Camping World Series News (3659)
Camping World Truck Series News
Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) announced today 17-year-old NASCAR Next alumnus Gray Gaulding will pilot the No. 54 Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Toyota Tundra for three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events in 2015.
Gaulding's first race will be on the road course at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Bowmanville, Ont., Aug. 30, followed by New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon on Sept. 26 and Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on Oct. 31.
"I'm very excited to be a part of KBM," Gaulding said. "It's a dream as a driver because I remember growing up watching Kyle and how much I wanted to drive for him when he started his own team. I know his mentality is to go out every weekend and win races. It's a championship organization with great people and I know I'll be able to go to the race track and have an opportunity to win at each race.
"I can't thank Krispy Kreme and the over 40,000 world-wide team members enough for believing in me and taking a chance on a 17-year-old kid. Driving a KBM Toyota Tundra is my dream opportunity."
"Gray Gaulding is a tremendous driver and a wonderful person, and we're thrilled that KBM has given him this opportunity to drive one of their Toyota Tundras," said Tony Thompson, Krispy Kreme President and CEO. "We're very pleased with how Gray has represented our brand for the past three years, and we're excited to be along for the ride during this next phase of his career."
Gaulding, a native of Colonial Heights, Va., has made 10 starts in the NCWTS since 2014. His best finish of fourth came at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park last year. He has 38 starts in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East since 2013 with 11 top-five, 22 top-10 finishes and two poles. He also made five starts from 2013-2014 in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West with a victory at Phoenix International Raceway in 2013.
Black competed at Pocono last year during his seven-race schedule with SS Green Light Racing. It was the only race the driver did not finish, as he got caught up in an accident early on. The experience left Black wanting more.
“Pocono was the third track we went to last year. It’s a fun track, we just had our day cut short last time. It wasn’t a great run for us, so I’m looking forward to coming back and having a little bit of redemption,” said Black. “It’s definitely a race weekend I have circled on my calendar!”
With a lot more experience under his belt, Black feels prepared for the challenge of the racetrack, even with the news of multiple Sprint Cup Series drivers competing in the Pocono Mountains 150.
“There’s a lot for me to still learn at Pocono. It’s a different track with different corners,” he said. “But with all the seat time I’ve had since my last visit there I’m feeling 100 percent more confident about running there!”
“I’d love to get another Top-15 finish and keep the streak we have going. We’ve got some good momentum right now,” said Black. “It’ll be a little bit of a challenge with all the Sprint Cup guys in the field but I’m confident my team and I can step up to the task.”
If he’s not racing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and he’s not working as a deep-sea diver, Ray Black Jr. can probably be found surfing or watching surfing competitions, as he did this past week when he attended the Vans US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, California with pro surfer Reno Makani.
Black taught himself how to surf a little over three years ago after he moved to Flagler Beach. Living close to the ocean gives him easy access to the water at any time of day or night.
“I usually try to go out once a day if it’s nice out. The mornings are always a good time to be out in the water,” said Black. “Night surfing is a fun experience too. It’s just a little harder because the wind is usually stronger then.”
“It’s just another way for me to spend some time in the water. It’s a whole different world out there so I enjoy it a lot.”
Ray Black JR PR
Rowdy has been on a remarkable run since returning to NASCAR action in May after sustaining foot and leg injuries during the season-opening NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in February. In the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the Las Vegas native has collected victories in each of his last three starts and four of the last five events. In the XFINITY Series Rowdy returned in style, winning at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn in Junein his first series start after the injury. His last-lap pass at the Brickyard this past weekend gave him his second win across five starts this year in NASCAR's second division.
Busch is ready to keep up the moment this weekend at Pocono as he makes his return to the Truck Series. KBM's owner-driver brings an impressive resume into the race, having won 33.6% (42/125) of his career starts in NASCAR's third division and finished first or second in 51.2% (64/125). His career driver rating of 120.9 and average finish of 7.1 are tops in series history and his 42 wins rank second to Ron Hornaday Jr. (51). The talented wheelman has led the series in victories in five of the last six seasons, including last season when he was victorious in seven of his 10 starts behind the wheel of the No. 51 Tundra and helped KBM capture its third-overall NCWTS Owner's Championship in its five-year existence.
Saturday's race will mark Dollar General's second of four-scheduled races onboard a KBM Tundra in 2015. The nation's largest small-box discount retailer started off the season with Erik Jones' runner-up finish at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in May. In 2014, KBM won three times in four outings featuring the yellow and black scheme - twice with Kyle Busch (Kentucky Speedway and Chicagoland Speedway) behind the wheel in addition to Jones' dominant victory at Phoenix. Overall in 33 races adorning KBM's Tundras since 2010, the Tennessee-based company has been a part of nine wins - including the team's historic first victory at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway in April of 2010 - and 19 top-five finishes.
The Tricky Triangle has lived up to its billing for KBM, as the 2.5-mile tri-oval is one of just four tracks on the 2015 schedule where the three-time owner's champions have yet to visit victory lane (Atlanta Motor Speedway, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Michigan International Speedway.) The team's drivers have registered an average finish of 6.1 across eight starts at the Pennsylvania venue, with Kasey Kahne (2010) and Busch (2011) each producing runner-up finishes.
Busch now brings the mojo of his recent run of success to Pocono, where he hopes to cross it off the list of elusive tracks that KBM has yet to conquer. Having already posted wins in NASCAR's top two divisions this season, a win Saturday would also give him victories in each of NASCAR's top three divisions in the same season for the 10th time in the last 11 years.
Jones was signed by Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) to a part-time Truck Series ride for the 2013 season after outdueling Busch in December of 2012 at the prestigious Snowball Derby Late Model race at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla. NASCAR changed the age restriction for the 2013 season, ironically put in place because of Busch, which allowed 16-year-old drivers to compete on tracks of 1.25-miles or less and road courses. The Michigan native kicked off his five-race campaign with a ninth-place finish in his NASCAR debut at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway that March, and in his final event at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway became the youngest winner in the history of the Truck Series at that time.
His success in 2013, earned the talented youngster a 12-race Truck Series schedule last year. KBM's racing prodigy went on to win three more races and his teammate and boss, Busch, collected seven more as the No. 51 Tundra team earned back-to-back owner's championships. Jones also made three NASCAR XFINITY Series starts for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2014, finishing inside the top 10 in each, and at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway raced against Busch for the first time at a NASCAR track.
With Jones finally eligible to compete full-time this season, he moved over to the No. 4 Tundra where he is on a mission to earn KBM its first-ever driver's championship. The NASCAR Next alumnus currently sits third in the championship standings, 24 tallies behind points leader Matt Crafton, entering this weekend's event at Pocono. He has recorded one win, three poles, seven top-five and eight top-10 finishes this season, despite the fact that he was competing for the first time in a truck at six of the first 11 tracks on the schedule.
On Saturday at the Tricky Triangle, the pupil will take on his mentor for the first time in Truck Series action. Jones is ready to battle the boss and he hopes that outcome is the same as it was in the 2012 Snowball Derby.
Hayley, who is currently sixth in the 2015 NCWTS driver point standings, is coming off his fifth top-10 finish of the season at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. Saturday's 60-lap/150-mile race at the 2.5-mile Pocono Raceway ties Daytona International Speedway as the largest oval track the Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender has seen in his young career.
Saturday's Pocono Mountains 150 marks the sixth time the series has visited the "Tricky Triangle" since 2010. In five races at the Long Pond, Pa. track there have been five different winners, including first-time NCWTS winner, Joey Coulter (2012). Hayley looks to add his name to an already impressive list of winners that includes defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion, Kevin Harvick. A feat, no other ThorSport Racing driver has accomplished since the series began racing at the 2.5-mile track in 2010.
Sounding off-Cameron Hayley:
"I'll be making my debut at Pocono this weekend, so I don't know much about it other than it's a triangle. I've watched a few races from there already, and the thing I'm gathering from it is, it drives pretty much like a road course. It's three totally different corners, and you really can't drive it like an oval. It's definitely a mix breed between a road course and an oval."
Matt Tifft will be a busy driver this weekend at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway splitting his time between the No. 54 ToyotaCare Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) and the No. 52 ARCA car owned by NASCAR veteran Ken Schrader. While this will be Tifft's fourth start in the ARCA Racing Series at Pocono, it will be his first time racing at "The Tricky Triangle" in the Camping World Truck Series.
Tifft has made six starts this season in the Truck Series, with his best finish of eighth at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in May. His other top 10 this year came at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, where he crossed the finish line ninth. After a late-race accident on the dirt at Eldora Speedway in his home state of Ohio last week, Tifft is looking forward to returning to the pavement at Pocono.
He will be piloting chassis KBM-012, which has one win in 14 starts. The Tundra was rebuilt recently after it was involved in an accident early in the race at Dover (Del.) International Speedway in May. Its lone win came last year with Erik Jones behind the wheel at Iowa Speedway in July.
All three KBM drivers will be looking to earn the team its first trip to Victory Lane at Pocono. Owner-driver Kyle Busch (2011) and Kasey Kahne (2010) have both earned runner-up finishes at the 2.5-mile tri-oval, but it is one of just four tracks currently on the Truck Series schedule where a victory has eluded the team.
With Busch returning to the Truck Series this weekend, rookie point leader Erik Jones and Tifft all vying for KBM's first win at Pocono, the odds seem favorable to see a KBM Tundra in Victory Lane on Saturday.
Sounding Off - Johnny Sauter:
"Pocono isn't my favorite. It's an interesting place, it's unique. Our race is really short, and I think that adds an interesting element to our race versus some of the other races there. I would expect, judging off what I've experienced this year, that track position will be ultra important. You will probably see some guys make some green flag pit stops early in the race, when they know they can make it the rest of the way on fuel. You will probably see two tire pit stops; running the entire race on their left sides. I can see it being a track position race more than anything."
"The tunnel turn has been my achilies heel for whatever reason. Turn 1 is easy, and I have a good feel for that. The tunnel turn however has just been hard for me to get a hold of. Turn 3 is a pretty common corner, I guess you could say. You have to make sure to get a good exit because you have the long straightaway, so you're not bogged down. Turn 3 is a flat-track corner, but you're going a lot faster getting into that corner than you would be anywhere else, so it changes it up a little bit. There's nothing else you can relate the tunnel turn to, as far as race tracks we go to, it just so unique."
With only one finish outside the top-10 in five starts at Pocono Raceway, Crafton leads all active NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) drivers with the most top-10 finishes (4). In fact, the ThorSport Racing driver is one of only five drivers to run all five NCWTS races at the Long Pond, Pa. track, has finished on the lead lap in all five races, and has completed 100 percent of the laps attempted (276 of 276), a combination that could make Crafton the sixth different winner on Saturday afternoon at the "Tricky Triangle."
Sounding off-Matt Crafton:
"Pocono is a lot of fun, and I look forward to going back this year. We've made a lot of changes from what we've run there in the past. We were a decent truck there last year, but weren't quite the way we needed to be. We feel like we've got a good idea of the direction we need to go, and hopefully we've got a good Menards Toyota Tundra for this weekend."
"Pocono is a pretty short race, and if you're off at all, you only get one pit stop during the race to make adjustments. Therefore, you need to be pretty close when you start the race."
It was a great job by Bobby Pierce all day to be up on the wheel and living up to his nickname, "The Smooth Operator". Justin Jennings and Tyler Tanner worked hard to prepare truck with Rick Ren and Trip Bruce delivering a set up that delivered a nearly perfect truck. We never changed a spring or shock at the track and, as a matter of fact, we only made a slight toe in change- no other adjustments. Many people moved their jobs around at the track due to being a little short handed and nothing was missed.
I just can't say enough to everyone here and everywhere THANK YOU for all the support whether a pat on the back or all the long days and late nights many have given to allow this to happen, it is very special! I have received many very nice calls from friends and supporters with many saying they thought this was the best race ever! I have gotten text messages from phone numbers that I don't even know and they have all been congratulatory.
Please know that I understand that none of this would be possible without everyone who is a part of the team! Also please know that every time my name is called out in public, each of yours is also called out by all your support.
I end, as always, saying thanks for all to those who allow us to race at this level!
Black was up and down on the speed charts throughout the day, as he was still adjusting to the style of a dirt track. During qualifying, he jumped up to third place and started on the pole for the third qualifying race. He would go on to start the race in 23rd place.
“Starting on the pole for the third qualifying race was great! It was a little unexpected but great to see,” said Black. “The team had been working hard all day on getting the truck set up just right, so it was nice to see their efforts pay off with a fast lap.”
Once the green flag waved, Black quickly moved up through the field before settling in to 16th place. Much of the race was spent remaining patient and avoiding the multiple cautions coming out for trucks spinning out on the track.
During the second competition caution, miscommunication amongst the team on when Black would be visiting pit road caused the driver to miss his time to pit for four new tires, fuel and adjustments. The team decided to pit with the next group of trucks even though they would be penalized and have to start from the back, as the benefits of having the adjustments and tires outweighed the consequences.
After restarting 20th, Black worked a lot with his spotter, Stevie Reeves, on figuring out which grooves were the best ones to run. With only 23 laps left in the race, the pair fought hard to gain as many spots as they could before the checkered flag waved. Black spun while crossing the finish line but managed to save both the truck and his 15th place position.
“That was a lot of fun! Great finish for the team and for my first time on a dirt track. Glad we could keep our Top-15 streak going,” said Black. “We had to fight for every position there at the end, but I knew we could make up the ground. I just had to keep focusing on each lap as it came and not overdriving the truck.”
Black remains in 11th place in the NCWTS championship standings, just 11 points outside of 10th place driver, Ben Kennedy.
Next up for Black and Team Scuba will be the Pocono Mountains 350 at Pocono Raceway on August 1.
Ray Black Jr PR