It took a late race pass during a green-white-checkered finish but on Friday in the Bully Hill Vineyards 125 at Watkins Glen International Scott Heckert scored his first career NASCAR K&N Pro Series East win. The win for the 20-year-old Turner Scott Motorsports driver came in the first trip for the series back to the Watkins Glen, New York road course since 2009.
The fifth caution came out on lap 49 of the scheduled 50 when Daniel Suarez crashed. That set up a green-white-checkered finish where Andrew Ranger held the lead over Cole Custer and Scott Heckert. Ranger and Custer would battle side-by-side for all of lap 52 and coming to the white flag Heckert made his move for the lead on two drivers.
Over the final lap Heckert held off their challenges and off the final corner Custer made one last effort but lost control and crashed into the sand barrels at the end of pit road. Heckert's first career win comes in his 27th career NASCAR K&N Pro Series East start. Ranger ended up finishing in second with Cole Custer down in 16th.
Sixteen-year-old Brodie Kostecki won the pole which was the second of the season for him. However, it was Austin Hill who started second that grab the early lead and would hold the top spot for the first nine laps. Andrew Ranger then took the lead on lap 10 and led until lap 18 when Cameron Hayley took the lead. Hayley would lead until lap 21 when Ranger went back in front. Gray Gaulding then led lap 23 until 33 when Ranger again assumed control out front. Ranger would lead all the way until lap 52 when Heckert made the winning pass.
Finishing third was points leader Ben Rhodes. Kaz Grala finished fourth, Jesse Little fifth, Brandon Jones sixth, NASCAR Nationwide Series rookie Ryan Reed took seventh, Cameron Hayley eighth, Kenzie Ruston ninth, and Nick Drake rounded out the top 10. Also on the lead lap were Brennan Newberry in 11th, Frederic Gabillon 12th, Mackena Bell 13th, Jay Beasley 14th, and Ronnie Bassett Jr 15th.
Austin Hill finished 17th and Gray Gaulding 18th. Daniel Suarez was 19th and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rookie Austin Dillon finished 21st after his engine let go after 26 laps. Brodie Kostecki brought out the first caution on lap 5 when he had an issue in the bus stop and he finished 24th of the 25 entries after only completing 20 laps because of a transmission failure. John Hunter Nemechek finished 25th with a distributor issue after completing 19 laps.
After 13 races Ben Rhodes has a large 75 point lead over Cameron Hayley. Brandon Jones is third, Jesse Little fourth, Gray Gaulding fifth, Kaz Grala sixth, Kenzie Ruston seventh, Nick Drake eighth, Scott Heckert ninth, and Austin Hill tenth.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will continue their road course ways with the next race at Virginia International Raceway on Saturday, August 18th for the Biscuitville 125.
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Tags: Andrew Ranger, Austin Dillon, Austin Hill, Ben Rhodes, Brandon Jones, Cameron Hayley, Cole Custer, Gray Gaulding, Jesse Little, Motorsports, NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, Ryan Reed, Scott Heckert, Turner Scott Motorsports, Watkins Glen International