Cale Gale and the No. 33 Rheem Chasing the Cure team entered the race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway with high hopes of competing for the win. The team loaded up one of their best trucks decorated in pink and black to celebrate National Breast Cancer Awareness month, and went to one of Gale's favorite tracks on the NASCAR circuit. Unfortunately, the team's hopes for a win were dashed when they entered the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) garage after just seven laps with terminal engine damage.
Gale led the Eddie Sharp Racing (ESR) stable in both practice sessions on Friday afternoon. The team spent the two practices working through a variety of setup options and working on Gale's line around the 0.526-mile track. The Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender also utilized the practice time to adjust to a new, shorter shifter that the team installed prior to the Kroger 200 race weekend.
On Saturday morning, the team returned to the historic short track to prepare for qualifying and the 200-lap race. Inconsistent weather conditions and an off- and on-rain shower during qualifying made it challenging for many drivers to lay down a fast lap. The session was paused twice to allow jet dryers to work on the track before resuming hot laps. Gale went on the track while it was drizzling and posted only a 20.026-second lap to roll off 22nd later that afternoon.
Missing a shift on the initial start, Gale experienced motor issues as soon as the green flag waved as his truck turned nearly 1,500 rpm less than his competitors. Quickly falling through the field, the Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender spoke with his Rheem Chasing the Cure Chevrolet team. By lap seven, Gale pulled onto pit road and eventually into the garage for the crew to look under the hood and assess the damage. The Rheem Chasing the Cure team discovered a burned cylinder bringing a very early end to their day and resulting in a 35th-place finish.
"Days like today are really tough," commented Gale. "I grew up racing on short tracks, and I always look forward to races at Martinsville Speedway. My Rheem Chasing the Cure team built me a great truck-it handled well all weekend and I'm sure that we would have been able to make a run for the front. Unfortunately, sometimes, these things happen. We have improved so much over the course of this season, and I'm confident that we'll be able to bounce back over the next three races.
"I would like to thank Rheem for all of their support this season," continued Gale. "We wrapped up the Rheem Chasing the Cure program this weekend. It was a charitable initiative designed to raise breast cancer awareness and support the Young Survival Coalition. The program gave me a really cool opportunity to connect with breast cancer survivors and try to make a difference in the fight of so many others battling breast cancer. It meant a lot to race our Rheem Chasing the Cure Chevrolet while wearing a pink and black firesuit over the last two races."