NASCAR: Cale Conley lands full-time XFINITY Series ride with Tri-Star

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After running part-time in the NASCAR XFINITY Series last year for Richard Childress Racing, Cale Conley will now compete in the division full-time in 2015 as a member of Tri-Star Motorsports.

The 22-year-old West Virginian competed in 11 NXS races last season in RCR’s No. 33 machine, a part-time car that was also driven by Sprint Cup regulars Paul Menard and Austin Dillon as well as reigning NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton in 2014. Conley’s best finish was a sixth at Kentucky Speedway in September.

“I am looking forward to working with people that are excited to work with me and help me mature as a driver and competitor in this series,” Conley said in a Tri-Star release.

“I am grateful to [owner] Mark Smith and TriStar Motorsports for being willing to take a chance with me and let me race weekend after weekend after weekend, so I can get one step closer to my ultimate dream of being a NASCAR Sprint Cup champion.”

Tri-Star’s four-car operation competed with 13 different drivers last year. Ex-Truck Series champion Mike Bliss ran all 33 NXS events (best finish of 10th at Road America), while Eric McClure, Blake Koch, and former NXS champion Jeff Green also ran a majority of the season with the team.

“TriStar Motorsports is proud to field a Toyota Camry for a rising star in NASCAR,” said Mark Smith, TriStar Motorsports team owner. “With Cale’s drive and passion for NASCAR, I know that we will have a successful 2015 season with him behind the wheel.”

Before entering the NXS scene in 2014, Conley had come up through the sprint car ranks and then the K&N Pro Series East, where he notched his first win in 2012 and raced full-time in 2013.

Top Fuel driver Austin Prock earns 2019 NHRA top rookie honors

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Having just completed a promising first year in NHRA Top Fuel competition, Austin Prock is on the road to even greater drag racing success in his career.

That’s why it’s not surprising that Prock was named the winner of the 2019 Auto Club Road to the Future Award during Monday night’s annual NHRA Awards dinner at the Ray Dolby Theater in Hollywood, California.

The Road to the Future Award is NHRA’s version of Rookie of the Year, and Prock was among the brightest young stars on the circuit this past season, including winning his first national event at the Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways in suburban Seattle, the 16th race on the 24-race schedule.

What made that first win all the more sweeter is it came at the same event that his boss, legendary 16-time Funny Car champion John Force, captured his milestone 150th career win.

One month ago, Prock set a personal best run of 3.688 seconds at 334.40 mph over veteran driver Doug Kalitta in the first round of eliminations at the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals three weeks ago in Ennis, Texas (suburban Dallas).

“I am proud of the season this Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist team put together,” Prock said in a media release. “My guys worked their asses off all season long to give me the opportunity to win the Auto Club Road the Future Award. I couldn’t have done it without them.

“I would have never been here without John Force and Robert Hight (president of John Force Racing). They gave me the opportunity to fulfill my dream and I owe the world to them. I hope I made them proud.”

Prock became only the 10th rookie in the history of the NHRA pro ranks to both win a race in their first season and also go on to win the Road to the Future award. He also was the 13th rookie in the sport’s history to qualify for the Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s six race playoffs.

Prock becomes the sixth John Force Racing driver to earn the Road to the Future Award, joining Tony Pedregon (1996), Hight (2005), Ashley Force-Hood (2007), Mike Neff (2008), Courtney Force (2012) and Brittany Force (2013).

Austin Prock is the son of veteran crew chief Jimmy Prock, who tuned Hight to his third career NHRA Funny Car championship this past Sunday.

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