Conley returns to NASCAR XFINITY series

PARKERSBURG — A race car driver from Vienna returns to NASCAR Saturday in an XFINITY Series race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Cale Conley will pilot the No. 24 Toyota Camry for the JGL Racing Team. He joined JGL earlier this year in its Young Guns program and Saturday’s Hisense 300 at Charlotte will be his debut for the team.

“I’m really anxious to get the weekend going,” said Conley, who last raced in the series in 2015.

Conley has 41 NASCAR XFINITY Series starts in his career and 36 starts in the NASCAR K&N Series. His career best in the XFINITY Series was a sixth-place finish in 2014 at the Kentucky Speedway.

“The addition of Cale to our Young Guns program makes for a great complement to the drivers we already have,” JGL Racing team owner James Whitener said. “I watched Cale closely when he competed in the XFINITY Series a few years ago and he has proven he is a very talented driver when given the right equipment. We aim to give him just that and let him shine in this No. 24 Toyota.”

It’s getting tough to be a driver these days because of the cost of sponsorships, which was the reason behind the hiatus from NASCAR racing, Conley said. Many times a driver will have to bring sponsors to a team and finding sponsors is difficult, he said.

“That’s why I was off the track,” said Conley, who is 25 years old.

“It’s almost a full-time job to fund yourself to race,” he said.

Conley this year hopes to race in eight or 10 events, of which winning adds value to the driver’s stock.

“It sure helps,” he said.

He joins Scott Lagasse Jr., Corey LaJoie, Drew Herring, Jeb Burton and Dylan Lupton at JGL.

Conley’s hometown is Vienna.

He ran his first go cart race when he was 5. Conley raced in a quarter midget series then the USAC Kenyon midgets in the Midwest and the World of Outlaws series and the USAC sprint and midget series.

Conley’s career in stock cars began in 2011, running 10 races in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. He finished in the top 20 six times. In 2012, he drove in eight races in the K&N series, won three poles and had one victory.

Again in the K&N series in 2103, Conley was 12th in points and had several top 5 finishes.

In 2014, while running several K&N series races, he transitioned into the NASCAR Nationwide Series with Richard Childress Racing. He finished 11th in his first race at the Bristol Motor Speedway while his best finish that season was fourth and sixth at Kentucky Motor Speedway.

He drove for TriStar Motorsports in the 2015 NASCAR XFINITY.

Occasionally high-profile NASCAR drivers such as Kyle Busch will participate in an XFINITY Series race, Conley said.

“It’s like the AAA in Major League Baseball,” he said.