NASCAR’s Up-And-Coming Canadian Is Knocking On The Door Of Superstardom

Cameron Hayley is currently the only Canadian racing full time in any NASCAR national touring series. The 20-year-old from Calgary will be the man of the hour when his No. 13 Cabinets by Hayley/ThorSport Racing Toyota Tundra rolls off with the rest of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series field for the Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

One of the most notable aspects of Hayley’s career so far is that he doesn’t have the big name of a racing family to rocket him forward as has worked for so many of his peers. He started in go-karts at age four and was racing them by age seven, then began competing in stock cars at the age of 10 – all thanks to his own passion.

“I didn’t have any family or relatives that were in the sport, so I was the first one ever to get into racing and I fell in love with it,” Hayley says. “Now, to get to the level where I’m at, I sit here and think wow, I’m one of the only Canadians to ever get this far and do this well.”

NASCAR experts have had their eye on Hayley for many years. Not long after he made his debut in the K&N Pro Series West in 2011 as the youngest driver ever to start a race at 15 years of age, he was admitted to the NASCAR Next class of 2012.

From there, his results kept improving. He went on to win the UNOH Battle at the Beach East vs. West Shootout at Daytona International Speedway in 2013, and he finished second in points in K&N Pro Series East the following year. That 2014 season also saw Hayley race in three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events, including the Chevrolet Silverado 250, where he finished with a strong 11th-place result.

That led to a full-season ride in the NASCAR Truck Series last year with ThorSport. And despite not always having best-in-class equipment, Hayley and his crew chief Eddie Troconis have been knocking on the door of that first win for the better part of this season.

“This is my second full year in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, and I’m still learning a ton,” Hayley says. “I don’t think even Jeff Gordon can tell you he’s learned everything he needs to, so every year I keep learning more and more.”

Racers are well-known for their superstitions and rituals, but Hayley says that’s one stereotype he doesn’t fit into.

“I can’t really be superstitious being that I have the number 13 on my truck,” he says with a laugh. “I more just like to try and calm down. I’ve always been the driver who gets really nervous before a race. One of the guys who used to crew chief me told me that if you’re not feeling nervous before a race, you’re not caring. So, I see being nervous as a good thing.

“I mostly like to calm down before a race, lay in the hauler and quiet my thoughts. As soon as I go out and buckle into that truck and start the engine, it all goes away.”
However, a fitness and diet regimen are essential for success at this level of motorsport. In that regard, Hayley has a routine.

“Eating healthy is a big part of it, and staying hydrated,” he explains. “It gets very, very hot in our trucks, and we lose at some races close to 10 pounds in water. So, staying hydrated is really a big thing week to week.

“During the season you don’t have a lot of time to do a lot of hard fitness. It’s more just maintenance work. In the off-season is when we really sit down to try and build on what we need to do to get better.”

Hayley has a plan for his career as well, though he admits that’s one thing he can only plan so far in advance.

“Hopefully next year I can make it to the NASCAR XFINITY Series,” he says. “I think I’m ready to move up and learn in that series, so that would be my next goal.”

“Into the future, I couldn’t really tell you when it might happen, but my dream has always been to become a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion. Hopefully I can get there one day.”

Right now, though, he’s preparing to take his third NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. The impact of racing in front of the only Canadian crowd he’ll see all season is in no way lost on him.

“It’s a huge deal,” Hayley says. “I’ve always loved road course racing and I’ve always been good at it. Going to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and for the only home country race of mine, I see as an opportunity to go out and win, and I think I have the capabilities to do that.

“Now I don’t just have Calgary supporting me, I have all of Canada behind me. That’s a really cool feeling.”

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