On Friday night, The NASCAR K&N Pro Series east and west teams ran their annual combination race at the Iowa Speedway in Newton Iowa. For the last number of years the up and coming stars for both regional series share the speedway with the stars of the NASCAR Nationwide series. This unique event serves as a normal points event for both East and West series. The highest finisher from the east and west both earn wins for their respected series.
The Autolite 150 from Iowa went green around 8:15 EST with New Hampshire winner, Jesse Little on the pole. The early laps were action packed with Little battling hard for the lead with Australian newcomer, Brodie Kostecki. The first yellow came out on lap 18 for a accident involving rookie Zack Huffman and Brennan Newberry.
Throughout the middle portion of the race, Jesse Little, Brodie Kostecki and Ben Rhodes all battled for the lead. Just before the second yellow of the night for Ryan Gifford’s crash, points leader Ben Rhodes took over the top spot. The third yellow came out just three laps shy of the halfway break for Brennan Newberry once again finding the wall. This time the car was unable to continue.
The halfway break provided the teams to go to work on the cars, adjusting them for the second half run to the finish. Teams were all allowed to work on the cars and maintain their positions as they entered the pits. However, A pit lane infraction for each of the top four cars sent them to the rear with penalties. Ben Rhodes, Kyle Benjamin, Brodie Kostecki, and pole sitter Jesse Little were relegated to outside the top 25. The complexion of the race changed greatly with this leaderboard shake up.
On the restart, new faces emerged as contenders for the win. Cole Custer took the lead over Scott Heckert, Cale Conley, and Sergio Pena. While Custer and Conley battled for the lead, Brandon Jones and Kenzie Ruston worked their way to the front. With around 20 to go, John Wood spun his #30 Toyota bringing out the race’s final caution flag. Under the yellow, Second place Cale Conley pitted unexpectedly taking him out of contention. He later said on twitter that he ran out of gas.
On the race’s final restart, Both Cole Custer and Sergio Pena slid up and out of the way making room for Brandon Jones and Kenzie Ruston to take the top two spots late in the going. Both drivers were hungry for their first career win. Cole Custer slipped in behind them in third. With a few laps to go it was between Jones and Ruston for the win
Jones in his top notch Turner Scott Chevy was able to hold off Kenzie Ruston to score his first win the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. Kenzie Ruston with her career best second place finish, she resets her own record as best finishing female in the series history. Other notable finishers were Cole Custer in third, Sergio Pena in fourth and Scott Heckert rounding out the top five. Points leader, Ben Rhodes rallied back to finish seventh after the pit road penalty. Ninth place Greg Pursley was the highest finishing K&N West driver so he is credited with a win in the west series.