Grala Attempting Daytona 500 In Third FRM Entry


Kaz Grala will attempt next month's Daytona 500 with Front Row Motorsports. (Matthew Thacker/LAT for Toyota Racing photo)

MOORESVILLE, N.C. – Before he tackles the majority of the NASCAR Cup Series season with Rick Ware Racing, Kaz Grala will battle to make his third Daytona 500 start with Front Row Motorsports.

Officials from the Bob Jenkins-owned team confirmed Tuesday morning that Grala will attempt to qualify for the 66th edition of The Great American Race in the No. 36 Ford Mustang Dark Horse.

It will mark the fifth time in the past six years that Front Row Motorsports has prepared a third entry to compete in the season opener at Daytona (Fla.) Int’l Speedway.

Grala previously qualified for the event in 2021 and ’22, finishing 28th and 26th, respectively. His Daytona 500 debut three years ago came with Kaulig Racing, while his most recent start in The Great American Race was with The Money Team Racing. Grala led 10 laps in the 2021 Daytona 500.

The Boston, Mass., native spent last season with Sam Hunt Racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, where he earned two top-five and nine top-10 finishes en route to a 17th-place finish in the point standings.

Ruedebusch Development and Construction will back Grala as he tries to make the Daytona 500 for the third time in his career. Notably, three of Grala’s seven Cup Series starts have come on the Daytona oval.

“I have to thank Bob (Jenkins) and Carl (Ruedebusch) for this opportunity to return to the Daytona 500,” said Grala. “Qualifying is so unique for the 500 and it is the toughest challenge, mentally, on a driver and team as you prepare a car, qualify, and then race the 150. But I know the car we have will be fast, the Ford engine from Roush Yates Engines will be the best out there, and I am ready.

“I feel this is one of my best chances at the Daytona 500 with everyone involved.”

Front Row Motorsports has had success in the past fielding a third entry in the Daytona 500. Matt Tifft raced his way into the show in 2019, while David Ragan qualified the No. 36 into the field in both 2020 and ’21. Ragan finished fourth in the 2020 Daytona 500 in an FRM-prepared car fielded by Rick Ware Racing.

While Front Row Motorsports didn’t field a third car in the 2022 edition, the No. 36 Ford returned to last year’s Daytona 500 with past NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Zane Smith and finished 13th.

Grala’s first chance to lock into the Daytona 500 field will come during Busch Light Pole Qualifying on Wednesday night, Feb. 14. If needed, he’ll also be able to race his way in through the Bluegreen Vacations Duel qualifying races, scheduled for Thursday night, Feb. 15, at the 2.5-mile oval.

Coverage of the 66th Daytona 500 is set for 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 18, live on FOX, the Motor Racing Network, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.

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About Jacob Seelman

Jacob Seelman is Motorsports Hotspot’s News Editor and Race Face Digital’s Director of Content, as well as a veteran of more than a decade in the racing industry as a professional, though he’s spent his entire life in the garage and pit area.