What a cruel beast big-time automobile racing is sometimes.
While Martin Truex Jr. has spent a half-week tasting the spoils of victory lane — his third win of 2019 — Bayley Currey, 22, has spent the same time frame sawing and molding pieces of his No. 52 Rick Ware Racing Machine from last Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 to get it ready for upcoming events.
Probably not the Summer break that the UNC Charlotte student was hoping for.
Currey’s race this past weekend was snuffed out at the hands of Truex’s front bumper. According to Currey, who had to that point been having a clean race, he was just taking it easy when all of a sudden his race was ended on lap 252 of the 400 laps event.
“Really man I was just riding and trying to stay out of the way,” Currey said. “We were running low on tires and [the] tires we were out there on [were] an older set. I knew the leaders were there and I gave them the bottom, and coming out of turn two I just got a shot in the left rear which sent us into the wall.”
Did the contact from the eventual race winner seem like a racing deal?
“I really don’t think he would intentionally wreck someone,” Currey said, “but no one knows but him.”
Currey was bummed for himself and his race team, obviously, but he was more upset that the soldier on the windshield of his race car as part of the 600 miles of remembrance program, North Carolina Army National Guard Sgt. James Allen Slape, didn’t get the finish he deserved. Currey has vowed that Slape will ride on his race car again, soon. And he will look to avenge the DNF that was suffered while honoring Slape the first time around.
For drivers who run for mega-teams like Joe Gibbs Racing or Hendrick Motorsports a wadded up race car every now and then isn’t that big of a deal. Sure, it’s not ideal, but they have hundreds of employees in the race shop who are ready to get things back in shape.
For Currey, in addition to driving occasionally in the big show on Sundays as a driver, he actually works in the shop getting the cars ready for RWR. So his hands have been getting a little extra dirty this week trying to get his race car back in condition to race again. For a small organization that only has 20-or-less employees including truck drivers, race car drivers, fab and shop guys, any crash is a big deal.
“It’s a huge shot to us. That was actually going to be our Pocono car and road course car after that. Now we have to run a different car at Pocono and hope to get the other car back in time to get ready for Sonoma.”
Currey will continue molding and crafting his No. 52 Mustang from Sunday’s race back into shape. As for driving in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series again, he isn’t sure when his next opportunity will come.
“It’s usually spur of the moment,” Currey explained.
Maybe if the Mechanical Engineering student from Driftwood, Texas gets the car fully repaired by Sonoma — or at least has it on track to be back in action by then — he’ll get a tap on the shoulder in the shop and be told it’s his time to drive again.
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.