With new drivers and new partners on board, a new kind of excitement was buzzing around the BK Racing shop leading into the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season opening event at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. With unseasonably cold temperatures and snow on the ground at the team's Statesville, N.C. headquarters, team members for BK Racing headed south to the World Center of Racing, where they spent the next two weeks preparing for "NASCAR's Super Bowl."
Rookie driver Alex Bowman made one of his childhood dreams come true when he qualified for the 56th Running of the Daytona 500 through Thursday's first Budweiser Duel 150 race. Bowman's 14th-place result in the Duel 150 guaranteed the 20-year-old Tucson, Ariz. native the 29th starting position for Sunday's Great American Race. Competing in the No. 23 Borla Exhaust Toyota Camry, Bowman and his BK Racing team knew they would be challenged by an uncertain forecast throughout Sunday's main event. An early evaluation of the car left Bowman reporting a slight loose condition, and later a potential vibration in the drivetrain. The BK Racing team kept their calm and waited for the race to unfold for both them and their competitors.
After just 38 laps, rain halted the progress of the race to include a 6-hour and 21-minute red flag period as showers passed through the area and NASCAR worked to dry the track. The Sprint Cup Series returned to action during primetime with the green flag waving around 8:30 p.m. ET. Around the race's mid-point, Bowman received a drive-through penalty for speeding while leaving pit road. This penalty resulted in Bowman losing the lead draft and subsequently being lapped by the race leaders. Nearing the 400-mile mark, Bowman's machine sustained minor damage in a 12-car accident on the frontstretch and lost an additional lap making repairs. The Borla Exhaust team worked quickly to repair their Toyota Camry, which allowed Bowman to return to the track and collect the checkered flag without further incident. Bowman was scored with a 23rd-place finish and was the second-highest finishing Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate in his first showing at the Daytona 500.
"For every kid who grows up dreaming of racing in NASCAR, there is also the dream of racing in the Daytona 500," commented Bowman. "So many people dream about it, but only a few get to actually have that dream come true. The dream became a reality for me today, which is just really, really cool. I'm excited to have the opportunity to race the No. 23 BK Racing Toyota Camry this season. We have great partners, and I'm happy to represent Burger King, Dr Pepper, Borla Exhaust, VooDoo BBQ & Grill and Toyota. It should be a great year-I'm really excited to race at my home track in Phoenix, Arizona next weekend."
Rookie Ryan Truex also attempted to make the race for BK Racing in the No. 83 Borla Exhaust Toyota Camry. The 21-year-old from Mayetta, N.J. had to qualify into the race through the second Budweiser Duel on Thursday evening. With stiff competition in the 60-lap qualifying event, Truex lost the draft and as a result missed qualifying for the event by just a few positions.
"This was obviously not the way we wanted our Daytona 500 experience to end, but I can't thank everyone at BK Racing, Borla Exhaust and Toyota enough for believing in me," commented Truex. "This was just one event, but we have the whole season ahead of us and I'm really excited to compete with BK Racing on a full-time basis. I have a great team behind me, and we're excited to see what we can accomplish this year."
BK Racing PR