No. 41 AutoVentive / Precision Vehicle Logistics Chevrolet Silverado RST

Driver: Bayley Currey | Crew Chief: Mike Hillman, Jr.
– Currey’s Darlington Stats: Bayley Currey has made a pair of NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series starts before at Darlington Raceway, featuring a best result of 12th in 2020. Currey has also competed in six Xfinity Series races at the historic South Carolina track, posting a best finish of 19th in 2022. He did not make a start here last year.

– Hillman’s Darlington Stats: Mike Hillman, Jr. has called seven Truck Series races at Darlington Raceway, including a win in his first start as a crew chief here back in 2010. On that day, Germain Racing’s Todd Bodine led the final 47 laps en route to his 20th-career NCTS victory, and Hillman’s 18th. In total with the trucks, Hillman has two top-fives and three top-10 finishes at this track, and most recently finished 13th last year with Ross Chastain. Hillman has also made two Xfinity Starts, earning one top-10 with Brandon Jones (ninth) in 2016.

– Hillman hits 400: Friday’s Buckle Up South Carolina 200 will be a milestone for Mike Hillman, Jr. as he makes his 400th-career NCTS start as a crew chief. The two-time Truck Series championship-winning crew chief (both won with Todd Bodine in ’06 and ’10) has garnered a total of 23 race wins in the series (sixth, all-time) with drivers Bodine, Jeb Burton, Kyle Busch, and Rafael Lessard.

– On the Truck: Currey’s No. 41 Chevrolet Silverado RST will race with support from AutoVentive and Precision Vehicle Logistics. 

– Honoring Charles “Chuck” Efaw: The No. 41 AutoVentive / Precision Vehicle Logistics Chevrolet will feature a unique “throwback” paint scheme as a tribute to Charles “Chuck” Efaw, the late father of Niece Motorsports General Manager, Cody Efaw. This paint scheme is reminiscent of Efaw’s ZERO Dirt Late Model that raced and won several times in the grassroots ranks at Lakeville Speedway and Wayne County Speedway throughout the 1980’s.

– Recapping Kansas: After starting in the 21st position, Bayley Currey quickly was able to advance through the field in Kansas. Following a 15th place finish at the end of stage one, Currey made up three spots to secure 12th in stage two. Towards the end of the race, it appeared that he was on his way to the first top-10 finish of the season, but ultimately had to settle for 11th.

– Points Rundown: With Currey’s solid finish at Kansas, the driver of the No. 41 was able to gain one spot in the points standings where he currently resides in 13th position. The battle for the final eligible spot in the NCTS Playoffs has tightened up, with Currey now being shown only 23 points below the cutline.

– Quoting Currey: Does the excessive tire falloff help overcome the battle for clean air or does that make it more important?

“I think it makes it that much more important. Without the clean air, you’re using mechanical grip more than you’re using aero, so you’re just shredding your tires even more. You have to get that track position early while you have the grip, because once you lose it, it’s pretty much impossible.”

– Quoting Hillman: Do you think Bayley thrives on these tracks where the grip is low and tire falloff is high?

“I think that places where you have to use the brake pedal a little bit – say the Darlingtons, the Nashvilles, the Homesteads, and places like that – he really thrives at. But I also think that Niece has a really good baseline package when we go to those types of tracks. So with that being said, I’ve been really looking forward to going here this week.”

No. 42 J.F. Electric / Utilitra Chevrolet Silverado RST

Driver: Matt Mills | Crew Chief: Jon Leonard
– Mills’ Darlington Stats: Matt Mills will be making his first CRAFTSMAN Truck Series start at Darlington Raceway on Friday night. In eight starts with the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Mills has recorded two top-25 finishes including a best result of 22nd place in September, 2020. Last season, he produced finishes of 27th and 28th in the NXS events held at the 1.366-mile track.

– Leonard’s Darlington Stats: Jon Leonard has competed in two prior Truck Series races at Darlington with driver, Stewart Friesen. In 2021, he guided Friesen and team to a strong third-place finish after starting fourth in the fall event. Leonard has also made one start in the Southern 500, noting a 24th-place result with Kasey Kahne in 2018.

– On the Truck: Mills’ No. 42 Chevrolet Silverado RST will race with support from longtime partners J.F. Electric and Utilitra.

– Recapping Kansas: Matt Mills qualified the best out of the Niece Motorsports camp, starting his No. 42 Chevrolet from 15th. Fighting the handling, Mills slipped to 21st in stage one and 22nd in stage two, but from there, the crew was able to get his truck dialed in with adjustments. During a green flag pitstop, Mills was dealt a speeding penalty which ultimately made him lose a lap. He brought the No. 42 home in 23rd in Kansas.

– Points Rundown: Mills gained a spot in the championship points standings following his 23rd-place run at Kansas. Entering race nine of the 2024 calendar, the driver from New Philadelphia, OH is 27th in points, only 11 markers behind Stefan Parsons in 26th and 12 behind Spencer Boyd in the top-25.

– Quoting Mills: How difficult is it to run inches from the wall here in Darlington?

“Darlington will be a new one for me as far as going there in a truck. I’ve got Xfinity starts there, and in those cars, you can be a little bit more aggressive running the wall because the composite body can take more of a beating. So, the truck will be a little more interesting there, I’ll definitely have to watch out for the risk vs. reward for sure.”

– Quoting Leonard: Do you feel that Darlington is one of the toughest races to prepare for in terms of handling?

“Darlington is tough, mainly because the two ends of the track are so different. Turns 3-4 are much slower, and turns 1-2 is a lot more aggressive where you’ve got to run up near the fence. You have options in turns 3-4, you can either run up by the fence or down at the bottom, and there’s been guys that have had success doing it both ways. Tires fall off a lot there, so it’s as much tire conservation and trying to maintain your balance over a long run. It’s a lot on the driver and it’s a lot on the teams to find that happy balance to get the truck to handle well on both ends.”
No. 45 Buckle Up South Carolina Chevrolet Silverado RST

Driver: Ross Chastain | Crew Chief: Phil Gould
– Chastain Returns: NASCAR Cup Series star Ross Chastain will step back into the seat of Niece Motorsports’ No. 45 Chevrolet for the next two upcoming races at Darlington Raceway and North Wilkesboro Speedway. This Friday will be Chastain’s second planned start of five this year, coming off a fifth-place finish in his last outing at Circuit of the Americas. In addition to the next two, Chastain will drive the No. 45 in back-to-back events at Pocono Raceway on July 12th and Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park on July 19th.

– Chastain’s Darlington Stats: Chastain has two Truck Series starts under his belt at the track dubbed “Too Tough to Tame”, both of which came driving for Niece Motorsports. His best result in the trucks was a 13th-place effort in last year’s event. Ross has also made nine Cup Series starts at Darlington, posting a pair of top-fives with a personal best of third in 2021. In nine Xfinity Series races, Chastain has one top-five (second in September, 2020) and three top-10 finishes. He also won his first-career Xfinity Series pole here in 2018.

– Gould’s Darlington Stats: Phil Gould owns three top-five finishes in five Truck Series starts as a crew chief at Darlington Raceway, all of which were delivered by Carson Hocevar. Hocevar finished runner-up in the 2022 event, and was fifth here last year. Gould has also called six Xfinity Series races at this track with a best finish of 11th by drivers Brian Scott and Elliott Sadler in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

– On the Truck: Chastain’s No. 45 Chevrolet Silverado RST will race with support from the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, highlighting their Buckle Up South Carolina ‘Click It – Don’t Risk It’ campaign. His Niece Motorsports entry will carry the same branding as the race entitlement sponsor for the Buckle Up South Carolina 200.

– Recapping Kansas: Kaden Honeycutt delivered a statement effort which resulted in a career-best run at Kansas Speedway. Despite starting the furthest behind of all his Niece Motorsports teammates in 23rd, he aggressively made up ground early on. By the end of stage one, the No. 45 team had positioned themselves in fifth place, and gained a spot the following run to finish fourth in stage two. Honeycutt would hold onto his track position and bring the Niece Products of Kansas Chevrolet in fourth place at the checkered flag.

– Mosack Victorious in Kansas: Part-time No. 45 driver Connor Mosack took home his second-career ARCA Menards Series victory over the weekend while driving for his family-owned team, Pinnacle Racing Group. Mosack plans to make his second start for Niece Motorsports in the upcoming race at WWT Raceway on June 1st.

– Owner Points Outlook: Coming off their best finish of the year in Kansas, the No. 45 team has jumped into the top-10 in owner points. Currently 10th in the standings, the entry is holding onto the final spot in the NCTS owner Playoffs by a mere seven points over ThorSport Racing’s No. 88 team.

– Quoting Chastain: Of all the tracks on the Truck Series calendar, why did you choose to add Darlington to your schedule?

“Darlington has always been one of my favorite tracks because of how challenging it is on us drivers. I love the tracks that you have to manage all the little details because it feels so rewarding when you hit everything right. Phil Gould and this team have shown a lot of speed at this place over the past few years. Every time I get the chance to drive for Al Niece, I feel confident that we have a shot to contend for the win, but even more so especially at a track where they’ve had recent success at. I’m looking forward to racing there and encouraging everyone to buckle up.”

– Quoting Gould: With all of Ross’ experience at Darlington, are you able to get more aggressive in terms of the setup for him here?

“Yeah, for sure, and we have a lot of good history there. Working with Carson the past few years, that was one of his best tracks and he was really good there. I feel like a lot of our notes that we made over the years working with him can be translated with Ross driving that will make us just as competitive, if not even more competitive.”
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