Kaz Grala has sat on the sidelines since the 2019 NASCAR season started.
But he hasn’t been idle.
The new driver of the No. 21 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet has visited the Welcome, N.C.-based shop every day. He has logged hundreds of laps on both the GM and RCR simulators. He has watched nine hours of film from previous Texas Motor Speedway Xfinity races to prepare for this weekend.
The work paid off. Grala posted the third-fastest lap in first practice for Saturday’s My Bariatric Solutions 300 (at 1 p.m. ET on FS1, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
“It’s been tough watching the races knowing that I wish I could be in them,” Grala said. “I’ve been quite busy actually. RCR is unbelievable with how many resources they have and how many tools. I almost feel like having a part-time schedule can be a plus.
“Having seat time for the other drivers, they’re fresh and warmed up after the first five races. I’m coming in cold…but I’ve been able to put in more work and preparation.”
In 2018, Grala ran 22 of 33 races in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in his first year on the tour. The first 10 races he competed with JGL Racing. Grala ran the balance of his schedule with Fury Race Cars. His best results were two top-five finishes at Daytona and a pair of top 10s at Charlotte—on the oval and the Roval. Grala finished 26th in the Xfinity Series race at Texas last April.