Young NASCAR drivers are waiting for their big break. Local driver Cale Conley, who hails from Vienna, has been given his shot with Richard Childress Racing.
Conley will drive the No. 33 Chevrolet Camaro for 10 races in the Nationwide Series this year for RCR. Conley has made 33 total NASCAR K&N Pro Series East & West starts since 2011.
He has a total of eight top-5 and 10 top-10 finishes combined in the two divisions. He has one win back in 2012 at Columbus, Ohio with former Sprint Cup Series crew chief, David Hyder. Conley finished 12th in the points standings last year.
Photo by Jeff Baughan
Cale Conley, left, talks about the engine of his race car to Vince Conley, center, and Dr. Jesse Ada during an appearance at Superior Toyota last year. Conley has signed on to drive the No. 33 Chevrolet Camaro for 10 races in the Nationwide Series this year for Richard Childress Racing. He will be competing at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 15.
Conley's first shot behind the wheel will be on March 15 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
He will be competing in K&N East race as well at Bristol and posted a 13th-place finish last year. "I am very grateful and anxious for the opportunity to race with Richard Childress Racing," said the 21-year-old Conley. "My goal, at this point, is to get past these anxious feelings, do what I know best on the track and learn as much as possible from the team. Opportunities like this don't come along often, so I am going to do my best and learn as much as possible."
Conley made the trip to Daytona to familiarize himself with the actions inside the Natiowide garage area and getting to know his teammmates.
Debriefing sessions with teammates and his new crew chief Nick Harrison will serve as the best learning tools for Conley. Harrison has worked with numerous drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series since 2006.
He joined RCR in 2013. This season will be his sixth year in the sport. The addition of Conley increases the already competitive-RCR Nationwide Series lineup for this season.
"We look forward to getting Cale in our car and seeing him take the next step in his career," said Richard Childress, president and CEO of RCR. "He's done a good job on the K&N Series level and we're pairing him up with a solid race team. It's going to be a bit of a learning curve, so that's why the limited schedule works perfect for him and allows him to progress at a comfortable pace."
Conley will share seat time with other drivers in the No. 33 and one of those is Sprint Cup regular Paul Menard. Conley will be driving in 10 K&N series races on the same weekends as his Nationwide rides .
Following his race at Bristol, he will get a shot at Darlington Raceway on April 12.
Conley believes "a new wave of talented drivers are waiting for their shot."
Teams are less likely to throw big dollars at new talent these days. Young talent was able to let their driving dictate the climb up the racing ladder, but now sponsorship sets the presidence.
New corporate sponsors are finding their way into the sport and hopefully one will get behind Conley. He hopes his talent will present more driving opportunities in the future.
It's Nationwide Series program includes Brian Scott (No. 2 Shore Lodge Chevrolet), 2012 Camping World Truck Series rookie of the year Ty Dillon (No. 3 Bass Pro Shops/WESCO/Yuengling Light Lager Chevrolet), Brendan Gaughan (No. 62 South Point Hotel and Casino Chevrolet) and a multi-driver lineup with the No. 33 Menards Chevrolet team.