NASCAR Cup Series
Next Race: Federated Auto Parts 400
The Place: Richmond Raceway
The Date: Sunday, August 14
The Time: 3 p.m. ET
The Purse: $7,144,995
TV: USA, 2 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 300 miles (400 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 70), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 230), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 400)
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Next Race: NASCAR Xfinity Series at The Glen 200
The Place: Watkins Glen International
The Date: Saturday, August 20
The Time: 3 p.m. ET
The Purse: $1,159,436
TV: USA, 2:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 200.9 miles (82 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 20), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 40), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 82)
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Next Race: Worldwide Express 250 for Carrier Appreciation
The Place: Richmond Raceway
The Date: Saturday, August 13
The Time: 8 p.m. ET
The Purse: $744,951
TV: FS1, 7 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 187.5 miles (250 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 70), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 140), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 250)
NASCAR Cup Series
NASCAR Cup Series prepares for Round 2 at Richmond Raceway
For the second time this season, the NASCAR Cup Series will head to Richmond Raceway for some Sunday afternoon side-by-side short track action in the Federated Auto Parts 400 on August 14 at 3 p.m. ET (USA, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Only three races remain in the 2022 regular season (Richmond, Watkins Glen and Daytona) to decide the 16-driver Playoff field and for the first-time in the elimination-style format of Playoffs (2014-2022), the series has produced 15 different winners leaving just one spot still open on points. With such limited time left and only one spot remaining, the intensity amongst the competitors vying to make the postseason is growing by the second.
This week the NASCAR Cup Series teams will be dialing in the Next Gen cars for the close, beating and banging-type racing the fans have come to love at short tracks like Richmond. Originally known as the Atlantic Rural Exposition Fairgrounds, Richmond Raceway held its first race in 1946 as a half-mile dirt track.
The first NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond Raceway was held on April 19, 1953 and was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Lee Petty in a Petty Enterprises Dodge with an average speed of 45.535 mph.
The first 24 NASCAR Cup Series races held at Richmond Raceway were run on a dirt surface (1953-1968). NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson won the final Richmond race on dirt, driving a Holman-Moody Racing 1968 Ford to Victory Lane. The track surface was changed from dirt to asphalt between Cup Series races in 1968, with NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty winning the first NASCAR Cup Series race on the paved Richmond surface on September 8, 1968 driving a Petty Enterprises Plymouth. The track was then rebuilt as the three-quarters-mile D-shaped oval we know today in 1988. In total, Richmond Raceway has hosted the NASCAR Cup Series 131 times producing 56 different pole winners and 53 different race winners.
NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty (1961, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970 sweep, 1974, 1975) and Bobby Allison (1972 sweep, 1973 sweep, 1974, 1976, 1979, 1982) lead the NASCAR Cup Series in poles at Richmond with eight each. Seven of the 56 NASCAR Cup Series Richmond Raceway pole winners are active this weekend, led by Denny Hamlin (2006, 2008, 2016) and Kevin Harvick (2005, 2018, 2019) with three poles each.
Active Pole Winners (7)PolesSeasonsKevin Harvick32019, 2018, 2005Denny Hamlin32016, 2008, 2006Brad Keselowski22019, 2014Joey Logano22015 sweepRyan Blaney12022Kyle Busch12010Martin Truex Jr12018
NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty leads the NASCAR Cup Series in wins at Richmond Raceway with 13 victories (spring 1961, 1967 sweep, fall 1968, fall 1970, 1971 sweep, 1972 sweep, 1973 sweep, fall 1974 and spring 1975). Petty‘s 13 Richmond wins are the third-most victories by a single driver at a single track in NASCAR Cup Series history, behind his 15 wins at Martinsville and North Wilkesboro. Nine of the 53 NASCAR Cup Series Richmond Raceway winners are active this weekend, led by Joe Gibbs Racing‘s Kyle Busch with six victories (spring 2009, spring 2010, spring 2011, spring 2012, 2018 sweep). Busch‘s JGR teammates, Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr., are the two most recent winners at Richmond with Hamlin taking the victory back in April, and Truex is the defending winner of this weekend‘s race from last season.
Active Race Winners (9)WinsSeasonKyle Busch62018 sweep, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009Denny Hamlin42022, 2016, 2010, 2009Kevin Harvick32013, 2011, 2006Martin Truex Jr32021, 2019 sweepBrad Keselowski22020, 2014Joey Logano22017, 2014Kurt Busch22015, 2005Alex Bowman12021Kyle Larson12017
All the on-track NASCAR Cup Series action at Richmond Raceway begins on Saturday, August 13 with practice and Busch Light Pole Qualifying on the USA Network from 5 p.m. — 7 p.m. ET.
Regular Season Roundup: Three to go as Playoff picture starts to take shape
With his big win last weekend at Michigan International Speedway, Stewart-Haas Racing‘s Kevin Harvick has shaken-up the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings with just three races to go in the regular season. The victory makes Harvick the 15th different winner in 23 races this season – a NASCAR Cup Series record tying the 2003 and 2011 seasons for the series-most different winners in the first 23 races of a year. With 15 drivers already earning their spot in the Playoffs, that leaves Team Penske‘s Ryan Blaney in the 16th and final available transfer spot on points, up only 19 points on Joe Gibbs Racing‘s Martin Truex Jr. in 17th — the first spot outside the postseason cutoff — as the series heads to Richmond Raceway this weekend.
At this point in the season, Truex is the only driver within striking distance of Blaney in the points standings, the next closest in the Playoff outlook standings is Petty GMS Motorsports‘ driver Erik Jones in 18th, 190 points behind Blaney. As a result, winning one of the next three races will be the only way majority of the drivers still vying for the postseason will have a chance to get in.
Looking ahead at the next three races in the regular season, nine of the 15 winless drivers still eligible to make the Playoffs have won at least one race at the upcoming three venues, led by Martin Truex Jr. (Richmond, Watkins Glen) and Brad Keselowski (Richmond, Daytona) with wins at two of the three facilities.
2022 Driver Playoff Outlook Following Race No. 23 – Drivers Without Wins This SeasonRankDriverPointsPts From CutoffRichmondWatkins GlenDaytona16Ryan Blaney72819 117Martin Truex Jr.709-1931 18Erik Jones538-190 119Aric Almirola518-210 120Bubba Wallace493-235 21Austin Dillon483-245 122Justin Haley445-283 123Chris Buescher442-286 24Ricky Stenhouse Jr.395-333 125Cole Custer390-338 26Michael McDowell385-343 127Harrison Burton #374-354 28Brad Keselowski364-3642 129Todd Gilliland #356-372 30Ty Dillon326-402
Clinch scenarios to watch at Richmond Raceway
Several of the drivers that have already won this season and have earned a spot in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs still need to clinch their postseason position by earning enough points that no matter where they finish in the remaining races of the regular season, they will not fall out of the top 30 in points. Once a driver has achieved that points total, they have officially clinched a spot in the postseason. Below is a breakdown of the drivers that can clinch their spot in the postseason this weekend:
The following seven drivers have clinched a spot in the 16-driver postseason field: Chase Elliott, Ross Chastain, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, William Byron, Tyler Reddick and Denny Hamlin.
Can Clinch Via Previous Wins
The following drivers could clinch on previous wins with a win by Chase Elliott:
Christopher Bell: Would clinch with 18 pointsKyle Busch: Would clinch with 50 pointsKevin Harvick: Could only clinch with helpAlex Bowman: Could only clinch with helpDaniel Suarez: Could only clinch with help
The following drivers could clinch on previous wins with a win by Ross Chastain, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, Christopher Bell, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, William Byron, Alex Bowman, Tyler Reddick, Daniel Suarez, Denny Hamlin:
Christopher Bell: Would clinch with 25 pointsKyle Busch: Could only clinch with helpKevin Harvick: Could only clinch with helpAlex Bowman: Could only clinch with helpDaniel Suarez: Could only clinch with help
The following drivers could clinch on previous wins with a win by Aric Almirola (or another winless driver below him in the standings):
Christopher Bell: Would clinch with 25 pointsKyle Busch: Could only clinch with helpKevin Harvick: Could only clinch with help
The following drivers could clinch on previous wins with a win by Chase Briscoe:
Christopher Bell: Would clinch with 29 pointsKyle Busch: Could only clinch with helpKevin Harvick: Could only clinch with helpAlex Bowman: Could only clinch with helpDaniel Suarez: Could only clinch with help
The following drivers could clinch on previous wins with a win by Austin Cindric:
Christopher Bell: Would clinch with 31 pointsKyle Busch: Could only clinch with helpKevin Harvick: Could only clinch with helpAlex Bowman: Could only clinch with helpDaniel Suarez: Could only clinch with help
The following drivers could clinch on previous wins with a win by Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr., Erik Jones or Kurt Busch:
Christopher Bell: Would clinch with 31 pointsKyle Busch: Could only clinch with helpKevin Harvick: Could only clinch with help
Can Clinch Via Win
The following drivers would clinch on their win alone:
Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr., Christopher Bell, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Alex Bowman, Daniel Suarez, Chase Briscoe, Austin Cindric, Kurt Busch
Richmond offers decent opportunity for Truex to catch Blaney
Of the three remaining tracks on the NASCAR Cup Series regular season schedule, this weekend‘s Richmond Raceway offers the best opportunity for Joe Gibbs Racing‘s Martin Truex Jr. to get his first win of the 2022 season. Looking to snap his 31-race winless streak and solidify his spot in the Playoffs this weekend, Truex heads to Richmond as the winningest driver at the 0.75-mile track among the competitors that haven‘t won yet this season with three victories (2019 sweep and 2021).
Truex is currently riding a steak of seven consecutive seasons of making the Playoffs (2015-2021). This year, he has put up three top fives and 10 top 10s and currently resides in the first position outside the postseason cutoff trailing Ryan Blaney by 19 points.
Don‘t be surprised even if Truex doesn‘t win this weekend that he at least closes the points gap on Blaney. In 32 series start at Richmond, Truex has amassed three wins, nine top fives and 15 top 10s. On the other hand, Team Penske‘s Ryan Blaney has made 12 series starts at Richmond posting just two top 10s. Truex also betters him in average finish at the track with a 16.0 to Blaney‘s 20.9.
Hamlin looks to pull off Richmond sweep this season
Joe Gibbs Racing‘s Denny Hamlin, from Chesterfield, Virginia, will look to win this weekend‘s Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway to become the 12th different driver all-time and just the third active driver to win consecutive races at the 0.75-mile track. And what would make the achievement even more special is to do it at his home track.
A total of 11 different drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series have posted consecutive wins at Richmond Raceway; Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. are the only active drivers to accomplish the feat:
Joe Weatherly (1962-1963)David Pearson (1965, 1966 sweep)Richard Petty (1970, 1971 sweep, 1972 sweep, 1973 sweep)Cale Yarborough (1976-1977)Bobby Allison (1982, 1983 sweep)Dale Earnhardt (1987 sweep, 1990-1991)Rusty Wallace (1989 sweep)Terry Labonte (1994-1995)Jimmie Johnson (2007 sweep)Kyle Busch (2018 sweep)Martin Truex Jr. (2019 sweep)
Denny Hamlin won at Richmond Raceway earlier this season, taking the checkered flag after passing William Byron for the lead with just five laps to go. In total, the 41-year-old has made 31 series starts at Richmond, putting up three poles, four wins (2009, 2010, 2016, 2022), 16 top fives and 20 top 10s. His average finish is 8.516 — third-best among active drivers.
NASCAR announces groundbreaking for state-of-the-art Productions facility
NASCAR announced this week that construction will begin on a brand-new state-of-the-art Productions facility later this summer. The 58,000 square-foot facility will be built on the land adjacent to the NASCAR R&D Center in Concord, North Carolina.
The new facility will house approximately 125 NASCAR Productions and MRN employees with further room to expand operations in the future. NASCAR will continue to have a significant presence in the Uptown Charlotte area, with a large contingent of employees remaining in Five Fifty South (formerly known as NASCAR Plaza) for the foreseeable future.
NASCAR will make significant investments in its productions infrastructure and technology to deliver first-class live event production and content to NASCAR‘s fans and industry partners. This commitment furthers NASCAR‘s mission of providing fans with enhanced content that brings them closer to the sport.
“The scope and scale of the NASCAR Productions business has fundamentally changed in recent years, with NASCAR‘s live event production operation more than doubling since 2018. Developing a state-of-the-art facility that can accommodate our continued expansion was paramount,” said Brian Herbst, SVP, Media and Productions. “In this evolving sports media landscape, live event production and investing in technology that enhances the fan viewing experience has never been more important – it‘s essential that our new workspace can facilitate that strategic growth.”
The new location is strategically located next to the NASCAR R&D Center and will be more closely situated to majority of NASCAR team operations. The facility will offer more space and will be a far more efficient resource for the industry at large. Though still in the early stages of development, the new facility is expected to be fully operational by the start of the 2024 season.
NASCAR will conduct a ceremonially ground-breaking event on Wednesday, August 31st.
NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.
Petty GMS announces Noah Gragson will drive No. 42 in 2023 — This week, Petty GMS announced that Las Vegas native and current fulltime NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Noah Gragson will pilot the No. 42 Petty GMS Chevrolet in 2023. Gragson will be replacing Ty Dillon who currently drives the No. 42 this season.
“To be able to finally announce my plans for next season and officially say I will be competing fulltime in the NASCAR Cup Series is a dream come true,” said Gragson. “This is what we all dream of when we start racing at a young age, to be able to compete at the top level with the best in the world. I‘m excited to join Petty GMS and drive a car that has so much history in our sport, the No. 42.”
Gragson will become the 47th different driver to race in the NASCAR Cup Series in the No. 42 car; joining drivers like NASCAR Hall of Famer Lee Petty, Kyle Petty, Jamie McMurray, Juan Pablo Montoya and Kyle Larson. Gragson has made nine NASCAR Cup Series starts in his career, one for Beard Motorsports and eight for his current team Kaulig Motorsports. His best finish in the Cup Series was an 18th-place finish at Kansas Speedway earlier this season. Gragson will be in the No. 16 for Kaulig Racing this weekend at Richmond.
Gragson is currently competing for a championship in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for JR Motorsports. He is ranked fourth in the Xfinity points after posting three wins, 11 top fives and 15 top 10s in 21 starts this season.
Chase Young named Honorary Pace Car driver at Richmond — Richmond Raceway announced last week that Washington Commanders star defensive end, Chase Young, will lead the field as the Honorary Pace Car Driver to start the Federated Auto Parts 400 on Aug. 14 (3 p.m. ET on USA, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
“It‘s an honor that Richmond Raceway thought of me for this historic event,” said Chase Young. “I‘m excited to participate and even more excited to watch the race.”
Chase Young is currently a defensive end for the NFL‘s Washington Commanders. Following his debut season, Young was named the 2020 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.
NASCAR Cup Series Featured Matchups: Federated Auto Parts 400 — Below is a close look at the featured matchups fans can bet on heading into this weekend‘s event.
Kevin Harvick vs. Denny Hamlin (Fan Vote) – Kevin Harvick‘s win last week at Michigan was his first in his last 65 races. Harvick used a late restart to get ahead of the field and never looked back, winning by more than 3 seconds over Bubba Wallace. Denny Hamlin may have been the fastest car all day, but a late pit road penalty derailed his chances to win. Still, he drove through the field and finished third, showcasing just how good his car was. This matchup features the two drivers who finished first and second at the first race at Richmond earlier this year, so these two should bring some fireworks come Sunday.
Kyle Busch vs. Martin Truex Jr. – On tap this weekend is a pair of Joe Gibbs Racing teammates. Kyle Busch was the pre-race favorite as the green flag waved to start the race on Sunday at Michigan, but his day ended early as he got caught up in a big wreck in the first stage of the race. Truex finished sixth on the day, but with a 15th new winner this year, his path to the Playoffs got more difficult. Truex heads to one of his best tracks where he has three wins in his last six races. He also owns the best driver rating in the field at Richmond with a 127.5. If there‘s any track where Truex can get his first win of the season, Richmond might be the best bet. His JGR teammate, Kyle Busch, will have his own motivation, after his ninth straight finish outside the top 10.
Ryan Blaney vs. Joey Logano – Time to pick your favorite of the two Team Penske drivers — Blaney or Logano. Another top-five finish last weekend for Ryan Blaney kept his consistent season going. The polesitter at Richmond earlier in the season, Blaney should feel confident in his ability to get to Victory Lane for the first time this Sunday. With 15 winners this season, it‘s becoming increasingly likely that Blaney may need to win to get into the Playoffs. His Team Penske counterpart, Joey Logano has had four top fives in his last six races at Richmond and owns a 105.6 driver rating. Logano finished fourth at Michigan, so the Penske Fords are both coming off some recent momentum.
Chase Elliott vs. Christopher Bell – Chase Elliott finished outside the top 10 for the second week in a row after finishing first or second in five straight races. Christopher Bell was contending for the race win before contact with Ross Chastain damaged his car and ended his chances of winning at Michigan. Both of these drivers have shown great speed on short, flat tracks like Richmond and have combined for 14 top fives and five wins this season. Elliott was bested by Bell earlier this season at Richmond though, with Bell taking home a sixth-place finish to Elliott‘s 14th-place.
Elliott can clinch Regular Season Championship presented by Coca Cola at Richmond — Hendrick Motorsports driver Chase Elliott and current point standings leader can clinch the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Regular Season Championship presented by Coca Cola this weekend if he earns 58 points at Richmond Raceway.
If Elliott wins the Regular Season Championship this season, he will become the fifth different driver to accomplish the feat since the award was created in 2017; joining Kyle Larson (2021), Kevin Harvick (2020), Kyle Busch (2019, 2018) and Martin Truex Jr. (2017).
The NASCAR Cup Series Regular Season Championship presented by Coca-Cola not only awards the winning driver with a prestigious trophy but also an additional 15 Playoff points (equivalent to three race wins) to take into the postseason. Elliott currently leads the series in Playoff point with 25, if he wins the regular season title his Playoff points total will balloon to 40 points. The most Playoff points a driver has taken into the postseason is 57 by Kevin Harvick in 2020.
Who is the next to end a winless streak? — After Stewart-Haas Racing Kevin Harvick snapped his 65-race winless streak last weekend at Michigan, everybody in the garage has got to think they have a chance to win this season. So, who else is facing a mounting winless streak they would like to see ended?
The top 10 longest active winless streaks by drivers that have previously won in the NASCAR Cup Series are — in descending order – Chris Buescher (218 races since last win), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (186 races), Justin Haley (113 races), Erik Jones (103 races), Cole Custer (78 races), Austin Dillon (77 races), Michael McDowell (58 races), Brad Keselowski (49 races), Aric Almirola (37 races) and Ryan Blaney (33 races). Of the group listed trying to end their winless streak, only RFK Racing‘s Brad Keselowski has won at Richmond Raceway (2014, 2020).
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Ty Gibbs might need to upgrade his trophy case
Joe Gibbs Racing‘s Ty Gibbs raced his way to Victory Lane last weekend at Michigan International Speedway to post his series leading fifth win of the season, surpassing his impressive four Xfinity Series wins in 18 starts from the 2021 season and bringing his career total to an impressive nine wins in 39 starts — a winning percentage of 23%.
The win marked his first at Michigan International Speedway in the Xfinity Series after posting a 13th-place finish in his first start at the track last year. Although his first Michigan win in the Xfinity Series, Gibbs was no stranger to winning at the two-mile track as he posted a win last year in the ARCA Menards Series.
With an off week in the Xfinity Series, the 19-year-old, Gibbs, will be preparing to head to a track next weekend that holds very fond memories for him— Watkins Glen International.
His first and only start at the New York road course last year marked his third win of his Xfinity Series career and his second on a road course (his first was at the Daytona Road Course in his series debut in 2021).
If Gibbs snags the win at “The Glen” next weekend, he‘ll become the fifth driver to post back-to-back victories at the track, joining Terry Labonte (1994, 1995, 1996), Ron Fellows (2000, 2001), Marcos Ambrose (2008, 2009, 2010) and Joey Logano (2015, 2016).
In his four starts on road courses this season thus far, he‘s posted one win (Road America) and three top 10s.
Regular Season Rumble: Twenty-one down, five to go
Time is winding down for drivers still vying for their spot in the Playoffs kicking off at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday, September 24. With five races left in the regular season, things are sure to heat up as the NASCAR Xfinity Series prepares for Watkins Glen International, the fifth of six road course events on the 2022 schedule. Below is a look at the clinch scenarios heading into Watkins Glen:
The following six drivers have clinched a spot in the 12-driver postseason field: AJ Allmendinger, Justin Allgaier, Ty Gibbs, Noah Gragson, Josh Berry and Austin Hill.
Can Clinch Via Previous Wins
The following drivers could clinch on previous wins with a win by a driver who has previous won:
Brandon Jones: Would clinch regardless of finish
The following drivers could clinch on previous wins with a win by a driver who is currently winless:
Brandon Jones: Could only clinch with help
Can Clinch Via Win
The following drivers would clinch on their win alone:
The following drivers could clinch with a win:
Riley Herbst: Could only clinch with helpSam Mayer: Could only clinch with helpDaniel Hemric: Could only clinch with helpLandon Cassill: Could only clinch with helpRyan Sieg: Could only clinch with help
Stewart-Haas Racing‘s Riley Herbst (583 points) and JR Motorsports‘ Sam Mayer (578 points) are the highest ranked drivers without a win and have been neck-and-neck in the point standings for several weeks. They will both be pushing to post their first Xfinity Series career win when they head to Watkins Glen next weekend.
Herbst has given “The Glen” one go (2021) and posted a 13th-place finish. He didn‘t have the performance he was hoping for on road courses in the first part of the season but has done quite well in the last two (Road America and Indianapolis) as he posted top-10 finishes at both tracks.
Like Herbst, Mayer has made one start at Watkins Glen, where he raced his way up to a top-10 finish (10th) after starting in the 23rd position. On this season‘s road courses, he has posted one top-five and two top-10 finishes.
Some drivers are all gas, no brakes
The NASCAR Xfinity Series may be off this weekend but that doesn‘t mean all drivers will be taking a break.
NASCAR Xfinity Series championship contenders Noah Gragson and Landon Cassill will be heading to Richmond Raceway this weekend to compete in the NASCAR Cup Series‘ Federated Auto Parts 400 on Sunday, August 14 at 3 p.m. ET (USA Network, NBC Sports App, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Gragson will be behind the wheel of the No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet for the eighth time this season. Although this will be his first start at Richmond Raceway in the Cup Series, he has seven starts at the track in the Xfinity Series posting one win (2021), three top fives and five top 10s. In other big news for Gragson, the Las Vegas native announced this week he will running full-time in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2023 with Petty GMS Motorsports.
Cassill will be making his seventh Cup Series start this season in the No. 77 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet. He ran in the Cup Series at Richmond Raceway earlier this season and finished 32nd. Cassill has 20 Cup Series starts at the 0.75-mile Richmond track with a best finish of 19th.
NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.
Sam Mayer coming back to JR Motorsports in 2023 — The 19-year-old, Sam Mayer, from Franklin, Wisconsin, announced this week he will be back in his No. 1 Chevrolet with JR Motorsports for the 2023 NASCAR Xfinity Series season, his third consecutive season with the organization.
Mayer‘s career with JRM started in their Late Model program. Last season, he continued with a part-time Xfinity Series schedule with the team, tallying one top five and six top 10s in his 18 starts. This season, he has posted eight top fives and 11 top 10s thus far.
“It‘s a good feeling to get this squared away,” said Mayer. “Now we can focus on locking ourselves into the playoffs and getting that first Xfinity win. JR Motorsports has been a great place for me all the way back to my late model days. We‘re expecting big things for this No. 1 team for remainder of this year and beyond.”
Marco Andretti to make Xfinity Series debut at Charlotte Roval — Former full-time NTT IndyCar Series driver Marco Andretti will be joining Big Machine Racing in the No. 48 Chevrolet on October 8 to make his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL.
Although an IndyCar driver, Andretti has never been too far from NASCAR as he is the grandson of the 1967 Daytona 500 winner, Mario Andretti.
“I‘m grateful to Scott Borchetta for giving me this cool opportunity to try my hand at a Xfinity road course,” Andretti said. “I have really taken a liking to the stock car experience and look forward to having some fun driving the Big Machine Vodka Spiked Coolers No. 48 Camaro in Charlotte.”
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Time for a Saturday night summer showdown at Richmond Raceway
As the Round of 10 moves forward in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs, the 0.75-mile D-shaped oval of Richmond Raceway awaits the drivers for some Saturday night short track racing with the Worldwide Express 250 for Carrier Appreciation on August 13th at 8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.
This weekend‘s race is the second of three events in the first round of 2022 Playoffs. ThorSport Racing‘s Grant Enfinger grabbed the checkered flag at the Playoff opener in Indianapolis securing his spot in the Round of 8. Now the remaining nine drivers are vying for the final seven spots with just two races left (Richmond and Kansas) to advance to the next round.
Originally known as the Atlantic Rural Exposition Fairgrounds, Richmond Raceway held its first race in 1946 as a half-mile dirt track. The track surface was changed from dirt to asphalt between NASCAR Cup Series races in 1968. The track was then rebuilt as the three-quarters-mile D-shaped oval we know today in 1988. The first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Richmond Raceway was on September 7, 1995 and the inaugural event was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Terry Labonte driving a Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.
Richmond Raceway has hosted 13 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races producing nine different pole winners and 10 different race winners. Mike Skinner (1996, 2005), Tony Stewart (2002, 2003) and Jack Sprague (1998, 2001) lead the Camping World Truck Series in wins at Richmond with two each.
This weekend will be just the third time the Truck Series has raced at Richmond Raceway after taking a fifteen-year hiatus from 2005-2019. The past two Richmond races (2020-2021) have been won by two current Playoff drivers, ThorSport Racing‘s Grant Enfinger (2020) and Kyle Busch Motorsport‘s John Hunter Nemechek (2021).
Enfinger is fresh off another short track victory at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park, locking himself into the Round of 8 of the Playoffs. The Alabama native‘s last win at Richmond came at the helm of crew chief Jeff Hensley when both were a part of the No. 98 team for ThorSport Racing in 2020. Seeing as the duo have been paired back together at GMS Racing after making a crew chief switch midway through the season, it would come as no surprise to see the No. 23 Chevrolet compete for the win again on Saturday.
Kyle Busch Motorsport‘s John Hunter Nemechek put on a show the last time he came to Richmond Raceway. The No. 4 KBM Toyota driver led 114 of the scheduled 250 laps and managed to hold off his car owner, Kyle Busch, for the win. After a spin late in the Playoff opener at Indianapolis that relegated him to a 10th-place finish, Nemechek could view Richmond as the perfect opportunity to not only get back to his winning ways but also secure a spot in the next round of the Playoffs.
GMS Racing‘s Grant Enfinger jumps out front with victory in Playoff opener
Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park‘s first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race in 11 years did not disappoint. Tasked with opening the 2022 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs, the 0.686-mile flat paved track located just outside Indianapolis, Indiana produced some stellar side-by-side racing that went into overtime ultimately naming Grant Enfinger of GMS Racing the victor. Enfinger, winless on the season before Friday‘s race, grabbed the impressive victory along with a spot in the next round of the Playoffs. The win two weeks ago at Indianapolis was Enfinger‘s seventh career victory in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and his third Playoff win of his career (Las Vegas in 2018 and Martinsville in 2020).
Now, the Fairhope, Alabama native will look to carry this postseason momentum to Richmond Raceway where he can focus on racking up Playoff points as he is the only driver currently locked into the Round of 8.
With Enfinger being the only Playoff driver for GMS Racing this season, he will also look to keep their Championship 4 Round streak alive, as they have had at least one driver earn a spot in the Championship 4 in each of the last seven seasons since the current Playoff format was introduced in 2016.
Truck Playoff standings shuffle after Indianapolis
GMS Racing‘s Grant Enfinger entered the Playoff opener two weeks ago as the ninth seed and now, on the heels of his big win at Indianapolis, finds himself as the only driver that has clinched a spot in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs Round of 8. With the Playoff standings shuffled like a deck of cards, nine other drivers are still vying to secure their spot in the next round of the Playoffs as the series prepares for Richmond Raceway‘s Worldwide Express 250 for Carrier Appreciation on Saturday, August 13 at 8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
The favorite to join Enfinger in the next round in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs has to be 2022 Regular Season Champion Zane Smith. Coming into the Playoffs as the No. 1 seed and Regular Season Champion, the driver of the No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford brought with him 37 Playoff points, and after his third-place finish at Indianapolis, he is the first driver without a win in the Playoff outlook standings, up +50 points on Round of 8 cutline (2,079 points). Smith has made two series starts at Richmond posting an average finish of 12.5.
Finishing runner-up to Enfinger at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park was ThorSport Racing‘s Ben Rhodes. The 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion looks poised to go after his second title this season carrying 2,065 points into Richmond next weekend. Rhodes sits third in the Playoff outlook, +36 points above the cutline and just 14 points back from Zane Smith in the Playoff point standings lead. Rhodes has made two series starts at Richmond posting one top five and two top 10s. His average finish at 0.75-mile track is 5.0.
Halmar Friesen Racing‘s Stewart Friesen is currently fourth in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoff outlook standings following his fourth-place finish at Indianapolis, up +28 points on the Round of 8 cutline. Friesen has earned a spot in the Playoffs three times in his career and in all three appearances, he advanced to the Round of 8 (2018, 2019, 2021). Friesen has made two series starts at Richmond posting one top-10 finish. His average finish at 0.75-mile track is 11.5.
Kyle Busch Motorsports teammates John Hunter Nemechek and Chandler Smith are tied the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs standings following Indianapolis, but Nemechek holds the tie breaker of best finish with his 10th-place run at Indianapolis to Smith‘s 18th. Both drivers are currently 24 points up on the Round of 8 cutline. At Richmond, Nemechek is the most recent winner at the track and will look to defend his last season win this weekend. Smith has also run well at Richmond, making two series starts at the 0.75-mile facility posting one top-five finish. His average finish at Richmond is 8.0.
The two drivers currently occupying the last two spots that would move them forward to the Round of 8 are Ty Majeski and Carson Hocevar. Majeski had a very well-rounded run at Indianapolis, which involved a stage win and an eighth-place outing. Hocevar, while running up near the front for most of the night, had a late incident with the No. 91 truck of Colby Howard that relegated him to 21st-place finish. Majeski heads into Richmond this week up +19 points above the Round of 8 cutline, but he will have his work cut out for him this weekend as he will be making his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series track debut at Richmond Raceway.
Niece Motorsports‘ driver Carson Hocevar, however, only has a seven-point lead on ninth in the Playoff outlook standings. But what should be making the young driver even more nervous is that with two races to go, if one of the drivers below him in the Playoff standings were to win, he would be bounced below the Round of 8 cutline being in the final transfer spot on points. Hocevar will look to earn as many points as possible this weekend at Richmond. The Michigan native has made two series starts at Richmond posting an average finish of 17.0.
Outside Looking In: ThorSport Racing teammates Crafton, Eckes need to bounce back
Following Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park, ThorSport Racing teammates Matt Crafton and Christian Eckes find themselves below the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Round of 8 cutline with just two races left to turn their postseason runs around.
Two weeks ago, three-time series champion Matt Crafton rallied to a ninth-place finish at Indianapolis and left the 0.686-mile track just seven points back from the Round of 8 cutline. Crafton is the only driver in series history to participate in each of the series‘ Playoffs since its inception in 2016 and has earned a spot in the Round 8 in all six previous postseason appearances. Crafton leads all active drivers in starts at Richmond with seven and has managed to produce one top-five and two top-10 finishes at the 0.75-mile short track; including a runner-up finish in 2020.
Unlike the extensive Playoff experience Crafton has, his ThorSport Racing teammate Christian Eckes is just in his second appearance in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs and is hoping to build on his postseason debut in 2020, where he was eliminated in the Round of 10. Eckes finished 16th at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park and has the same points total as Crafton at 2,029, but Crafton owns the tiebreaker due to his ninth-place finish at Indianapolis. Eckes is currently seven points behind Carson Hocevar in the eighth and final transfer spot to the Round of 8 on points and will look to close the gap this weekend in Richmond. Eckes made his series track debut at Richmond in 2020 – he started third but finished 18th.
Playoff Clinch Scenarios at Richmond Raceway
With one of the three races in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs in the books, here is a look at the clinch scenarios for the 10-driver field in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs:
The following driver has clinched a spot in the 8-driver field of the next round of the Playoffs: Grant Enfinger.
Can Clinch via Points
If there is a repeat winner (Enfinger) or a win by a driver who cannot advance to the next round, the following drivers could clinch by being 56 points above the seventh winless driver in the standings. The same point requirements listed below would hold true if a new win comes from among Zane Smith, Ben Rhodes, Stewart Friesen, John Hunter Nemechek, Chandler Smith or Ty Majeski.
Zane Smith: Could only clinch with helpBen Rhodes: Could only clinch with helpStewart Friesen: Could only clinch with helpJohn Hunter Nemechek: Could only clinch with helpChandler Smith: Could only clinch with helpTy Majeski: Could only clinch with help
If there is a new winner from Carson Hocevar or another winless driver lower in the standings but still eligible to advance to the next round, the following drivers could clinch by being 56 points above the sixth winless driver in the standings.
Zane Smith: Could only clinch with helpBen Rhodes: Could only clinch with helpStewart Friesen: Could only clinch with helpJohn Hunter Nemechek: Could only clinch with helpChandler Smith: Could only clinch with help
Can Clinch via Win
The following drivers would clinch on their win alone: Zane Smith, Ben Rhodes, Stewart Friesen, John Hunter Nemechek, Chandler Smith, Ty Majeski, Carson Hocevar, Matt Crafton, and Christian Eckes.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Etc.
Camping World Truck Series Owners Playoffs Update — None of the current trucks in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Owners Playoffs won two weeks ago at Indianapolis, therefore the Front Row Motorsports No. 38 Ford leads the postseason standings by 14 points over ThorSport Racing‘s No. 99 Toyota and up 50 points over the Round of 8 cutline.
At the other end of the standings along the Round of 8 cutline sits Niece Motorsports‘ No. 42 Chevrolet in the eighth and final transfer spot on points, up seven points over ThorSport Racing‘s No. 98 team in ninth and 12 points up on Team DGR‘s No. 17 Ford.
Sunoco Rookie of the Year update — Kyle Busch Motorsport‘s Corey Heim posted a fifth-place finish two weeks ago at Indianapolis and in the process opened up his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year point standings lead over second place Lawless Alan by 62 points.
For most of the season, Heim was running a part-time schedule but has announced he will be in the No. 51 truck for the rest of the season in pursuit of the rookie of the year honors and the owners championship.
All four rookies entered this weekend at Richmond will be making their NASCAR Camping World Truck Series track debut.
— NASCAR —