Steve Park Wins UNOH Battle at the Beach in Last Lap Pass.
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 reveals Air Titans will be at Chicagoland, Iowa RELATED: Potential rules package changes coming soon? The garage was buzzing last weekend with talk that the 2016 rules package could be put into play next month for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway , a notion that intrigued drivers. NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell reacted to that talk in a Monday interview on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio's "The Morning Drive." "As we've said nothing is off the table, so we're continuing to talk to the race teams, the drivers, the owners and the tracks, particularly not just about '16, but what if anything could be done about '15," O'Donnell said. "A lot of those discussions are still ongoing, and if we're going to do something, obviously we've got to do it sooner than later because we never want to implement anything in the Chase. We'll continue to have dialogue and get to a decision either way. It all goes back to, how do we put the best racing on each and every weekend?" O'Donnell also indicated that the 2016 rules package may not be a one size fits all concept. "It's kind of a misnomer when you look at it, because at each track you are going to have a different tire, essentially a different gear, a lot of different things that go into it," O'Donnell said. "As we look ahead, I think we want to look more toward what specific track packages could we have. Not necessarily having 36 different ones, but are there some configurations that do change up for particular tracks? That's been a really interesting angle as we've talked to the teams and gotten some great feedback." Tech Talk: Could more qualifying changes be coming? The NASCAR executive also addressed the challenges faced in this past weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway . Wet weather led to multiple red flags and a race that was eventually called after 138 laps, 62 short of the scheduled 200. "The fans braved a lot of different circumstances at Michigan, again proving that we've got the most passionate fans in all of sports," O'Donnell said. "Gave it our best shot to continue to dry, but in the last one we had to evacuate the stands. There were still some pop-up showers in the area and working with the track, we made what we thought was the safest decision for the fans that were in attendance. Certainly would have liked to see it be a full race completed but again, really appreciate the fans sticking with us." O'Donnell also shed some light on what goes into deciding to call a race, and who is involved in the final decision. "We'll talk to obviously the weather experts in the area, but ultimately it's up to the track," O'Donnell said. "In this case, Roger Curtis (president of Michigan International Speedway ) and NASCAR work together. We judge it on how much time do we have left, daylight. You don't have lights in Michigan and more importantly, what does the weather look like? "It takes longer to dry a track as you get later in the afternoon with the weather circumstances. Once we had to evacuate the grandstands via the track, that put us in a really challenging situation. The fans had stuck it out for a long time and then when you looked at the radar and the possibility of continued lightning and rain, we thought it was the most prudent decision to make at that time to call it a day." Other notes from O'Donnell: • After a rain delay of more than two hours for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Gateway Motorsports Park , Air Titans will be at the stand-alone events at Chicagoland Speedway (for the NASCAR XFINITY Series) and Iowa Speedway (for the Truck Series) this weekend. Air Titans were not at Gateway this past weekend. "Ultimately we make them available, and it's a track call whether or not they want to have them in place," he said. "We learned some lessons at Gateway. I think you will see them both at Iowa and Chicago this weekend regardless. Going forward, I think you will see that change. The good news is we were able to get the race in, saw Cole Custer win. I think you'll see that change and we'll have them available regardless for the tracks. • The Sprint Cup Series is off this weekend, but O'Donnell is looking forward to both stand-alone races. "It's really important for us," he said. "I think it gives some drivers an opportunity to come into a race and really showcase their skills. You look at Chicago, I'm excited personally to see Ross Kenseth get out there, had a great weekend at Michigan with the ARCA race. I know Matt (Kenseth) is going to be a proud father watching him race. "Talking to Richard Childress this weekend, he thought we've got the most talent we've had in a long, long time coming up through the system. When you look at the XFINITY race in Chicago and the Truck race at Iowa, it puts both series on the big stage this weekend." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Host Matthew Dillner takes you through the NSCS garage at Sonoma Raceway while trying to dodge birds in this edition of GarageCam.
Race debuted in 2013 on temporary oval layout of backstretch Daytona International Speedway will discontinue the UNOH Battle at the Beach in 2015. The event, an invitational showcase for NASCAR's regional touring and weekly series, enjoyed a successful two-year run using a temporary oval layout on the 2.5-mile speedway's backstretch. This year, a mix of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, Whelen Modified Tour and Whelen All-American Series will focus on near-nightly racing at nearby New Smyrna Speedway. In a statement, DIS track president Joie Chitwood III said the decision came "after much consideration." "It was necessary for us to make this difficult decision given that we will open 40,000 new seats during Budweiser Speedweeks 2015 as part of the Daytona Rising redevelopment project and will remove the backstretch grandstands prior to 2016 racing season," Chitwood said. "We are pleased to see the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series will remain in Central Florida during Budweiser Speedweeks at New Smyrna Speedway and encourage fans to attend those exciting races." Track officials broke ground on the $400 million Daytona Rising project in July 2013. The redevelopment, which will feature a modernized 101,000-seat grandstand as the centerpiece, is scheduled for completion by the season-opening Speedweeks in February 2016. The Battle at the Beach debuted in 2013 with close-quarters racing and last-lap contact deciding the outcome of all three events in its opening year. The inaugural running was noteworthy not only for Kyle Larson 's victory in the Whelen All-American Series race, but for Mike Stefanik's grumpy post-race interview with Ray Dunlap, a video that went viral after Steve Park bumped aside the seven-time modified champion on the final lap. Daniel Suarez (K&N) and Doug Coby (Modified) prevailed in the Battle at the Beach in 2014. Chitwood said the track looked forward to continuing its relationship with the University of Northwestern Ohio, which sponsored the event in each year of its existence. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
NASCAR.com's Jonathan Merryman talks with Kyle Busch after his big win at Sonoma Raceway in the Toyota/Save Mart 350.
Longtime NASCAR broadcaster named first quarter recipient posthumously DARLINGTON, S.C. -- Steve Byrnes, a highly respected television broadcaster who covered motorsports for over 30 years, has been awarded the NMPA Spirit Award for the first quarter of 2015 by the members of the National Motorsports Press Association. The award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. Byrnes began his broadcasting career in 1982 and joined Fox Sports in 2001. He served as a pit road reporter for Fox's coverage of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing from 2001-2014 and most recently anchored coverage of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races and co-hosted the NASCAR Race Hub program on Fox Sports 1. Byrnes' 32-year career as a member of the motorsports media included coverage of racing for CBS, TNN, WTBS and Fox networks. March's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway was named the " Food City 500 In Support Of Steve Byrnes & Stand Up To Cancer," honoring Steve's battle against head and neck cancer. Byrnes passed away two days after the race and is survived by his wife Karen and son Bryson. Byrnes received votes on more than 92 percent of the ballots cast by the NMPA membership. Others receiving votes were sponsor STP and six-time Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson .
No. 6 driver climbs out of wrecked car before safety crew arrives RELATED: NASCAR issues penalties following Dover races MORE: NASCAR's Steve O'Donnell discusses safety issue " Bayne wrecks, called to hauler NASCAR handed down penalties Wednesday to Sprint Cup Series driver Trevor Bayne for exiting his car without the supervision of safety officials during last Sunday's race at Dover International Speedway . Bayne, in his first full Sprint Cup season for Roush Fenway Racing 's No. 6 Ford team, was fined $20,000 and placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31. A three-car crash in the 174th lap of Sunday's FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks tangled up Bayne and HScott Motorsports teammates Michael Annett and Justin Allgaier . After Bayne's car skidded to a stop with severe front-end damage, he dismounted during the caution period and walked down the banked track surface in Turn 1 to the awaiting ambulance for the mandatory ride to the infield care center. NASCAR formalized the rule, which is presented as a reminder during each pre-race drivers' meeting, last August after a fatal accident involving three-time premier series champion Tony Stewart . Stewart was driving a sprint car at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park's half-mile dirt track when driver Kevin Ward Jr. exited his car after a crash and was struck and killed. The rule allows a driver to leave his or her vehicle before the arrival of safety personnel in the event of extenuating circumstances, such as fire. Bayne's infraction came two days after a similar incident involving driver Jennifer Jo Cobb , who walked onto the track surface to express displeasure with eventual NASCAR Camping World Truck Series winner Tyler Reddick as vehicles circled during the yellow flag. WATCH: Cobb unhappy with Reddick after spin Race officials summoned Bayne to the NASCAR hauler Sunday for consultation. Monday morning, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell told NASCAR.com in its weekly debrief that punishment was likely pending. "Both drivers were called to the hauler and we'll look at both of those incidents, like we always do Tuesday but for us it's a safety issue,” O'Donnell said. "We want to keep the race track as safe as possible for the competitors." Bayne finished last in the 43-car field. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
NASCAR Chairman and CEO, Brian France, talks about the driver's council on RaceDay prior to the Axalta 'We Paint Winners' 400 at Pocono Raceway.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon send their well wishes to FOX Sports’ Steve Byrnes and Elliott Sadler shares the story of how he became close friends with Byrnes.