Full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series competitor Gray Gaulding will compete in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event at Bristol Motor Speedway. In addition to his usual ride with NASCAR Xfinity Series team SS Green Light Racing, the 21-year-old will wheel the No. 51 Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet in the Food City 500, Gaulding announced on Thursday (Apr. 4).
With 49 MENCS starts under his belt, Gaulding has tallied four starts at BMS for StarCom Racing, BK Racing and Premium Motorsports, with a best finish of 29th in 2017, driving for BKR. After competing in 20 events last season, Bristol will mark Gaulding’s first MENCS start of 2019.
In the off season, the Colonial Heights, Va native joined SS Greenlight Racing for a full season effort in the Xfinity Series. After six events, Gaulding currently sits 15th in points and scored a career best finish of 12th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in his No. 08 Chevrolet.
— Gray Gaulding (@graygaulding) April 3, 2019
Gaulding will carry sponsorship for both races from Panini America, a company with an extended relationship with the Virginian. Panini America is a company that specializes in high end trading cards for professional sports. This season, the company has expanded back into NASCAR, producing a complete line of quality NASCAR trading cards.
“We’ve made a concerted effort to put more marketing power behind our NASCAR business this season and this partnership is a result of that commitment,” Jason Howarth, vice president of marketing for Panini America, said. “We’ve really enjoyed working with Gray, his team and the Gaulding family in the past while producing his first licensed trading cards. To have our brand and our message on his car this weekend is a new opportunity for us to raise awareness for Panini trading cards–and we’re genuinely excited.
This season, Rick Ware Racing expanded to two full-times efforts. So far, RWR has fielded entries for Cody Ware, BJ McLeod, Bayley Currey, and Jeb Burton. Gaulding, who has made one start for RWR, will be in the car for a one-off race, but is looking to do more events with the team this season.