JOLIET, Ill. — A third-place finish usually wouldn’t have been bitter for Cameron Hayley.
However, after fighting with Kyle Busch for the win in Friday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Chicagoland Speedway and sitting on the cusp of a potential Chase Grid berth for much of the final 20 laps, Hayley was understandably disappointed following the conclusion of the American Ethanol E15 225.
“I gave it my all,” Hayley said. “I put it all on the line and it just wasn’t quite enough. We did not have a winning truck at the beginning of that race. The team battled back, though, and really gave me a great piece there at the end.”
The young Canadian took second from polesitter and fellow Chase hopeful Spencer Gallagher with 20 laps left and gave chase to Busch’s leading truck for much of the race’s closing stages, despite two late-race cautions that set up restarts inside of 10 laps to go.
But while he was able to run up on Busch from behind, Hayley was never able to work to the inside of the veteran and defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, ultimately losing ground on the final restart as Daniel Hemric shoved Busch into clean air and stole second in the end.
“What you saw there is why (Kyle) is a Cup driver and I’m a Truck driver. I have a lot to learn from him; he just took my line away every time I would try and get a run. We definitely were faster at the end, but he blocked my every move and it was all I could do to stay with him.”
Hayley finishes the regular season as part of a three-way tie for eighth in the cumulative points standings, officially ranking ninth between Bristol winner Ben Kennedy and Mosport runner-up Cole Custer.
However, he has high hopes for the potential of winning a race in the playoffs, thanks in part to speed from a new truck debuted at Chicagoland that was built in the Kyle Busch Motorsports shop.
“We may not be in the Chase, but we can’t say we didn’t try. We’ve still got a lot of speed and now the goal will be to go out and win a race for ThorSport in these final seven. I know we’re capable, we have the speed … so we’ll see what happens.”
Hayley’s best finish of the regular season came at Atlanta in February, where he finished second to John Hunter Nemechek.
His teammate Matt Crafton was the only ThorSport driver to qualify for this year’s inaugural Chase playoffs.
About the Writer
Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
The 22-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.
Email Jacob at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Email Race Chaser Online: email@example.com
Follow RCO on Twitter: @RaceChaserNews