened, he wasn’t quite sure what was taking place, until he was going for a ride.

“I have not [had a wheel fall of before]. No. I have had a flat tire, but this happened much faster than a flat tire,” Grala said. “I felt, as I was going into turn 1, the steering wheel cocked like two degrees off as I went in and I was like, that was really weird. But I almost wondered maybe I clipped the apron or something and then right after that it was gone.”

The young driver said he was skittish for a bit after the wheel incident on lap 14, because he was nervous that it could potentially happen again.

“I was uncomfortable for a few laps after that until I got my bearings and was like, ‘okay, yeah everything is fine again,’ Grala recalled. “But you wonder what caused that, why did that happen? And could it happen again? So, I definitely didn’t want that to be the case.”

Grala says the situation startled him so much that he changed his driving line to minimize the risk if another wheel decided to leave his car.

“After that, for the next five or six laps, I ran the top to protect in case it did happen again,” Grala said. “Wouldn’t hit anything as hard, but everything felt fine. So, moved back to the bottom and raced the rest of the day. We still had various issues that hindered us the rest of the day. We didn’t get an awesome finish but we finshed, so that’s a start.”

In the end, Grala scored a 26th-place finish in The Money Team Racing’s debut race, and considering the wild moment earlier in the race, it was not a bad result at all. Grala says that he expects the No. 50 team to run a handful of races this season and that he potentially could return for his next start at Circuit of the Americas on March 27th.

“I don’t know exactly,” Grala said of his next start. “I’ve been hearing rumors of maybe COTA throughout the team. Maybe that’s going to be the next one we’re at. I hope it is, I love that place. Hopefully you’ll see us out here a handful of times this year.”


Toby Christie
Toby Christiehttps://tobychristie.com
Toby is the Founder, and Editor-in-Chief of TobyChristie.com. Toby is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, he is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award-winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.

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