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Trucks

Self-Described Sore Loser Gray Gaulding Secures Winning Opportunity with KBM

Gray Gaulding can’t stand to lose.

While that mentality is inherent of every successful race car driver, Gaulding has always taken that approach to the highest degree. He has been known to be overly aggressive at times, unapologetic at others, and always willing to do whatever it takes to reach victory lane.

Set to turn at 18 in February, Gaulding is starting to mature and find his place as both a man and competitor. But make no mistake, he is still driven to succeed like few others in the sport, but he is also more self-aware and selectively aggressive compared to even a year ago.

“I was a sore loser,” Gaulding said. “I hated to lose. It’s not fun. But I don’t whine and I don’t cry when I get out of the car. I’ve just always wanted to know what I could have done differently or better. That’s where I think I’ve gotten better — always trying to learn.”

Gaulding says he gets his competitive attitude from his father, Dwayne, a long-time NASCAR team executive. The need to win was only strengthened by playing stick-and-ball sports as a child and he has carried that mentality with him to NASCAR.

In 43 NASCAR K&N Pro Series starts, Gaulding has won once (at Phoenix after contact with Cole Custer on the final lap) and has championship finishes of seventh and third over the past two seasons while making a handful of starts in the Truck Series.

Gaulding says his aggression was born of driving older cars while at NTS Motorsports and Gdovic Racing that just didn’t have the same technology as those driven by the usual championship contenders. Despite the slight lack of resources, Gaulding has contended and that is a huge source of pride for the Virginian.

“That’s the reason I’ve had to race so hard,” Gaulding said. “I’ve been driving nine-year old cars with a team that just couldn’t afford to spend the same amount of money as the HScott (Motorsports) cars. But we were right there with ‘em.

“It makes me feel good to contend but I’m not winning and I’m never fully satisfied unless we’re winning. I have always been and I always will be aggressive. Holding back isn’t in my vocabulary and laying down isn’t my job. I’m going to race as hard as I can.”

With that said, Gaulding admits that he has learned a lot having to points race over the past three years. While he wants to win every time out, he has learned that it isn’t always feasible, forcing him to get the most out of the car — even if that means having to settle for a top-5.

“There have been times this year (in K&N) where I could have moved someone out of the way and I think people expected me to,” Gaulding said. “But I think I’ve learned to pick my spots. You can’t risk getting a black flag or tearing up race cars when you’re racing for a championship.

“You can still drive hard and understand when you’re supposed to go for it.”

Gaulding can expect to go for it for it during his final three races of the season — a short stint with Kyle Busch Motorsports in the No. 54 Camping World Truck Series entry. He will make his debut with the team on August 30 at the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park road course in Bowmanville, Ontario and follow it up with starts at New Hampshire and Martinsville.

He has chosen to focus on this rather than finishing his K&N career and added that this is the opportunity he’s spent his entire life preparing for.

“You never want to put pressure on yourself because that’s when you make mistakes,” Gaulding said. “But I know I can get the job done. This is the best equipment I have ever driven and this is a huge opportunity.

“There are no excuses, no nothing if I don’t. I’ve been in tough situations before, having to drive top-10 cars to the front — like when we finished fourth (at Bowmanville) last year. So driving the best trucks in the sport only makes me hungrier. It makes me want to dominate.”

So while a lot has changed for Gaulding over the past two seasons, his will to win has not.

Now paired with KBM and a truck that has already won this season with Christopher Bell, Gaulding expects to lay everything on the line this fall to meet his own lofty goals and expectations.

“I look at this like it’s the final three races of my career,” Gaulding said. “If everything goes well, we might be able to do more of these next year. But nothing is promised to you in racing and I have to make the most of this.”

EMAIL MATT AT matt.weaver@popularspeed.com

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K&N East: Gray Gaulding Maturing Into Consistent Championship Threat

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Still only 17-years-old, Gray Gaulding is starting to transform himself into the complete and well-rounded driver that many predicted he would when he first burst on the scene several seasons ago.

A full-time driver in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East this season, Gaulding has the look of a bonafide championship contender in advance of the third race of the season — the PittLite 125 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday afternoon.

Known for his aggressive driving style on the track and his lighthearted demeanor off it, Gaulding is sitting fourth in the championship standings following two podiums at New Smyrna and Greenville-Pickens Speedway respectively.

Perhaps most impressive is the fact that Gaulding has remained consistent despite spending time at three different teams this season between NTS Motorsports (Trucks/K&N), Red Horse Motorsports (Trucks) and Precision Performance Motorsports (K&N) as Gaulding and his father, Dwayne, opted to part ways with NTS several weeks ago.

Despite the turnover, the results have been consistent in both tours.

He finished a respectable 17th in his Truck return at Martinsville with Gaulding taking on the appearance of a more calculating driver who has not sacrificed his aggression or competitive edge. Now he’s set to take that approach and confidence to Bristol — a track that ranks near the top of his personal favorites list.

“We have a lot of momentum right now and next we’re going to a place that I love in Bristol that fits my driving style,” Gaulding told Popular Speed following the race at Greenville. “I’m aggressive and I love Thunder Valley. I think our effort is going to be really good.”

Gaulding has good reason to feel optimistic too. Brandon Gdovic qualified the Precision Performance car on the outside pole at Bristol last year and contended for the win until getting caught up in a late accident.

“These guys have a good package there,” Gaulding said. “They qualified outside pole and ran well so hopefully we can go sit on the pole and dominate.”

Gaulding says he’s moved on from the circumstances that led up to his departure from NTS and said “it’s all good.” He’s looking forward to the future and the potential of winning a K&N championship while continuing to make sporadic starts in the Truck Series.

“I just feel like this is a good situation for me,” Gaulding said. “(Crew Chief) Charles (Denike) is a great guy to work with and Brandon Gdovic, Rick Gdovic and everyone around this team is having fun.

“That’s what it is about, having fun and going after wins.”

The PittLite 125 is set to begin at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon — the conclusion of the NASCAR XFINITY Series race permitting. The race will air on NBCSN on April 23 at a time to be determined.

Rico Abreu: Open-Wheel Convert Making Progress in Transition to NASCAR

Sargeant Chasing History

Dalton Sargeant has the chance to make history on Saturday night by the conclusion of the PittLite 125.

Sargeant, 17, can become the first driver to lead both the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West Series standings simultaneously. The Florida native has a win, a second and two thirds in four starts between both divisions.

His first career NASCAR sanctioned victory came last month in the West season opener at Kern Country Raceway Park. He currently sits third in the East standings, trailing New Smyrna winner Austin Hill by five points. Greenville winner William Byron sits second and is two points out of the lead.

“The 2015 season has started out great for myself along with everyone at HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks,” Sargeant said. “We’ve been fast in both East races to start the year and I think we can continue to build upon that this weekend at Bristol.

“I’m excited to race at Bristol; it’s a new challenge and something that I think the No. 51 GALT team will excel at.”

Austin Hill: Practice Crash Sends Championship Leader to Backup Car

Team To Watch*

Daniel Hemric and Brandon Jones will be behind the wheel for NTS Motorsports Saturday. Hemric will be making his second series start after winning the pole and finishing fifth at Greenville.

“I couldn’t be more pumped heading into this weekend’s race at Bristol [Motor Speedway],” Hemric said. “It’s a track that is very special to race at, because it’s one of the places you dream of driving at when you’re growing up. After our great run at Greenville-Pickens Speedway, I know that we can build off of that momentum and get our first NASCAR K&N East win of 2015.

“I know that everyone at NTS Motorsports has been working really hard to build us another rocket ship, and I’ve got Brandon Jones as a teammate to work with this weekend.”

Jones will be making his season debut, but is no stranger to the K&N Pro East. Jones won the NASCAR K&N Pro combination race at Iowa last August and finished eighth at Bristol last March.

“Fortunately, I’ve raced at Bristol several times in a couple different styles of car, so I should have just as many laps, if not more, than our competition. I know the guys at NTS Motorsports have been working really hard to prepare our MasterForce Chevrolet, and I’m confident that we’ll be racing inside the top five throughout the afternoon.”

Veterans Returning*

K&N Pro Series veterans Eddie MacDonald and Jesse Little will be making their season debut Saturday. The defending race winner, MacDonald will be making his 183 K&N Pro Series East start. He has earned seven wins, 34 top fives and 89 top 10 finishes. NASCAR Next driver Jesse Little will be making his 38th series’ start and looks to redeem himself at Bristol where he finished 13th last year.

A New Face*

Sarah Cornett-Ching will be making her NASCAR K&N Pro East debut. The 23-year-old Summerland, British Columbia will be driving the No. 18 for Sam Hunt Racing. Cornett-Ching has competed in three ARCA races this season, with her best finish being 11th at Nashville. She also has competed in one NASCAR Canadian Tire Series event in 2011 and finished 14th.

Standings

  1. Austin Hill Ldr
  2. William Byron -3
  3. Dalton Sargeant -5
  4. Gray Gaulding -5
  5. Nick Drake -15
  6. Kyle Benjamin -17
  7. Dillon Bassett -22
  8. Kenzie Ruston -24
  9. Ronnie Bassett -24
  10. Kaz Grala -24
  11. Dave Garbo -25
  12. Rico Abreu -26

*Provided by NASCAR IMC

EMAIL MATT AT matt.weaver@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @MattWeaverSBN

Categories
Trucks

Daniel Hemric to Drive Full Truck Schedule in 2015 for NTS Motorsports

One of the most popular and successful short track drivers of recent memory is making his way to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2015 as NTS Motorsports announced on Monday the signing of Daniel Hemric to drive full-time in the team’s No. 14 entry.

The 24-year-old, nicknamed “Hotshoe Hemric,” has three previous Truck Series starts, including one with NTS at Homestead in November. He previously competed at Martinsville and Phoenix for Sharp-Gallaher Racing team back in 2013.

Hemric will also participate in three ARCA Racing Series events for NTS in its No. 92 car, with support from crew chief Ryan McKinney in both divisions. California Clean Power will sponsor Hemric at Daytona International Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway in Trucks, as well as the Daytona ARCA race. Additional marketing partners will be announced in the coming weeks.

Hemric has spent the last three seasons driving a Super Late Model for Carswell Motorsports out of Woodstock, Georgia where he captured the 2013 Southern Super Series championship and won the prestigious Redbud 300 at Anderson Motor Speedway back in June. Prior to that, he drove Pro Late Models and Legends, where he won the JEGS Tour Championship and Legends Million at Charlotte Motor Speedway respectively.

NTS Strengthens Entire Operation for 2015

In addition to the news that Hemric will compete full-time in the Camping World Truck Series, NTS also announced that Rick Carelli would serve as the team’s General Manager. Chris Rice will maintain his role as NTS Competition Director in addition to serving as crew chief for the No. 31 NASCAR Truck.It was also announced that 2012 Truck Series champion James Buescher will join the team in a part-time role, driving the previously mentioned No. 31.

The NTS No. 20 will also return to the Truck Series this season, and will be piloted by 16-year-old Gray Gaulding and veteran Scott Lagasse, Jr. Gaulding will compete in nine events this season, while Lagasse is currently scheduled for Daytona and Homestead. Gaulding will also return to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East in 2015, where he will seek to capture the season championship in his third full-time effort.

Gaulding has made a total of 35 combined starts between the K&N East and West Series and has earned one victory, nine top-5s and 20 top-10s. Doug Howe will serve as crew chief for the team’s East Series efforts.

EMAIL MATT AT matt.weaver@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @MattWeaverSBN

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Trucks

Loudon Lowdown: Five Points Separate ThorSport Teammates

By Vito Pugliese – Saturday’s UNOH 175 at Loudon, NH marks the 16th race of the season, and seven to go as the Camping World Truck Series Championship looks to be decided between @Matt_Crafton and @JohnnySauter. Crafton edged ahead of ThorSport teammate Sauter by five points following last week’s race at Chicagoland Speedway. While @KyleBusch had to fight from the back twice, Crafton’s second place finish was reminiscent of his performance a year ago which garnered him his first Truck Series championship, after 13 years of full-time competition.

Absent from the Truck Series schedule the past two seasons, New Hampshire returns as a bright spot for Crafton. His last three finishes there are two fourth place finishes and a sixth place run in 2011. Teammate and points shadow Sauter has essentially the same record – two fifth place runs in 2009 and 2011 book-ending a seventh place run in 2011. Third place points driver @RyanBlaney22 trails by just 16 markers, but has yet to visit The Magic Mile. The series other flat one mile track in Phoenix produced results similar to those of his two points rivals – a seventh and fifth place finish.

While Kyle Busch added to his win total at Chicagoland winning for the sixth time in seven starts, he will not be in the field this weekend, given the rest of the regulars pause for reflection on how they might actually win this race. Erik Jones will in the No. 51, he has proven to be just about the equal to the boss should he not get caught up in anything not of his doing. Jones had a win this year at Iowa and finished third in his last start in this truck at the road course in Ontario. It’s worth noting that Jones did indeed score his first career win last season at Phoenix, which is also a flat one-mile track – at the ripe old age of 17.

Jones isn’t the only driver ineligible to drink in victory lane this weekend. @GrayGaulding, the 16-year old who has impressed in each of his starts this season will be in one of two Bob Newberry trucks this season. Gaulding finished fourth at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in his last start. Gaulding has two starts at Loudon in the K&N East Series, finishing 8th both times, but like @Erik_Jones, has a win at Phoenix a year ago in the K&N West Series – at 15 years of age. While Austin Dillon drove this No. 20 truck to a win at Pocono this summer, crew chief Chris Rice will not be. He was suspended for one race and fined $7,500 after the No. 20 failed post-race inspection at Chicagoland. Rice was already on probation from an infraction earlier in the season for a P3 level penalty. Owner Bob Newberry was fined ten owner’s points as well.

There are also other happening within the NTS team, as @RonHornaday is back in action next Saturday with his former NTS Motorsports team. The No. 9 Chevrolet will wear the Rheem colors that he started the year in the No. 30 at Turner Scott Motorsports. It is a two-race deal for now that will see the four-time champion in the seat for next weekend’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and next month at Texas Motor Speedway. Hornaday was fourth in the point standings before the events unfolded that saw the Steve Turner-owned portion of the team dissolve while the teams were en route to Canadian Tire Motorsports Park last month.

This weekend’s coverage begins at 1: 00pm Saturday on FOX Sports 1.

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Trucks

John Wes Townley, Gray Gaulding Crash at Bristol

By Matt Weaver (BRISTOL, Tenn.) — @JWTownley and @GrayGaulding initiated a multi-truck accident on Thursday morning in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event, collecting Justin Boston (@JBossRacing) and @BrennanNewberry in the process.

Townley and Gaulding were racing side-by-side for position coming out of Turn 2 when the two drivers bounced off each other on the backstretch. Townley slightly bobbled underneath Gaulding to start the chain of events and the two simply met in the middle. While trying to correct his car, Townley bounced off of Newberry and put him into the wall. Simultaneously, Gaulding hit the outside wall and glanced left into Townley who just got off Newberry, sending the No. 05 into the inside retaining wall.

Justin Boston, making his Truck Series debut, had nowhere to go and plowed into Townley. Gaulding was able to continue but finished six laps down while Townley and Boston finished 29th and 30th behind the wall, unable to continue.

Gaulding blamed Townley for starting the ordeal.

“It’s just racing at Bristol, I guess,” Gaulding told Popular Speed after the race. “John Wes Townley is a complete idiot. I don’t know what the heck he’s doing. Basically, the only reason he is here is that he has his dad’s money so it doesn’t matter.”

Adding to Gaulding’s frustration is that he started fifth and believed that he was capable of at least a top-10 finish.

Truck Series: Race Results

“That’s what happens, I guess,” Gaulding said. “We started fifth and qualified well but we were just tight all day. It’s just frustrating when you get stuck back there in traffic and put yourself in a position to get wrecked by guys like him.”

Townley was disappointed in the finish but wasn’t interested in engaging in a war of words. He’s moved on to the rest of the weekend, which includes the Nationwide race on Friday and the ARCA Series event on Sunday at Madison.

“It was just typical hard racing at Bristol,” Townley said. “We got side-by-side and there was some contact behind and then we started wrecking. I’m looking forward to Friday in this Nationwide car though. I think we’ve made a lot of progress, especially for a relatively new team and you have to turn the page and start with a blank slate.”