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Cam Waters Feeling More at Home on a Road Course, and in a Cup Car

As he prepares to compete in his NASCAR Cup Series debut this weekend at Sonoma Raceway, Cam Waters says the Cup car is much more comparable to what he's used to, and he feels at home on a road course.


hero image for Cam Waters Feeling More at Home on a Road Course, and in a Cup Car

Sure Cam Waters has already dipped his toe into the NASCAR pond as he competed in a couple NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events earlier this season for ThorSport Racing. But Waters has so much more confidence heading into his NASCAR Cup Series debut in Sunday's Toyota / Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway.

Waters, who will pilot the RFK Racing #Stage60 "Open" entry Ford Mustang Dark Horse, says while racing a NASCAR truck on ovals was a bucket list item for him, he feels much more in his element with the NASCAR Cup Series car, which resembles the cars he has run in the Supercars Series in Australia.

"The car seems a lot closer to what we race back home," Waters concluded. "Probably closer to our old car, the Gen 2 car -- we have a new Gen 3 car -- but a lot closer to what I race than the truck [was]. So, yeah, it's nice to jump on some sim stuff back home and then again here with Ford, and yeah, so far it feels pretty good."

Not only will he be more comfortable with the Next Gen car than he was the Ford F-150 truck, but he'll also be competing on a track that fits his personal expertise -- a road course.

"For sure. You know come over here to do a road course and to drive a car that makes a lot more sense to me and is a lot closer to what I raced back home, is a bonus, to be honest," Waters explained during a media availability on Tuesday.

While the 29-year-old is excited at the prospect of his NASCAR Cup Series debut, Waters is tempering his expectations going into it because he is well aware of the level of competition he'll be up against on Sunday.

"Stepping up into Cup, the level of competition is going to be way harder as well," Waters admitted. "So, you know, the truck stuff was awesome. Absolutely had a ball. The challenge of learning a new car and you know, doing ovals as well. I think there's probably a little bit less of an undertaking this weekend, but it's going to be tougher at the same time."

Another challenge for Waters to learn is that in American stock car racing, rubbing is racing. Back home, there is a penalty for aggression. In the States, aggression isn't just allowed, it's encouraged.

"You know you can go take someone out, wreck somebody. [but] If you do that, you know you're going to get it back the next week. There's kind of more of a level of respect there," Waters explained. "Obviously, back home you get penalized if you take someone out, whereas here, you don't really pget penalized] unless you go out and fight someone, apparently. A little bit different in that regard, but the racing is very aggressive. Probably a little more aggressive than back home because you know you can bump people and get away with it."

Fine-tuning his level of aggression will be key to a successful debut, but so too will learning the ins and outs of the car and the 12 turns that make up Sonoma Raceway.

Like he did heading into his NASCAR Truck Series starts, Waters has been preparing for Sunday's race on the simulator. His takeaway so far; Sonoma is easier to wrap his head around than Martinsville and Kansas were.

"This track's quite a bit easier to get ahold of on my simulator. I've done a little bit more simulation or simulating stuff back in Australia. My teammate has a pretty cool sim back home. So, I've been getting on his sim doing a little bit of Sonoma prep, watching a bit more onboards, and stuff like that compared to what I could do with the track. So, yeah, feel as prepared as I can," Waters stated confidently.

For those thinking that this opportunity only materialized because of Shane van Gisbergen's success in his NASCAR Cup Series debut last season, Waters has had NASCAR aspirations for several years. Waters says he initially got the bug to race NASCAR after running 410 sprint car races on dirt ovals back home in Australia.

"Back home, I raced in a sprint car, so I did a bit of the oval stuff back home on dirt in a 410 sprint car. I guess that's part of the appeal to come over and do some oval racing, and then NASCAR as a pinnacle tin-top category in the world. So to come over here and race a car that is similar to what I do back home is where the appeal came from."

Waters has been shopping the idea of making his NASCAR Cup Series debut to teams for a few seasons now, and he had been close in the past. Waters does credit SVG for helping him push his NASCAR deal across the finish line.

"It definitely helped for sure," Waters said of SVG's win his his NASCAR Cup Series debut at Chicago last season. "Before Shane was even coming over here, I was trying to talk to teams and get kind of a foot in the door and you know when he came over here and did what he did in Chicago, it definitely sparked more interest from the other side of the world. Yeah, it definitely helped kind of get the ball rolling for me, and set up our program this year to do a few races over here."

Waters now has the opportunity to showcase his skillset in a NASCAR Cup Series race, and he has a formidable team in RFK Racing to do it with. Waters says he has been leaning heavily on his teammates Chris Buescher and Brad Keselowski, and trying to absorb all of the information he can like a sponge.

While nobody expects Waters to go out and win in his NASCAR Cup Series debut on Sunday, nobody really expected that from SVG a season ago, either. We'll have a better idea of how Waters will fare following practice and qualifying on Friday and Saturday, but regardless, he's going into his NASCAR Cup Series debut feeling much more comfortable than he did going into his Truck Series debut at Martinsville.

Photo Credit: Jonathan McCoy, Overbey Photography

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