NASCAR Cup Series
Next Race: NOCO 400
The Place: Martinsville Speedway
The Date: Sunday, April 16
The Time: 3 p.m. ET
The Purse: $7,324,203
TV: FS1, 2 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 210.4 miles (400 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 80), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 180), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 400)

NASCAR Xfinity Series
Next Race: Before You Dig. 250
The Place: Martinsville Speedway
The Date: Saturday, April 15
The Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
The Purse: $1,403,623
TV: FS1, 7 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 131.5 miles (250 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 60), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 120), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 250)

Next Race: Long John Silver’s 200
The Place: Martinsville Speedway
The Date: Friday, April 14
The Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
The Purse: $693,842
TV: FS1, 6:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 105.2 miles (200 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 50), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 100), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 200)

NASCAR Cup Series

Ring That Bell: Christopher Bell jumps to standings lead with Bristol Dirt victory

Rising like a rocket into the atmosphere, Joe Gibbs Racing‘s Christopher Bell has soared to the NASCAR Cup Series standings lead following his first win of the 2023 season at Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt. The win was the fifth of his career and his first at the half-mile track. Now, for the third consecutive season (2021-2023), the 28-year-old Oklahoma native has locked himself into the Playoffs and has also earned a spot in the NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race that will be held on May 21 at the historic North Wilkesboro Speedway.

Atop the standings, Bell holds a 13-point lead over Trackhouse Racing‘s Ross Chastain in second and a 26-point lead over Stewart-Haas Racing‘s veteran Kevin Harvick in third. Through eight race this season, Bell has put up one win (Bristol Dirt), five top fives (series-most) and six top 10s (tied with Alex Bowman for series-most). Bell is the seventh different winner and the fourth different points leader through the first eight races of the season.

“We knew this was going to be a good stretch of races,” said Bell. “Obviously wanted to capitalize on it.

Last year through the Playoffs, it was a really big eye opener of Playoff points, how important they are. Frankly, we didn’t have very many of them last year. The only thing that pays Playoff points is race wins and stage wins. Thankfully, we have five in the bank now and we need to get some more.”

Looking to Martinsville this weekend, Bell must be encouraged about keeping up this early season success, as he is the most recent winner at 0.526-mile track, taking the victory last Fall in the Playoff race to earn his spot in the Championship 4 Round.

“I feel good about going back to Martinsville,” said Bell. “It’s going to be certainly different with the low downforce package. But it’s different for everybody. I feel like we were the best car there in the Fall, so hopefully we can do our homework and make sure to study the differences between Richmond and Phoenix with the low downforce package and what we expect at Martinsville.”

In six NASCAR Cup Series starts at Martinsville Speedway, Bell has put up one win (2022), one top five and two top 10s. His average finish at the half-mile track is 14.6, and he has led 159 laps.

NASCAR Cup Series‘ short track swing culminates at Martinsville Speedway

Amid a short track swing on the 2023 season schedule, the NASCAR Cup Series heads to the half-mile Martinsville Speedway for the NOCO 400 this Sunday, April 16 at 3 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio — the third of three consecutive tracks measuring less than a mile (Richmond, Bristol and Martinsville).

Martinsville Speedway, at 0.526-mile in length, is the longest continuously running track on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule, and the only currently active track that was a part of the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series season in 1949. Martinsville Speedway was originally a dirt track and the facility hosted 12 NASCAR Cup Series races on the then dirt surface before paving the track in the late summer months of 1955, between the track‘s two Cup races that season.

In total, there have been 148 NASCAR Cup Series races held at Martinsville Speedway, one race in the inaugural year (1949) and two races per year since 1950. The first NASCAR Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway was on September 25, 1949 and won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Red Byron driving an Oldsmobile for car owner Raymond Parks. The first 500-lap Cup Series event at Martinsville Speedway was in 1956 and the event was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Buck Baker from the pole position. Baker was driving a 1956 Dodge for car owner Carl Kiekhaefer. The now famous concrete corners were added atop asphalt in 1976 making the already uniquely ‘paperclip‘ shaped track that much more one-of-a-kind.

Martinsville Speedway‘s 148 races have produced 63 different pole winners and 57 different race winners over the years. This weekend, 10 of the 57 NASCAR Cup Series Martinsville Speedway race winners are active.

RankActive Martinsville Race WinnersWinsSeasons1Denny Hamlin52015, 2010 sweep, 2009, 20082Martin Truex Jr32021, 2020, 20193Brad Keselowski22019, 20174Kyle Busch22017, 20165Christopher Bell120226William Byron120227Alex Bowman120218Chase Elliott120209Joey Logano1201810Kevin Harvick12011

NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty leads the NASCAR Cup Series in wins at Martinsville Speedway with 15 victories (1960, 1962, 1963, 1967 sweep, 1968, 1969 sweep, 1970, 1971, 1972 sweep, 1973, 1975, 1979) — the most any driver in the series has won at a single track; he also won 15 races at North Wilkesboro. Joe Gibbs Racing‘s Denny Hamlin leads the NASCAR Cup Series among active drivers in wins at Martinsville Speedway with five victories (2008, 2009, 2010 sweep, 2015).

All the NASCAR Cup Series action at Martinsville Speedway begins this Saturday, April 15 at 4:30 p.m. ET followed directly by Busch Light Pole Qualifying at 5:20 p.m. ET; both will be televised on FS2.

Short Track Wheelmen

Since the first NASCAR Cup Series season in 1949, short tracks — a track less than a mile in length — have graced the competitive schedule and been part of the fabric that makes up the sport.

NASCAR Hall of Famer aptly nicknamed ‘The King,‘ Richard Petty, scored 138 of his record 200 NASCAR Cup Series victories on short tracks — the series-most short-track wins all-time. He also holds the series record for the most wins at a single NASCAR Cup Series track; posting 15 victories at this weekend‘s venue, Martinsville Speedway and Petty also won 15 times at North Wilkesboro Speedway — the home to this season‘s NASCAR All-Star Race (May 21).

Among the active drivers, 14 have posted wins on short tracks in the NASCAR Cup Series, led by Richard Childress Racing‘s Kyle Busch with 26 short-track victories spread across all seven active short tracks — the only driver with wins all seven. Three drivers added their name to the short track winners list last season — Chase Briscoe with his Phoenix Raceway win last Spring, Christopher Bell with his Summer win at New Hampshire, and Chris Buescher with his Bristol Motor Speedway victory last Fall.

“I didn‘t grow up doing this kind of racing, so I had a really hard time when it came to short tracks,” said Briscoe. “It‘s a different kind of aggressive driving and you really have to have a car that can stick to the bottom and turn well to be able to do anything. I think the biggest thing I‘ve had to learn, and I think it‘s probably something I‘ve just had to learn in general, but taking care of the tires is so important. It‘s a long race, tempers get heated and, if you end up using everything up, you‘re going to get run over or moved out of the way.”

Active Short Track WinnersBreakdown Of Short Track Wins By TrackActive DriversWins TotalBristolBristol DirtDoverLoudonMartinsvillePhoenixRichmondKyle Busch268133236Kevin Harvick243034194Denny Hamlin172013524Joey Logano112102132Brad Keselowski103012202Martin Truex Jr100030313Kyle Larson51010012Chase Elliott40020110Alex Bowman30010101Christopher Bell30101100William Byron20000110Aric Almirola10001000Chase Briscoe10000010Chris Buescher11000000

Nine of the 14 active NASCAR Cup Series short track winners are looking for their first victory of 2023 – Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr., Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman, Aric Almirola, Chase Briscoe and Chris Buescher. Of the nine, six have previously won in the NASCAR Cup Series at Martinsville Speedway — Hamlin (five wins), Truex Jr. (three wins), Keselowski (two wins), Harvick, Elliott and Bowman (each have one win).

Additionally, Stewart-Haas Racing‘s Kevin Harvick is the only NASCAR Cup Series driver to win in all three NASCAR national series at Martinsville Speedway (NCS: 2011, NXS: 2006, NCTS: 2009, 2010, 2012).

“It‘s just a challenging racetrack,” said Harvick. “Martinsville can eat you up pretty quickly with somebody else‘s mistake, or you can get behind pretty quickly. You just have to be able to be aggressive without getting your stuff torn up. If something‘s not right, it‘ll put you behind in a hurry.”

Harvick (2006) and Ty Gibbs (2022) are the only two active Cup drivers with Xfinity wins at Martinsville.

In addition, seven other drivers entered this weekend have won in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series at Martinsville Speedway – 23XI Racing‘s Bubba Wallace has two wins (2013, 2014), Joe Gibbs Racing‘s Denny Hamlin (2011, 2012) and Richard Childress Racing‘s Kyle Busch (2016, 2019) each have two wins, Hendrick Motorsport‘s drivers Chase Elliott (2017) and William Byron (2022) and Legacy Motor Club‘s Noah Gragson (2017) each have one Truck Series win and Team Penske‘s Joey Logano also has one win (2015).

Virginia native Denny Hamlin returns to Martinsville

Joe Gibbs Racing‘s Denny Hamlin returns to Martinsville Speedway, one of his most successful tracks, looking for his first win of the 2023 season. The Chesterfield, Virginia, native leads the NASCAR Cup Series in victories at the historic Martinsville Speedway with five wins (2008, 2009, 2010 sweep, 2015) and has all the intentions of making it six in Sunday afternoon‘s NOCO 400 (April 16 at 3 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Among active drivers, Hamlin is one of the most prolific active short track competitors in the series. He is ranked third in short track Cup wins among active drivers with 17 victories across six of the seven active short tracks.

“I think the racing will be better than what we saw last year,” said Hamlin when asked about Martinsville. “The aero package this year has helped with some of the problems we had, but definitely not all of them. You‘re still going to have to shift at both ends every lap, so that‘s going to be a factor and will make it difficult to pass. But like in the fall, we had a strong car and were able to make passes on guys, so I‘m looking forward to this weekend. I think this is a good stretch for me and our 11 team based on past results. We need to take advantage of these upcoming tracks to get some stage points and be up front in contention for wins.”

At Martinsville, Hamlin has made 34 series starts posting four poles, five wins, 17 top fives and 23 top 10s. But his Martinsville Speedway accolades don‘t stop there, the NASCAR Cup Series pre-race Loop Data has him either first or second in every category among active drivers heading into Sunday — Average Running Position of 9.681 (second-best), Driver Rating of 104.6 (second-best), 1,191 Fastest Laps Run (series-best), 13,423 Laps in the Top 15 (79.2%) (series-most), 1,122 Quality Passes (series-most).

Next Gen car‘s performance with the new ‘selected road course & short track package‘

In the NASCAR Cup Series Next Gen car‘s sophomore season, NASCAR has introduced a new ‘selected road course and short track package‘ that has lowered the downforce on the cars for all tracks that are road courses and ovals less than a 1.1-miles in length (excluding Bristol and Dover). The results in the first two short tracks that ran the new package (Phoenix and Richmond) saw significant increases year-over-year in green flag passes for the lead and total green flag passes throughout the field.

Richmond Raceway‘s 2023 Cup race (35 GFPL) set a new track record and saw an increase of +288.9% in green flag passes for the lead compared to the 2022 Richmond-1 event with nine green flag passes for the lead.

Richmond (3,816 GFP) also set a new track record and saw an increase of +24.2% in total green flag passes compared to the 2022 Richond-1 event with 3,072 total green flag passes.

Phoenix Raceway also saw increases of +7.7% year-over-year in green flag passes for the lead and +25.6% year-over-year in total green flag passes.

The Selected Road Course & Short Track Package consists of the following:

2” SpoilerRemove Engine Panel StrakesRemove Center and Inner Diffuser Strakes. Only the Outer Diffuser Strakes will remain installed. Spacers will be installed between the diffuser flap and diffuser due to removing the inner diffuser strakes.Remove Diffuser Fences and Replace with Baseline Fences.Splitter stuffers will remain unchanged from the current components.

The rules are in place at the following tracks: Charlotte Roval, Chicago Street Course, Circuit of The Americas, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course, Martinsville, New Hampshire, North Wilkesboro, Phoenix, Richmond, Sonoma and Watkins Glen.

NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.

Sunoco Rookie Update: Gibbs is performing at a high level — Through eight races this season, Joe Gibbs Racing‘s Ty Gibbs has been performing at a high level and in doing so has opened up the 2023 Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings lead to 83 points over Legacy Motor Club‘s Noah Gragson in second.

“Our team has done a good job and we‘ve finished well throughout the last month,” said Gibbs. “It‘s a credit to everyone on the 54 team and at Joe Gibbs Racing. The next step is trying to finish in the top-five, but we‘re just going to keep our heads down and keep working. I like Martinsville and I think we‘ll bring a good Monster Energy Toyota Camry TRD.”

This season, Gibbs has collected four top-10 finishes in eight starts. His average finish this season is 16.0.

Zane Smith named as replacement driver for No. 51 Rick Ware Racing entry at Martinsville — Following the indefinite suspension of Cody Ware this week, Rick Ware Racing has tapped 2022 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series champion Zane Smith to pilot the No. 51 Ford at Martinsville Speedway this weekend in the NOCO 400 on Sunday, April 16 at 3 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Smith has made three previous career starts in the NASCAR Cup Series posting an average finish of 20.3.

This will be Smith‘s series track debut at Martinsville Speedway. Though, the 24-year-old has made three starts in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series at Martinsville posting one win (2021), two top fives and three top 10s.

Run It Back: 2023 Season Stat Leaders — Below is a look at the NASCAR Cup Series 2023 season statical leaders through the first eight races:

Wins: William Byron (two: Las Vegas, Phoenix)Poles: Joey Logano (two: Las Vegas, Atlanta)Top Fives: Christopher Bell (five)Top 10s: Christopher Bell, Alex Bowman (six each)Driver Rating: William Byron (104.8)Average Running Position: William Byron (8.011)Fastest Laps Run: Kyle Larson (195)Laps Led: Kyle Larson (438 laps led, 22.07%)Laps In The Top 15: Alex Bowman (1,711 laps, 86.2%)Laps On The Lead Lap: Denny Hamlin (1,970 laps, 99.34%)Quality Passes (Passes In The Top 15): Denny Hamlin (708)Green Flag Passes: Justin Haley (1,405)

Brief history of the unique NASCAR trophy at Martinsville Speedway — There is nothing else out there like it and that‘s what makes it so unique, the Martinsville Speedway trophy that is. The seven-foot-tall trophy is known as the ‘Grandfather Clock‘ or the Ridgeway Clock. It was presented for the first time in 1964 to NASCAR Hall of Famer Fred Lorenzen. Back then, and for many years, the trophy was manufactured just down the road from the iconic short-track. Clockmakers Howard Miller then bought Ridgeway, who were the manufacturers of the clock, and started making them in their unit in Zeeland, Michigan.

Chase Elliott to return to competition at Martinsville Speedway — Hendrick Motorsports driver Chase Elliott will return to the No. 9 Chevrolet in the April 16 NASCAR Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway after recovering from a leg injury.

Elliott, 27, suffered a fractured tibia while snowboarding on March 3 and underwent successful surgery at The Steadman Clinic, a U.S. Olympic National Medical Center in Vail, Colorado. The 2020 Cup Series champion rehabilitated in Colorado before returning to his home in Dawsonville, Georgia, in late March to continue physical therapy.

After being medically cleared Tuesday, Elliott tested Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning in the Chevrolet Driver-in-the-Loop simulator in Concord, North Carolina, before making the final decision to return at Martinsville.

“We‘re looking forward to having Chase back in his race car to pick up where he left off,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “Since the injury, he‘s worked extremely hard and focused all his time and energy on returning to the No. 9 team. Throughout the last six weeks, he‘s stayed fully engaged with everything we‘re doing, and we know he‘s chomping at the bit to get on the racetrack and compete for wins.”

NASCAR Xfinity Series

The NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to the ‘Paperclip‘ of short tracks

After a week off, the NASCAR Xfinity Series will be back in action this Saturday, April 15 at 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio for some short track beatin‘ and bangin‘ in the Before You Dig. 250 at Martinsville Speedway — the eighth race of 2023 season.

In total, there have been 39 NASCAR Xfinity Series races held at Martinsville Speedway, producing 25 different race winners and 20 different pole winners. Sam Ard won the inaugural race in 1982 and went on to win four more times (1982 sweep, 1983 sweep), making him the record holder for the most Xfinity Series wins at the Martinsville track with five. Brett Bodine holds the Xfinity Series record for the most poles at Martinsville with five (1985, 1986, 1987 sweep).

Other drivers that have etched their names in the Martinsville Speedway NASCAR Xfinity Series record books are NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett with the most top fives (11), Jimmy Hensley and Tommy Houston are tied for the most top 10s (17) and Tommy Ellis leads the series with the most laps led (713).

Six races have been won from the pole or first starting position, but the last time it was done was in 1987 by driver Jimmy Hensley. Sam Ard leads the series in wins from the pole at Martinsville with three of his five track wins coming from the first starting position.

The first of the NASCAR Xfinity Series on-track activity will take place at 5 p.m. ET on Friday, April 14 with practice followed by qualifying at 5:35 p.m. ET on FS1.

Allgaier, Berry, Smith and Nemechek are set to Dash 4 Cash at Martinsville

Four drivers competed in the first segment of the NASCAR Xfinity Series‘ Dash 4 Cash at Richmond Raceway two weeks ago (Justin Allgaier, Sam Mayer, Daniel Hemric and Sammy Smith), and it was JR Motorsport‘s Justin Allgaier who dashed his way to the first $100,000 bonus check. With the Dash 4 Cash win, Allgaier has secured his spot in the second segment of the Dash 4 Cash this weekend at Martinsville Speedway and will be joined by his JR Motorsports teammate Josh Berry, Kaulig Racing‘s Chandler Smith and Joe Gibbs Racing‘s John Hunter Nemechek.

Justin Allgaier has five starts under his belt at Martinsville, posting three top fives and four top 10s. His most recent finish at the track was fifth last Fall.

Josh Berry, who has been extra busy this season filling in for an injured Chase Elliott in the NASCAR Cup Series, is the only driver in the competition that has posted a Xfinity Series win at Martinsville (2021). In his four career starts on the half-mile, he has managed one win, one top five, one top 10 and has led 135 laps. His most recent finish at the track was 20th last October.

Both Smith and Nemechek will be making their NASCAR Xfinity Series career debuts at the 0.526-mile Martinsville short track this weekend.

Eyes on the prize: Martinsville Edition

Two previous winners are entered in this weekend‘s Before You Dig 250 at Martinsville Speedway (Saturday, April 15 at 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) — JR Motorsports teammates Josh Berry and Brandon Jones.

Berry raced his way to the checkered flag at Martinsville in 2021 after starting from the 29th position. He led for 95 of the 250 laps.

Jones snagged his win last season (2022), then driving a Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. In his five starts, he‘s posted one win, one pole, two top fives, four top 10s and has led 142 laps.

While these drivers will be sure to push for a second win, other drivers will be putting up a fight to post their first on the Martinsville track.

Richard Childress Racing‘s Austin Hill only has two stints on the short track (2022) but has put up some good numbers. He posted a fourth-place finish at the spring race and a ninth-place finish in the fall race, an impressive finish considering he navigated his way to the front from the 36th position.

JRM‘s Sam Mayer has posted a top-10 finish in all three of his Martinsville starts — fourth (2021), fifth and sixth, respectively (2022). The 20-year-old driver has yet to post a Xfinity Series win so he will be sure to try to land his No. 1 Chevrolet in Victory Lane.

Sunoco Rookie of the Year battle continues

The 2023 Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders have seven races under their belts as they head to Martinsville Speedway for some short track racing.

Currently leading the pack is the Xfinity Series‘ most recent winner, Chandler Smith. The Kaulig Racing driver has secured his spot in the Playoffs with his one win (Richmond), four top fives four top 10s. He sits with 253 points.

Sliding in next is Joe Gibbs Racing‘s Sammy Smith, who also secured his spot in the Playoffs with his first Xfinity Series career win at Phoenix Raceway earlier this season. He has racked up 203 points with his one win, two top fives and two top 10s.

Jordan Anderson Racing‘s Parker Retzlaff is third in the rookie class with 121 points. He has posted one top five and one top 10 in his seven starts this season.

Closing out the competition is Blaine Perkins with 37 points.

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

Kaden Honeycutt to join CHK Racing at Martinsville — Kaden Honeycutt will be attempting to make his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut this weekend behind the wheel of the No. 74 Chevrolet with CHK Racing.

Honeycutt races in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series and part time in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series. His debut in the Truck Series was also at Martinsville Speedway last season.

“I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to run for Mike Harmon and Gary Keller at Martinsville,” said Honeycutt. “It is one of the best tracks on the schedule and it is definitely one that we can really make something happen for sure.”

Corey Heim to make Xfinity Series debut at Dover— NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series regular Corey Heim will be getting behind the wheel of the No. 24 Sam Hunt Racing Toyota at Dover Motor Speedway to make his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut.

The 20-year-old driver won the Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in the Truck Series last season and posted two wins (Atlanta, Gateway).

“It means so much to get a start in the Xfinity Series,” said Heim. “I‘ve watched all three national series of NASCAR for as long as I can remember, and to be able to make the next step up is a dream come true.”


CRAFTSMAN Truck Series takes on “The Paperclip” under the lights

This weekend‘s Long John Silver‘s 200 at Martinsville Speedway (Friday, April 14 at 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) marks the 45th NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series race hosted by the half-mile short track. The inaugural event dates back to September 25, 1995, where Joe Ruttman led the final two laps to take the win.

The 45 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series races at Martinsville Speedway have produced 29 different pole winners and 32 different race winners. Nine races have been won from the pole or first starting position with the last victor being Chase Elliott (2017).

Four of the 32 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Martinsville Speedway race winners are entered in this weekend‘s Truck Series race — Kyle Busch (2016, 2019), Matt Crafton (2014, 2015), Grant Enfinger (2020), and Zane Smith (2021).

ThorSport Racing‘s Matt Crafton has raced 39 of the 45 Truck Series races at the paperclip-shaped track — the most of any driver. Crafton leads the series at Martinsville with 11 top fives, 23 top 10s, 34 lead lap finishes, and 8,612 laps completed.

The NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series will get the weekend jump started with practice and qualifying on Friday, April 14 at 3:05 p.m. ET on FS1.

Hot streak: Nine different winners in last nine races at Martinsville

Martinsville Speedway continues to uphold its race winner streak with nine different NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series winners that dates back to 2017. The streak is currently tied with Phoenix Raceway (11/7/2014 — 11/4/22) and Bristol Motor Speedway (8/21/2014 — 9/15/2022) for the longest active streaks in the Truck Series.

The different winners streak started in 2017 when Chase Elliott took the checkered flag in the spring race, followed by Noah Gragson in the fall, then John Hunter Nemechek (2018 spring), Johnny Sauter (2018 fall), Kyle Busch (2019 spring), Todd Gilliland (2019 fall), Grant Enfinger (2020), Zane Smith (2021), and William Byron (2022).

As the series returns to the half-mile track with four previous winners entered, will we see a previous winner in Victory Lane, or will the streak stay alive?

Ben Rhodes is familiar with “The Paperclip.” The driver of the No. 99 ThorSport Racing Ford has had back-to-back impressive finishes at the track, cracking both the top five (2022) and the top 10 (2021).

William Sawalich, Jonathan Shafer, and Memphis Villarreal attempt to make Truck Series debut

Of the 38 entries for 36 spots in this weekend‘s Long John Silver‘s 200, three drivers will attempt to make their NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series track debut.

William Sawalich will be getting behind the wheel of the No. 1 TRICON Garage Toyota. Sawalich is a first-generation racecar driver from Eden Prairie, Minnesota. He started racing at the mere age of nine with the goal of becoming the first person from Minnesota to win a NASCAR Truck, Xfinity, and Cup Series race. His racing resume includes the ARCA Menards Series, Late Model Stock Series, and the Super Late Model Series.

Jonathan Shafer, a winner in the CARS Late Model Stock Tour last season, will make his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut piloting the On Point Motorsports No. 30 Toyota. Shafer has competed in several different racing divisions throughout his career, starting at four and a half years old racing USAC quarter midgets.

Memphis Villarreal will attempt his series debut in the No. 46 G2G Racing Toyota. Although primarily a dirt track racer, the Texas native will finally live his dream of racing at Martinsville Speedway.


Brad Perez looks to make first-career oval start In the No. 20 Young‘s Motorsports Chevrolet is first-generation racer, Brad Perez. All six of Perez‘s NASCAR starts since his debut in 2022 have come on road courses, and he has finished every race within the top-25.

With the change of pace, Perez quipped he is “excited to turn left finally.”

Sanchez maintains Sunoco Rookie of the Year lead — As the 2023 CRAFTSMAN Sunoco rookies head to Martinsville Speedway, Rev Racing‘s Nick Sanchez continues to dominate the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings, 20 points ahead of McAnally Hilgemann Racing‘s Jake Garcia who is closing the gap in second.

Sanchez has been the leader of the rookie standings most of the season. In six starts he has put up two poles, one top five and two top 10s. He has also led 187 laps this season.

Garcia, who is only 20 points back from Sanchez in the rookie standings, has earned the most Sunoco Rookie of the Race Award for his sixth-place finish at Bristol Dirt. This season, Garcia has put up one top five and three top 10s.

NCTS Sunoco Rookie of the Year StandingsRookiesPointsAwardsNick Sanchez1483Jake Garcia1283Rajah Caruth1060Daniel Dye920Bret Holmes790Taylor Gray440


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