Allen Turner PLM Series: Even if Driving is Not in Picture, Currey Determined to Have Future in Racing
By Chuck Corder
Bayley Currey knows dreams can only take you so far.
Sometimes, taking destiny into your own hands is the only option to achieving aspirations.
Wise beyond his 20 years of age, the short-track Texan driver has realistic expectations that his goals of climbing through the NASCAR ranks might come behind the wall instead of behind the wheel.
That’s why Currey, a junior at Texas State in San Marcos, chose to major in mechanical engineering — a field that has proven instrumental in understanding the nuances of racecars.
“A lotta stuff you learn with these classes I’m taking, it really opens your eyes once you get in the shop,” explained Currey, who calls Driftwood, Texas, home. “All the physics stuff, mechanics of the suspension, it really helps. I like working on racecars; always have. (Majoring in mechanical engineering) seemed like the best way to continue to do that.”
But before college classes resume in a few weeks, Currey hopes to take his rivals to school at the season’s third Allen Turner Pro Late Model 100 feature Friday night at Five Flags Speedway. Currey has collected a pair of top-10 finishes in the season first two races, including a fourth-place result at the 100 lapper in June.
“I love the competition down there,” said Currey, who sits fifth in points, 27 shy of leader Casey Roderick. “The best guys in the nation race down there. I wanna be able to compete with them.
“It’s a fun track, real racey, but figuring out the setup and getting the car to last is the hardest thing. Having the car stay good the whole race and being able to maintain tires is tricky.”
The Faith Chapel Outlaw Stocks, The Dock on Pensacola Beach Sportsmen and Lloyd’s Glass Pure Stocks join the PLMs. Gates open at 4 p.m. Friday with PLM qualifying set for 7 and pre-race festivities slated to begin approximately at 8. Admission is $15 for adults; $12 for seniors, military and students; $5 for children ages 6 to 11; and free for kids 5 and under.
In the same vein as Currey, D.J. VanderLey and Hunter Robbins are two former Five Flags regulars who parlayed their collegiate degrees into gigs as race engineers with some of NASCAR’s elite teams.
Currey began turning wrenches on racecars when he was about 11. But the love for the sport has flowed mightily through his blood since birth.
Mark Currey, Bayley’s father, was a limited late model ’shoe when his son was an infant and toddler.
“I was always at the racetrack with him,” Bayley remembered. “I’d be right up there watching, seeing how my dad competed. When he wasn’t racing, I’d just go down to the shop with him and watch him work on his stuff, and try and help him out when he’d let me.”
By 7, Bayley Currey had caught the racing bug and was winning go-kart races at tracks across Austin and the Lone Star State.
He quickly moved up to Bandoleros and Legends cars where he earned state championship accolades thanks to a dominant stretch of racing.
After advancing to open-wheeled Modifieds, Currey made his Five Flags debut in the Modifieds edition of the 2012 Snowball Derby. He battled Bubba Pollard, one of short-track racing’s most feared drivers, for the lead during most of the 50-lap championship race before the pair watched Billy Melvin swoop in and steal the victory in the waning laps.
Still, Currey’s podium finish of third left a lasting impression.
Currey still drives a Modified for family friend Johnny Walker, who also helps turn wrenches on Currey’s No. 05 PLM. In June, Currey finished second to fellow Texan Joe Aramendia during a Modifieds of Mayhem show at Pensacola’s high banks.
“I drive whatever I can get my hands on,” Currey said.
These days, that driving comes mostly at Five Flags. While Currey did race in Houston earlier this year, most of the short tracks throughout Texas have shuttered their gates.
To continue to pursue his NASCAR dreams, Currey knows coming east to the Florida Panhandle one or two times a month is essentially his only option.
“At this point, it doesn’t even feel like a 10-hour drive anymore,” Currey said.
When he makes the long trek from Texas, Currey is always joined by his dad Mark, the aforementioned Walker and Josh Jones, who does the spotting. During the summer, Currey’s mother Elizabeth and his younger brother Spencer were able to join the caravan.
While some might believe he has many miles to go before fulfilling his lofty ambitions, Currey is confident a future in NASCAR is just around the corner.
Before then, though, Currey hopes his first win at the famed half-mile asphalt oval is even closer.
“We need a little more speed, but mainly it’s getting the car to stay good the whole race,” he said. “We’re getting there. We just need it a few tenths better at the end of the race to stay with the guys up front.”