Kentucky: Series spotlight - 08 Rookie Class

Rookie Tayler Malsam on the Move; 08 Rookie Class Stellar Headed to Kentucky Speedway SPARTA KY (5-8-08) -- The 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series crop of rookies is arguably the most competitive rookie line-up in the history of the 56-year-old ...

Rookie Tayler Malsam on the Move; 08 Rookie Class Stellar Headed to Kentucky Speedway

SPARTA KY (5-8-08) -- The 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series crop of rookies is arguably the most competitive rookie line-up in the history of the 56-year-old tour.

Case in point: the top-six SunTrust Rookie of the Year Contenders are also in the top-10 in ARCA RE/MAX Series national championship points headed to Kentucky Speedway for this Saturday's May 10th Drive Smart! Buckle Up Kentucky 150.

From Denver, North Carolina's Matt Carter to Formula 1 veteran Scott Speed; from Roush Fenway Racing's Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. to Cherry Hill, New Jersey's Tom Hessert III; from Watkinsville, Georgia's John Wes Townley to Sammamish, Washington's Tayler Malsam, they're coming from one end of the country to the other, from all walks of motorsports; and the winner will be? Well, it's anybody's guess from here.

The current SunTrust Rookie of the year point leader is Matt Carter, who just happens to be leading the ARCA RE/MAX Series national championship points. Hessert, who drives for Andy Belmont Racing, has moved into a tie with Stenhouse for second in SunTrust Rookie points. Speed and Townley round out the top-five in rookie points.

Trailing in sixth in rookie points, but on the steady rise, is Malsam, the sprint car driver from the Pacific Northwest. Malsam also recently moved to ninth in championship points following his 14th place finish last Sunday at Rockingham Speedway.

Malsam, who drives for the Cunningham Motorsports stable -- the leading Dodge Driver Development program in ARCA -- ran as high as sixth at Rockingham before a brush with another competitor dropped the 18-year-old driver to 14th at the checkered flag.

"Our goals for the first half of the season are for Tayler to qualify in the top 10 and start running in the top five and Tayler is already doing that," said Cunningham Motorsports President, Kerry Scherer.

"As a team, we are putting pieces of a weekend together, but now it's time to put entire race weekends together. We've played catch--up on the set up at a couple of races like Rockingham where we were 27th in practice, 11th in qualifying and fifth in final practice.

"The next two races should be good tracks for us. Tayler ran very well in our test at Kentucky which is a 1.5-mile track, just like Kansas which was one of his best runs. Toledo was Tayler's very first ARCA race last fall and he had a great run there, too. So we're very encouraged."

The May 10th Drive Smart! Buckle Up Kentucky 150 at Kentucky Speedway also includes a same-day 100-lap feature event from the ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series on the adjoining quarter mile track. Practice for the ARCA RE/MAX Series is from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm followed by SIM Factory Pole Qualifying at 3:30. The Drive Smart! Buckle Up Kentucky 150 is slated to get underway at 8:00 pm ET.

-credit: arcaracing

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Andy Belmont , Scott Speed , Tom Hessert III , Tayler Malsam , John Wes Townley
Teams Roush Fenway Racing