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Cam Waters ‘Absolutely Pumped’ for NASCAR Truck Debut at Martinsville

Photo Credit: Daniel Kalisz Photographer | Courtesy of Cam Waters, Facebook

Friday’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway is set to feature some international flavor, with the addition of 11-time Australian Supercars winner Cam Waters.

Waters, a member of the Ford Performance family via Supercars team Tickford Racing, will travel to Martinsville, Virginia to make his NASCAR National Series debut in the Long John Silver’s 200, driving the No. 66 Ford F-150 for championship-caliber organization ThorSport Racing.

Needless to say, a 200-lap race around a half-mile paperclip like Martinsville Speedway is a departure from what he’s accustomed to, considering he’s collected most of his racing experience on various road and street circuits, but the 29-year-old driver is excited to make it happen, nonetheless.

“I’m absolutely pumped, so I’m super excited to be finally having a race over here in a truck,” Waters said on Tuesday. “I’ve always followed NASCAR and done a little valuable stuff myself on dirt in Australia, so to do a pavement oval is pretty cool for me and something I’ve always wanted to do.”

Waters is the third Supercars driver to make an on-track debut in NASCAR’s National Series over the last nine months, joining Shane van Gisbergen and Brodie Kostecki. However, the Mildura, Victoria native says talks with ThorSport were in motion before van Gisbergen even signed his deal to run Chicago.

“I’d already kind of started dialogue with ThorSport and whatnot before Shane had even done a deal to do the Chicago race,” Waters commented. “So, it’s something that I’ve been looking at doing for a long time. I’ve been racing sprint cars for three years with dirt late model stuff before that. So yeah, this hasn’t just come out of nowhere.”

After making a stop in Sandusky to meet the people at ThorSport Racing and get a seat properly molded for the truck, Waters says he’s been spending some time at the Ford Performance Tech Center doing simulator work, in hopes of acclimating himself to the vehicle and track before tackling the half-mile paperclip for the first time in Friday’s 20-minute practice.

With NASCAR’s chronic lack of practice time, it’s going to be a true baptism by fire for Waters when the green flag waves on Friday.

“I think there’s going to be a lot of things which will be challenging,” Waters added. “The tracks going to be totally different than anything I’ve ever driven, the tire is totally different, more power, more weight. So, I think just learning the car under you and working out what it likes will be the biggest challenge for me with limited practice.”

“I’m very lucky to have an awesome team around me with so much experience. All the other drivers have been so helpful, giving me tips and whatnot. I’ve got a lot to take in in a short period of time, but I like the challenge of it. I’m really looking forward to it.”

As far as goals for Friday’s 200-lapper, Waters is keeping things simple: keep the truck clean – although when it comes to the NASCAR Truck Series and short tracks, even the most experienced veterans can find that particularly tricky.

“I think Friday night, if we can keep the truck clean, like I said, and take in as much as I can, I think that’d be good. I’ve kind of got no expectations. I don’t really know how I’m going to go. It’s going to be kind of jumping in the deep end, so to speak, with the limited practice and not being able to drive the truck beforehand.”

Waters says that, as of right now, Friday’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event at Martinsville Speedway is the only NASCAR event planned for the full-time Supercars competitor in 2024, as he continues to chase his first championship in the Australian-based racing series.

In December, Waters was linked to a part-time schedule in the NASCAR Cup Series with RFK Racing, driving a third entry under the #Stage60 banner. As of April 2, nothing substantial has been announced as a follow-up.

However, there’s a decent chance that Friday won’t be the last NASCAR start for Waters, and while it may not necessarily be in a NASCAR Cup Series entry, and it may not even be this year, the 29-year-old driver mentioned ambitions of one day moving to America to run NASCAR full-time, a path similar to Shane van Gisbergen.

“I definitely have a dream to one day get over here and race full-time NASCAR, but to get there it’s such a long journey and I’ve got a pretty cool thing going on in Australia racing Supercars,” added Waters. “For me to do the odd NASCAR race like we’re doing this weekend is pretty cool, so we’ll go through this weekend and have a bit of fun and work out what NASCAR is all about and see what happens in the future.”

Plus, this weekend, if nothing else, we’ll learn whether or not Supercars competition translates well to NASCAR’s two lower divisions at Martinsville Speedway, with both Shane van Gisbergen and Cam Waters taking on the half-mile paperclip.

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One Response

  1. As an Australian it is great to see the Aussie and NZ guys follow in the footsteps of Allan Grice and Terry Byers.
    While our Thunderdome is no more, this can only bring more interest to the series from here.

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