Conley rolls on at RCR

Young NASCAR drivers like Cale Conley wait for their shot to drive in the big leagues. Conley got his wish driving for Richard Childress Racing, and has posted fine results in the No. 33 Chevrolet Camaro.

Conley will be back on the track May 31 at Dover International Speedway.

“I hope to regain the form and luck the team had earlier in the season to post better finishes,” he said.

Conley will see more action during the second half of the Nationwide Series with five more chances behind the wheel of the No. 33 RCR Chevy Camaro. Conley will race again on the high-banks at Bristol Motor Speedway, although his other outings are yet to be determined. They likely will be at tracks he did not compete on earlier in the season.

“My hopes are to be in the No. 33 full-time next season or whatever car is available at Richard Childress Racing next year,” said Conley. “But right now, we just have to do our job and perform our best in the coming races.”

Conley made his Nationwide Series debut at Bristol Motor Speedway in the No. 33 Okuma-sponsored Camaro. He qualified12th for the event, and was able to maintain a pace with the leaders during the 300-lap event and brought home an 11th-place finish. His RCR ride was one of 12 cars on the lead lap.

On his debut at Bristol, Conley said “today was the day I’ve wanted my whole life. The dream is within reach and I need to thank the man above for this opportunity.”

Conley’s next challenge was to dance with the “Lady in Black” -the Darlington International Raceway. The Vienna native was able to put his Camaro 11th on the starting grid. “We qualified well, but I wasn’t happy with our race speed and the overall balance of the race car was off,” he said. “We seemed to really struggle until we made adjustments on the car,” Conley said.

He was running in the 14th late in the race, when he spun out on the front stretch and hit the inside retaining wall, causing damage to his No. 33. He spent 11 laps on pit road to repair the damage and get the car back on the track. He brought the car home for a 32nd-place finish. Conley said “it was probably the toughest, most demanding racetrack he has ever raced at in his career.”

In his third outing in the Nationwide Series, Conley was able to post a 15th-place finish at Richmond International Raceway. He had previous experience at the facility in the K&N East Series last year. He was able to run up front with the leaders, but “it was difficult to find grip with fresh tires. Thus our not top-10 finish was not what our team was hoping for at RIR,” Conley said.

Conley suffered tire issues at his next race at Iowa Speedway. He fell off the pace due to a right front tire going down. While trying to enter pit lane, an issue developed with the suspension forcing him to the garage area. His team fixed the car and returned to action 26 laps behind the leaders as Conley finished 30th.

Conley has been fulfilling his dream drive and I hope he sees an opportunity to visit Victory Lane in the near future.

Contact Eddie Thomas at ethomas@newsandsentinel.com