Career best finish for Hayley in the Pocono Mountains
During the only practice session of the weekend on Friday afternoon at the "Tricky Triangle," Hayley quickly adjusted to the three-turn 2.5-mile track by posting the 11th fastest time of the session. However, fighting an "extremely loose" Toyota Tundra in qualifying, the ThorSport Racing driver found himself starting deeper within the field than he would have liked, from the 16th starting spot.
Despite an early race caution, a long green flag run ensued, allowing the 19-year-old driver to work his way through the field, just outside the top-five. Making only one trip to pit road during the 60-lap event, under green on lap 31, crew chief Jeff Hensley made the call for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment to aid in a "loose" handling Toyota Tundra.
Happy with the improvements made to the handling of his No.13 Carolina Nut Co. Toyota Tundra, the Canadian driver began running his best lap times of the weekend at Pocono Raceway. Quickly making his way up to seventh, the yellow flag waved for only the second time, slowing the pace with only 10 laps remaining in the 60-lap event.
Fighting hard for every position he could late in the going, the final laps of the race would be mired with another caution, allowing Hayley to make up much needed ground on the leaders. Sustaining slight front-end damage on the first of three green-white-checkered flag attempts, Hayley regained his composure for the next restart. Making a power move to the outside, the ThorSport Racing driver found himself second just as the fourth caution flag of the night flew at lap 61. Lining up alongside Kyle Busch for the final attempt at a green-white-checkered flag finish, Hayley was in prime position to capture his first career NCWTS win. However, having to deal with pressure from behind, on the restart, Hayley's focus turned to defense. Battling with both Austin Dillon and Tyler Reddick on the final lap. Hayley would finish a career-best fourth behind race winner, Kyle Busch.
Leaving Pocono Raceway as the highest finishing Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Hayley jumped up to the fifth position in the NCWTS driver point standings, just 88 markers behind point's leader, Reddick.
"I had Cup drivers on all sides and that was a hell of a feeling I've gotta say. To have those Cup drivers in the field was a crazy thing. I've learned a ton from them and learned a lot from my spotter Eddie D'Hondt up in the spotter stand. I did my homework, and to get these Carolina Nut Company Toyota Tundra guys a good, solid top-five finish was really special."