By: Ashley McCubbin
After scoring 13 top-20 finishes including a season-best 10th at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Bayley Currey returns to the NASCAR Xfinity Series with JD Motorsports for a second full-time season. The Texan recently shared his thoughts with NEWS FROM THE PITS.
What are your thoughts going into the 2023 Xfinity Series season?
I don’t know. We’re looking pretty good, put in a lot of work over the off-season and we’re just trying to get racecars together now. I think it’s going to be a stout field. There’s a lot of shake-ups going on – new teams, teams bringing more cars – so I think it should be good as always. I love the Xfinity Series. It puts on close to the best show, if not the best show every weekend, and I’m just excited to get started.
What are your goals and expectations based on your performance last season?
I think, overall, shooting for a top-20 in points again, at least. We barely snuck our way in last year, but we did. But I think we had a lot more speed and racecars than what the finishes showed last year, so if we have a better consistent year and run consistently in that 15th to 20th area, it should be a solid year for us. I think we’re very capable of that. We’ll try to do that, and get a couple more top-10’s this year, definitely more top-15s, and try to build on what we had last year.
What track are you most looking forward to getting to?
Probably Bristol (Motor Speedway) – it’s my favorite race track. I like Bristol a lot. As far as new places go, I’m excited to go to Chicago. I think it’s going to be a really cool event. Never raced on a street course before, so I think doing that will be really cool. I told a bunch of people – even if we do it one year, and we’re not happy, it’ll be that one year to say that I was a part of it.
You mentioned the progression that you’ve seen in your performance, including the top-10 that you had last season. What has it meant for you to see things building towards having those finishes inside the top-15, top-20 weekly, basically showing the hard work you’re putting in?
Yeah, it’s really cool. I’m in the shop pretty much every day and to work in here with the guys and see our hard work really progress, and turn into something, it’s cool to see. It’s like building a house from the ground up. You start at the ground floor and then you have a finish product, and our finished product is having good runs. I think it’s been really cool. The whole team works really hard. There’s only a handful of us in here working on these things, so it’s been really cool to be a part of that progression and be a part of that from the ground up.
And what do you feel that you need to now work on to continue to improve the performance moving forward?
Like I was saying – just consistency. We had a really good test last Monday at Charlotte (Motor Speedway) and I think we showed some good speed and made a lot of progress, and learned a lot of things. So it’s just about trying to apply those things and just being consistent, not having the goofy things happen that happened last year. I mean, we had a fuel pump issue at Atlanta (Motor Speedway). We had some other issues, like at Richmond (Raceway) we had an issue. It’s just been a bunch of races – loose wheels here and there, that really hurt us last year and put us behind the eight ball in the race. I think if we get rid of those things, and just be consistent. I think if you can finish top-15 this week and try to back it up again, you’re only going to get better. You’re not trying to scratch and claw your way from behind.
You mentioned the test that you had at Charlotte Motor Speedway. What are your impressions of the new rule package that they’ve put in place?
I thought it was going to be a lot more different than it was. I thought it was going to be terrible. I always thought the Xfinity Series, that it’s things – the big skew and the cars yawing out in the center of the corner and driving them sideways. But really, without that, you truly have to drive the car sideways, maybe slide the rear tires a little bit more, to make the car turn – which I think is fun. It’s harder to be consistent. I think with the skew and yaw in the car, it makes it easier for you. You don’t have to work as hard to get down to the bottom and stuff like that.
But I really think this new rules package – I don’t know how it’s going to do real packed up in traffic, we haven’t seen anything like that yet. But from the test, I think it was okay and like I said, we made a lot of progress and gains on it. obviously, not as fast as what we had last year but you’re never going to get there without the skew in the car. I’m okay with it. I was very against it at first, but I’m okay with it now.
What sparked your interest in motorsports?
So my dad raced when I was a little kid. He used to race locally at the race track at Thunderhill Raceway. I can remember being a little kid being up in the grandstands watching and wanting to do it. I got a go-kart when I was about seven, and the rest is history.
What’s been the most memorable moment for you on the way to this point?
It’s tough. There’s a lot of different things. Most memorable I guess – honestly signing with Johnny Davis last year to have a full-time NASCAR season. That’s been a huge highlight of my career, but there’s other ones like I won a race at Bowman-Gray Stadium when I was 12-years-old which was really cool. I went and did donuts in the infield, got fined, lost half the purse money. But there are a lot of cool ones. I remember the first time I went out to super late model, pro late model country in Alabama and Florida, and got a race win down there. Those kind of moments that may not seem huge to other people, but you know how hard it is to go race down there with the best of the best and win. Just some of those – but definitely signing with Johnny Davis, or making my first truck start originally to break into NASCAR.
Obviously racecars have been that path for you. But is there anything else motorsport wise you’d like to get behind the wheel of?
I don’t know. I’ve always been a fan of the dirt midgets and stuff, just dirt racing in general looks like a lot of fun. I did it a little bit when I was a kid, ran the Tulsa Shootout when I was 12 and made the A-main and all that, but I was driving someone else’s car and just never really got to do it again. I really enjoyed it. I’d like to try it again. I’d like to see if I can get in a micro (midget) at Millbridge (Speedway) and run some of those races. I think that’s just good for keeping you on your toes and being in a racecar more is always going to be better. So I’d say that, and even some road course stuff looks a lot of fun. IndyCar stuff looks fun. I mean, I’ll race anything – I don’t care if it’s a mini stock at Cherokee Speedway out there.
Categories: ashley asks...., Feature, Interview, NASCAR Xfinity Series
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