By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
For this week’s edition of Climbing the Ladder, Seth Eggert sat down with ThorSport Racing driver Cameron Hayley. Hayley, a native of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, is a 19-year-old NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver. Hayley drives the Carolina Nut Company, Cabinets by Hayley No. 13 Toyota Tundra. Hayley is campaigning for the 2016 Camping World Truck Series Championship.
Seth Eggert: How did you become interested in motorsports?
Cameron Hayley: At the age of one my Dad started taking me out to our local track in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I just fell in love with the sport, and ever since then, I have always been interested in motorsports.
SE: Where and when was your first race? What was the result?
CH: My first race, I was seven years old, and it was at the Calgary go-kart track in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, where I’m from. I finished third in my very first go-kart race.
SE: Who would you consider your mentor?
CH: My mentor, I’ve always been a Jeff Gordon fan my entire life. Jeff Gordon has always been my favorite driver, everything he’s done throughout out his career, you look at him retiring last year, and that’s the way anybody would want to retire, to be looked up to in that way.
SE: What or who inspires or motivates you?
CH: Obviously, Jeff Gordon inspired me a lot throughout my career. My Dad definitely inspires me. He’s the one who has always coached me, not just to be a racecar driver, but to be a better racecar driver.
SE: At what track would you want to win at the most?
CH: I think one of the tracks I would want to win at, obviously since NASCAR isn’t very heavily involved in Canada, and I’m Canadian, so I would love to win at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. That would be huge for me, and I think huge for Canada in general.
SE: This is your second full season, how much of a benefit is it to be returning to tracks for the second time?
CH: It’s huge. Every race you get more experience, not only just experience, but going onto the track for the second time, you just know it that much better. So it’s a huge advantage.
SE: Do you think that there is a way that NASCAR can help fellow Canadian racers to get to where you are today?
CH: NASCAR in general has not been really involved in Canada. So I think the first step would be to get more involved in Canadian motorsports. I think there is a ton of great fans, and the NASCAR Pinty Series, but NASCAR US is not very involved with them. The involvement just needs to get better.
SE: Has the caution clock benefited you and your team?
CH: I don’t know if it has benefited us so much as it has hindered us. It’s thrown a different curveball into things. At a lot of these tracks so far that we have had the caution clock, the issue is not the caution clock itself, it’s getting to the caution clock. These Goodyear tires that Goodyear has brought make the racing a lot better, but it is harder to get to that point. Tires just haven’t been lasting, so it’s been a lot more hoping that the tire doesn’t blow up before you get there.
SE: How are you going to spend the down time in between Truck Series races this season? How are you going to keep yourself occupied?
CH: I go to the shop quite often, visit the guys, making sure I know what’s going on at all times. Going to the gym is a big part of it, making sure that you’re staying up on your physical appearance and fitness. Really just going over race videos, in-car videos, trying to be as prepared as you can for the races.
SE: How do you spend time during rain delays?
CH: Well, you sit in the lounge up in the hauler here and watch TV, that’s about it. And you eat, you end up eating a lot.
SE: Is it refreshing to have that break, or is it frustrating?
CH: It was good for our team because we were a fairly new team going into the season. Our team only got put together three weeks before Daytona, so it was really good for us because we were able to get the trucks prepared since we didn’t have enough time to at the beginning of the season. So it was good for us, but definitely pretty boring for me.
SE: Fill in the blank, in a year from now you will be?
CH: A year from now I will hopefully be in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. That’s the next step, this is my second year in Trucks, and I’d like to try to make the move up next year.