Race Weekend Central

Truckin’ Thursdays: Is Bayley Currey the Heir Apparent at Niece Motorsports?

There was no team happier in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series garage following the June 23 race at Nashville Superspeedway than Niece Motorsports.

The team’s flagship driver, Carson Hocevar, took home his second-career victory, leaving Nashville with a guitar and an extra $50,000 courtesy of the Triple Truck Challenge.

Meanwhile, Lawless Alan, despite crashing out early in the race (not to mention having an overall abysmal season) created a stir during and after the race by calling out Hailie Deegan for her actions that have led to crashes in weeks past, calling her “talentless” in his interview from the infield care center.

But perhaps the biggest story for Niece came from its third truck, the all-star truck, the No. 41. At Nashville, the truck was piloted by Bayley Currey in an absolute career night in any series for the Driftwood, Texas native.

Currey qualified the truck second, his best career qualifying effort, and hung out in the top 10 the entire night. He even took it to Corey Heim in stage two, battling the No. 11 for the stage two victory. Amidst that battle, he led the very first lap of his NASCAR career.

See also
Tracking the Trucks: Is It Time To Pull The Plug On Hailie Deegan? Lawless Alan Might Say Yes

He was unable to come away with the stage victory, but he continued to stay in the top five the whole night, coming home fifth, an outstanding performance that put two Niece trucks in the top five for the first time since the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway way back in 2021.

While the finish was actually Currey’s second top five of the season (the first one came at Atlanta Motor Speedway), fans are likely to put an asterisk on that one because of Atlanta’s new superspeedway-like racing. Currey was ecstatic about the finish, as was team owner Al Niece.

“He wants it so bad,” Niece told Frontstretch after the race.

“It just shows that Atlanta wasn’t a fluke,” Currey added. “We can build on our momentum.”

Currey also said that the plan was to drive the No. 41 the rest of the season, save for the next race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, where Conor Daly was previously announced as the driver of the truck.

Given that the truck was considered Niece’s all-star truck – run by Daly, Currey, Travis Pastrana, Tyler Carpenter, and the Chastain brothers, Chad and Ross – for Currey to drive the final nine races of the season shows that Niece sees something in Currey that other teams haven’t.

With growing speculation that Hocevar will move up to the Xfinity Series in 2024, it looks like Currey might be the heir apparent at Niece. Currey and Niece are both from Texas, giving them a solid bond there. Currey even told Frontstretch in his post-race interview at Nashville that he goes to see Niece when he’s back in Texas during the offseason.

It’s also been quite evident that Niece has been looking to get Currey more opportunities, as he’s spent the last three seasons making sporadic Truck Series starts in just about every number Niece has run in its history: the Nos. 40, 41, 44, and 45.

This season was to be more of the same, but Currey has gotten the opportunity to make more starts than scheduled this season thanks to his release from Xfinity Series team JD Motorsports. Currey was supposed to be one of JD’s full-time drivers this season, but was released after just four races.

Being released from a team during the season normally puts a halt to anyone’s career, but Currey’s release may have boosted his. Now, in 2024, Currey looks like the top candidate to take over the No. 42, should Hocevar move up, or at least become Niece’s flagship driver.

Hocevar’s success, along with the success of other drivers who compete for Niece (namely Ross Chastain), prove that Niece has race-winning equipment. While arguably the best driver on the team gets the best equipment, as Niece’s funding is still a far cry from teams like Kyle Busch Motorsports and ThorSport Racing, Hocevar’s presumed promotion to the Xfinity Series could mean that the team focuses its winning ways toward Currey.

With the support of sponsor World Wide Express, who seems to be willing to take a chance on sponsoring drivers with a lot to prove, all Currey has to worry about is continuing to perform like he did at Nashville and he could be in a full-time seat in 2024 with Niece.

It’s likely all dependent on what Hocevar’s 2024 season looks like. If he does stay another season in the Truck Series at Niece, do they release an underperforming Alan in favor of making Currey the second full-time driver? Or perhaps Niece expands back to three full-time trucks to make room for both Alan and Currey?

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On the other hand, if Hocevar does move up, which is highly likely, one of the most unlikely candidates to fill that seat could be the 26-year-old Texan. He proved at Nashville he can hang with the big boys, and that performance might have earned him a full-time ride in 2024.

Of all the drivers who have had their careers all but revived by moving back down to lower series, such as Ryan Preece, John Hunter Nemechek and perhaps Cole Custer someday, Currey might be on track to revive a career that some might have declared dead since day one.

After spending many years driving for lower-funded and backmarker teams, 2024 could be a critical turning point for Currey if Niece makes the move to sign him full-time.

One of NASCAR’s biggest underdog stories in history could be in the making.

About the author

Anthony Damcott joined Frontstretch in March 2022. Currently, he is an editor and co-authors Fire on Fridays (Fridays); he is also the primary Truck Series reporter/writer. A proud West Virginia Wesleyan College alum from Akron, Ohio, Anthony is now a grad student. He is a theatre actor and fight-choreographer-in-training in his free time. He is a loyal fan of the Cincinnati Reds and Carolina Panthers, still hopeful for a championship at some point in his lifetime.

You can keep up with Anthony by following @AnthonyDamcott on Twitter.

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