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Ruben Garcia Has High Expectations for the 2018 K&N Pro Series East Race Season

It took Ruben Garcia a couple of tries to enter the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program. After winning the NASCAR Mexico Series championship and earning a spot on the Rev Racing team in the K&N Pro Series East, Garcia will benefit as a member of the Drive for Diversity in 2018. He knows he is in an advantageous position to be in.

Ruben Garcia, NASCAR, Rev Racing, K&N Pro Series East

NASCAR K&N Pro Series driver Ruben Garcia will race for Rev Racing in 2018.

“At the end of the year I won the championship, I felt like I was ready to make my next step in my career,” Garcia said. “I already accomplished what I would like to. It all came together with a perfect timing.”

He went to the combine in Florida to try and earn a spot in the Drive for Diversity program, set up to help minority drivers advance in the ranks of NASCAR. Everything came together quickly and Garcia knew he had many opportunities in front of him.

“Right after that, I was called and got the notice I was going to be driving for Rev Racing in the K&N Series as well as being part of the Drive for Diversity program,” Garcia said. “It was a huge step for me. It’s one of the best opportunities I have been given as a driver. Without that, it would be really, really hard, almost impossible to get the exposure I am getting right now.”

Garcia has experience in the K&N Pro Series already. He made his first start in 2016 and has four top-five finishes in 28 career races in the K&N Pro Series East. He won the NASCAR Mexico Series championship in 2015. He said there are plenty of differences between the K&N Pro Series and the Mexico Series.

“The rules are kind of similar. Mainly it’s the car,” Garcia said. “It’s one of the first things I needed to get used to. They’re heavier, more power, they handle different. It took me some time to get used to the cars.”

The tracks the K&N Pro Series visit are different than the ones in the Mexico Series, too.

“We’ve gone to some really, really small tracks (in the K&N Pro Series),” Garcia said. “I haven’t been on a track that size with a car that size before. That was something to get used to. In Mexico, we run tracks that are a half-mile, and mile and a quarter. In K&N, we have many tracks that are smaller than a half a mile. That was also something that took me a little time to get used to.”

Ruben Garcia, NASCAR, Rev Racing, K&N Pro Series East

Ruben Garcia won his first pole and was the runner-up at Bristol Motor Speedway in 2017.

Garcia has had success in the K&N Pro Series. In addition to his four top-five finishes, and 17 top-10 performances, he won one pole and had a runner-up finish at Bristol Motor Speedway in 2017.

He won his first K&N Pro Series East pole at the Iowa Speedway race, which pits the teams from the K&N Pro Series East and West. The field is bigger and the competition is much tougher at the Iowa Speedway races.

Garcia went out for his qualifying run about midway through the session. He had to wait it out as some of the top teams and drivers made their qualifying laps. Garcia said he was pleasantly surprised with the outcome.

“It was huge. I actually wasn’t expecting that,” Garcia said. “We had a pretty fast car during practice. I managed to put a pretty good lap I felt. I saw I was on top of the board. There were still some cars remaining to go out.”

Two drivers from the K&N Pro Series West qualified higher than Garcia at the Iowa Speedway race. He started on the second row and finished in 12th place. Overall, it was an encouraging day for Garcia.

“I felt like, we’ll qualify decent, we’ll be top five. All the cars went out and I was still on top of the board. It was huge for me,” Garcia said. “In front of experienced teams, all teams from both series. It’s probably the funnest race we have on our schedule. It’s a track that allows you get a little bit of an idea of how the Cup races. It’s probably the most complete track we have.”

Ruben Garcia, NASCAR, Rev Racing, K&N Pro Series East

Ruben Garcia, right, will be part of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program in 2018.

In the race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee, Garcia was the victim of bad weather. The race was cut short because of rain. He moved up from eighth place to second place and was challenging for the lead when the rain stopped the race at 70 laps.

“The first time I was there, I didn’t have that much luck,” Garcia said. “It takes a little bit of time to get used to that place. Everything happens very quick, pretty decent speed for a small place.

I was used to my team. We were getting better and better. We made our way to second and we were catching the leader, then it rained again and the race was stopped. I really wanted to go all the way, the 150 laps. Still it was a good confidence builder for me.”

Garcia enters his third season in the K&N Pro Series East. He wants to win a race, the first of his K&N Pro Series career, but he also wants to stay in contention for the championship. He is confident he can accomplish both goals with his new team.

“Last year we were very close to getting a win,” Garcia said. “We never got it. Definitely that’s our biggest goal, early in the season, to finally get the win we’re looking for last year. The whole entire Rev Racing organization deserves that. We’ve been working for it very, very hard. I think it’s time for us to get our first win. I would like to be in position for the championship.”

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