Kaz Grala started off the 2017 season with a bang, winning the season-opening race at Daytona to clinch a spot in the playoffs and scoring four top-10 finishes in the first seven races. However, in the next seven races, Grala failed to finish better than 12th and had five finishes of 23rd or worse, making Sunday’s race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park crucial in getting some momentum back on his side with the playoffs drawing nearer.
With a road racing background playing to his advantage, Grala qualified third for the 64-lap event, moving up to second by the end of the first stage. Though pit strategy would drop Grala out of the top-10 by the end of the second stage, he would be right back up front shortly after the final stage began.
Taking over the lead on lap 45, Grala looked to be well on his way toward his second win of the season, but Austin Cindric, who started up front with Grala and had pit road issues to drop him to the back of the pack, was powering his way back toward the lead in a hurry and growing ever larger in Grala’s rear-view mirror as the laps would down.
As the two drivers entered Turn 5, Cindric rear-ended Grala’s Chevrolet, sending him for a spin and ending his chances at the win. Grala was able to get his truck gathered back up to finish third, but the damage had already been done.
Needless to say, Grala was not happy with Cindric’s move and said as much in his comments after the race.
“That was a dump and run,” said Grala. “To be honest, I know he’s racing for a playoff spot and I get that, but he didn’t try to pass us even. He just got to us and ran us over. Last year, you can say what you want about the finish, but you know what? They finished 1-2. They were both going in the right direction. I don’t think he even braked for Turn 5. Honestly, I know he’s a great road course racer and I had a lot of respect for that, but I lost some right there because I wouldn’t race someone like that. I’d move them out of the way, especially with as much on the line as he had, but that was too dirty of a move. I can’t get behind that at all.”