Malsam Leads Laps at Talladega, Scores Career-Best Finish
After claiming a top-10 finish in his last run with Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM) in Las Vegas, Tayler Malsam returned with a vengeance during his second-career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) start at Talladega Superspeedway. Malsam took the lead three times throughout the 94-lap race, ultimately leading 18 laps before crossing the finish line in second place, having never dropped out of the top six.
After ranking third in the weekend's only practice session, Malsam followed up by claiming the No. 32 Outerwall Chevrolet Silverado a second-place starting position for the Fred's 250, setting a new career-best record for the 25-year-old after starting third in the previous NCWTS race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. As the green flag waved at the famed superspeedway, Malsam wasted no time and quickly took over the lead on the first lap around the 2.66-mile oval. After leading five laps, the first yellow flag flew and crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. called Malsam to pit road for a quick fuel-only stop. The Outerwall Chevy worked the inside line from the top five until green-flag pit stops began to cycle on lap 44. Taking two right-side tires and fuel, Malsam rejoined the field and took over the lead for the second time of the day. With 37 laps to go, the second caution flag waved and Hillman called for a quick fuel-only pit stop. While other competitors rushed their fuel stops, Hillman stuck to his strategy and made sure the No. 32 truck had a full tank of Sunoco fuel to contend for the win. Following the restart, Malsam was scored in the third position when a multi-car wreck happened just behind him on lap 65. After a lengthy caution to clean debris off the track, Malsam worked within the top five until another yellow flag waved with 15 laps to go, followed by another caution with nine to go. Malsam had charged into the third position when the final caution arose with just five laps to go, forcing the field to gear up for a green/white/checkered flag finish when racing resumed. With the inside-lane advantage on the restart, Malsam stayed tight with the leader as the line made its way around the oval, making it tough for competitors to get another line going. As the No. 32 Outerwall Chevy made its final run through Turn 4, the field went four wide with every man for himself. As the checkered flag waved, Malsam crossed the finish line just behind the leader, taking the runner-up position in the Fred's 250.
Malsam and the Outerwall team now have three top-five and five top-10 finishes in just 10 starts this season. The No. 32 TSM truck also jumped two spots in the NCWTS Owner Point Standings, ranking 11th with just four races remaining in the 2014.
Tayler Malsam on his Career-Best Finish:
"That was awesome out there today. This Turner Scott Motorsports team gave me an incredible truck to work with this weekend and basically made my job easy today. I can't thank Mike Hillman Jr. and my spotter Eddie D'Hondt enough for their guidance throughout these past two days; I learned a lot from both of them. Overall, it was a great day for our entire Outerwall team. Our crew did awesome on pit road and helped me get the lead after one of those stops. I think we've turned our luck around and I'm really looking forward to Texas and Homestead. I wouldn't count us out yet; I think we can still get a win before the season wraps up."
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