GRAY GAULDING (Contributed photo)
BRISTOL, Tenn. — Virginia native Gray Gaulding was the youngest-ever NASCAR touring series winner, youngest-ever polesitter at Richmond International Raceway, and on March 29 at Martinsville he will be the youngest driver ever to start a Camping World Truck Series race.
The newly turned 16-year-old driver said Sunday he’s proud of those distinctions, but he’s shooting for another “youngest” record — youngest driver to win a race in an upper-echelon NASCAR series.
He’ll have eight chances in 2014 while running a limited short track truck series. He’s not allowed to compete on a track one mile or longer due to his age.
While breaking new ground in the truck series, Gaulding is also competing in his second full season in the K&N Pro East Series, which comes to Bristol Motor Speedway Saturday afternoon to run a 150-lap race following the NASCAR Nationwide Series event.
After finishing seventh in the points last year in the K&N series, as well as earning a win at Phoenix in the sister K&N Pro West Series, Gaulding has his sights set high in 2014.
“Martinsville will be my first truck series race, and I’ll be the youngest driver ever to start a race in one of the top-three NASCAR series,” said Gaulding, who is from Colonial Heights, Va., which is south of Richmond. “That will be really cool to have on my resume. Being the youngest driver is cool, but I want to be the youngest winner. Hopefully we can break two of three records — to be the youngest ever to lead a lap or the youngest ever to win a race would be the ultimate goal.”
Gaulding got an early start in racing. At the age of 3 his father and grandfather got him started racing dirt motorcycles.
When he was 10, he tried his first car race in the Bandolero division, won his first race, and traded in four wheels for two.
He won a Bandolero championship, and then became the youngest driver ever to win a national championship in the Legends division.
When he was 12, he signed a development deal with Kevin Harvick Racing and began racing Super Late Models and won races in that division.
“We did some pretty good stuff in the little amount of time we were involved in the Super Late Models, so last year we decided to move full time into the K&N series with Krispy Kreme as my full-time sponsor and TruMoo chocolate milk coming on board,” Gaulding said. “This year we’ve brought Chevrolet on board, which is really cool, and we’re thankful and happy to have them.”
Gaulding makes his second visit to Bristol Saturday, and he said he fully expects to win. Last year he finished sixth in an older model car, but this year he’s got new machinery and he believes the experience he gained there last year will pay dividends.
“Last year we were so good despite being at a disadvantage because we were in a steel-body car while everybody else was in a composite body car,” Gaulding said. “Hopefully this time around will be a lot better and hopefully we can leave with a win because Bristol is my favorite track. When I saw the schedule and we were going back there I was so stoked. A dream of mine as a little kid was to win the Daytona 500 and Bristol.”comments powered by Disqus