AUDIO/FEATURE: J.J. Haley Thankful for Second Shot With HScott; Reflects on 2015 Season

Marshall Gabell Audio, Carolinas Racing, Featured, Midwest, NASCAR, Southeast, Touring Series 0 Comments

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Story by Race Chaser Online Mid-Atlantic Correspondent Marshall Gabell – Performance Motorsports Network audio – Jonathan Moore/Getty Images North America photo –

With Christmastime and a new season right on the horizon, HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks veteran — if you can call him that at just 16 years old — J.J. Haley has had some time for reflection and a chance to set his expectations and standards higher after his rookie NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season.

And it’s a good thing he’s pushing higher, too, because he’ll get a chance to see just how far he can climb in a second K&N East campaign.

On the heels of his sixth place finish in the championship standings this past season, Haley announced on Wednesday he will be returning to HScott Motorsports for a second chance at the title — and victories — that eluded him in 2015. And with the contract signed, Haley, from Winimac, Ind., has begun setting goals for the upcoming season, which he hopes will include his first win in the K&N Pro Series.

“We just wanna go out and run good next season,” Haley said on a recent edition of the Stock Car Steel/SRI Motorsports Show on the Performance Motorsports Network. “We just wanna get everything out of every single race that we possibly can. I am just hoping the races can play out a little bit more in our favor.”

Haley, who will turn 17 when the season begins, was in sight of triumph multiple times in 2015; however, the circumstances never came into his favor.

He led 95 laps of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West finale at Phoenix International Raceway, but blew a tire with five circuits remaining and didn’t come away with the trophy. On the East side, his closest call was a trip to VIRginia International Raceway in August, where he led with a handful of laps to go before tangling with teammate Dalton Sargeant and Austin Hill for the top spot and coming out on the losing end of the scuffle.

“We put ourselves in position to grab a win, but it just never worked out,” Haley said. “I don’t know what we did to the racing Gods, but hopefully we get everything worked out next season.”

“[The K&N West finale at] Phoenix was the toughest one to swallow. We dominated that race — had the car to beat and were out in front all day — and blew a tire with five to go. You hate that it goes down like that, but at least it’s something that’s not your fault, you know? Doesn’t make it sting any less, but just pushes us to keep fighting.”

While he’s hoping for a first win, Haley is also expecting — after six top five finishes last season — he can take his rookie experience and draw from the memory bank to improve his performance at many of the tracks on the 2016 schedule.

“I feel like running the whole 2015 K&N Pro Series East schedule was a big deal, really helpful to me,” Haley explained. “At the start of this season, I was still a rookie, I did not know much about the cars. Just moving down to North Carolina this summer, and getting closer with the crew helped quite a bit. I feel like now we can go to any K&N event and just dominate like we did in Phoenix.”

Along with his commitment in the K&N Pro Series East, Haley is looking to compete in more Camping World Truck Series events, gaining him more exposure and track time in the NASCAR national series after a career-best of seventh in just his third start at Phoenix last month.

“The three races I did [in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series] were huge,” Haley expressed. “I got a feel for pit stops, the longer races and just a feel for being on the national [level]. We are definitely looking into doing some more of those races next season.”

And with a little swagger in his step, the 2016 season, on the Truck Series side or in the K&N Pro Series, could just be a breakout one for Haley – both with wins and a potential championship.

But for now, as the holidays approach, the young star is simply thankful to have another chance. He did, however, share a memory away from the track with Christmas around the corner, offering his worst – well, almost worst – Christmas present, on air.

“When I was like six, my mom put charcoal in my stocking – well it looked like charcoal, but it was actually bubble gum (laughter).”

A signed contract for a second run at the K&N East championship might just one-up that a bit, mom.

For more information on J.J. Haley, follow him on Twitter @JJHaley_Racing or visit his website at www.jjhaleyracing.com.

 

Listen in to an extended cut of Haley’s interview on the Stock Car Steel/SRI Motorsports Show below:

 

About the Writer

Marshall Gabell is the Mid-Atlantic Correspondent for Race Chaser Online, and in addition to his writing duties is also the public relations director for NASCAR Next member Austin Hill. Gabell is currently attending Stephen Decatur High School in Ocean City, Md., entering his sophomore year. He is just 14 years old.

Email Marshall at: rcomarshallgabell@gmail.com

Follow on Twitter: @MarshallGabell

Email Race Chaser Online: news@racechaseronline.com

Follow RCO on Twitter: @RaceChaserNews

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.