Sunday, August 30, 2015

Canada's Cameron Hayley is Banging on the Tailgate of Success

This weekend marks the third time the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will preside on a 2.459-mile road course known as Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. A roughly one hour drive outside Toronto, this event is the truck series’ one and only stop at a road course as well as the only event held in Canada. A uniquely energetic event, the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 250 will host the talents of a uniquely Canadian teenager.

At 19 years old, Cameron Hayley emerged as a racing star from Calgary, Alberta to a rookie driver of the #13 Toyota Tundra in the 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series sponsored by Carolina Nut Company and Cabinets by Hayley (a family-related steel cabinet and rack fabricator). In the 14 races so far this season, Hayley has currently captured seven top-10 finishes including 3 top-5 results. "For me to be kinda the home country favourite I guess is kinda a cool thing to go home and do.", commented Cameron Hayley is racing alongside household racing name Alex Tagliani but is the only full-time Canadian in the series. Hayley’s total of 17 races in the series has given him an appreciation of the highly competitive nature of the sport.

Arrival at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park track marks almost a full year since his debut in the Camping World Truck Series. Making his patriotic debut in the tour last year with Turner Sport Motorsports, his run for the full 2015 season in the series is undertaken with championship-winning ThorSport Racing. "Duke Thorson, the owner of Thorsport Racing has given me this opportunity. If you asked me when I was two or three years old growing up that I would ever be where I am at today coming from a small town in Canada, I would have said no. But here I am talking to you about being a Camping World Truck Series driver!" said Cameron Hayley. "I’ve accomplished a lot of my goals. I haven’t run as well as I would have liked to this year but at the same time I think we’re getting better with every race." Hayley’s best finish came earlier this month at the Pocono Raceway where he came across the line in fourth. Interestingly enough, that top result came with a 16th place starting spot (his lowest qualifying position of the 2015 season). "It’s definitely a rookie season and my first national series is a difficult thing to do." said Hayley. A difficult outcome to what was a promising race at Iowa Speedway comes to mind where the #13 truck finished two laps down in 19th position.

Photo Credit: NASCAR Media


Providing a fast track for the Canadian rookie is the aid of two seasoned veteran drivers in the ThorSport Racing stable. Fortunately, Hayley has two-time and reigning Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton as well as proven truck series superstar Johnny Sauter as teammates. "Matt Crafton being a two-time champion; he knows how to get it done and Johnny has multiple wins and a ton of talent. Between the two of them, they have really helped me a ton on and off the track." said Hayley. "My team that I am racing for has really helped me get over that rookie hump."

At the age of four, Hayley’s taste for motorsport was satisfied through go-karts. Elevating himself through the ranks of karting and eventually super late model stock cars, the Canadian envied NASCAR Cup series driver Jeff Gordon. "Jeff Gordon has actually been my hero ever since I was little. Ever since I was old enough to understand and know what NASCAR was. Jeff Gordon was always my driver. It’s kinda sad to see him in his final year but he has definitely given me a ton of inspiration and hopefully one day I could make his name as great as his was." said Hayley aspiring to build a driving career attaining to similar accolades as his stock car racing hero.

In 2012, Hayley was a member of the NASCAR Next 9, a collection of stock car racing’s top and brightest prospects. At the age of 15 years old at the time, the young driver who grew up in Calgary was installed in the company of Chase Elliot, Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney and Darrell Wallace Jr. with the honour. At the time, the Canadian competed in the K&N Pro Series western division. The 2013 season was a breakout season for Cameron Hayley. At the beginning of the year, he won the K&N Pro Series’ Battle of the Beach race held on a 0.4-mile oval within Daytona International Speedway. Along with claiming the runner-up spot in the highly-competitive K&N Pro Series West, he also earned the Most Popular Driver Award. "It’s been a crazy year. There’s been a lot more media this year than I’ve been used to in the past. Obviously it’s just been a different coming from the K&N Pro Series to the Camping World Truck Series." said Hayley adding, "Talking to people, getting advice from them. Especially at places like Martinsville. All these braking tracks, getting braking points."

Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images


For 2014, Cameron Hayley was picked up by Turner Scott Motorsports for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. In late August of that same year, the team gave the than 18-year-old his debut appearance in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Starting 10th and finishing 11th, Hayley’s first time wheeling the #32 Chevrolet coming on home soil was a solid appearance. Turner Scott Motorsports was followed by two more outings by the team that both resulted with top-10 finishes.

As Cameron Hayley returns to the site that launched his career against the top tailgaters, the year his given him wisdom and insight. "I wish I told be sitting here telling you that I can go out there and get the championship (and it is still possible but we have a long ways to go to do that)." commented Hayley that remains mindful he is competing and learning lessons from drivers including Sprint Cup Series regulars Kyle Busch, Ryan Newman and Kevin Harvick over the last few months.

Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images

One thing the driver of the #13 Toyota has earned is the realization to the importance for returning home. "It will be cool to go to a track that I’ve been to in my home country and I think that will help me a lot and hopefully go for that win." said Hayley gaining expertise from a Canadian stock car/road racing legend Ron Fellows." I’ve talked to Ron quite a bit and he’s definitely going to help me out this weekend. I think he’s a big name that’s come from Canada that has shown that Canadians can be good drivers."

"Being able to race in my home country, obviously the US is more populated with more NASCAR and more involvement with the fans but I think Canadian fans are just as good. I think it’s cool that NASCAR realizes that enough to a race there." Cameron Hayley says looking forward to using this weekend’s race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park as a springboard for the remainder of the 2015 Camping World Truck Series seasons. "It really comes down to solid top-five performances. Starting at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, I really would like to pull together a solid streak."

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