Gray Gaulding and the No.20 Gemini Southern / Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Chevrolet Silverado team faced adversity and overcame obstacles throughout the weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. Gaulding raced his way inside the top-10 running as high as 8th, before a loose lug nut on a lap 84 green flag pit stop, forced Gaulding back down pit road loosing precious track position, which he ultimately was unable to subjugate when the 150 lap race was shortened due to a power outage.
Gaulding bouncing back and forth between the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West (NKNPSW) and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) schedules on Thursday had to quickly readjust between the two series, as well as learn how the NCWTS get around the 1.0-mile Phoenix International Raceway. After finishing second in the NKNPSW season finale on Thursday evening, Gaulding had a buzz of excitement going into Friday night's Lucas Oil 150. After qualifying just outside the top-10 and knowing how the track would change as the day fell into night under the lights, Gaulding along with crew chief Chris Rice set their eyes on the prize.
After an hour delay for a power outage in the area and a full moon setting over the Phoenix International Raceway, the NCWTS field did not receive the green flag until shortly after 8:00PM. Unfortunately, before the NCWTS drivers were able to complete lap 1, the first caution flag waved for a wreck on the front stretch. After a lengthy clean up, the field would finally receive the green flag for the second time at lap 18. Several more quick caution periods followed, before the field finally got racing at lap 46. On lap 84, crew chief Chris Rice brought Gray and the No.20 Gemini Southern / Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Chevrolet Silverado down pit road for four tires, fuel, and track bar adjustment. A loose lug nut would be a costly mistake when Gaulding had to make an unscheduled pit stop once again, under green, loosing multiple laps. When the fifth caution flag flew at lap 99, Gaulding was scored 21st three laps down. After taking the wave around, Gaulding made up one of those three laps, restarting in the 19th spot on lap 110. Gaulding would pit for a final time at lap 115, hoping for enough cautions to get himself back on the lead lap, but after a second power outage at lap 126, NASAR officials called the race complete and Gaulding was scored with a 17th place finish.
From the Driver's Seat with Gray Gaulding: "The guys on this NTS Motorsports team worked hard all weekend turning this truck around. We unloaded and just weren't where we needed to be, but the truck really came to life after that first pit stop. Chris Rice made it even better on the last stop, but we just didn't have the track position to show for it. It took me some time to adjust from the K&N car, but we learned a lot on how to attack this race in 2015."
On top of Box with Crew Chief Chris Rice: "I'm proud to be a part of this team, we are improving week in and week out. Gray was racing inside the top-10 and there isn't a doubt in my mind they we couldn't have finished there. We will address the mistakes made and learn from them, this is a strong team and we're right on the breaking point of being a contender week after week."
NTS Motorsports PR