Gray Gaulding Ready for Full-Time Truck Series

Gray Gaulding - Camping World Truck Series

Gray Gaulding, 17, has raced a lot of vehicles in a lot of series, but the near future looks to be all about the Camping World Truck series.

Last time ClosetNASCARFan talked to Gaulding was back at Winston-Salem’s Bowman Gray stadium, where he was preparing to race that evening in the K&N East series in the No. 12.

Since then, Gaulding has had a trio of successful runs part-time for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the No. 54 Krispy Kreme Toyota Tundra, capping the runs at Martinsville Speedway — a track the Virginia native knows well.

Gray Gaulding in No. 54 at Martinsville SpeedwayClosetNASCARFan caught up with him minutes after Martinsville Speedway’s first Camping World Truck Series practice was completed. Like a veteran, throughout the pair of Friday afternoon practices, Gaulding communicated the handling of the No. 54 truck to his crew chief and team. The first practice, the truck was all over the place, loose and “no forward drive.” He described the handling both during the practice runs and to ClosetNASCARFan afterwards with the skill of a veteran.

“The worst part is I’m so loose on entry, that I can’t really get the nose pointed,” Gaulding said.

“Here at Martinsville, when you’re loose everywhere, it’s just not good,” he said.

By the conclusion of the day’s second practice, he posted the 6th fastest time. Gaulding optimistically said, “Now we’ve got something we can work with.”

Gray Gaulding and Kyle Busch - Martinsville Speedway
Gray Gaulding and Kyle Busch talk before the day’s second Camping World Truck Series practice.
The day before Martinsville’s weekend began, Kyle Busch Motorsports made their 2016 announcement of drivers in the Camping World Truck Series, consisting of Eldora Speedway winner / dirt track racer Christopher Bell, K&N East Champion, William Byron, Joe Gibbs Racing development driver, Cody Coughlin and Daniel Suarez will also contributing on a part-time basis.

Gaulding’s name was absent. I asked him if sponsorship was any part of that.

“It’s a lot of things,” Gaulding said.

“With Krispy Kreme being a sweet treat and M&M’s being a sweet treat. That’s a factor,” Gaulding said.

But Gaulding said the seat time in the No. 54 was a great experience and one he was grateful for.

Gray Gaulding Talks with Kaitlyn Vincie
Gray Gaulding talks with Fox Sports’ Kaitlyn Vincie after practice.
“I’ve been very appreciative of for what Kyle Busch and his organization has done for me,” he said.

“But we had already been working our deal before that announcement had come out,” Gaulding added.

“The team we’re talking to now we think is a better opportunity and that’s what we’re going to stick with. Technically, I’m a free agent, but we’ve got really good plans for next year and I’m really excited about it,” Gaulding said.

“I won’t be back in KBM equipment, but that’s just life. I’m excited about the next organization I’ll be going to.”

Gaulding and his team confirmed announcements would be made in the next month, but wanted to make sure the announcement didn’t get drowned out by the excitement surrounding the NASCAR Championship runs, and would likely announce 2016 plans at or after Homestead-Miami

Gaulding’s primary sponsor, Krispy Kreme has been a big supporter of him over his racing career, and it sounds that that support will continue.

No. 54 Krispy Kreme Toyota Tundra“I can’t thank Krispy Kreme Doughnuts enough,” he said. “They’ve been behind me for the past five years and no matter who I’m racing for, they’re behind me and that makes me feel good.”

“They know I can get the job done,” Gaulding said.

“We’re going to win races next year and be successful next year.”

Gray will turn 18 in February — just in time for 2016 season and will now be able to run full-time, able to race at every track the Truck Series goes to. Gaulding confirmed K&N racing was done.

“It’s a different tire and I don’t need to pick up bad habits from. This is where I need to be and stay and run for wins,” Gaulding said.

Gaulding, who grew up racing on short tracks said that Martinsville is special to him because of that, even though the track nicknamed the Paperclip is “a different animal than any other short track.”

“I love to get sideways and bump and run,” Gaulding said.

In his two other KBM runs, Gaulding finished 10 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and 11th at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. A late spin trying to get to the inside lane at Martinsville spoiled a top ten finish there. Gaulding ended up 21st at Martinsville’s Kroger 200 after qualifying 7th.

Expect announcements of Gaulding’s 2016 plans late this month.

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