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Ray Ciccarelli set to launch own Truck Series team, serve as an owner-driver

Ray Ciccarelli climbs into his dirt modified prior to an 18-lap feature at Bedford Fairgrounds Speedway in southern Pa. earlier this year. Photo: Austin McFadden/TRE.

Ray Ciccarelli, a part-time NASCAR competitor and dirt modified racer in the northeast, is set to launch his own Camping World Truck Series team in an owner-driver role, the 48-year-old told The Racing Experts Friday at Pocono Raceway.

Ciccarelli purchased a truck this past week “with the help of Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing” and, for the remainder of 2018, will race at Bristol in August, Martinsville in October, and ISM Raceway in November.

For the past year and a half, the Baltimore native has served as a part-time driver for Cobb, making six starts — all in 2017 — with a career-best finish of 22nd at Eldora. He’s failed to qualify in both races entered this year (Dover and Eldora).

“We bought a truck with the help of Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing, some contacts that she had. We decided to go ahead and get our own truck, that way we’ll have a truck ready to go when we’re ready to go racing,” said Ciccarelli, who later mentioned he has four races on the radar for 2019.

A formal name and number for his start-up race unit have yet to be finalized. Sponsors will include Ciccarelli’s furniture and installation company, Ciccarelli Moving and Installation, Stealth Belt and Coolwell with the manufacturer being a Silverado.

Though Ciccarelli has been a start-and-park driver for five of his six starts, he plans to have the funding intact to complete races entered and he semi-competitive in his new, self-owned equipment.

“With my own stuff, we go to race. We go to race the whole laps.” Ciccarelli said. “It was a good truck years ago. I think we should have a good opportunity.”

“But this is a tough series. You’re racing against very, very competitive teams,” Ciccarelli added. “And even teams that run in the back, they do this every week. So for a guy like myself to just show up, hop in there once in a while, it’s pretty tough.”

Ciccarelli said if he can run in the top 20, he’d be “happy.”

As far as assembling a crew, he’ll reunite old and former colleagues that helped and continue to help him and his brother, Dion — also a racer — on the ARCA and dirt scene. For travel, he’ll receive assistance from Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing.

Ciccarelli looks to qualify for his first truck event of 2018, a one-off ride in the No. 5o Silverado for Mark Beaver in the Gander Outdoors 150 this Saturday at Pocono.

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