Malsam off to a strong start

  • Scott Whitmore
  • Monday, February 16, 2009 7:16pm
  • Sports

Tayler Malsam got his first full-time season in NASCAR off to a great start last weekend with a 10th-place finish in the Camping World Truck Series season opening race at Daytona.

“Definitely a good race and a good week,” Malsam said by phone Friday night. “Besides the mishap at the beginning, we were in the top 10 the rest of the race, the car was awesome, Randy Moss and the crew at Randy Moss Motorsports put together a great car.”

That mishap — missing his pit box during a stop on lap 33 — may have been forgotten as a rookie mistake, except Cup veteran and fan-favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. did the same thing in Sunday’s Daytona 500.

Driving the No. 81 Toyota Tundra in his first race for Randy Moss Motorsports, Malsam stayed near the bottom for the wreck-filled race, avoiding trouble and keeping his position near the front of the field.

“The bottom is the fastest and safest way around, my spotter kept telling me to keep the One Eighty (Toyota) Tundra on the bottom,” Malsam said, before adding with a laugh: “As a rookie, I’m not sure anyone would have followed me anyway.”

Malsam qualified 11th for the race, and spent some time in the top-five before falling back to 10th in the final turn of the checkered flag lap.

“I’m very proud of all of my guys on this Randy Moss Motorsports team,” said Malsam. “The No. 81 One Eighty Toyota Tundra was awesome tonight. The truck drafted really well and it felt good to run up front with the Truck Series veterans.”

As a result of his finish at Daytona, Malsam is 10th in the series standings, 61 points behind leader Todd Bodine, and he is second in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings, seven points behind J.R. Fitzpatrick.

Malsam and the No. 81 One Eighty Toyota Tundra team will be back in action this Saturday afternoon, Feb. 21st at Auto Club Speedway in California. The San Bernardino 200 will begin shortly after noon. FOX will have live television coverage of the 100-lap event, while select affiliates of MRN Radio and XM-Sirius NASCAR Radio will have the live radio broadcast.

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