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NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series

Rajah Caruth Vies for Strong Run at WWTR

Rajah Caruth

Rajah Caruth and Chad Walter focus forward on a strong performance for Saturday’s Toyota 200 at World Wide Technology Raceway. (Photo: Josh James | The Podium Finish)

MADISON, Ill. — Rajah Caruth was like most race fans whose love for racing flourished from attending his first race in person. Nearly a decade since attending the 2014 Cook Out 400 at Richmond Raceway, the 21-year-old Washington native vies for the win in Saturday’s Toyota 200 at World Wide Technology Raceway.

Caruth, a graduate of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program, represents the next guard of stock car’s superstars. When he is not in racer’s mode, he is amiable, carefree and a passionate Washington sports fan throughout the year.

However, when he wears his familiar fire suit and puts the helmet and gloves on, he is tenacious on the track. Such spunk and desire proved indelible earlier this year when he won his maiden NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

With two top fives and five top 10s in the first 11 races of the year, the driver of the No. 71 Chevrolet Silverado is grateful for his full-time opportunity with Spire Motorsports. Full season backing from the Hendrick Automotive Group means the sim to reality racer can focus solely on his racing efforts with crew chief Chad Walter.

“I think it’s just a testament to all the men and women at Spire,” Caruth said. “Just the work they put in, the quality of our equipment and of our team. And I got to thank and Mr. H [Rick Hendrick] and the whole Hendrick Automotive Group and the family for supporting me.

“They’re the only reason why I’m in this thing full time. So it’s been great to have a good start to the season and we’ll just continue it.”

Last year, Caruth went to school of hard knocks and paint trading in the tenacious Truck Series. At times, he found himself in tough situations that compromised his results.

It is a far different story this year with the Las Vegas pole and win in March, a third in Daytona and top 10s at Bristol and Martinsville. Although Caruth has been on a dry spell since the 250 at Texas Motor Speedway, he has improved his average finish from 18.2 to 11.5.

Rajah Caruth

Rajah Caruth hopes to score his second win of the year at World Wide Technology Raceway. (Photo: Josh James | The Podium Finish)

Now, he heads into Saturday’s Toyota 200 vying for a strong result. On Friday, he posted the 19th fastest time in practice and ninth fastest in the 10-lap consecutive average before qualifying 13th for the 160-lap race.

In Caruth’s two starts at the 1.25-mile World Wide Technology Raceway, he has finished 11th and 15th. Certainly, he would like to score his second win of the season but a strong result, like his third top five or sixth top 10 finish of 2024, would suffice.

As Matthew Broderick once said in the 1986 film, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop to look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Sometimes, a healthy dose of self reflection fuels Caruth when he recalls his journey.

“It’s crazy. It’s coming up on on 10 years,” he remarked. “Honestly, right around the same time. So it’s special. I get super focused on the moment. But I think it’s important to get perspective on what’s really most important and how many people have helped me get to this level so far.

“So I just look back on the journey so far with a lot of gratitude and hopefully, it’s more of a sign of more for years to come. Lofty aspirations.”

Naturally, Caruth knows the journey to NASCAR’s premier division, much less, racing in stock car’s national levels takes sacrifice, hustle and perseverance. It is no secret he finds inspiration in Martin Truex Jr., the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series champion, with a moving X post.

Rajah Caruth

Rajah Caruth knows the value of paying it forward while he pursues the win at World Wide Technology Raceway. (Photo: Josh James | The Podium Finish)

“The goal of that, the purpose of that really was basically like… the goal is to be racing over there on Sundays and be competitive on that side,” he shared. “You never know where the journey will take you.

“It took Martin years to get multiple wins and his first championship and a lot of hardships. So, I think, for me, it’s just enjoying the journey and being faithful in God to wherever it goes.”

Even with Caruth pursuing his first Truck Series championship, he aspires to be a leader and mentor to young racers, particularly those with Rev Racing and the Drive for Diversity program.

“Yeah, it’s definitely special, just because I remember when I was in their position, not even five years ago,” Caruth said. “Anyway I can help them, I leap into that opportunity, for sure.”

Leading by example, Caruth continually pays it forward to help future superstars achieve their dreams much as others have helped him to be a respected, competitive racer in the Truck Series.

“I’m very close to Lavar. I know you know Andres decently well. Nathan Lyons pretty well. Lanie Buice, she’s raced at Florence the last couple of years and done a really good job. So I just try to be there for them as much as I can,” he said.

Editor’s Notes

Special thanks to Rajah Caruth and Joshua Neville of Spire Motorsports for their kindness and support with this feature story ahead of the World Wide Technology Raceway weekend.

Rob Tiongson is a sports writer and editor originally from the Boston area and resides in the Austin, Texas, area. Tiongson has covered motorsports series like NASCAR and INDYCAR since 2008 and NHRA since 2013. Most recently, Tiongson is covering professional basketball, mainly the WNBA, and women's college basketball. While writing and editing for The Podium Finish, Tiongson currently seeks for a long-term sportswriting and sports content creating career. Tiongson enjoys editing and writing articles and features, as well as photography. Moreover, he enjoys time with his family and friends, traveling, cooking, working out and being a fun uncle or "funcle" to his nephew, niece and cat. Tiongson is an alum of Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and St. Bonaventure University's renowned Jandoli School of Communication with a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism.

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