NASCAR Cup Series
Next Race: NASCAR All-Star Race
The Place: North Wilkesboro Speedway
The Date: Sunday, May 21
The Time: 8 p.m. ET
The Purse: $3,563,159
TV: FS1, 7 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 125 miles (200 Laps)
NASCAR Cup Series
Next Race: All-Star Open
The Place: North Wilkesboro Speedway
The Date: Sunday, May 21
The Time: 5 p.m. ET
The Purse: $664,600
TV: FS1, 5 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 62.5 miles (100 Laps)
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Next Race: Alsco Uniforms 300
The Place: Charlotte Motor Speedway
The Date: Saturday, May 27
The Time: 1 p.m. ET
The Purse: $1,317,391
TV: FS1, 12:30 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 300 miles (200 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 45), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 200)
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series
Next Race: Tyson 250
The Place: North Wilkesboro Speedway
The Date: Saturday, May 20
The Time: 1:30 p.m. ET
The Purse: $696,922
TV: FS1, 1 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 156.25 miles (250 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 70), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 140), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 250)
NASCAR Cup Series
Back To Its Roots: NASCAR celebrates 75th anniversary with All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro
To help celebrate the 75th anniversary of NASCAR, the sport is going back to its roots at North Wilkesboro Speedway. Deemed as the ‘Field of Dreams of Racing,‘ this will be the first time the NASCAR Cup Series has returned to North Wilkesboro Speedway since 1996. It will also be first time, the NASCAR All-Star race and the All-Star Open will take place at 0.625-mile paved oval located just five miles outside North Wilkesboro, North Carolina. This Sunday, May 21, the All-Star Open is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. ET and the main event, the NASCAR All-Star Race, will follow at 8 p.m. ET — both will be broadcast on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio — with over $1 million dollars up for grabs.
The NASCAR All-Star Race was introduced in 1985 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and the first All-Star race was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip and crew chief Jeff Hammond. Waltrip led 27 laps in the 70-lap inaugural All-Star event en route to the win driving the No. 11 Junior Johnson & Associates Buick. It was Waltrip‘s only career All-Star win.
This weekend‘s NASCAR All-Star Race will be the 39th running of the prized exhibition race and North Wilkesboro is the fifth different track to host the event; joining Charlotte Motor Speedway (34 All-Star races: 1985, 1987-2019), Atlanta Motor Speedway (1986), Bristol Motor Speedway (2020) and Texas Motor Speedway (2021-2022).
The second NASCAR All-Star Race in 1986 was held at Atlanta Motor Speedway and the event was dominated by NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, who set the record for the most laps led in a NASCAR All-Star Race by a driver that won the event, leading 82 of the scheduled 83 laps (98.8%). Elliott started the event in the second starting position. Twice the NASCAR All-Star Race has been led by one driver flag-to-flag and both occurred at Charlotte; Dale Earnhardt led all 70 laps in 1990 and Davey Allison led all 70 laps (100%) in 1991.
The next 33 All-Star events would be held at Charlotte Motor Speedway until the 2020 season due to the restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic the race was rescheduled and moved to Bristol Motor Speedway. Hendrick Motorsports driver Chase Elliott grabbed his first NASCAR All-Star Race win at Bristol that season. The win made the Elliotts (Bill and Chase) the second father-son duo to win the NASCAR All-Star Race all-time, joining the Earnhardts (Dale and Dale Jr.).
Then in 2021, the special non-points event was moved to Texas Motor Speedway for the first time. And for the second straight season, the NASCAR All-Star Race was won by a Hendrick Motorsports driver — Kyle Larson. Hendrick Motorsports leads the NASCAR Cup Series in NASCAR All-Star race victories with 10 wins among five drivers – Jimmie Johnson (four: 2003, 2006, 2012, 2013), Jeff Gordon (three: 1995, 1997, 2001), Terry Labonte (1999), Chase Elliott (2020) and Kyle Larson (2021). It also was the second consecutive season the NASCAR All-Star Race winner went on to win the NASCAR Cup Series Championship in the same season. The feat has occurred 12 times since the inception of the All-Star race in 1985 by seven different drivers – Darrell Waltrip (1985), Dale Earnhardt (1987, 1990, 1993), Rusty Wallace (1989), Jeff Gordon (1995, 1997, 2001), Jimmie Johnson (2006, 2013), Chase Elliott (2020) and Kyle Larson (2021).
Last season‘s NASCAR All-Star race at Texas Motor Speedway was won by Team Penske‘s Ryan Blaney. Blaney dominated the event once getting out front leading 84 of the 140 scheduled laps (60%). It was his first victory in the special non-points event and the fourth for Team Penske — Blaney (2022), Joey Logano (2016), Kurt Busch (2010), Ryan Newman (2002).
In total, the 38 NASCAR All-Star Races have produced 26 different winners, led by the recently retired Jimmie Johnson with four All-Star wins (2003, 2006, 2012 and 2013). Stewart-Haas Racing‘s Kevin Harvick (2007, 2018) and Hendrick Motorsport‘s Kyle Larson (2019, 2021) lead all active drivers in NASCAR All-Star Race wins with two each. In total, eight former NASCAR All-Star Race winners are entered this weekend:
RankActive All-Star WinnersWinsSeasons1Kyle Larson22021, 20192Kevin Harvick22018, 20073Ryan Blaney120224Chase Elliott120205Kyle Busch120176Joey Logano120167Denny Hamlin120158Ryan Newman12002
The 38 NASCAR All-Star Races have also produced 18 different pole winners; four of the 18 are active this weekend:
RankActive All-Star Pole WinnersPolesSeasons1Kyle Busch42022, 2012, 2011, 20082Kyle Larson120173Denny Hamlin120154Ryan Newman12005
The NASCAR All-Star Race has been won from the pole or first starting position six times by five different drivers, the first three came in consecutive years – Dale Earnhardt (1990), Davey Allison (1991, 1992), Kurt Busch (2010), Denny Hamlin (2015) and Kyle Larson (2021).
The on-track activity for the NASCAR Cup Series at North Wilkesboro Speedway will begin on Friday, May 19 with practice for both the All-Star Open and the NASCAR All-Star Race from 4 p.m. — 4:50 p.m. ET directly followed by Qualifying — The Pit Crew Challenge – for the NASCAR All-Star Race & Open at 5:45 p.m. ET — both events will be televised on FS1.
2023 All-Star Open and NASCAR All-Star Race Formats
This season‘s NASCAR All-Star Weekend will have a simplified format — featuring two heat races to set the starting lineup, a 100-lap All-Star Open and a 200-lap main event — putting the spotlight of the weekend on the historic 0.625-mile track, North Wilkesboro Speedway, which will host its first NASCAR competition since 1996.
The NASCAR All-Star Race & Open Qualifying (Pit Crew Challenge) formats are as follows:
The Pit Crew Challenge on Friday (May 19) will determine the starting lineups for the two Heat races and the Open.Pit Crew Challenge order is determined by current driver point standings in reverse (going from last to first).Each car‘s qualifying time will be based solely on their pit stop time from the Pit Crew Challenge.Timing lines will be established one box behind and one box ahead of the designated pit box.Teams must complete a four-tire stop during the Pit Crew Challenge.
NASCAR All-Star Heat Race format is as follows:
The 21 drivers already locked into the NASCAR All-Star Race field will be split into two 60-lap (37.5 miles) Heat races on Saturday night (May 20) which will determine the starting lineup for the All-Star Race.All laps (caution and green flag) will count.Each Heat race will get one chance at overtime if needed.Results of Heat 1 will establish the inside row, results of Heat 2 will establish the outside row.The remaining teams not already locked into the NASCAR All-Star Race will compete in the All-Star Open.
NASCAR All-Star Open format is as follows:
The All-Star Open on Sunday (May 21) will feature drivers not previously eligible for the All-Star Race.The All-Star Open will be 100 laps (62.5 miles).All laps (caution and green flag) will count.The Open will get one chance at overtime if needed.A competition break at or around Lap 40.Three Open drivers will advance to the All-Star Race — the top two race finishers and the Fan Vote Winner.
The NASCAR All-Star Race format is as follows:
Technical rules for the cars will remain the same as other NASCAR Cup Series short track races.The NASCAR All-Star Race will be 200 laps (125 miles).A competition break at or around Lap 100 (halfway).All laps (caution and green flag) will count.NASCAR Overtime rules are in effect (unlimited attempts).Each team will start on sticker tires for the All-Star Race and have three additional sets to use.After the competition break, only one additional set of stickers can be used.All-Star Race winner earns over $1 million in prize money.
Who‘s already locked into the Main Event — the 2023 NASCAR All-Stars
Heading into this weekend at North Wilkesboro Speedway, 21 different drivers have earned their spot in the NASCAR All-Star Race on May 21 at 8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
All-Star Eligibility for 2023: Those eligible for the NASCAR All-Star Race include drivers who won a points event in either 2022 or 2023, drivers who won a NASCAR All-Star Race and compete fulltime and drivers who won a NASCAR Cup Series championship and compete fulltime.
EntryCarAll-Star DriversOrganizationCrew ChiefManufacturer11Ross ChastainTrackhouse RacingPhil SurgenChevrolet22Austin CindricTeam PenskeJeremy BullinsFord33Austin DillonRichard Childress RacingKeith RoddenChevrolet44Kevin HarvickStewart Haas RacingRodney ChildersFord55Kyle LarsonHendrick MotorsportsCliff DanielsChevrolet66Brad KeselowskiRFK RacingMatt McCallFord78Kyle BuschRichard Childress RacingRandall BurnettChevrolet89Chase ElliottHendrick MotorsportsAlan GustafsonChevrolet911Denny HamlinJoe Gibbs RacingChris GabehartToyota1012Ryan BlaneyTeam PenskeJonathan HasslerFord1114Chase BriscoeStewart Haas RacingJohn KlausmeierFord1217Chris BuescherRFK RacingScott GravesFord1319Martin Truex, JrJoe Gibbs RacingJames SmallToyota1420Christopher BellJoe Gibbs RacingAdam StevensToyota1522Joey LoganoTeam PenskePaul WolfeFord1623Bubba Wallace23XI RacingBootie BarkerToyota1724William ByronHendrick MotorsportsRyan FugleChevrolet1843Erik JonesLEGACY MOTOR CLUBDavid ElenzChevrolet1945Tyler Reddick23XI RacingBilly ScottToyota2047Ricky StenhouseJTG Daugherty RacingMichael KelleyChevrolet2199Daniel SuárezTrackhouse RacingTravis MackChevrolet
Of the 21 drivers already entered in the NASCAR All-Star race, seven have previously scored wins in the annual exhibition event, led by Kevin Harvick (2007, 2018) and Kyle Larson (2019, 2021) with two All-Star victories each. Team Penske‘s Ryan Blaney is the most recent NASCAR All-Star race winner, bringing home the victory from Texas Motor Speedway last season.
“I’ve only ever driven by North Wilkesboro and known it as a closed racetrack,” said Ross Chastain, one of the 21 drivers currently eligible for the NASCAR All-Star Race. “There has been a lot of hype over this race weekend and obviously Marcus Smith and a lot of others have put a lot of effort into making it happen. It will be fun to go up there and check it all out. I’m going to get my feet wet with the late model race and hopefully get more comfortable with the track, and then the truck race on Saturday afternoon before going for the million dollars on Sunday night.”
In total, 24 drivers will make a start in this season‘s NASCAR All-Star Race — the 21 drivers that earned a spot in the event and three additional positions will be added to the NASCAR All-Star Race field following the All-Star Open — the All-Star Open Winner, the All-Star Open runner-up finisher and the Fan Vote Winner.
A glimpse into the NASCAR All-Star Open
The NASCAR All-Star Open was first introduced into the All-Star format on May 11, 1986, at Atlanta Motor Speedway; the non-points special event was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Benny Parsons with crew chief Cliff Champion, but it did not grant the team entry to the All-Star Race; that started the following season. Parsons won the first All-Star Open driving a Jackson Brothers Racing‘s Oldsmobile in 1986. This season, three drivers from the NASCAR All-Star Open will move on to compete in the NASCAR All-Star Race — The All-Star Open winner, the All-Star Open runner-up finisher, and the Fan Vote Winner.
There have been 40 NASCAR All-Star Open events, one per year since 1986; except in 2000, 2001 and 2002, it was held as two events with both of the winners moving on to the All-Star Race. Starting in 2015, the All-Star Open was broken up into segments and then in 2017 it was divided into stages and each winner of the segments, or the stages earned a spot in the All-Star Race.
The All-Star Open has featured a field that has ranged from 36 drivers from 1994-1996 to 14 drivers in the inaugural event in 1986. Last season‘s All-Star Open field at Texas had 16 participants and this weekend‘s event at North Wilkesboro Speedway is also anticipating 16 participants.
A total of 29 different drivers have won the NASCAR All-Star Open from 1986-2022, and six of the 29 former All-Star Open winners are active this weekend, but two of them already earned spots in the All-Star Race this season (Kyle Larson and Martin Truex Jr.).
Active Open Winners (6)WinsSeasonsDaniel Suarez22022, 2017Kyle Larson22019, 2016AJ Allmendinger22018, 2008Martin Truex Jr22010, 2007Aric Almirola12021Ryan Newman12002
Sterling Marlin leads the NASCAR Cup Series in NASCAR All-Star Open wins with four victories (1988, 1989, 1993 and 2004).
Eight of the 29 NASCAR All-Star Open winners have multiple wins — Sterling Marlin (four wins), AJ Allmendinger, Clint Bowyer, Jeremy Mayfield, Martin Truex Jr., Michael Waltrip, Kyle Larson and Todd Bodine each have two Open victories. And three drivers have won consecutive NASCAR All-Star Open events — Sterling Marlin (1988-89), Michael Waltrip (1991-92) and Clint Bowyer (2014-15).
Ryan Newman (2002) and Kyle Larson (2019) are the only two drivers to win the NASCAR Open and the All-Star Race in the same weekend.
Here are the 16 All-Star Open drivers vying for the three available positions in the NASCAR All-Star Race on Sunday.
EntryCarOpen DriversOrganizationCrew ChiefManufacturer17Corey LaJoieSpire MotorsportsRyan SparksChevrolet210Aric AlmirolaStewart Haas RacingDrew BlickensderferFord313Chandler Smith (i)Kaulig RacingEddie PardueChevrolet415JJ YeleyRick Ware RacingBilly PlourdeFord516AJ AllmendingerKaulig RacingMatt SwiderskiChevrolet621Harrison BurtonWood Brothers RacingBrian WilsonFord731Justin HaleyKaulig RacingTrent OwensChevrolet834Michael McDowellFront Row MotorsportsTravis PetersonFord938Todd GillilandFront Row MotorsportsRyan BergentyFord1041Ryan PreeceStewart Haas RacingChad JohnstonFord1142Noah GragsonLEGACY MOTOR CLUBLuke LambertChevrolet1248Josh Berry (i)Hendrick MotorsportsBlake HarrisChevrolet1351Ryan NewmanRick Ware RacingJerry KelleyFord1454Ty GibbsJoe Gibbs RacingChris GayleToyota1577Ty DillonSpire MotorsportsKevin BellicourtChevrolet1678Josh Bilicki (i)Live Fast MotorsportsDavid IngramChevrolet
NASCAR.com‘s All-Star Fan Vote is still underway
The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race is this Sunday, May 21 and is approaching fast, but the Fan Vote is still going strong for the big event at North Wilkesboro Speedway. Voting will be open until 9 a.m. ET on Sunday May 21.
Fans can vote here for one eligible driver once a day per unique email address.
The Fan vote began in 2004 with Ken Schrader earning the first accolades during an All-Star Weekend. In total, 16 different drivers have won the NASCAR Fan Vote during All-Star Weekend.
In 2008, Kasey Kahne became the first driver to get into the NASCAR All-Star Race by the Fan Vote and go on to win the event. Kahne started 24th (last place) in the All-Star race and won. He led the final 17 laps to win.
Danica Patrick became the first driver to win more than one Fan Vote into the NASCAR All-Star Race (2013, 2015). She also is the only female to win the Fan Vote into the All-Star race.
Chase Elliott became the first driver to win the Fan Vote in consecutive seasons (2016, 2017, 2018), and also the first driver to win it three times — Elliott leads the series in Fan Vote wins.
Chase Elliott, Kasey Kahne, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Joey Logano and Carl Edwards are the only five drivers who have won the NASCAR All-Star Race and the Fan Vote in their careers – Kahne won both in 2008, Earnhardt Jr. won the All-Star Race in 2000 and the Fan Vote in 2011. Logano won the Fan Vote in 2009 and the All-Star Race in 2016. Edwards won the Fan Vote in 2010 and the All-Star Race in 2011. Elliott won the Fan Vote from 2016-2018 and the All-Star Race in 2020.
NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.
North Wilkesboro Speedway is a gem worth polishing — What better place to hold a NASCAR All-Star Race in the 75th anniversary of the sport than the track that has sat idle since 1996 and is enjoying its revival through the advocacy of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the enthusiastic cooperation of Speedway Motorsports president and CEO Marcus Smith.
“There‘s something about it, it‘s just got a special place in our history,” Earnhardt said. “And I‘m so excited to see what can happen beyond this. The All-Star Race is a great thing, but going forward North Wilkesboro can continue to contribute to our lives and to our family‘s lives.”
The 0.625-mile oval was part of NASCAR‘s foundation in its earliest years, joining the Modified Division schedule in 1948. The track hosted the year-ending race for the Cup Series — then called Strictly Stock — in its first season in 1949. It became an annual stop on the schedule, hosting two races a year starting in 1951. North Wilkesboro became popular amongst competitors and fans for its close quarter racing but also its unique layout with the frontstretch running downhill and the backstretch going uphill. In total, North Wilkesboro Speedway has hosted 93 Cup Series points-paying races from 1949-1996. North Wilkesboro Speedway was originally a dirt track, with the first 14 of the 93 races being run on dirt before the track was paved between Cup Series races in 1957.
Speedway Motorsports founder Bruton Smith purchased 50 percent interest in North Wilkesboro in 1995, after the death of track developer and owner Enoch Staley. In 1996, then New Hampshire Motor Speedway owner Bob Bahre bought the remaining 50 percent from the Staley family.
After 1996 track sat mostly dormant — except for a brief revival 12 years ago — until an $18 million allocation from the federal American Rescue Plan moved through the North Carolina state budget recently. Those funds were designated for infrastructure improvements and helped to rejuvenate the track this year. An agreement was also struck for an additional $4M grant from the general assembly for additional facility upgrades for the All-Star weekend. The total for the revitalization project is now north of $22 million.
“North Wilkesboro is going to remain historic, and it will remain authentic, but it will also be modern, and that will be a great thing to see,” Earnhardt said.
Big names serving as dignitaries at North Wilkesboro — Expect the spotlight to shine extra bright this weekend at the recently revitalized North Wilkesboro Speedway for NASCAR All-Star Race week.
NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Darrell Waltrip, the winningest drivers in North Wilkesboro Speedway history, will serve as co-Grand Marshals for the prestigious race. Four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon, who won the last NASCAR Cup Series race held at North Wilkesboro in 1996, and his then crew chief, Ray Evernham, will also serve in special roles — as honorary Pace Car driver and Honorary Starter — to help get the NASCAR All-Star Race underway on Sunday evening (8 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN Radio).
On Saturday, former NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series champions Ron Hornaday Jr. and Mike Skinner and two-time Cup Series champion crew chief Jeff Hammond will help count down to the green flag by serving in various pre-race roles for the Tyson 250 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series race (1:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Meanwhile, a host of the hottest talent in country music will be performing throughout All-Star week on the Fan Zone stage and during pre-race ceremonies, including Dierks Bentley, Midland, Chase Rice, Kameron Marlowe, Hannah Dasher, Tim Dugger and rising stars Josh Ross and Alex Key.
Multi-platinum entertainer Bentley, a fan-favorite country performer with a smooth delivery and a catalog full of popular songs, including 21 No. 1 hits, will command the stage during the pre-race concert on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. just hours before the start of the All-Star Race.
Fans who attend All-Star Friday presented by Raymer Oil Company will be treated to performances by two of the hottest country acts, Midland and Chase Rice. Texas-based Midland will crank out their top hits with their distinctive groovy sound and will be followed by Rice, an Asheville, N.C. native who played football for the University of North Carolina and also served as a pit crew member for Hendrick Motorsports, where he was a part of two championship winning teams with Jimmie Johnson.
North Carolina native Marlowe will perform Sunday‘s National Anthem. The former contestant on NBC‘s The Voice and former Kannapolis resident is now one of Nashville‘s most promising singer-songwriters.
Most recently added to the NASCAR All-Star week dignitary lineup, Dasher is a country music performer and social media influencer. Critically acclaimed by Rolling Stone and Billboard, Dasher is known for her 1.5 million TikTok followers through her “Stand By Your Pan” viral cooking and music series. She will perform “God Bless America” during Sunday‘s pre-race ceremonies prior to the start of the NASCAR All-Star Open (5:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Dignitaries for All-Star Friday presented by Raymer Oil Company:
Concert Opening Act: Josh Ross, country music artist currently on tour with Chase RiceConcert: Midland and Chase Rice perform at 7 p.m. at the Fan Zone stage
Dignitaries for Saturday‘s Tyson 250 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series race:
Grand Marshal: Ron Hornaday Jr., four-time NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series championHonorary Starter: Mike Skinner, 1995 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series championHonorary Pace Truck Driver: Jeff Hammond, two-time Cup Series champion crew chiefNational Anthem: Country music rising star Alex KeyInvocation: North Carolina Senator Eddie Settle
Dignitaries for Sunday‘s NASCAR All-Star Open race:
Grand Marshal: Soldiers from the Welcome Home Patriots ProgramGod Bless America: Hannah Dasher, recording artist and social media influencerInvocation: Nick Terry, MRO Chaplain
Dignitaries for Sunday‘s NASCAR All-Star Race:
Pre-Race Concert Opening Act: Tim Dugger at 12:15 p.m.Pre-Race Concert: Dierks Bentley at 1:30 p.m.Grand Marshals: NASCAR legends Richard Petty and Darrell WaltripHonorary Starter: Ray Evernham, three-time Cup Series champion crew chiefHonorary Pace Car Driver: Jeff Gordon, four-time Cup Series champion driverNational Anthem: Kameron Marlowe, country music star and Kannapolis, N.C. nativeInvocation: Will Graham, executive director of Billy Graham Training Center
Mechanix Wear named presenting sponsor of NASCAR Pit Crew Challenge — This weekend, the sport‘s fastest pit crews will own the spotlight as they compete in the NASCAR Pit Crew Challenge presented by Mechanix Wear.
Harkening back to NASCAR‘s popular pit crew challenges of the 1980s and 1990s, the high-octane, Friday-night pit road spectacle will consist of each team performing a four-tire pit stop with no fuel.
The results of the NASCAR Pit Crew Challenge presented by Mechanix Wear will determine the lineups for Saturday‘s All-Star Heat races, as well as the All-Star Open on Sunday.
For more than 25 years, Mechanix Wear has provided hand and knee protection to NASCAR and NASCAR teams. These partnerships have allowed the brand to test, develop, and improve products. Many of the innovations developed in NASCAR have made their way to consumer and commercial glove applications.
“Mechanix Wear is committed to providing high-performance work gloves with unmatched protection,” said Mechanix Wear Marketing Director Shawn Douphner. “Having been born in racing, we understand the demands of motorsports and have designed products to meet those challenges head-on. It was an obvious fit for our brand to be a part of this event, allowing us to help spotlight and champion these athletes who work with their hands and are so critical to the success of this sport.”
NASCAR Cup Series stars entered in ASA and CARS Tour events – Several NASCAR Cup Series drivers will be going back to their stock car racing roots on Tuesday and Wednesday at historic North Wilkesboro Speedway to compete in the scheduled Late Model races that kick off NASCAR All-Star Race week.
Five Cup drivers are entered in Tuesday‘s ASA Stars National Tour Super Late Model ECMD 150 – Chase Elliott, William Byron, Noah Gragson, Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez. The highly-anticipated race has 55 cars looking to qualify for a starting spot and the green flag is expected to drop at 8 p.m. ET.
The ASA regulars will also have to compete against some other notable NASCAR stars Tuesday, including NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series standouts Carson Hocevar, Grant Enfinger, Ty Majeski, and Johnny Sauter and NASCAR Xfinity Series regulars Sammy Smith and Chandler Smith.
Then on Wednesday, NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads a contingent of Cup Series drivers for the Window World 125 CARS Tour Late Model Stock Car event. Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Ross Chastain, Daniel Suarez, Chase Briscoe and Harrison Burton are also on the entry list for that race. Earnhardt Jr. drove his famed green Sundrop No. 3 Chevrolet to a third-place finish in last year‘s Window World 125 and will be looking to improve on his position when the green flag drops Wednesday night at 9:30 p.m. ET.
CRAFTSMAN Truck Series stars Tyler Ankrum and Tate Fogleman are also expected to compete in the Window World 125.
Wednesday‘s CARS Tour CrossRoads Harley-Davidson 75 is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. The Pro Late Model race will be headlined by series leaders Mike Hopkins, Caden Kvapil, Katie Hettinger, Brett Suggs and Brent Crews. A trio of NASCAR stars will hope to spoil the fun as Truck regulars Carson Hocevar and Corey Heim will compete along with multi-series journeyman Garrett Smithley.
Also worth noting, in the CrossRoads Harley-Davidson 75 is the debut of IMSA champ Jordan Taylor, who is entered in the race under his official social media alter-ego of Rodney Sandstorm. He will be driving the No. 1 Chevrolet for E33 Motorsports with a Jeff Gordon Rainbow Warrior throwback paint scheme. This race will be Taylor‘s first time competing on an oval track in a stock car.
NASCAR Xfinity Series
A break in the action: Charlotte Motor Speedway up next for the Xfinity Series
After a wild finish at Darlington Raceway last weekend that saw NASCAR Cup Series star Kyle Larson in the No. 10 Chevrolet for Kaulig Racing snatch the checkered flag from Joe Gibbs Racing‘s John Hunter Nemechek on the final lap, the NASCAR Xfinity Series will be taking a break before heading back to the action at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday, May 27 for the Alsco Uniforms 300 (FS1, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
There have been 77 NASCAR Xfinity Series races at Charlotte Motor Speedway dating back to the inaugural event on May 29, 1982, which was won by Harry Grant.
The track has produced 38 different Xfinity race winners and 50 different pole winners. Twelve Xfinity Series races at Charlotte have been won from the pole or first starting position, most recently by Brad Keselowski in 2018.
As with many tracks, Kyle Busch is etched in the Charlotte Motor Speedway record books with the most wins (nine), top fives (19), top 10s (22), lead lap finishes (22) and laps led (1,475).
The defending Charlotte Motor Speedway winner is JR Motorsports‘ Josh Berry, a victory he snagged over Ty Gibbs by an impressive 18.039 seconds.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series‘ on-track action at the 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway will kick off with practice at 3:35 p.m. ET followed by qualifying at 4:05 p.m. ET on Friday, May 26.
JR Motorsports ready for Charlotte Motor Speedway
JR Motorsport‘s Josh Berry will be looking to post a back-to-back wins at Charlotte Motor Speedway and his first victory of the 2023 season, but he will be sure to have some tough competition.
JRM teammate Justin Allgaier is no rookie when it comes to the 1.5-mile Charlotte, N.C. track, having 20 starts under his belt. In those 20 starts, he‘s posted five top fives, 11 top 10s and has led 77 laps. Like Berry, Allgaier is still looking to land himself in Victory Lane this season and if his performances at Dover (third place) and Darlington (second place) are any indication of how he‘ll run next weekend at Charlotte, he has a good chance of taking the checkered flag.
Another member of the JRM team that could put on a show this weekend is Sam Mayer. The 19-year-old posted his first start at Charlotte Motor Speedway last year, snagging the pole and walking away with a third-place finish. Although he‘s still a newbie when it comes to running on the Charlotte oval, he‘s proved he can handle himself on 1.5-mile tracks. Earlier this season on Las Vegas Motor Speedway‘s 1.5-mile track, he posted a seventh-place finish and in his three starts at Texas Motor Speedway‘s 1.5-mile track, he‘s posted one top five and two top 10s.
Brandon Jones, who is in his first season with JR Motorsports, has nine Charlotte Motor Speedway starts in the books. In those nine starts, he‘s posted three top 10 finishes. He‘s put up some good finishes at other 1.5-mile tracks — Las Vegas (13 starts, two top fives and nine top 10s), Texas (14 starts, two top fives and six top 10s).
Standings Shakeup: Nemechek takes the lead
After several weeks of Austin Hill sitting atop the NASCAR Xfinity Series driver standings, there is a new leader — John Hunter Nemechek. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver snags the top spot with 424 points, just one point ahead of Hill who sits with 423.
JR Motorsports teammates Justin Allgaier (-53) and Josh Berry (-57) take up the third and fourth place spots, respectively, with Stewart-Haas Racing‘s Cole Custer sitting close behind in fifth with 365 points (-59).
Kaulig Racing rookie Chandler Smith sits in sixth with 340 points and Richard Childress Racing‘s Sheldon Creed slides in next with 330 points, followed by Joe Gibbs Racing rookie Sammy Smith with 323.
SHR‘s Riley Herbst takes the ninth spot with 313 points, followed by Sam Mayer (-115), Daniel Hemric (-150) and Parker Kligerman (-151).
Jeb Burton, who took the checkered flag at Talladega to secure his spot in the Playoffs comes in next with Brandon Jones (-160) still fighting for his spot in the 2023 Playoffs.
NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.
Kaulig Racing Tags Road-Racing Expert Jordan Taylor for Portland — Kaulig Racing has announced road racing ace Jordan Taylor will pilot the No. 10 Chevrolet Camaro for his first NASCAR Xfinity Series start at Portland International Raceway.
The 32-year-old is a seasoned veteran when it comes to road and street courses world-wide, currently competing full-time as a Corvette factory driver in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Taylor made his first-ever NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) start earlier this year at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) while filling in for an injured Chase Elliott.
“I am really pumped to make my first Xfinity series start with Kaulig Racing, a team that has shown it can dominate at road courses,” said Taylor. “I‘ve been fortunate in my racing career to compete at so many different tracks, and I‘m looking forward to checking Portland off my list.”
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series
Double Down: Christian Eckes tames Darlington with double overtime victory
Leading a race-high 82 laps, McAnally-Hilgemann Racing‘s Christian Eckes survived some late race overtime chaos to take the win in Darlington Raceway last weekend. Eckes was able to hold off several drivers, including polesitter Corey Heim, Cup Series regular William Byron, and Stewart Friesen to take the win.
The win was Eckes‘ second of the season and his third of his career, following a string of five races in which the driver of the No. 19 McAnally-Hilgemann Racing Chevrolet had finished 30th three times and 15th twice.
Halmar Friesen Racing‘s Stewart Friesen launched himself into a season-best second-place finish after a superb restart that put him just behind Eckes in the first overtime. This was Friesen‘s third top-10 finish in five races at Darlington Raceway. Tanner Gray ran third, despite struggling with his car early in the race.
With his second win of the season, Eckes has moved into fifth in the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series driver standings, just 39 points back from Zane Smith in the standings lead. Eckes is one of five drivers that have secured their spot in the Playoffs later this season — Zane Smith (two wins), Christian Eckes (two wins), Corey Heim, Grant Enfinger and Carson Hocevar (each have one win).
CRAFTSMAN Truck Series returns to North Wilkesboro Speedway
For the first time in 27 years, the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series is returning to North Wilkesboro Speedway for the Tyson 250 (Saturday, May 20, at 1:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Deep in the heart of North Carolina moonshine country, the homecoming to the 0.625-mile track is the return to some of NASCAR‘s oldest and deepest roots. North Wilkesboro Speedway is unlike any other track on the schedule. It is a paved oval that runs downhill on the frontstretch and uphill on the backstretch.
North Wilkesboro has hosted two CRAFTSMAN Truck Series races with the inaugural event being held in the series‘ first season (September) 1995, and the race was won by Mike Bliss driving a Ford for car owner Jim Smith. The inaugural race had 32 entries and produced nine lead changes among six different leaders.
The CRAFTSMAN Truck Series last raced at North Wilkesboro in 1996, when NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Mark Martin took the checkered flag in his second career CRAFTSMAN Truck Series race. It was the first victory by a driver who was not a regular in the series since Terry Labonte had won at Richmond in 1995. Martin won the race driving the No. 99 Ford for RFK Racing.
Five competitors have earned spots in the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoffs
With seven races left in the regular season, here‘s a look at the current CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoff standings:
Five drivers have earned a spot in the 2023 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoffs by virtue of wins this season – Zane Smith (Daytona, COTA), Christian Eckes (Atlanta, Darlington), Carson Hocevar (Texas), Corey Heim (Martinsville), and most recently, Grant Enfinger (Kansas).
Currently in on Points:
Three drivers have built up a points cushion of 33 points or more over the Playoff cutoff following Darlington — Ty Majeski (102 points above the Playoff cutoff), Ben Rhodes (+74), and Matt Crafton (+35).
Just 27 points above the cutoff and ranked ninth in the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoff outlook is TRICON Garage‘s Tanner Gray. Following behind Gray is Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Nick Sanchez, just six points above the cutoff.
Outside Looking In:
Another 10 drivers sit outside the Playoff position but still have plenty of time to race their way into the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoffs.
Halmar Friesen Racing‘s Stewart Friesen is 11th in Playoff standings, six points behind Nick Sanchez. Rackley W.A.R.‘s Matt DiBenedetto sits 28 points off the final Playoff position.
Following Friesen and DiBenedetto is Jake Garcia (-36 points back from Playoff cutoff), Tyler Ankrum (-37), Chase Purdy (-40), Hailie Deegan (-48), Rajah Caruth (-69), Colby Howard (-88), Daniel Dye (-93), and Bret Holmes (-102).
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series, Etc.
Ron Hornaday Jr., Mike Skinner, and Jeff Hammond named Tyson 250 dignitaries — Two of the most notable NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series drivers, Ron Hornaday Jr. and Mike Skinner, will join renowned Cup Series crew chief Jeff Hammond as dignitaries for the Tyson 250.
Ron Hornaday Jr., a NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee and four-time CRAFTSMAN Truck Series champion, participated in the inaugural Tyson 250 in 1995 and finished fifth. Last month, Hornaday Jr. was named as one of NASCAR‘s 75 Greatest Drivers. He will return to North Wilkesboro this weekend as the Grand Marshal.
Mike Skinner, the 1995 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series champion, was the pole winner for the inaugural Tyson 250 that same year. The “Gun Slinger” will make his return to the 0.625-mile track to wave the green flag.
Jeff Hammond, the two-time NASCAR Cup Series title-winning crew chief, has deep roots that race back further than most. Hammond worked nearby for Junior Johnson‘s race team through the mid-1980s, before following Darrell Waltrip to Hendrick Motorsports. The Truck Series race-winning team owner will return as the Honorary Chevrolet Silverado Pace Truck Driver.
Josh Williams to attempt CRAFTSMAN Truck Series debut — Josh Williams will look to make his return to the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series for the first time since 2014.
Williams has three NASCAR Cup Series starts alongside 164 Xfinity Series starts. His first and only race in the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series resulted in a DNF at Martinsville due to brakes.
Doubling up track time at North Wilkesboro — Several NASCAR Cup Series drivers will be moonlighting in the Tyson 250 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series race at North Wilkesboro Speedway this Friday, in hopes to get some extra seat time prior to the NASCAR All-Star Race and All-Star Open on Sunday.
23XI Racing‘s Bubba Wallace will be back in the No. 1 TRICON Garage Toyota this weekend working alongside crew chief Seth Smith. Wallace made his Truck Series season debut last weekend at Darlington posting a top-10 finish (seventh).
Hendrick Motorsport‘s drivers Kyle Larson and William Byron will also be making starts in the Truck Series this weekend. Larson will jump behind the wheel of the No. 7 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet with crew chief Kevin Manion and Byron will pilot the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Chevrolet with crew chief Brian Pattie.
NASCAR Cup Series driver standings leader and Trackhouse Racing driver, Ross Chastain, will also compete in the Tyson 250 this weekend. Chastain will be in the No. 41 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet working with crew chief Mike Hillman. Chastain has already made five Truck Series starts this season posting two top fives.
Last but not least, Joe Gibbs Racing‘s Christopher Bell will also be making a CRAFTSMAN Truck Series start this weekend at North Wilkesboro. Bell will join Hattori Racing Enterprises‘ No. 61 Toyota team with crew chief Jon Leonard. This will be Bell‘s debut with HRE, and his first Truck Series start since 2018.
— NASCAR —