Current Orange County Speedway Late Model points leader Camden Gullie will look to make a strong first impression when he makes his official CARS Response Energy LMSC Tour debut in the Thrifty Tire/Puryear Tank Lines 300 at his home track on Saturday.
Gullie is expecting the 150-lap Late Model feature to be a transition for him, as he will be competing against 18 other drivers as opposed to the six that he races against on a weekly basis. However, Gullie is looking forward to the opportunity against Late Model veterans such as Deac McCaskill and Lee Pulliam and is confident that he can contend for a Top 5.
“I wanted to further my career and surround myself with more competition,” Gullie said. “There’s nothing better than racing with guys who have done this all their life, and it’s good for me to be around people that I know I can get better with.”
Gullie followed in his father’s footsteps by getting his start in auto racing at the age of seven, when he began competing at the go-kart track next to Orange County. Although he would take a brief hiatus from the sport, Gullie remained committed to improving his skills on both pavement and dirt, as he would pick up five championships in go-karts before electing to make the jump to Late Models in 2017.
In his first full season at Orange County, Gullie has quickly emerged as one of the best drivers in the Late Model division, and currently holds the top spot in the point standings over regulars Daniel Moss and Chuck Lawson. Gullie recently tested his luck in the Twin 75-lap Late Model features at South Boston Speedway on Aug. 11, where he managed to stay out of trouble all evening and brought his #01 Late Model home in 10th in both races.
Gullie enjoyed competing against several of the best Late Model drivers on the east coast at South Boston, adding that he wants to venture out to more local tracks in the near future. Gullie admitted that competing at South Boston was vastly different than what he was used to at his home track, but he wants to obtain as much experience as possible while he continues adjusting to Late Models.
“Orange County has more sweeping corners where you carry more speed, while at South Boston, you have to slow down a lot more entering the corners,” Gullie said. “There’s also a lot more grip at South Boston than there is at Orange County, but you have to drive hard every lap at both tracks, and you have to give it all you got.”
While Gullie gained valuable experience competing against drivers such as Philip Morris and Peyton Sellers at South Boston last month, he will face a new crowd of experienced Late Model veterans that will include series points leader Bobby McCarty, who will be going for his fifth victory on the year. Although Gullie is still relatively new to competing at Orange County regularly, Gullie believes that patience and track position will be imperative to finishing in front of the CARS Response Energy LMSC Tour veterans and contending for a victory.
“You definitely want to qualify in the Top 5 at Orange County,” Gullie said. “You definitely have to save your stuff during the race and not burn it up too early. You just have to pace yourself early in the race and try to stay in the Top 5 so that you can have something left to try and get a win.”
Gullie will not be the only Orange County regular competing in the Thrifty Tire/Puryear Tank Lines 300, as part-time competitor Chris Denny will look to improve upon his career-best CARS Response Energy LMSC Tour finish of eighth at his home track with a strong showing on Saturday. They will both look to outrun the regulars of the CARS Response Energy Tour when the green flag for the 150-lap Late Model feature drops at 7 p.m.