Hayley brings home top-10 finish in Talladega debut
Making his first-career start at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, Cameron Hayley, driver of the No. 13 Mattei Toyota Tundra, was hoping a little luck and his past superspeedway experience racing at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) season opener, would net a successful track debut for Saturday's fred's 250. Hayley, who welcomed new partner, Mattei, on board the No. 13 machine this weekend, did just that. Starting 16th, the Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender finished sixth, his 10th top-10 finish of the 2015 NCWTS season.
Hayley used the two practice sessions on Friday afternoon to get acquainted with the 2.66-mile superspeedway, as well as the draft, laying down top-10 speeds in each session. The ThorSport Racing driver then went out on Saturday morning and laid down a time of 54.824 seconds in the unique two-round qualifying session, good enough for the 16th starting position for the 94-lap event.
When the green flag waved on the 10th annual event at the Alabama track, Hayley would settle into the top-15, just being patient and learning the draft, until the first caution flag of the afternoon was displayed on lap 13 for a spin on the frontstretch. Crew chief, Jeff Hensley, would call the No. 13 machine to pit road for fuel only. With some teams electing to make a two-tire stop, Hayley would restart in the eighth position for the lap 18 restart.
Making the outside lane work in the draft, Hayley would run as high as third, but solidly inside the top-10 over the next 19 circuits before the second caution flag of the afternoon was displayed on lap 37 for an accident on the frontstretch. Once again, Hensley called the young rookie down pit road, this time, for four tires and fuel. Having trouble on pit road during the stop, Hayley would be forced to restart 24th when the field went back to green at lap 43. Despite the set back, Hayley would methodically work his way through the field, using the draft, and finally cracking the top five by lap 72.
Hayley would make one last pit stop, on lap 78, under green, survive two late-race cautions, and one green-white-checkered flag attempt, to finish sixth, behind race winner Timothy Peters, in his Talladega Superspeedway debut.
The solid run allowed the ThorSport Racing driver to gain one position in the 2015 NCWTS driver point standings. Hayley is now scored sixth, 20 points behind fifth-place, with only four races remaining in the 2015 season.
"We had great Mattei Toyota Tundra today. The guys at ThorSport Racing built me a great truck, and it was a lot of fun to drive. My spotter, Eddie (D'Hondt), really helped me navigate through traffic, and I thought we had a chance to get the win towards the end. All-in-all, it was a great day. A top-10 finish and a we even gained a position in the point standings."
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