By Cole Cusumano
“I feel like being at the race track, the best ability is availability.”
This mantra Bayley Currey abides by has merited him the respect of many within NASCAR. Serving as the sport’s quintessential ‘yes-man’ has provided the 25-year-old with plentiful opportunities, in addition to an esteemed resume throughout all areas of motorsports.
Hailing from the city of Tyler (then Austin at a young age), you could say Currey was born with a Texas-sized sense of work ethic. If he’s not filling in for various teams behind the wheel, you can often find him supplying driver aid during pit stops on Sundays.
While he may not have the flash of other drivers, there’s a reason Currey has turned laps in all three of NASCAR’s National Series. Seventeen years of racing everything from late models to Legend cars led the Texan to North Carolina, where Rick Ware gave him his big break as a member of the road crew.
“Bayley has been a great asset to Rick Ware Racing over the past three years,” team owner Rick Ware told NEWS FROM THE PITS. “He came to me looking for an opportunity to drive in the NASCAR Cup Series, and while I couldn’t guarantee him a set race, Bayley showed his dedication and determination to be a driver by showing up every day at the shop and working on the cars that most times he was not driving.
“He’s the driver that has really taken the old school approach of learning all the in’s and out’s of the race car on and off the track.”
Since making the jump to North Carolina in 2017, Currey happily filled in wherever teams saw fit, from, building to repairing race cars — something he enjoyed doing growing up. Although only in the sport for about five years, he’s already worked for Rick Ware, Niece Motorsports, Mike Harmon and JD Motorsports as a driver and mechanic.
Currey is able to do just about anything in the shop from hanging suspension to putting in gears. In an attempt to be as versatile as possible, he makes a point to do as much fabrication work as his abilities will allow. Using size to his advantage, there’s one area of stock cars the 25-year-old specializes in.
“I do a lot of interior work, simply because I can fit in there and do all that stuff,” Currey told NEWS FROM THE PITS. “Especially when I’m driving, if I mess something up or if I don’t like it, there’s no one to blame but myself when I’m driving.”
Where some drivers may be quick to simply suit up on race day and drive, Currey prefers to get his hands dirty and take accountability while expanding his knowledge in all areas of NASCAR. Although he’s been working on cars pretty much his entire life, he has an even greater appreciation for the men and women working behind the scenes — the lifeline of the sport.
While Currey’s ability to assist in the shop put him in a favorable position, ultimately it was his drive outside of motorsports blended with a willingness to work that captured the attention of those within the industry.
The pursuit of racing on a professional level has always been Currey’s goal, but tempering expectations were imperative. There was a sense of uncertainty when the Texan made the move to the Tar Heel State in 2017, which was why he’d been attending Texas State University and then transferred to University of North Carolina at Charlotte while working for Rick Ware.
“When Bayley first came to work at RWR he was a mechanic on the No. 51, finishing up school at UNC for engineering and just hoping that an opportunity would become available for him to drive throughout the year,” General Manager and VP of Marketing for RWR, Kate Fegley, told NEWS FROM THE PITS. “He was hustling from the race shop in Thomasville, North Carolina to college in Charlotte throughout the week and traveling on the weekends — a schedule that most would be worn down from a couple months in.”
“When I moved [to North Carolina], I didn’t really know if the racing thing was going to work out, so I kind of wanted a backup plan,” Currey explained. “As racing has kind of become more prominent and I feel like I’m doing better and things like that, I decided to focus more on the racing-side.”
Currey had predominantly been racing at a sporadic rate since making his debut in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Martinsville Speedway in 2017, but found ways to fill his schedule between all three series since last year — and successfully.
The 25-year-old tacked on his first top-10 from the Xfinity Series at Phoenix Raceway earlier this year to a pair he earned early in his career in the Truck Series. Chalk it up to great motorsports intellect or raw talent, either way, Currey has the ability to get the most out of whatever equipment he’s given.
“I’ve kind of been that fill-in guy for a long time,” Currey said. “I just show up and drive, I guess. I think since I have made laps in all three series, I feel like I’m pretty good at adapting. Everytime I go to the race track I try to be better than I was the last time.”
As aforementioned, if he’s not wheeling a stock car around the track, Currey can be found supplying driver aid during pit stops for the No. 51 team on Sundays in the Cup Series. This was something he was doing on a week-to-week basis in 2020, swapping turns with fellow competitor Kyle Weatherman.
Currey once even filled in as a tire carrier for Natalie Decker in the ARCA Menards Series, and while he likes to make himself available to essentially any opportunity, don’t expect a repeat of a temporary role that could cause a potential injury.
Instead, you can find him branching out and building a brand for himself. Currey understands the importance of a strong social presence, especially in this digital age, hence why he started a podcast called “Real Men of Genius,” where he shares fun experiences he’s had during his time in NASCAR.
“I think there’s a lot of stories in the garage that you don’t hear,” Currey said. “The racing world is a pretty funny community. A lot of funny things happen and go on that fans might not see, so I try to share that with everyone else.”
While most athletes would hire an editor or publicist of some sort to run social media channels and handle podcast duties, Currey prefers to do the work himself, much like being a mechanic in the shop on days he isn’t racing. He seamlessly jumped in on the podcasting trend and actually relishes the editing process thanks to an offseason hobby — snowboarding.
When he’s not engulfed in racing, Currey often retreats to Durango, Colorado with friends, where they’ll shred up the slopes. He creates video edits from his trips to the mountains and does everything from filming to editing.
“I have a lot of respect for those guys who do [editing] for a living, because it’s pretty tough trying to get everything how you want it; song, timing, editing the clips together — it can take a long time. It’s a very strenuous process,” Currey said.
Although he admits exporting files from Adobe Premiere Pro can be challenging at times, Currey says his experience making snowboarding compilations has allowed his podcast to fire off on the right foot and there’s been positive reception from family, friends and those within NASCAR.
As the 2021 season winds down, Currey isn’t sure what the future holds beyond the finale at Phoenix Raceway, but he hopes to compete in the Xfinity Series full-time next year. In any event, the young driver has established himself as one of the most well-rounded and respected individuals in the sport by virtue of his unrelenting drive and ambitious initiative.
“When you think of your traditional NASCAR driver, you don’t normally think of a guy who is working at the NASCAR Cup Series shop during the week, driving an Xfinity Series car on Saturday and a pit crew member on Sunday, but that is exactly who Bayley is,” Fegley concluded. “Bayley’s hard work and dedication to chasing his dream has really shown through over the past two years, separating him from those who are able to have sponsorship dollars to support their racing careers versus Bayley, who has worked tirelessly both as a mechanic and a marketer to achieve his full-time status as a driver within the Xfinity Series.”
These precedents are what set Currey apart from other drivers in the sport. At just 25 years old, he’s proven to be one of the most valuable assets in NASCAR and this all but ensures a bright and lengthy future for the inspiring rising talent.
You can follow Currey’s impressive journey throughout the sport via his Twitter and watching his podcast, which is uploaded weekly to Youtube.
Great read, thank you for pulling this together!