For Cale Gale, the 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season has been up and down. However, he ended it on the biggest thrill – barely beating Kyle Busch to the line in the Ford Ecoboost 200 to score his first career NASCAR race win.
“I’ve been very fortunate to run full-time this year for Eddie Sharp and Eddie Sharp Racing and with a great sponsor with Rheem and great team behind me all season,” Gale said. “To come down to the last race and win, after the up-and-down year we’ve had, and I’ve learned a lot all season, it’s just a dream come true for me.
“This is all I’ve ever wanted to do is drive race cars for a living. I’ve done it my whole life, and to be able to win in NASCAR is a dream come true for me.”
In 22 starts this season, Gale had one win, three top fives and eight top 10s, finishing 12th in points. It was a season of firsts as it marked his first full truck season and fifth at Dover marked his first ever truck series top five finish.
The win also marked the second truck series win for Eddie Sharp Racing as they won Charlotte earlier this year with Justin Lofton, after they started the year by buying Kevin Harvick Incorporated’s shop and trucks.
“It definitely impacts our organization,” Eddie Sharp said. “Everybody kind of knows the story what we’ve been through and what we’ve done, and I took a lot of leaps of faith, and when I did that, a lot of people took leaps of faith with me. (Crew chief) Jerry (Baxter) came on board to a team that really had yet to prove themselves, and we got a great opportunity. Rheem believed in what we were trying to do. They obviously believed in Cale, and they came to me as a package, and I take this very serious.”
Sharp added that this win puts an exclamation point on it that they’re for real.
“We’re looking forward to the future, we’re going to continue to grow, and whatever the future holds, we’ll just keep working hard,” Sharp said. “It’s about good people, and to give Cale, someone who’s worked so hard all his career, that opportunity and to be part of his first win is — you never forget your first. I’m just honored to be part of it and have — just be surrounded with great people. I’m just one guy, and without them I’m nothing. I’m part of a team.”
Gale, a short track racer from Mobile, Alabama, admits that it’s not his style to get into someone late in the race. However, he knew if he pinched Busch a bit, he could get the advantage.
“I was just thinking if I could win this race how big it would be and how much it would mean to me and obviously everybody that surrounds me and worked so hard this year, my team, my sponsor, my crew,” he said. “Everybody has worked so hard. I’ve won in everything I’ve ever raced, and I don’t know if I could have lived without winning a NASCAR race because it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. And to be able to get that chapter knocked out of my life is, like I said before, a dream come true.”
Gale said that he knows that Busch owes him one and he did what any hungry racer would do in that position.
“It’s not my style,” he said. “I race about as clean as anybody, you can ask anybody out there, but when it comes down to the final straightaway to win at Homestead in the last race and your first NASCAR win, I believe anybody would do it.”