Fuel Strategy Shakes Up Field, Leaves Malsam with a 13th-Place Finish

Tayler Malsam made his third of twelve NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) starts with Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM) on Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway, and while the 25-year-old showed pure talent on the racetrack once again, fuel strategy at the 1.5-mile track forced Malsam, along with several top contenders, to make a late-race pit stop that resulted in a 13th-place finish for the No. 32 Outerwall Chevrolet. During the weeks two practice sessions, the No. 32 team took a conservative approach based on Malsam's experience, along with crew chief Mike Hillman Jr.'s success at the track, and ranked 13th and 12th-fastest among the field. Malsam then hit the Texas-sized loop in the heat of the day for qualifying and claimed a top-15 starting position for the WinStar World Casino & Resort 400. As the green flag waved on a hot summer night in the Lone Star State, Malsam quickly began to charge his way through the field, passing one competitor at a time. The Seattle, Washington native had worked his way into the eighth position just before the first caution arose on lap 36. Malsam visited pit road for four tires and fuel, and restarted in the fourth position after a solid pit stop by the TSM team. Just ten laps later, the field saw its second caution of the night and Hillman called for another fresh set of tires and fuel for the Outerwall truck. When the yellow flag waved once again on lap 55, the No. 32 truck found itself back on pit road for yet another set of tires and fuel. The field saw a long green-flag run before the fourth caution arose on lap 105. With constant-changing track conditions throughout the night race, Hillman called Malsam back to pit road for tires, fuel and a few adjustments to give the Outerwall Chevy more grip on the racetrack. Shortly after the restart, the field saw three-wide racing as Malsam battled for a top-five position, and his persistence paid off when he placed the No. 32 truck in the fifth position with less than 10 laps to go. In the final moments of the 167-lap race, several teams were stuck with balancing the risk versus the reward of a fuel-mileage gamble. Hillman and the No. 32 TSM team realized the risk was too high to complete the scheduled distance on their current fuel supply and brought Malsam to pit road for a quick splash of Sunoco race fuel. Despite a solid effort by Malsam to gain back track position with less than five laps to go, the No. 32 Outerwall Chevy crossed the finish line in the 13th position after running in the top 10 for the majority of the race.


Tayler Malsam on Racing at Texas Motor Speedway:

"That was a bummer. We had a top-five truck tonight and I was really looking forward to seeing what we could do in the final laps at this place. Fuel strategy is tough at a track like this; it seemed like a lot of guys were in the same boat as us. I know my Turner Scott Motorsports team gave it their best shot tonight. I wish it had been a better outcome, but we'll take this finish and go get them next weekend at Gateway. It's a track I'm familiar with and I think we have another good shot at it."



Speedway Digest Staff

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