After posting impressive second and third-fastest times in both of Friday's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) practice sessions, Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Cameron Hayley qualified second for the Kroger 200 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, tying his previous career-best starting position. Continuing his stout weekend, Hayley raced his way to a career-best third-place finish in only his second start at the 0.526-mile "paperclip."
Battling among the top-two leaders for the first 35 laps of the race, crew chief Jeff Hensley called the No. 13 Carolina Nut Co. Toyota Tundra down pit road during the race's second caution, for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment to aid in a "tight" handling Tundra. Restarting sixth, due to three other trucks electing not to pit, the 19-year-old driver quickly made his way back to the front of the field within a couple laps.
Trying to chase down the leader for the majority of the race, concern arose for Hayley under the fifth caution period, when his water temperature spiked to 280 degrees. Coached by his crew, Hayley was able to fix the issue from the cockpit, and save what could have been a race-ending problem.
Maintaining his top-running position, the Alberta, Canada native complained of a "loose" handling Toyota Tundra, just past the halfway mark, but was able to come down pit road, under caution, on lap 122, for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment to make gains.
With six more caution flag periods arising in the final 78 laps of the Kroger 200, Hayley continued to fight as hard as he could until the checkered flag flew. Restarting from the outside lane, under the final restart, Hayley made contact with John Hunter Nemechek, taking him out of contention for the win, and relegating him to a third-place finish, behind race winner, and ThorSport Racing teammate, Matt Crafton.
Never falling outside of the top-three throughout the 200-lap event, Hayley had a career-best weekend and a solid points day, moving within 17 points of fifth-place, Timothy Peters.
"We ran top-three all day. In fact, we never ran lower than third. It was a good run for this entire ThorSport Racing team, I couldn't be happier with the guys. They had this truck good from the beginning. We were never lower than third in practice even. The racing got rough at the end, but it's just short-track racing. It was a good day of racing for us."