Photo: Chris R. Owens/ASP, Inc.

Grala to Make Cup Debut Following Dillon Testing Positive for COVID-19

By Luis Torres, Staff Writer

For the third time this season, a NASCAR Cup Series driver has tested positive for COVID-19. This time, it’s July Texas winner Austin Dillon, who’ll miss Sunday’s Go Bowling 235 at the Daytona International Speedway road course.

Taking over Dillon’s ride will be journeyman Kaz Grala, who’ll make his Cup debut in the No. 3 American Ethanol Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE.

Grala is no stranger to road racing as some of his best drives have came at the left and right turns, including last Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Road America where he finished fourth.

Following the announcement, Grala tweeted out a video that he hopes to have an impressive race, but also wishes Dillon the best on his recovery as he joined Jimmie Johnson and Brendan Gaughan as the other Cup drivers who’ve tested positive this year.

As for Dillon’s playoff hopes, he’ll be granted a medical waiver, thus he’ll keep his spot come September due to his victory at Texas. For him to come back at the Dover doubleheader or later, Dillon needs to have two negative tests in a span of 24 hours.

Richard Childress Racing issued a statement regarding Dillon’s condition which were mild, but also Dillon’s wife Whitney and son Ace, both remaining healthy and symptom-free as of Saturday.

Grala and the rest of the Cup field will soldier onto the inaugural road course race as live coverage from Daytona begins at 3:00 p.m. ET on NBC. The race consists of 65 laps.

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From the Pacific Northwest, Luis is a University of Idaho graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcasting and Digital Media and a two-time National Motorsports Press Association award winner in photography. Ever since watching the 2003 Daytona 500, being involved in auto racing is all he's ever dreamed of doing. Over the years, Luis has focused on writing, video and photography with ambitions of having his work recognized.