Kyle Busch will lead off the start of the North Carolina Education Lottery 200
Charlotte marks the fourth stop for the Truck Series in 2014
Check out the post-race reactions from Matt Crafton and Brad Keselowski at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Clint Bowyer and Cole Whitt comment on their good runs, while Ron Hornaday and Johnny Sauter discuss their post-race meeting.
18-year-old Canadian rounds out powerful ThorSport team CONCORD, N.C. -- In the dead of winter a little more than two years ago, Cameron Hayley took the route of many so-called "snow birds" from his home country of Canada to ride out the harsh February days in the far more temperate climate of Florida. This particular trip, though, wasn't simply a search for warmer weather. It also managed to launch his spring-loaded NASCAR career. Hayley, an 18-year-old driver from Calgary, Alberta, found pay dirt against top-flight short-track talent that February at Daytona International Speedway , claiming the checkered flag in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series portion of the inaugural UNOH Battle at the Beach tripleheader in 2013. He added his name to a distinguished list of winners, with an up-and-coming Kyle Larson prevailing in the Whelen All-American Series race and former Sprint Cup Series winner Steve Park scoring a resurgent victory in the Whelen Modified Tour event. "It does seem like a long time ago now," Hayley said Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway . "I mean, it was only two years ago, but when it comes down to it -- I've done so much since then." Though the race was an exhibition that paid out no points toward the K&N championship, it helped elevate the stature of an otherwise little-known talent from the Great White North . Fast forward, and Hayley's name takes its place on another list altogether -- as a Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with ThorSport Racing, the championship team the last two seasons. "I think that's kind of what put me on the map with everybody," Hayley said. "Everyone started knowing my name after that and obviously moving to the K&N East Series last year it kind of got me down into the North Carolina , Charlotte-area and I guess people started to know my name more after that. It was kind of that Battle of the Beach when that really sparked people knowing me more." A pair of runner-up finishes in the K&N Series' title hunt the last two years helped that cause. So did his first ventures into the Camping World Truck Series, where he showed speed and landed two top-10s in his first three starts last season. After attracting the eye of team owner Duke Thorson and landing a seat in ThorSport's third truck alongside veteran teammates Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter , Hayley has shown steady growth, even while visiting tracks for the first time in his national series career. Despite the unfamiliarity, Hayley has improved his finishing position each week, capped by last weekend's fifth-place effort at Kansas Speedway . More improvement is the target again at Charlotte, site of Friday night's NC Education Lottery 200 (8:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, PRN, SiriusXM). "It's definitely been tough," Hayley said. "This race is going to be my fifth new track again this year, so adjusting to all the different tracks and having all the tracks being new has definitely been difficult, but ThorSport has given me great trucks week in and week out and, like you said, we've been consistently getting better every single race. And we've had great trucks and had some bad luck, and I think Charlotte is going to be another one where I have lots to learn, but I think we have a great truck here and can do well." The learning curve may have been accelerated by having teammates in Crafton, the two-time defending series champion, and fellow veteran Sauter -- who have a combined 498 truck series starts to their credit. Hayley has 491 starts to catch the two; in the meantime, he's tapping them as a resource for as much advice as he can digest. "Both of them have been a tremendous help for me already," Hayley said. "Like I said, all these tracks have been new to me, so I can study race tapes, videos all I want, but until to you talk to a driver you don't really know a firsthand account of what's happening. Both these guys have helped me a lot. I haven't been quite quick enough to run up beside them during races yet, but I think we're getting there and I think I can learn a lot from that as well." Even though Hayley is still new to the team, Sauter said he likes what he's seen so far in the teenager's composure. "I don't really know him, he's a rookie, new to the deal -- but I think he's got a pretty good head on his shoulders," Sauter said. "I see him doing things that maybe necessarily don't see from a lot of rookie drivers and I think he's taking care of his equipment and showing speed at the same time. I think he’s been top of the board at Atlanta and Kansas, so there's speed there and he's only going to get better, so I think he's doing a great job and I see some things in him that I typically don't see in a lot of young guys at his age and at his experience level." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
NASCAR executive weighs in on busy racing weekend NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell said Monday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that competition officials were working to increase side-by-side racing and passing near the front of the pack after a NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race that heavily favored leading cars. O'Donnell said that the process goes on every day at the sanctioning body's Research & Development Center in Concord, North Carolina , as NASCAR moves closer to making a final decision on the rules package for its premier Sprint Cup Series in 2016. "We actually do that every day," O'Donnell said. "We're focused on the racing, so when you look at particularly that race, we look at that as one of all of our events. We're a third of the way through the season. Lot of really great dialogue going on with the drivers, with the owners, with the race tracks, looking at how does the racing compare really over the last three to five years what, if any, of the levers can we look at as we look to the '16 package. So those discussions take place every day and we'll continue to do that today and heading into the season. "But still a third of the way through, too early to make an overall decision but certainly a lot of dialogue going on." Saturday night, Denny Hamlin claimed the $1 million All-Star prize after his Joe Gibbs Racing crew won the race off pit road before the final 10-lap segment. Once out in clean, non-turbulent air, Hamlin set sail to lead the rest of the way, taking the checkered flag by .923 seconds at Charlotte Motor Speedway . RELATED: Hamlin holds off Harvick to win Sprint All-Star Race The outcome was different than that of Friday night's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at the intermediate-sized track. Eventual winner Kasey Kahne edged rookie Erik Jones in a captivating green-white-checkered finish after the two drivers raced side-by-side for virtually the entire two-lap shootout. O'Donnell said it was difficult to compare the two divisions, but he liked what he saw. "I think the ability to maintain that side-by-side racing is what we want to see," O'Donnell said. "There's a lot of variables with trucks, with aero, the distance of the races, who's in the field, that sort of thing. But certainly thought it was a tremendous race Friday night and of course, ultimately we'd like to see that throughout all of our divisions each and every race." This weekend's racing for all three national series brought some official rulings, both post-race and mid-race. In the truck series' event, Kahne's winning JR Motorsports No. 00 Chevrolet was deemed too low on both sides in the front and too high on one side in the rear after a post-race inspection. RELATED: Kahne wins Truck Series race, but fails post-race inspection Kahne started at the rear of the field after the team made an unapproved shock change before the race. Competition officials are expected to rule on the issue Tuesday, but O'Donnell said all factors will be considered before the final decision. "Every car or truck will have to pass pre-race inspection, so that's something that there's a balance there at the end of the race to make sure certain components aren't being manipulated, and that's our job to look at, but there's also cases where some pieces legitimately break," O'Donnell said. "These vehicles are out there running high 190s to 200 miles per hour, lots of contact especially when you talk truck racing. That's something that we take into consideration when we're evaluating all the vehicles post-race." Also in Saturday night's All-Star Race, a NASCAR spokesperson said that a crew member for the Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 team of driver Jimmie Johnson was under review for potentially altering a body panel late in the 110-lap invitational event. The practice of teams flaring out the side skirts ahead of the rear wheels was outlawed in the offseason. RELATED: Possible infraction for 48 team O'Donnell said that even though the event did not pay championship points, the high stakes would be reflected in how the NASCAR Rule Book is upheld for All-Star violations. "Still evaluating that like we do and if we make a decision to react, that would be on Tuesday, but there's a lot on the line for the All-Star Race," O'Donnell said. "It's not a points race, but certainly we know how much it means to win that race, so hopefully we don't have to make a call on this, but we would maintain the rule book throughout the race." Sunday in the NASCAR XFINITY Series 3M 250 , driver Brendan Poole was parked by NASCAR officials after retaliating in reaction to early race contact with J.J. Yeley at Iowa Speedway . O'Donnell said the immediate decision of race officials was necessary. "In this case when something happens on track, it's our policy to warn both drivers that we're going to be specifically looking at contact between those two," O'Donnell said. "In this case, we saw something that we believed was a move to really take someone out and we had to react. Not something we like doing, but we've got to react in that case and we did in Iowa." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Jones, Reddick chasing two-time defending champ in standings Five races into the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season, the cream is still on top. Matt Crafton ’s third-place finish last Friday in the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway allowed the series points leader to maintain his top spot. Crafton, driving the No. 88 for ThorSport Racing, now has 217 points on the strength of two wins, four top fives and a series-best five top-10 finishes. The 38-year-old Crafton is trying to three-peat as the Camping World Truck Series points champion. Crafton has 343 Trucks races under his fire suit, starting with the Motorola 200 at Fontana back in 2000. His first-ever win was the 2008 edition of the North Carolina Education Lottery . He has a modest seven career wins, but consistency works in his favor. He’s placed among the top 10 in his Trucks races 57.4 percent of the time (197 out of 343). Erik Jones ’ epic battle with Kasey Kahne , which included side-by-side racing for most of the final lap and a photo finish, is the type of excitement NASCAR officials — and fans — want to see. Kahne won the race by 0.005 (that’s not a typo) of a second. The No. 00 Truck failed the post-race inspection for a ride-height violation. Kahne does, however, get to keep the win. Driving the No. 4 for Kyle Busch Motorsports, Jones led 88 of the 139 laps at Charlotte. Jones, who turns 19 on May 30, ranks second in the points standings. He finished 18th last year. Just two points behind Jones in the standings sits Tyler Reddick , who picked up his fourth top-five finish of the year by placing fourth last week. Driving the No. 19 Truck for Brad Keselowski Racing, Reddick already has one more top-five finish than he had in 16 starts as a rookie in 2014. The 19-year-old placed 12th in the standings last year. More than a decade removed from his rookie season in a NASCAR national series, Johnny Sauter is chasing his first-ever Truck Series title. Sauter, who turned 37 earlier this month, ranks fourth in the current standings. His best season was a second-place finish in 2011, and he placed fourth in the standings the past two years. John Wes Townley moved into the top five with a sixth-place finish at Charlotte. Townley doesn’t have a win in his 74 career starts on the circuit. He was 15th in the final 2014 standings, and his best year was an 11th-place showing in 2013. Up next for the Camping World Truck Series is the Lucas Oil 200 at Dover International Speedway on May 29 (5:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM). FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
See where drivers will line up on pit road for the North Carolina Education Lottery 200
This week's edition of GarageCam is full of Camping World Truck Series drivers preparing for the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 .
Kyle Busch wins the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 , earning his sixth win at Charlotte Motor Speedway