Tayler Malsam Survives First Martinsville Race with a 14th-Place Finish; The Raybestos Rookie of the Year Candidate Records Third Top-15 Finish of Season MARTINSVILLE, Va. (March 31, 2009) -- Tayler Malsam and his No. 81 One Eighty Toyota Tundra...
Tayler Malsam Survives First Martinsville Race with a 14th-Place Finish; The Raybestos Rookie of the Year Candidate Records Third Top-15 Finish of Season
MARTINSVILLE, Va. (March 31, 2009) -- Tayler Malsam and his No. 81 One Eighty Toyota Tundra team were ready to go racing on Saturday afternoon, but mother nature had other plans as a rain storm postponed the running of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) race at Martinsville Speedway until Monday. As the weather had made a one eighty twist to bright, clear skies, Malsam ran a solid and consistent race to finish on the lead lap in the 14th position in his first career race at the track known as the "paperclip." This finish was the third top-15 finish of the season for the 20-year-old rookie and his Randy Moss Motorsports (RMM) team.
Starting the 250-lap race from the 18th position, Malsam was caught on the outside groove and quickly dropped back to the 25th position. As the first caution of the afternoon waved on lap 15, crew chief Doug Wolcott called his driver to the attention of the pit crew to top off the No. 81 One Eighty Toyota with Sunoco racing fuel and to make track bar and wedge adjustments to help the handling conditions. As the majority of the field stayed on the track, Malsam restarted on lap 35 from 29th-place and moved up to 25th-place by lap 50, when the field was under caution for the third time. Wolcott called Malsam to pit road once again for right side tires and a spring rubber adjustment.
Malsam was running in the 26th position as the green flag waved to restart the race on lap 54, and within
20 laps, the No. 81 Tundra had moved into the top-15. The Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate ran among the top-15 until lap 154, when Malsam came down pit road for his final stop of the afternoon to put four fresh Goodyear tires on his Toyota. As various pit strategies were played, Malsam restarted from the 21st position and reported to his crew that his truck was better than most of the trucks in front of him. Showing his talent, the rookie wheeled his way through the field to 12th-place with 30 laps to go in the race.
As the laps were ticking away, Malsam was rooted out of the way by a fellow rookie competitor and pushed back to 18th-place. The No. 81 One Eighty Toyota was pushing off the center of the corner, but Malsam didn't allow the beating and banging to hinder his performance. Over the final 20 laps, Malsam drove back up to the 14th position, capturing his second consecutive top-15 finish.
"My Randy Moss Motorsports team gave me a pretty good One Eighty Toyota Tundra today," said Malsam. "It seemed like a long 250 laps out there. Martinsville is one-of-a-kind and I knew there was going to be a lot of beating and banging happening. We were fighting a tight, loose condition all day and the adjustments that Doug (Wolcott, crew chief) made on each stop were helping us. I think we should have finished a little higher up but to come home with a top-15 finish on the lead lap for my first race at Martinsville isn't too bad. We will enjoy some time off and get ready to go back racing."
Malsam moved up one position to second in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings, only three points behind leader J.R. Fitzpatrick. In addition, Malsam is 15th in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship point standings, dropping two positions despite his top-15 effort. The Pacific Northwest native is only 26 points out of 10th-place and 99 points out of the fifth position.
Tayler Malsam and the No. 81 Randy Moss Motorsports team will take a three-week break, before heading to tornado alley and racing at Kansas Speedway on April 25, 2009.