The chances of a rookie winning the NASCAR K&N Pro Series race at Iowa Speedway on Sunday were pretty good. Rookie drivers won the first two races of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season. There were 19 rookies entered in the 44-car field for the Goodyear Dealers of Iowa 200 which pitted drivers from the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West.
Max Gresham pulled out in front of Dillon and won the race by half a car length.
Drivers raced three-wide as they crossed the start-finish line for the final lap of the race.
Rookie Max Gresham won the race, his second in a row, and led a parade of rookies from the K&N Pro Series East in the top four. David Mayhew, who won the pole, was the highest finishing driver from the West Series in fifth.
Gresham joins Joey Logano, Brian Ickler and Kyle Busch as winners of the East and West Series combination race at Iowa Speedway.
"That's a very elite group of winners and I'm glad to add my name to it," the 17-year-old Gresham said.
Max Gresham joins Joey Logano, Brian Ickler and Kyle Busch as winners of the East and West Series combination race at Iowa Speedway.
The last lap of the race was a battle between Gresham, Ty Dillon and Corey LaJoie. The three drivers raced three-wide as they crossed the start-finish line for the final lap of the race. Gresham and Dillon pulled ahead of LaJoie as they made their way around the track. Gresham pulled out in front of Dillon and won the race by half a car length.
"I really didn't want to see that last restart because I had a pretty good lead," said Gresham, a development driver for Joe Gibbs Racing. "We were battling with (LaJoie) and (Dillon) and three wide heading into Turn 1. The next lap (Dillon) and I battling really close and rubbing is racing. That was a close finish."
Darrell Wallace Jr. passed LaJoie on the final lap to take third. LaJoie was fourth, followed by Mayhew.
"I can't thank Dillon enough for racing me clean," Gresham said.
Five rookie drivers, all from the East Series, finished in the top 10. For Dillon, it was his first top-five finish in three races this season.
"We put oursleves in a hole," Dillon said. "We were just trying to play it smooth, work our way up through there and have a good pit stop which we did. We've had a rough start to the season. This is awesome for us. We'll get a win."
Wallace posted his second top-five finish of the season. He won the East Series season opener at Greenville Pickens Speedway in South Carolina.
"It was pretty crazy; I'll tell you that," Wallace said. "I told myself not to give up too much in three coming to the checkered flag. I held them down there, and was able to pick off Mayhew and LaJoie and get a third-place finish."
Gresham took over the lead in the East Series standings. He won the East Series race at South Boston Speedway in Virginia and has a 13-point lead over Ryan Truex. Cole Whitt, who entered the Iowa Speedway race as the leader in the East Series standings and started on the front row with Mayhew, lost his transmission midway through the race and finished 38th.
Mayhew took over the lead in the West Series standings. He and Greg Pursley entered the Iowa Speedway race tied for the lead in the West Series standings.
Mayhew is credited with a win for being the highest-finishing driver from the West Series. He has a 57-point lead over Eric Holmes. Pursley dropped to third place in the West Series standings.
It was the third win in a row at Iowa Speedway for Mayhew. He led the most laps in the race at Iowa Speedway. Mayhew was out front for the first 72 laps of the race and regained the lead for 13 more laps starting on lap 119.
Mayhew was the highest-finishing driver from the West Series in last year's combination East and West Series race at Iowa Speedway. He also won the West Series race at Iowa Speedway in September.
The next race for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West is June 5 at Douglas County Speedway in Roseburg, Ore. The next NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race is June 6 at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia.
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