NASCAR debut a long time coming for Waters

An opportunity a year in the making comes to fruition on Friday night at Martinsville Speedway when Cam Waters makes his NASCAR debut in the Craftsman Truck series with ThorSport Racing.

Waters visited the same track a year ago, which further sparked his interest in a sport he’s followed for a long time. A Ford Mustang driver in Australian Supercars for Tickford Racing, Waters will be in ThorSport Racing’s No. 66 Ford F-150 at Martinsville Speedway. He is the third Australian Supercars driver to enter a NASCAR race in less than a year, even though no one knew Waters had been working on this deal long before Shane van Gisbergen and Brodie Kostecki arrived on the scene.

“I’ve been wanting to do something like this for a long time,” Waters said. “Shane [van Gisbergen] was super lucky with how his stuff came together and I was super happy for him and how Chicago went was obviously amazing. For me, it’s been something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time and it’s just great to finally be able to pull something together and do this race.”


Unlike van Gisbergen and Kostecki who made their debuts in a Cup series car, Waters is doing so in a truck. NASCAR took inspiration for its Next Gen car from sports cars and Australian Supercars, but Waters felt the truck is the best way to learn and said he prefers truck racing.

“I went to Martinsville 12 months ago and I’ve done a lot of dirt oval stuff, small stuff in Australia,” Waters said, “so for me, I wanted to experience oval racing and the truck was probably the perfect opportunity to come over here and do a short oval and get racing.”

Waters didn’t deny he’d like to come to NASCAR full-time one day, but noted he has a “pretty cool thing” going in Australia. NASCAR will be a different experience when it comes to oval pavement racing but Waters has a background in sprint cars, late models and modifieds on dirt ovals. While he’ll have a better answer after the weekend, Waters anticipates that his sprint car experience of having to search for grip and trying different lanes will translate to his NASCAR debut.

Upon arriving in the United States late last week, Waters spent time at the ThorSport Racing shop in Sandusky, Ohio, for a seat fitting. It was a race shop that he was blown away by for its size. A road trip to Charlotte brought him to the Ford tech center for simulator work.

“I think Friday night, if we can keep the truck clean and take in as much as I can, I think that’d be good,” Waters said. “I’ve kind of got no expectations. I don’t really know how I’m going to go. It’s going to be kind of jumping in the deep end, so to speak, with the limited practice and not being able to drive the truck beforehand. Right now, this is the only thing we’ve got set in stone.

“It’s kind of hard with my schedule in Australia. I’m going after a championship over there. This race fit in pretty perfectly between AGP and Telpo to fit in a race. I really just need to get through this weekend and see how we go and go home, go to New Zealand, and try to win some races over there to get my Supercar championship back on track.”

Waters will be on track at Martinsville for practice on Friday afternoon (3 p.m. ET, FS1) followed by qualifying. The green flag is set for after 7:30 p.m. ET (FS1).

Story originally appeared on Racer