In just his second NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) event at Kansas Speedway, Cale Gale drove the No. 33 Rheem Chevrolet to an 11th-place finish on Saturday afternoon.
After rolling off in the 15th position, Gale utilized the first run of the 167-lap event to evaluate the handling of his Chevrolet and gain valuable experience around the Midwest track. Good on entry and just a little tight off the corners, crew chief Jerry Baxter called for a slight air pressure adjustment on the Rheem Silverado during the lap 37 caution period and Gale returned to the track in the 17th position.
Knowing the importance of track position on the mile-and-a-half track, Baxter made a bold decision to bring Gale back down pit road just 20 laps later during a caution period to top-off the fuel cell in the No. 33 Rheem machine. Gale restarted the race in the 17th position and utilized the next run to explore different lines around the track and determine where his truck reacted best. For Baxter's strategy to work, the Rheem team needed a long green flag run to bring the leaders down pit road followed by a quick caution before Gale was forced to pit under green. As the race progressed, Baxter's strategy unfolded perfectly. The leaders began coming down pit road just after lap 90 and a caution flag followed on lap 99. Gale brought the Rheem Silverado down pit road under yellow flag conditions for four fresh tires and fuel and returned to the track in the sixth position.
After learning that the Rheem Chevrolet worked best around the top groove of the track, Gale held his truck high and stayed on the gas. Running as high as the fifth position, Gale continued to log laps and gain experience on the intermediate track in Kansas City, Kan.
After pitting just outside their fuel windows, the field was forced down pit road one last time during the closing laps of the SFP 250 at Kansas Speedway. The Rheem team serviced their Chevrolet with two tires and fuel, and Gale returned to the track in the 15th position. With only 17 laps remaining, Gale quickly raced through the field to pick up four positions and score the 11th finishing position when the checkered flag waved.
"I can't thank my team enough for all their hard work this weekend," commented Gale following the SFP 250. "Everyone gave 100-percent all weekend and we were able to get our Rheem Chevrolet exactly where we needed it. Jerry [Baxter, crew chief] made a great call with our pit strategy to gain the track position we needed, and Rick [Carelli, spotter] helped me a lot throughout the race to work on my line. We've gotten better every week, and we learned a lot this weekend. I'm really looking forward to racing in Charlotte in a few weeks with the Rheem team."