On a week where one chapter came to an abrupt close, another one begins.
Bayley Currey made the most out his return with Niece Motorsports by crossing the line fourth in Saturday’s Fr8 208 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The result is his first career top-five finish in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
After a tough start to the Xfinity Series season with JD Motorsports, Currey was replaced by Garrett Smithley in the No. 4 Chevrolet for the remainder of 2023. In four races, Currey was ranked 32nd in points with a pair of 28th-place finishes as his best results.
Now with a top-five under his belt, Currey told The Podium Finish that Saturday’s performance was “definitely self-assuring.”
“Even before last week, we were having a tough year. So to come out of the box in my first start with Niece this year and run top five, was huge,” said Currey.
The sudden change was a turning point in an already eventful NASCAR career. From driving for Rick Ware Racing in the Cup Series to stellar runs for teams such as Niece and Mike Harmon Racing, Currey is well-traveled.
Once Currey strapped in the No. 41 WWEX/Unishippers Chevrolet Silverado — it was game on for the Texan.
With a huge chip on his shoulder and driving for a more competitive organization, Currey placed outside the top 10 at each stage break.
However, the 26-year-old saved his best effort when it counted most. Late in the race, Currey was inside the top 10 after the bottom lane became his preferred line to work his way toward the front. Coming to the white flag, he was running in the seventh when he blended in line with Ben Rhodes, allowing the two to gain momentum.
Entering Turn 3, chaos ensued behind Currey and he found an opening, threading the needle between Rhodes and John Hunter Nemechek. In front of him, Nick Sanchez got sideways while battling Christian Eckes for the win, where the former saved it.
Currey ended up tangling with Rhodes, sending him into the wall. But he kept from losing control and managed to correct his truck to finish fourth. Despite a battered truck, he exited with a grin on his face as his afternoon ended on a positive note.
Currey explained that positioning himself with the right trucks at the end played a pivotal role in gaining valuable track position.
“Really no huge changes, just up and down on the trackbar a little bit, and some air pressure,” Currey said. “The biggest thing was just being around the right trucks and having track position. Mike [Hillman, crew chief] called a great race and the pit crew was awesome all day. I think that was the difference maker.”
Currey’s late-race performance in Atlanta perhaps opened the eyes of folks who haven’t paid much attention to the veteran. For some, it may be viewed as a statement race. Currey, however, sees it differently.
“I don’t know if a statement race is the right way to put it,” Currey explained. “I just wanted to come out and have a good run with the guys over at Niece and Worldwide Express. I knew we could, we just had to execute and I feel like we did.”
For the meantime, Currey’s main focus is a part-time schedule with Niece.