C.E. Falk III’s early racing journey has spanned Virginia and the Carolinas, winning races at most every track he visits and constantly improving with every lap he takes. The multi-time Late Model track champion’s journey takes him to Kentucky for the first time as he makes his 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut with Hillman Racing in the June 28 running of the UNOH 225 at Kentucky Speedway.
“To go to Kentucky is really awesome; I’ve never even been in the state. To go race is pretty sweet,” Falk said. “To be on a 1.5-mile [track], it’s going to be the biggest track I’ve ever been on and I’m really looking forward to going wide open in qualifying. It’s a huge opportunity for me to run well and run on speed. I just hope we have a lot of fun.”
The 24-year-old Virginia Beach, Va., native is no stranger to the national racing scene. He currently sits second in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national standings with nine victories. Falk has won multiple times on the three Virginia short tracks he’s competed on this season — his home track of Langley Speedway, South Boston Speedway and Motor Mile Speedway. Since the 2007 season when he joined the Late Model ranks on a full-time basis, Falk has won 45 times, recording 109 top-five and 128 top-10 finishes in 152 starts. He has made starts at most every NASCAR-sanctioned short track in Virginia.
“It’s all about gaining experience. You always learn something new every time you go race,” Falk said. “I think that’s why you see guys like Kyle Busch and some other ones who run so well all the time because they’re always in a car and they’re always learning. Just because we’re not racing a truck here at South Boston doesn’t mean I’m not going to take something I learn here and go take it to Kentucky with me. You always want to keep getting better as a driver; you’re always going to make mistakes.”
Falk gained his first taste of national recognition with his victory in the star-studded 2010 Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown at Southside Speedway outside of Richmond, Va. He outraced several of the top Sprint Cup Series drivers — host Denny Hamlin, three-time Cup Series champion Tony Stewart and others — to win the charity Late Model race.
“To run all these races and be in the position I am, I’m glad I’m not 18 and going into this race,” Falk said. “I’m glad I’m 24 and I’ve had this experience, I’ve been through the ups and downs of this sport. I just think it’s made me a better driver and we’ll get a better result. The truck race is going to be fun — you’ve got to race them hard. There’s a lot of guys out there young like me and a lot of veterans too who don’t want to give spots away. It’s definitely going to be give-and-take out there. It’s really huge and I can’t wait for next Thursday.”
Falk is racing the No. 27 Chevrolet for Hillman Racing. The organization, in its first season fielding a truck, sits 19th in the Truck Series owner standings after fellow Virginians Ward and Jeb Burton piloted the Silverado at the start of the season. Ward Burton, the 2002 Daytona 500 champion, finished eighth in the season opener at Daytona and Jeb followed with finishes of 19th or better in four of the next five races. The younger Burton finished eighth at the 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway, which gives the team something to build off of for Falk’s debut at Kentucky.
“I’ve followed C.E.’s racing career and I’m glad that we can provide him with the opportunity to showcase his talents in one of NASCAR’s national touring series,” said team owner Mike Hillman, Sr. “We’re all confident in C.E.’s ability and we’ve got a great group of guys at Hillman Racing that know how to work with young drivers to get them comfortable making the transition from Late Models. I’m looking forward to watching C.E. on Thursday and seeing him take the next step in his NASCAR career.”
Hillman Racing PR