March 5, 2014 — Audio and story by Jacob Seelman for Speed77 Radio and Race Chaser Online — Photo courtesy Ezra Shaw/Getty Images North America — CALGARY, ALBERTA — Cameron Hayley is on a roll.
The NASCAR Next standout has been a contender in everything he has sat behind the wheel of over the past month, including a near-victory in his K&N Pro Series East machine at New Smyrna Speedway last month where he finished about half a car length short to Daniel Suarez.
That roll of contention extended to Hayley’s run last Saturday night in a PASS South Super Late Model, where the Alberta teenager made a rare-for-2014 late model start and finished second (again), this time to one of the Southeast’s top short track stars, Daniel Hemric.
“I wanted to win really badly,” Hayley said of his finish. “I dropped back pretty far to conserve my stuff and slowly started working my way back forward. When I saw that caution, I was happy for an instant, because I thought to myself, ‘Yes, I can make up all this ground and not burn my tires up’. And then I looked at the pylon and saw we were restarting fourth, and that happiness went away real quick.”
“You never want to see an outside starting position coming to ten laps to go but our car was really good. We had a winning car but things didn’t go our way.”
Though Hayley didn’t come away with the trophy Saturday night, he did benefit from a lot of track time on a track he had never been to before, which he says will help him shake off the ‘”shock factor” going into the K&N Pro Series event at Greenville at the end of the month.
“Being able to get all those laps at the track was huge,” the young Canadian explained, describing his weekend efforts. “I had heard stories about Greenville but it wasn’t even like I had heard. The track was so rough, so tough on tires it was unbelievable. It was really a shock for me and a big adjustment the first time I went out on track for practice.”
“It’s going to help in the long run though because now I know more about how the track is going to behave, drive, all of that for when I come back in the K&N car in a couple of weeks.”
First though, Hayley has another test in front of him, in the form of a NASCAR K&N Pro Series East event at the Bristol Motor Speedway a week from Saturday. The PittLite 125 will be Hayley’s first taste of the concrete high banks but he says he is excited about the opportunity to race in front of the top eyes of NASCAR again.
“I’m super pumped to get back in the K&N car with Turner Scott Motorsports and head to Bristol next weekend. We’ve been strong on the short tracks so I know we’ll have a good chance.”
“We may not have had the breaks fall our way at Daytona (referencing the times he was swept up in melees not of his making) but we’ve got the speed. Now it’s time to show it.”
Listen in as we talked with Cameron after his runner-up PASS Series finish at Greenville-Pickens and his expectations for the upcoming K&N Pro Series March Madness doubleheader at Bristol and Greenville: