ThorSpot Racing wasn’t sure if they’d be able to enter four trucks this season, but both the funding and personnel came together. Just a month before the season began, Eddie Troconis learned he would be atop the pit box for Cameron Hayley.
Troconis worked as an engineer at Kyle Busch Motorsports previously and admits it’s been a bit of a challenge making the adjustment to crew chief for ThorSport.
“The way that we do things here at ThorSport is a little bit different than what I’m used to,” Troconis told POPULAR SPEED. “There’s also a change in my role as it’s evolved into ‘You’re the one that everything is going to matter on.’ It’s definitely been more challenging for me, but I still feel that we’ve done a good job so far.”
Based on Hayley finishing sixth in points in last year’s rookie season, Troconis felt confident they’d be successful going into this year.
“I know towards the end of the season he was fighting for top fives, top 10s, showing maturity and now we’ve started off the season well,” he said. “We’ve led laps every race. So far, we have shown that we’re a championship-caliber team, so we’re pretty happy.”
At Daytona International Speedway, Hayley ran up front through the first half of the race but was taken out in the big wreck.
When they ran at the front of the field at Atlanta despite making an unscheduled pit stop earlier in the race, Troconis realized the depth of the team.
“We definitely had a better truck than the 8 (John Hunter Nemechek) at that point (on the final restart), but we damaged the tires in the wreck involving the 88 (Matt Crafton), and 51 (Daniel Suarez),” Tronis said. “We had to lock the tires to avoid the 51 and we didn’t have four tires so we had to stay out and that’s why our truck wasn’t as good as he was at the beginning. So that’s why he brought it home sixth place.”
Hayley was quick at Martinsville Speedway, running in the top five for most of the event. However, he ended up finished ninth after a late race pit stop. That decision of which pit strategy to follow – his own or another competitor’s – brought forth the biggest lesson of the year so far for the crew chief.
“I have to have a little more confidence in making the right decision and don’t try to follow another team’s position, but rather to stick to my game plan,” Troconis admitted. “Don’t change it during the game. I feel that I have definitely learned a valuable lesson that I need to get better and have a better strategy for the race.”
With the success thus far, it’s just a matter of time before Hayley pulls into victory lane for the first time in his career.
“We feel like everybody has been doing what they need to do with the job that they have been doing,” Troconis said. “We feel that win is close if we keep doing the right thing, so hopefully we can get a win the next three races. I feel like we’re going to have a real good chance.”
Over the break, the No. 13 Cabinets by Hayley team will focus on preparation.
“These next four weeks is where we’re going to finalize the rest of the truck inventory for the rest of the season, or at least the next half of the season,” Troconis said. “So it gives us some good time to get some good trucks for Dover, Charlotte, and have our stuff together.”
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