Race Weekend Central

Bayley Currey: From Local Late Model Driver to NASCAR Xfinity Regular

Bayley Currey made his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut in 2017, just one day before his 21st birthday.

After piecing part-time deals together in the NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Truck series between 2017-21, Currey signed with JD Motorsports to drive the team’s No. 4 Xfinity car in 2022. Five years and nearly a dozen car owners later, Currey had finally found a full-time ride in NASCAR’s highest divisions.

In 30 races this season, Currey has recorded 11 top-20 finishes with JDM, a number that includes his second career top-10 finish with a 10th-place result at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in July.

With his performance this season, Currey has an agreement to return to the Johnny Davis-owned team for a second full-time season in 2023. As one could imagine, Currey is excited to have next year’s plans squared away before the start of the offseason.

“It’s good,” Currey told Frontstretch. “[Returning] takes pressure off. I remember last year, going through the offseason, all the way to December and not having anything kind of set in stone. And the feel to have something set in stone before we even get done with the year feels really good. Takes a lot of pressure off my back for sure, and I’m sure Johnny’s as well.”

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Currey’s rise to become a full-time fixture in the series is impressive when considering that Currey himself didn’t believe it would happen.

“I raced go-karts for a little bit, but I really ran Bandoleros and Legends cars in the fifth-mile off the back straightaway at [Texas Motor Speedway] for years and years and years and always wanted to be a NASCAR driver when I was a kid,” Currey said. “And then kind of realized probably what’s going to happen: don’t have the funding, don’t have the money, don’t have the resources. So really, for a long time, I was racing, just racing.

“I wasn’t trying to be a NASCAR driver, wasn’t really trying to do anything. I just wanted to be the best late model guy I could, try to go to Pensacola (home of the prestigious Snowball Derby) and hang with those guys and try to win races. Over on the east, the Gulf Coast over there and be good.”

But after racing late models and attending college, Currey began working as a crew member in the summer of 2017 before getting the call to drive a truck for the first time in October 2017.

“I had no intention of being a NASCAR driver whenever I got the call to come try to do it,” Currey said. “I was going to college at Texas State [University], was going to get an engineering degree and maybe work in NASCAR, maybe not. But yeah, I just had someone call me and asked if I wanted to come do it, and as soon as I started doing it, as soon as I came out and was just road crewing, I knew like, ‘OK, if there’s any chance I can actually do this, I want to do everything I can to make it happen.’

“And it’s been that way since the summer of 2017 when I came out and road crewed for Rick Ware [Racing] before I even ran the truck; I was just road crewing, helping out. Yeah, ever since then.”

Currey — who will turn 26 years old on Oct. 29 — has been in NASCAR long enough to look back and cherish several races and accomplishments throughout his career.

“Probably my first-ever start in the truck on my birthday in 2017 [was the greatest],” Currey said. “That’s a huge moment to be able to just come and do it. I mean, I never thought I’d ever come to it. I was a local late model guy and didn’t plan on being much more than that. To go do that and then have some success at it, and that somehow snowballed into where I’m at now. It’s pretty special.”

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He also added that a seventh-place finish at Phoenix Raceway in Xfinity with Mike Harmon Racing last year and a recent 11th-place result at Bristol Motor Speedway in September were among his greatest accomplishments in NASCAR.

“There’s been a lot of good moments,” Currey said. “Probably one of the better moments was signing my contract with Johnny last year and getting my first full-time contract.

“To be able to just make a living and know that I can make a living driving racecars is pretty cool.”

The aforementioned Bristol race in September saw Currey and the No. 4 team forgo tires for track position. Currey ran as high as third in the final half of the race before closing with a solid 11th-place finish after 300 laps in Thunder Valley. That came a day after finishing 15th there in a Niece Motorsports truck.

Currey then followed up that performance with a 12th-place finish in Texas, a track that he has a special connection to.

“I’ve raced here so many times as a kid,” Currey said. “I mean, obviously not the big track, but the fifth-mile out behind here, the quarter-mile on the front straightaway. I’ve probably got 10,000 laps, won a lot of races here on the quarter-mile and fifth-mile. This is where I kind of built my confidence as a racer, just because we were always good, came here and were very successful and that’s what made me think, ‘OK, maybe I can do it,’ as a little kid.”

With impressive runs at the end of the year and almost a full year of experience under their belts, Currey and JD Motorsports will look toward the offseason to come back better than ever for the start of 2023.

About the author

Stephen Stumpf is the NASCAR Content Director for Frontstretch, and his weekly columns include “Stat Sheet” and “4 Burning Questions.” Stephen also writes commentary, contributes weekly to the “Bringing the Heat” podcast and is frequently at the track for on-site coverage. A native of Texas, Stephen began following NASCAR at age 9 after attending his first race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Follow on Twitter @stephen_stumpf.

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Jennifer Watts

Congratulations guys

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