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Posted: Monday, March 17th 2014 at 10:00am

Eddie MacDonald scores K&N Pro Series East victory at Bristol

By NASCAR Media
EMAIL STORY CONTACT EDITOR PRINT
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Eddie MacDonald celebrates his first NASCAR K&N Pro Series East win in 54 starts Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway. / Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR
BRISTOL, TN - Veteran Eddie MacDonald showed a little late-race mastery Saturday afternoon and brought home the winning trophy from Bristol Motor Speedway.

The 33-year-old driver from Rowley, MA, took the lead on a green-white-checkered finish at the PittLite 125 and held off Gray Gaulding and Ben Rhodes to win the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at The Last Great Colosseum."

It's MacDonald's first win since September of 2009 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, snapping a 53-race winless streak and the seventh of his career.

We had a really great car today right from the drop of the green, said the driver of the No. 71 Grimm Construction/National Multiple Sclerosis Society Chevrolet. It was a little tight at the beginning, but at the end it was perfect. I started pushing a little bit with 15 or 20 (laps) to go and got up there which gave me the thought that on another restart we might be able to win this thing.

MacDonald qualified 13th and steadily worked his way to the front on the high-banked half-mile. He took second on Lap 120 and got past Rhodes for the lead heading into turn 3 on the penultimate lap. Following the next-to-last restart on lap 119 he made contact with Rhodes during a pass attempt that left Rhodes machine with some damage.

I feel awful for getting into Ben there, said MacDonald. I drove it in there a ton and the rear end snapped around on me. With the drought weve had we wanted to get the win really bad.

Gaulding also got around Rhodes on that final restart to finish second which equaled his series-best finish that was first accomplished in April 2013 at 5 Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL. He scored a NASCAR K&N Pro Series West victory at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, AZ, last November.

We started pretty decent, but my Krispy Kreme Chevrolet was just too tight at the end, said the Colonial Heights, VA, driver. It was a great day overall. Its good to come in here and finish second at Bristol, but it just leaves (me) wondering if there was something more I could have done.

The rookie Rhodes, 17, was looking for his first career win in his 10th start. He won the 21 Means 21 Pole Award in qualifying Thursday and led every lap Saturday up until the final restart. Like Gaulding, Rhodes matched his series-best finish of third in his No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions Chevrolet.

The car was really good all day until the end when it got banged up, said the driver from Louisville, KY. Its just too bad we couldnt get the win, but well head to Greenville and try to get a win there.

Brennan Newberry and Winston, GAs Austin Hill rounded out the top five while Patrick Staropoli finished sixth, followed by David Garbo, Jr., Brandon Jones, Matt Tifft and Michael McGuire.

Daniel Suarez, who won the first two races of the season, pitted out of the top 10 late in the race for a flat tire and finished 26th. His misfortune allowed Gaulding to take the points lead by four over Suarez and six over Rhodes. In the process Gaulding becomes the youngest points leader in series history at 16 years, 1 month, 5 days. Darrell Wallace, Jr. held the mark previously at 16 years, 5 months, 19 days.

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will return to the track on Saturday, March 22 for the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 150 at Greenville Pickens Speedway in Easley, SC.

NASCAR K&N Pro Series East
Bristol Motor Speedway Bristol, TN
PittLite 125 March 15, 2014

Fin Str Car Driver Team Laps Points B/Points Status
1 13 71 Eddie MacDonald Grimm Const./National MS Society Chevrolet 132 47 4 Running
2 5 20 Gray Gaulding Krispy Kreme Chevrolet 132 42 Running
3 1 41 Ben Rhodes * Alpha Energy Solutions Chevrolet 132 43 2 Running
4 14 24 Brennan Newberry Qore24 Chevrolet 132 40 Running
5 3 22 Austin Hill * A&D Welding/Don-Rich Ford Ford 132 39 Running
6 24 99 Patrick Staropoli * PEAK Toyota 132 38 Running
7 29 1 David Garbo, Jr. * Big Machine Records/Garbo Lobster Toyota 132 37 Running
8 12 33 Brandon Jones Wolfpack Energy Services Chevrolet 132 36 Running
9 9 52 Matt Tifft Federated Auto Parts Dodge 132 35 Running
10 18 7 Michael McGuire * Woods Towing & Transportation Toyota 132 34 Running
11 11 7 Clint King * King Oil Products Toyota 132 33 Running
12 21 43 Brodie Kostecki * Arcoplate Toyota 132 32 Running
13 10 97 Jesse Little NASCAR Technical Institute Chevrolet 132 31 Running
14 20 0 Cole Custer NAPA Auto Parts/Haas Automation Chevrolet 132 30 Running
15 32 42 Jay Beasley * Toyota Racing Development Toyota 132 29 Running
16 36 12 Brandon Glover * Amer. Legion Post 772/Rinker Oil Dodge 132 28 Running
17 7 98 Cameron Hayley Cabinets by Hayley Chevrolet 132 27 Running
18 15 18 Sam Hunt Drive Technology Toyota 132 26 Running
19 16 77 Anderson Bowen * Cunningham Motorsports Dodge 132 25 Running
20 19 31 Kaz Grala * OzLINK Chevrolet 125 24 Running
21 33 21 Mackena Bell Special Smiles Pediatric Dentistry Toyota 125 23 Running
22 6 96 Kenzie Ruston Ben Kennedy Racing Chevrolet 121 22 Accident
23 28 4 Ronnie Bassett, Jr. * Butler Trailer Mfg. Toyota 116 21 Electrical
24 26 4 Sergio Pena Toyota Racing Development Toyota 111 20 Accident
25 2 46 Brandon Gdovic American Messaging/Windstax.com Toyota 111 19 Accident
26 17 6 Daniel Suarez Toyota Racing Development Toyota 111 18 Accident
27 25 34 Scott Heckert Turner Scott Motorsports Chevrolet 110 17 Accident
28 27 81 Jeremy Burns * Tomato Vine/BBR Chevrolet 109 16 Accident
29 22 15 Nick Drake * NAPA Auto Parts Toyota 101 15 Accident
30 4 47 Cale Conley PMC Chevrolet 52 14 Accident
31 8 11 Lee Pulliam * Don Valley North Toyota 51 13 Accident
32 34 55 Jerry Dawson * Annie Mac Mortgage/EXIT Realty Toyota 50 12 Accident
33 31 14 Trey Hutchens * Borla Exhaust Chevrolet 40 11 Accident
34 23 2 Ryan Gifford UTI/NASCAR Technical Institute Toyota 18 10 Accident
35 35 19 Chuck Buchanan, Jr. * Spring Drug Chevrolet 6 9 Mechanical

RACE STATISTICS
Fastest Qualifier: Ben Rhodes *, Time: 16.036 Seconds, Speed: 119.656 mph
Failed to Qualify: (2) Zach Bruenger * (#54), Akinori Ogata (#56).
Time of Race: 1 hrs., 13 mins, 55 secs Average Speed: 57.110 mph Margin of Victory: .728 Seconds
Caution Flags: Laps 19-24 (Turn 4 Spin # 2 - FP=55); 32-37 (Turn 2 Spin # 14 - FP 55); 52-56 (Turn 2/Backstretch #55, 11, 47 - No FP); 71-73 (Break - FP #18); 104-108 (Turn 2 Spin # 15 - FP #12); 112-118 (Frontstretch #00, 81, 43 - No FP); 122-129 (Spin Turn 3 #96 - FP #77). 7 for 40 laps.
Lap Leaders: Ben Rhodes * 1-130, Eddie MacDonald 131-132.
Total Laps Led: Ben Rhodes * 130, Eddie MacDonald 2. 1 changes involving 2 drivers.

* Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender
Associated Categories: Sports News, Professional Sports, NASCAR

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