As with any race that requires the use of a tapered spacer to reduce speeds, Max Gresham knows the potential for his No. 8 Made in USA Brand (MIUSA) Chevrolet to finish either in the top 10 or in the garage will likely depend as much on others' performance, as on the truck and his own this upcoming Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway in the Fred's 250 Powered by Coca-Cola.
"The biggest thing about Talladega is staying out of trouble," the 20-year-old driver for Sharp-Gallaher Racing said. "The tapered spacer bunches up the field because nobody has the power to pull away from the pack. When you're racing side-by-side, 10 trucks deep, a little mistake by somebody else generally turns into a big accident for the rest."
"If you avoid the trouble, you are more likely to get a good finish."
Gresham will be driving a Chevrolet Silverado that originally came from Kevin Harvick Inc.'s fleet but has been active in the Sharp-Gallaher Racing stable since 2012. It will be the first time Gresham has driven the truck in a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race.
"Everyone goes to Talladega with a game plan," crew chief Chris Showalter said. "We have our plan, too. Our first priority is to be smart and stay out of trouble. While there are certain risks with running in big packs of traffic, there are benefits, too. You can go from the back of the pack to the front in a lap or two. So there's no real reason to be in the middle."
While Gresham has two career starts at Talladega's sister track, Daytona International Speedway, Saturday's race (4 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1) will be his first at the Alabama facility.
"We've gained so much momentum and experience since Daytona," Gresham said. "I know our team has what it takes to earn a solid finish. I have high hopes going into the race."
"Talladega is also close to home for me, so I know I will have a lot of support from my friends and family in the stands."
And while the end result of the race is not completely in his hands, Gresham hopes to give his family, friends, and fans something to cheer about.
Max Gresham PR