By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
Yesterday, 18-year-old Gray Gaulding became the latest driver to get an opportunity to drive a Ford Mustang in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for Roush Fenway Racing. Gaulding is scheduled to make his series debut in the No. 60 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 19th with a second race coming at Richmond International Raceway in September. Both a sponsor and a crew chief are to be determined, although the young driver has a personal services contract with Krispy Kreme.
Even at a young age, Gaulding already has an impressive resume. In 2011, Gaulding become the youngest driver to earn Rookie of the Year honors in the PASS Super Late Model Series driving for Kevin Harvick Incorporated, at only age 13. Gaulding also became the youngest winner in the series after scoring a victory at Wake County Speedway.
In 2013, Gaulding moved to the NASCAR K&N Pro East Series with team owner Steve Urvan, where after earning the pole at Richmond International Raceway, he became the youngest pole sitter in NASCAR history, at 15 years, 2 months, and 15 days old. Later that season, Gaulding earned his first career NASCAR victory at Phoenix International Raceway in the K&N Pro West Series where he won in controversial fashion, turning race leader Cole Custer on the final lap. After earning five top fives and 11 top 10s, Gaulding was invited into the NASCAR Next program.
2014 saw Gaulding move to NTS Motorsports where he earned four top fives, and nine top 10s in the K&N Pro East Series. Gaulding also made his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut at Martinsville Speedway that season. In nine Truck Series races, Gaulding earned one top five at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Gaulding had his best finish in the points in the K&N Pro East Series this season, finishing third in the points standings.
In 2015, Gaulding once again changed teams, switching to Precision Performance Motorsports in the K&N Pro Series East, and first to Red Horse Racing in the Truck Series, and then Kyle Busch Motorsports. In eight K&N Pro East Series starts that season, Gaulding earned four top fives and five top 10s. Gaulding also earned one top 10 in his four Truck series starts that season.
Earlier this year, Gaulding made his ARCA Racing Series debut at Daytona, where he drove a Ford Fusion for Lira Motorsports. Gaulding started 11th and finished a respectable ninth.
Image: Jeff Gammons/Getty Images for NASCAR