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Suspension lifted, Ryan Gifford ready to race

July 16, 2014, David Caraviello,

NASCAR Next driver had been suspended for pit road altercation at Loudon

MORE: Home Tracks look ahead to JEGS 150 at Columbus

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- When the K&N Pro Series East competes this weekend at Columbus Motor Speedway in Ohio, Ryan Gifford will be in the starting field.

Gifford had been suspended by NASCAR until the payment of a $1,000 fine stemming from a pit road altercation with another competitor after last weekend's event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. During a NASCAR Next event Wednesday at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Gifford confirmed he would be competing in Saturday's event.

"I left that in New Hampshire," Gifford said of last week's incident. "I'm racing, so I'm looking forward to it. I kind of feel like we've got a shot at running good. We've found some things the last couple of weeks that have us running better. I guess I was running fifth whenever we got turned (at Loudon). So things have been better, and I'm looking forward to going to Columbus."

Gifford said last week's incident was precipitated by contact on the race track. He remains on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31.

"We're all passionate about what we do," he said. "We all want to win. We all love racing, we love this sport, and we want to win and finish as best we can. Emotions run high. It was just one of those deals -- just a racing deal."

A 25-year-old native of Winchester, Tenn., Gifford is a member of the NASCAR Next class of up-and-coming drivers. He has a Pro Series East victory from Richmond in 2013, and has also made two Nationwide Series starts. Gifford has 15 career top-five finishes at Columbus, third-best in series history at the track.

"I'm excited to go to Columbus," he said. "… My focus is on winning races, so I'm just trying to put it all behind me and race."


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