Malsam Scores Top-10 Finish in his Return to Gateway
In his second-career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) start at Gateway Motorsports Park, Tayler Malsam claimed a top-10 finish in the No. 32 Outerwall Chevrolet after battling handling issues along with heavy race traffic throughout the 160-lap race. The 25-year-old was one of just eight NCWTSdrivers that had previous experience at Gateway, having competed in the NCWTS as well as the Nationwide Series in NASCAR's last visit to the 1.25-mile track in 2010. Throughout the weekend's three practice sessions, Malsam and his Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM) team made multiple adjustments to the No. 32 truck and ran a total of 62 laps to get reacquainted with the Midwestern oval. After advancing to the second round of knockout qualifying, Malsam and the No. 32 team struggled to find speed in the center of the corners and ultimately found themselves with an 18th-place starting position for the Drivin' for Linemen 200. Shortly after the green flag waved in front of a packed St. Louis crowd, the first caution of the night arose on lap five, followed by the second caution on lap 16. Crew chief Mike Hillman Jr., who also had previous experience at Gateway, told Malsam to remain on the track during both yellow flags. Running the same lap times as the leader by lap 42, Malsam communicated to Hillman that his Outerwall Chevy was great in Turns 3 and 4, but tight in Turns 1 and 2. As green-flag pit stops began to cycle, Hillman called Malsam down pit road on lap 64 for four Goodyear tires, Sunoco race fuel and a slight air-pressure adjustment to help his Chevy Silverado's handling. Just as the No. 32 Outerwall truck rejoined the field, the third caution flag waved on lap 66, and since green-flag pit stops had not completely cycled through, Malsam received the wave around. The track went yellow once again just after the restart and Hillman opted for a quick fuel-only stop for the Outerwall Chevy. Malsam was running in the 17th position when he radioed to Hillman that his Chevy truck was extremely free. With nothing to lose or gain from his current position since other competitors were on different laps, Hillman encouraged the young driver to take care of his truck, as they would work on it when the time was right. On lap 123, the yellow flag waved once again and the No. 32 truck came to pit road for four tires, fuel and an adjustment to correct his entry and corners. With several trucks on different pit strategies, Malsam rejoined the field in the 10th position, a break the No. 32 TSM team had been waiting for all night. With 14 laps to go, the track went yellow again. Malsam told Hillman that he was being forced to run a different line than most drivers because his truck was having difficulty turning; but despite the issue, the TSM team knew that the No. 32 Outerwall truck had to remain on the track for the final laps of the race. After another caution arose on lap 155, the field prepared for a mad dash to the finish line with just three laps to go. Malsam was able to maintain the position in the final restart and crossed the finish line with a 10th-place finish.
Tayler Malsam on Racing at Gateway Motorsports Park:
"I had forgotten how tough Gateway [Motorsports Park] could be. I can't thank my Turner Scott Motorsports team enough for their hard work this week. These guys made a lot of changes to our truck during practice and were able to get it to a good place for the race, but unfortunately, we just lacked speed on short runs. Mike [Hillman] made some good calls in the pits tonight and that's what set us up for a top-10 finish at the end. I had hoped my previous starts at this track would've worked to our advantage, but that's just racing; you can get a top-5 finish one time, and then barely finish the next. I'm really looking forward to being back in the No. 32 Outerwall truck in Kentucky. It's my favorite track and I think we've got a good shot at it."