Friday, May 20, 2022

Interview: Bayley Currey Full-Time Racer, Part-Time TikTok Superstar?

Bayley Currey NASCAR Xfinity Series driver exclusive interview JD Motorsports TikTok
Bayley Currey is running a full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series season for the first time in his career, and he is stepping outside of his comfort zone to become a household name. Photo by Jonathan McCoy /

If you haven’t heard of his name before now, Bayley Currey is poised to be a driver that you get to know soon. The journeyman racer has bounced from part-time opportunity to part-time opportunity, but in 2022 he is running the full NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule in the No. 4 Chevrolet Camaro for JD Motorsports.

Out of the gates, Currey has impressed, as he’s scored three top-20 finishes in the opening five races of the season.

“It’s good. I wish it could be a little bit better, that one in California still stings. It hurts our average a little bit, but definitely happy with how our season is going,” Currey told in an interview at Atlanta Motor Speedway. “Starting to put things together on a more consistent basis now.”

This past weekend, Currey had another solid run going until his car stopped picking up fuel on the final restart of the race. What felt like a sure-fire top-15 to top-20, ended in a disappointing 29th-place finish. But the 25-year old is just proud of all of the hard work that his team has put in back at the shop to bring consistent cars to the track.

“Those guys, they all work really hard,” Currey explained. “Wayne Carroll, my crew chief — really the 4 team — it’s me, Wayne, Wayne’s son and then Eric and Spud helps on the engineering side and there are some shop people back home. We all work real hard and spend some late nights in the shop down there in Gaffney, but we make it work. We try to build the best race cars and the fastest race cars we can and it’s showing.”

Unlike many drivers these days, the Driftwood, Texas native actually gets his hands dirty in the shop as he helps the team prepare the cars. It’s his knowledge of race cars and his ability to work on them that has helped Currey land his driving gigs to this point in his career.

Now, at JD Motorsports, Currey is starting to branch out in an effort to build a fanbase. He’s no longer just a driver or mechanic. Currey is now filling his schedule with fan appearances.

“Yeah, I never did many in the past,” Currey said of fan event appearances. “I had done a couple. I was talking to Cindi [Rivera], my PR person, and was like let’s just sign up for all we can. There’s some in COTA, Richmond. There’s a bunch of them coming, I can’t even think of them all.

“Definitely excited for that, going to COTA. It’s my hometown track and being a hometown guy there. Excited for that one for sure.”

While appearances are helping Currey establish a face-to-face connection with his growing group of fans, he is also harnessing technology to further grow his reach. Currey has really begun to blossom on social media, but he has absolutely started to shine on TikTok.

Whether it’s the stuff he does at the shop, him shooting at the gun range or even stitching with other TikTokers videos, Currey is really starting to showcase his personality.

“Yeah, definitely. I feel like that’s a way to get partners and help promote the people who are helping you out already,” Currey explained. “The more you can build those followings, the better off you are. Just trying to showcase who I am. Trying to build up a fanbase. You have to be different than everyone else for people to like you.”

However, being in the content creation game, Currey now understands the struggle that many of us feel, the unpredictability of what will be well received. Currey says there was one TikTok that he spent a ton of time on, which ended up flopping.

There was one that me and [Kyle] Weatherman did last year. It was like the rental car scene from Days of Thunder. We recreated the whole thing, acted it out learned all of the lines, took me like an hour and a half to make — like all of the editing and everything — it did terrible,” Currey admitted with a chuckle. “I posted like a 15 second clip of me running a gokart at Go Pro Motorplex and it got like 90,000 views. It just doesn’t make any sense.”

It’s still a learning process for Currey, but he has the perfect teammate to learn from on the TikTok game in Ryan Vargas. Vargas, who actually drove a TikTok sponsored car in the past, has over 400,000 followers on the platform. Currey explains that he’s simply having fun figuring out what makes TikTokers click.

“Just trying to figure out the algorithm that day and what it likes and using the right sound and hashtags and all of that. It’s fun, but at the same time, it’s annoying if you don’t hit it just right,” Currey said.

While connecting with his fans and giving his sponsorship partners a larger platform are big things that Currey has started to work over the last year, Currey is proud of the sponsorship partnerships that he and his JD Motorsports race team have forged.

“Definitely, starting with Fort Worth Screen Printing. John Garrett is a good friend of mine. He’s been a local racer from where I’m from forever. Known him a long time, and he came on board a couple of years ago to help me out,” Currey stated. “It’s been a really great personal relationship with those guys. Trying to promote them as much as I can. Going to start using their website to sell my t-shirts there, be sure to be on the lookout for that.

“And KSDT CPA, they’ve been a partner for JDM for a long time. Been very thankful they’ve accepted me and been on my car quite a bit this year and they will be even more moving forward. Very thankful to all of those guys and everyone at JD Motorsports, who find us new partners.”

While things are good at his new team, Currey has made friends at the smaller organizations that he has worked with over the years, including Mike Harmon Racing where he drove up until late 2021.

The Harmon team has had a rough start to the season, as the two-car operation has scaled back to one car after both of their cars missed the season-opening event at Daytona. After five races in 2022, MHR has only made the field once.

Seeing his former team, which is filled with his friends, fail, hurts Currey’s heart.

“It definitely makes me upset,” Currey stated with anguish. “I don’t want to see my friends not do well. It stinks for their season to start off as bad as it has. I was super pumped when they got in for Vegas, and it sucked it rained out qualifying in Atlanta and didn’t give them a chance. Hopefully they’ll be back at COTA and they’ll be strong.”

In addition to the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Currey has made 12 NASCAR Cup Series and 30 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts over the course of his career. While he doesn’t have anything lined up in the Cup or Truck Series as of now, and he is content running full-time in Xfinity, he would not be opposed to running some races if someone were to call him.

“Not really. Nothing planned right now,” Currey explained. “If someone said, ‘Hey, I need you to come fill in,’ or if they really need me to run one race, I’ll definitely come do it. Especially this new Cup car, I’d like to drive one just to see what it feels like. It’s got to be so different. Obviously, I have a great relationship with Niece Motorsports. If they have an opening and they need somebody, I’d love to be the guy who fills in for them.”

Even with the two hiccups at Fontana and Atlanta, Currey sits with an average finish of 24.2 after five races, that is a 1.6-position improvement from last season, which included a seventh-place run at Phoenix.

Currey will look to keep trending in the right direction this weekend at Circuit of the Americas in his homeland of Austin, Texas.


Toby Christie
Toby Christie
Toby is the Founder, and Editor-in-Chief of Toby is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, he is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award-winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.

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