NASCAR Cup Series
Next Race: Grant Park 220
The Place: Chicago Street Race
The Date: Sunday, July 2
The Time: 5:30 p.m. ET
The Purse: $7,565,807
TV: NBC, 5 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 220 miles (100 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 20), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 45), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 100)
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Next Race: The Loop 121
The Place: Chicago Street Race
The Date: Saturday, July 1
The Time: 5 p.m. ET
The Purse: $1,627,771
TV: USA, 4:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 121 miles (55 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 15), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 30), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 55)
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series
Next Race: O’Reilly Auto Parts 150 at Mid-Ohio
The Place: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
The Date: Saturday, July 8
The Time: 1:30 p.m. ET
The Purse: $650,589
TV: FS1, 1 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 151.28 miles (67 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 20), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 40), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 67)
NASCAR Cup Series
NASCAR to race on the streets of Chicago for the first time
For the first time ever, the sights, sounds and speed of NASCAR are coming to the streets of downtown Chicago on July 1-2, 2023. One of the most iconic cities in the world, Chicago will add another chapter to its illustrious sports history when the NASCAR Cup Series debuts against the backdrop of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline in the Grant Park 220 on Sunday, July 2 at 5:30 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
“Like the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum, we seized an incredible opportunity to add an unprecedented element to our schedule and take center stage in the heart of another major metropolitan market,” said Ben Kennedy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing development and strategy. “This is the ideal setting for the first-ever NASCAR Cup Series street race. The NASCAR Cup Series Next Gen cars will race along the shores of Lake Michigan in downtown Chicago, marking a truly historic moment for our sport.”
Lake Shore Drive, Michigan Avenue, Columbus Drive and select surrounding thoroughfares will be transformed into a 12-turn, 2.2-mile street course, with the start/finish line and pit road located along South Columbus Drive directly in front of Buckingham Fountain. The course will pass through the famed Grant Park, as well as approach the northern edge of Soldier Field, one of the most notable and recognizable sports venues in the country — and the site of the only other Cup Series race to take place in Downtown Chicago, in 1956.
“Welcoming yet another NASCAR event to Illinois just weeks after the inaugural Enjoy Illinois 300 Cup Series race is a testament to the strength of our tourism industry from Chicago to Metro East,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Illinois, with its longstanding tradition of innovation, is a fitting host for NASCAR‘s first-ever street race, and we are thrilled to welcome this new series to America‘s most iconic drive.”
The Chicago Street Race will become the 177th different track the NASCAR Cup Series has competed on its 75 year history.
“I think it‘s a good idea, I‘ve just never done street racing before,” said current point standing leader Martin Truex Jr. “I‘m optimistic that it‘s going to be a good time and it‘s going to go off well. I have no idea the logistics involved. I can‘t even imagine what goes into it. It‘s going to be interesting to see a street course with these cars, what the grip level might be in each corner. You just wonder what the difference is in each turn — that‘s the competitor side of me thinking. On the race fan side, it seems like it‘s going to be cool, so we will see how it goes. Hopefully, it‘s a good turnout and it goes off well. I enjoy tracks that are unique and challenging and it‘s always a good challenge to learn a new place.”
On-track action for the NASCAR Cup Series will get started with a practice and Busch Light Pole Qualifying on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. ET, both events will be televised on the USA Network.
More Than Racing: The Chainsmokers, Miranda Lambert, The Black Crowes, Charley Crockett to Headline Chicago Street Race Concerts
Fans will have tons to do this weekend at the Chicago Street Race. NASCAR has announced that The Chainsmokers and Miranda Lambert will headline full-length concerts with the support of The Black Crowes and Charley Crockett for the first-ever street race weekend in the NASCAR Cup Series, on July 1-2. The unprecedented 12-turn, 2.2-mile street race will take the Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series past and through many of Chicago‘s most renowned downtown landmarks as part of a two-day festival during Fourth of July Weekend.
“The Chicago Street Race is truly a first-of-its-kind two-day sports and entertainment event in the 75-year history of NASCAR,” said Chicago Street Race President Julie Giese. “We are proud to welcome superstars The Chainsmokers, Miranda Lambert, The Black Crowes, and Charley Crockett as we reimagine the NASCAR experience in the heart of downtown Chicago over Fourth of July weekend.”
On Saturday, July 1, the Chicago Street Race will feature Xfinity Series and Cup Series practice and qualifying followed by The Black Crowes concert. Following the Xfinity Series race, The Chainsmokers will take the stage for a full-length concert to close the first day. On Sunday, July 2, Charley Crockett will open with Miranda Lambert headlining a full-length concert in advance of the first-ever Cup Series street race — the Grant Park 220.
The Chainsmokers, Alexander “Alex” Pall and Andrew “Drew” Taggert, are recognized as two of the best electronic dance musicians with a diverse portfolio of songs that has led them to become one of the hottest recording artists in the world. In 2016, the duo burst on the scene with three multi-Platinum certified hits including the GRAMMY nominated song “Closer.” The group has won multiple awards including the 2017 GRAMMY for Best Dance Recording (“Don‘t Let Me Down”), two American Music Awards (2016, 2017) and 10 Billboard Music Awards. The Chainsmokers fourth studio album “So Far So Good” debuted last year at No. 1 on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Album Chart. For more information on The Chainsmokers, visit thechainsmokers.com.
Lambert is one of country music‘s most acclaimed performers and songwriters. Palomino, the eighth solo album from Vanner Records/RCA Nashville superstar Lambert, is the latest installment in a storied career that has spanned seven No. 1 solo albums, 10 No. 1 hit radio singles, more than 70 prestigious awards (including three GRAMMY Awards and a record-setting 37 ACM Awards) plus countless sales certifications, earning the reigning ACM Entertainer of the Year praise from NPR as “the most riveting country star of her generation.” To learn more about Lambert, visit www.mirandalambert.com.
The Black Crowes, led by brothers Chris and Rich Robinson, released their debut album Shake Your Money Maker over 30 years ago. Fueled by singles “JealousAgain,” “Twice As Hard,” “She Talks to Angels,” and the breakthrough cover of Otis Redding‘s “Hard to Handle,” the band immediately took the rock world by storm. The Black Crowes has released eight studio albums and four live albums, selling tens of millions of albums and selling out shows around the world. To learn more about The Black Crowes and their authentic gritty blues-rock sound, visit theblackcrowes.com.
Crockett crafts his singular “Gulf & Western” sound by synthesizing country, blues, soul, cajun, R&B and other pieces of American roots music. And when his voice comes out of your speakers, there is no confusing him for any other artist. Crockett released his latest album The Man From Waco last fall via Son of Davy/Thirty Tigers. Crockett wrote or co-wrote all 14 songs on the album, which finds Crockett refining his “Gulf & Western” sound that continues to captivate his ever-growing legion of fans. For more information on Crockett, visit charleycrockett.com.
Sunday‘s Grant Park 220 to be NASCAR‘s 100th race in the state of Illinois
NASCAR is no stranger to the state of Illinois, and this weekend the sanctioning-body will host its 100th NASCAR national series race in the prairie state welcoming the newly designed Chicago Street Race — the sixth different track NASCAR has competed on in Illinois.
The first NASCAR national series race held in the state of Illinois was a NASCAR Cup Series event at Santa Fe Speedway in Willow Springs, Illinois. The event was held on July 10, 1954 and it was won by Dick Rathman driving a Hudson for car owner John Ditz. Finishing runner-up in the race was NASCAR Hall of Famer Hershel McGriff also driving a Hudson.
In total, NASCAR has previous competed on five tracks in Illinois with Chicagoland Speedway (2001-2019) hosted the most (54 races) of the five facilities.
NASCAR Tracks in IllinoisCityCupXfinityTruckCombinedFirst YearChicagoland SpeedwayJoliet192411542001World Wide Technology RacewayMadison21523401997Chicago Motor SpeedwayCicero00222000Santa Fe SpeedwayWillow Springs10011954Soldier FieldChicago10011956Totals23393698
This weekend will also not be the first time the NASCAR Cup Series has competed in Downtown Chicago. In 1956, the series competed at Soldier Field and the race was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Fireball Roberts in a Pete DePaolo Ford. Most recently the NASCAR Cup Series competed at World Wide Technology Raceway on
Race To The Playoffs: Chastain the latest to lock into the postseason with a win
Trackhouse Racing‘s Ross Chastain has become the 11th different driver to win this season and lock himself into the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs after taking the checkered flag in a dominate performance at Nashville Superspeedway last weekend. With 11 spots in the Playoffs already taken and only nine races left until the postseason, time and space is running out for competitors to earn their spot.
NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Outlook – Drivers Without Wins This SeasonRankDrivers Without WinsStartsPointsRace WinsStage WinsPlayoff Pts+/- Cutoff12Kevin Harvick1751501116413Brad Keselowski174500119914Chris Buescher174490119815Bubba Wallace173810003016Daniel Suarez17353000217Alex Bowman*1435100-5-218Ty Gibbs #17343000-1019AJ Allmendinger17329000-2420Michael McDowell17326000-2721Corey LaJoie17308000-4522Austin Cindric17302011-5123Justin Haley17298000-5524Ryan Preece17290011-6325Chase Elliott*10289011-6426Todd Gilliland17281000-7227Aric Almirola17272011-8128Austin Dillon1724700-5-10629Harrison Burton17235000-11830Erik Jones1722000-5-13331Chase Briscoe1718900-25-16432Noah Gragson #*16154000-19933Ty Dillon17151000-202
Holding the most comfortable spots on the Playoff outlook of the drivers without wins, is Stewart-Haas Racing‘s Kevin Harvick, who is 164 points ahead of the Playoff cutline. RFK Racing teammates Brad Keselowski (+99 points) and Chris Buescher (+98 points) are also in good standing heading into this weekend. But 23XI Racing‘s Bubba Wallace (+30 points) in 15th and Trackhouse Racing‘s Daniel Suarez (+2 points) in 16th will have their work cut out for them if they want to hold on to their positions.
Currently there are five drivers that made the Playoffs last season that are below the postseason cutline heading into this weekend — Alex Bowman (-2 points), Austin Cindric (-51), Chase Elliott (-64), Austin Dillon (-106), and Chase Briscoe (-164).
Road Course Aces: NASCAR‘s best in road racing
Though this weekend‘s race is technically on a ‘street course‘ and not a ‘road course‘ a similar approach to being successful this Sunday will apply. NASCAR‘s active road course wins leader, Hendrick Motorsport‘s Chase Elliott, heads into this weekend looking for his first win of the season and is already considered one of the early favorites for this weekend, but the most recent winner on a road course in the series and current points leader Martin Truex Jr. will most certainly be in the mix as well.
Active Road Course Winners (13)Total WinsSonomaWGICharlotte DaytonaIndyCOTARoad America Chase Elliott70221011Martin Truex Jr54100000Kyle Busch42200000Kyle Larson41210000Tyler Reddick30000111Kevin Harvick21100000AJ Allmendinger20100100Christopher Bell20011000Joey Logano10100000Ryan Blaney10010000Denny Hamlin10100000Daniel Suárez11000000Ross Chastain10000010
The NASCAR Cup Series has competed on two road courses this season so far, with 23XI Racing‘s Tyler Reddick winning at Austin (COTA) and Truex winning at Sonoma.
NASCAR Cup Series Etc.
Button, van Gisbergen among the new faces in the garage attempting the Chicago Street Race — NASCAR is bringing the international flare to the Chicago Street Race with the Grant Park 220 on Sunday, July 2 at 5:30 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio as drivers from around the world will compete in the inaugural event in Downtown Chicago.
Not only will Trackhouse Racing have NASCAR Cup Series regular Daniel Suarez from Monterrey, Mexico piloting the No. 99 Chevrolet this weekend, but also the organization will field a third car the Project 91 entry and will have New Zealand native and three-time Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen behind the wheel. This will be van Ginsberg‘s first attempt at a NASCAR event.
“I can honestly say I have dreamed about an opportunity in NASCAR, but really never thought it would become a reality,” van Gisbergen said. “I can‘t wait to get to the states to meet everyone and prepare for Chicago. It‘s NASCAR‘s first time on the streets of Chicago, so in some ways everyone will be a rookie like me, but I don‘t underestimate that it‘s going to be a huge challenge.”
Trackhouse Racing debuted the No. 91 car with former Formula One champion Kimi Raikkonen at Watkins Glen. He finished 37th after he was collected in an incident. Raikkonen returned to run for the team at Circuit of the Americas this season, finishing 29th. Chicago will mark the third race for the Project 91 car.
Also returning to the NASCAR Cup Series after making his series debut at Austin earlier this season is former Formula One champion Jenson Button, who will pilot the No. 15 Ford for Rick Ware Racing. Button is a native of Frome, England. In his Cup Series debut at COTA, Button started 24th and finished 18th.
NASCAR Partners with After School Matters to Create 200-Foot Mural Painted by Local Teens for Inaugural Chicago Street Race Weekend – NASCAR announced a new partnership with After School Matters, working with local teens to create an official Chicago Street Race mural to be featured on race weekend in Grant Park. At an event with Wood Brothers Racing‘s Harrison Burton, the young artists showcased their work and had an opportunity to paint with the NASCAR Cup Series star at After School Matters at Gately Park in Chicago‘s Pullman neighborhood.
The artwork for the 200-foot, 50-panel NASCAR-themed mural began in February and will be showcased in Butler Field — which will be free and open to the public — during race weekend, July 1-2.
“It‘s so wonderful to watch these amazing young artists bring the spirit of NASCAR to life for all of Chicago to see,” said Burton. “They are perfectly capturing the excitement of this sport in this incredible work of art, and I‘m just honored to be here on behalf of NASCAR to support public arts in Chicago.”
“We want to ensure that our presence in Chicago will deliver benefits to residents, youth, and the local community,” said Julie Giese, Chicago Street Race President. “With an office of more than a dozen full-time employees here in Chicago, we are a true part of the Chicago community year-round, and we are honored to partner with organizations like After School Matters and these amazing young artists who are welcoming us to this city through their art.”
After School Matters is a non-profit organization that provides life-changing afterschool and summer program opportunities to nearly 19,000 Chicago high school teens each year. The joint event with NASCAR was held at the After School Matters facility in Gately Park, which opened in 2021 on the city‘s far south side. The teen-centric facility is a wing of the Gately Park field house operated by the Chicago Park District and serves up to 1,500 young people each year from the Pullman and Roseland communities.
“We are proud to partner with NASCAR to provide our teens the opportunity to share their enthusiasm for our city and this race through their artwork. We look forward to seeing this amazing mural on display at Butler Field on race weekend,” said Mary Ellen Caron, After School Matters‘ Executive Director.
This partnership is the latest example of NASCAR‘s continued and long-lasting commitment to the Chicago community. To date, NASCAR has already announced long-term partnerships with the Boys &Girls Clubs of America, Chicago Public Schools, the Art Institute of Chicago, All Kids Bike, and the Field Museum. For more information on After School Matters, visit afterschoolmatters.org.
NASCAR Selects Leading Chicago Artists to Design Chicago Street Race Weekend Trophies – NASCAR announced that it will feature two fixtures of the Chicago arts community — Thomas Lucas and Nicole Beck — as official trophy designers for the inaugural NASCAR Chicago Street Race this summer. Based in the Tri-Taylor neighborhood of Chicago, Beck will design the trophy for The Loop 121 NASCAR Xfinity Series race held on Saturday, July 1, while Lucas will design the prize for the NASCAR Cup Series race on July 2 — the Grant Park 220 — from his studio in Ravenswood.
“This isn‘t just a race in Chicago — but it‘s a race about Chicago, so it‘s important for us to celebrate the incredible art and culture of the city that we‘re a part of,” said Julie Giese, Chicago Street Race President. “We are honored to partner with two pillars of the Chicago public arts community like Thomas and Nicole to be a part of this historic event, and we are thrilled that these trophies will invoke both the spirit of this race and the city of Chicago.”
Both artists are alumni of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and are recognized as two of the most prominent names in the Chicago arts community. Lucas, who will design the Cup Series Grant Park 220 trophy, is a protégé of sculpture icon Richard Hunt, one of — if not the — foremost African American abstract sculptors of all time. But for Lucas, a tenured professor at Chicago State University who has designed acclaimed public installations for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), designing this trophy is a personal labor of love.
“I‘m a total motorhead. My father was a municipal mechanic, so I grew up with the smell of transmission fluid and the sounds of V8s,” said Lucas. “My artwork has always had a little bit of motorhead culture. It‘s about how things connect and operate together, so this is an opportunity to play with things I‘m very familiar with as a subject matter for my art.”
For Beck, whose brother competed in motorsports, this is an opportunity to weave the story of Chicago together in with her family‘s passion for racing.
“I wanted to embody something unique to Chicago, which is no easy task with a city that‘s so multifaceted,” said Beck. “But through the spiral, aero-dynamic design based on the Buckingham Fountain spray, the light blue coloring from the Chicago flag, and the iconic imagery of the Chicago star, we‘ve had an opportunity to riff on Chicago history for this trophy, and I‘m very proud of the design we came up with.”
Beck‘s art can be found at numerous public installations throughout Chicago‘s Lakeview, Lincoln Park, and West Town neighborhoods, as well as commissions at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and in downtown Elmhurst.
In keeping with the local connection, both trophies will be fabricated in the city by Chicago-based artisans. Lucas‘s Cup Series trophy will be designed and cast in Chicago‘s Ravenswood and North Lawndale neighborhoods, while Beck‘s Xfinity Series trophy will be partly fabricated at Vector Custom Fabricating on Fulton Street and partially in her own metal shop.
NASCAR Announces Chevrolet, Ford, Toyota Named Official Pace Cars for Chicago Street Race – NASCAR announced a multi-year partnership on the official pace cars for the Chicago Street Race Weekend with the sport‘s partner OEMs Chevrolet, Ford, and Toyota. As part of the partnership, each OEM will have an opportunity to lead the field to green in both the NASCAR Xfinity Series The Loop 121 and the NASCAR Cup Series Grant Park 220.
“As the industry unites to support an unprecedented NASCAR event weekend, we are proud to welcome Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota as our official pace cars for the Chicago Street Race,” said Julie Giese, Chicago Street Course President. “We look forward to showcasing the cars that will compete in the race through the streets of downtown Chicago prior to leading the field to green over race weekend.”
The order for the official pace car will be determined by the NASCAR Cup Series qualifying results with the pole winning OEM leading the field to green to start each race. Future restarts will rotate with each OEM leading the race field. In subsequent years of the Chicago Street Race, the second OEM will lead first in 2024 and third OEM will lead first in 2025.
Leading up to the Chicago Street Race, Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Mustang and Toyota Camry promotional cars will be in-market to support the inaugural event. The promotional cars will make appearances at many regional events across the greater Chicagoland region to showcase the Chicago Street Race Weekend. The official pace cars for the weekend will include a 2023 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, a 2024 Ford Mustang GT and a 2023 Toyota Camry TRD.
Uniting Voices Chicago to Sing National Anthem for Inaugural Grant Park 220 NASCAR Cup Series Chicago Street Race – The NASCAR Chicago Street Race announced that it will feature Uniting Voices Chicago (formerly Chicago Children‘s Choir) singing the national anthem for Sunday‘s Grant Park 220 at the inaugural Chicago Street Race. Uniting Voices Chicago will include more than 30 local performers as part of the national anthem prior to the start of the first-ever NASCAR Cup Series street race, which will be nationally broadcast on NBC on Sunday, July 2 at 4:30 p.m. CT.
“Since day one, this race has been about giving a platform to the great city of Chicago on a global scale,” said Julie Giese, Chicago Street Race President. “Welcoming Uniting Voices Chicago represents an opportunity to showcase these talented young singers on an international stage, so we look forward to their performance of the National Anthem prior to the Grant Park 220.”
Founded in 1956 and inspired by the Civil Rights Movement, Uniting Voices Chicago is rooted in the belief that music is the most powerful vehicle for fostering mutual understanding and respect between young people of all races, ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, religions, gender identities and sexual orientations.
“Uniting Voices Chicago helps our singers become cultural diplomats and world citizens in our global society, and this partnership with NASCAR will give our talented singers an opportunity to do that on a truly international scale,” said Josephine Lee, Uniting Voices President and Artistic Director. “We are proud to partner with a group like NASCAR who is so committed to this city and its young people.”
Since its founding, Uniting Voices has grown from a single choir into an internationally renowned network of in-school and after-school programs that serves thousands of students from every zip code of the city of Chicago each year. Uniting Voices Chicago offers a performance-based learning experience that includes innovative creative partnerships and artistic endeavors—from regular appearances at Lyric Opera and Ravinia Festival to features on high caliber recording projects such as Chance the Rapper‘s Coloring Book and The Big Day.
NASCAR Xfinity Series
It‘s Time: NASCAR heads to the Windy City
One of the most anticipated race weekends in recent memory is finally here! The NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers are loading up their cars and getting ready to zoom through the streets of Downtown Chicago for the inaugural The Loop 121 on Saturday, July 1 at 5 p.m. ET on the USA Network, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR radio.
Although this weekend‘s race in the Windy City is the first of its kind, it‘s not the first time the Xfinity Series has made left and right turns and some drivers are ready to take on the new ‘street course‘ challenge. There are four active drivers entered in The Loop 121 that have road course wins under their belts — Justin Allgaier, Cole Custer, Jeremy Clements and Justin Marks.
Allgaier, driver of the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet, leads the field with most road course wins at three (Circuit Gilles Villeneuve — 2012, Mid-Ohio & Road America — 2018). The Riverton, Illinois native heads into the weekend with plenty of momentum, having already posted one win (Charlotte), eight top fives, 10 top 10s and 197 laps led this season. He‘s also put up impressive finishes on other road courses this season; including a fifth at COTA, runner-up at Portland, and seventh at Sonoma. The veteran driver, Allgaier, is no stranger to winning in Chicago either, he has already made the trip to Victory Lane twice at Chicagoland Speedway (2011, 2017).
Cole Custer, who drives the No. 00 Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing, posted his first road course win earlier this season at Portland International Raceway. The 25-year-old also comes into The Loop 121 with a string of solid finishes this season (one win, six top fives, 10 top 10s and 140 laps led). Like Allgaier, Custer has some familiarity with winning in the Chicago area, as he has also taken the checkered flag at Chicagoland Speedway (2019).
Jeremy Clements, driver of the No. 51 Jeremy Clements Racing Chevrolet, posted his lone road course win at Road America in 2017. On road courses this season, he has posted a 14th-place finish (COTA), a 22nd-place finish (Portland) and a 17th-place finish (Sonoma).
Trackhouse Racing‘s team owner Justin Marks will be joining in on the NASCAR Xfinity Series fun this weekend and getting behind the wheel of the No. 10 Chevrolet for Kaulig Racing. Although Marks hasn‘t ran a Xfinity Series race since 2018, he has an edge as he knows what it takes to win on a track that turns left and right. Marks‘ win came in 2016 when he snagged the checkered flag at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Not short on first-time winners in 2023
The NASCAR Xfinity Series season has been exciting and action-packed, which has led to some first-time winners in Victory Lane. With an unpredictable track like the Chicago Street Race this weekend, could we see another first-time winner?
Rookie Sammy Smith, who drives the No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, posted his first Xfinity Series career win earlier this season at Phoenix Raceway. He‘s doing quite well in his first full-time season in the Xfinity Series, having accumulated one win, three top five and six top 10-finishes thus far. Although he didn‘t perform as he had hoped on the road course at Portland International Raceway a few weeks ago, he did well at COTA (fourth place) and Sonoma (ninth).
Another rookie who has managed to post a win this season is driver of the No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet, Chandler Smith. His win came at Richmond Raceway after coming close just a few weeks prior at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (third). Smith currently leads the Sunoco Rookie of the Year class with his 465 points. He has posted one win, four top fives, six top 10s and has led 279 laps this season. On other road courses this season, he has posted a 12th-place finish (COTA), a ninth-place finish (Portland) and a 14th-place finish (Sonoma).
Ryan Truex, who is not entered in this weekend‘s The Loop 121, also posted his first Xfinity Series career win this season at Dover Motor Speedway. He drove a part time schedule for Joe Gibbs Racing behind the wheel of the No. 19 Toyota. Truex‘s Xfinity Series career began in 2010. In total, he made 90 starts posting one win, eight top fives and 30 top 10s.
Rotating through Victory Lane
The NASCAR Xfinity Series was riding a streak of 11 different winners that started in week five at Atlanta until AJ Allmendinger, who had snagged a win in week six at COTA, snapped the streak after he took the checkered flag at Nashville Superspeedway last weekend.
The longest streak of different winners in the series is 13, which was set in 1988:
No. DateTrackRace Winners12/13/1988DaytonaBobby Allison22/28/1988HickoryMike Alexander33/5/1988RockinghamMark Martin43/13/1988MartinsvilleJimmy Hensley53/26/1988DarlingtonGeoff Bodine64/9/1988BristolDale Earnhardt74/30/1988Hampton (VA)Tommy Ellis85/7/1988NazarethRick Mast95/14/1988South BostonLarry Pearson105/21/1988Nashville FgdsDarrell Waltrip115/28/1988CharlotteDale Jarrett126/4/1988DoverBobby Hillin Jr136/11/1988RougemontTommy Houston
The most winners the Xfinity Series has seen in a full season is 18, which occurred in the 1988 and 2017 seasons, while the fewest is nine (2020). This season thus far, the Xfinity Series sits at 11: Austin Hill, John Hunter Nemechek, Sammy Smith, AJ Allmendinger, Chandler Smith, Jeb Burton, Ryan Truex, Kyle Larson, Justin Allgaier, Cole Custer and Aric Almirola.
Playoff Bubble: Five spots still up for grabs
As the series gears up for some street course action this weekend, seven full-time drivers have won in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, leaving just five spots available in the 12-driver postseason field.
The drivers that have secured their spots in the Playoffs by virtue of wins are John Hunter Nemechek, Austin Hill, Justin Allgaier, Cole Custer, Chandler Smith, Sammy Smith and Jeb Burton.
The five drivers that currently hold the remaining Playoff spots on points are Josh Berry (470 points), Sam Mayer (429 points), Sheldon Creed (419 points), Riley Herbst (316 points) and Daniel Hemric (399 points).
Just outside the cutline is Parker Kligerman with 371 points and Brandon Jones with 348 points, who has made six Xfinity Series Playoff appearances — second only to Justin Allgaier who was seven Playoff appearances.
NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.
Sunoco Rookie of the Year update — The NASCAR Xfinity Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year competitors now have 15 races under their belts as they gear up for their inaugural The Loop 121 at the Chicago Street Race.
Kaulig Racing‘s Chandler Smith continues to lead the competition with one win (Richmond), four top fives, six top 10s and 465 points.
Not far behind is Joe Gibbs Racing‘s Sammy Smith, who has racked up one win (Phoenix), three top fives, six top 10s and 395 points.
Jordan Anderson Racing‘s Parker Retzlaff has posted one top five and four top 10s this season, accumulating 293 points.
Closing out the competition is Blaine Perkins with 106 points.
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series
Carson Hocevar‘s determination earns him second victory after late restart at Nashville
Taking the lead with 40 laps remaining at Nashville Superspeedway, Niece Motorsports‘ Carson Hocevar managed to fend off every challenge necessary to secure his second career victory — including holding off reigning CRAFTSMAN Truck Series champion, Front Row Motorsports‘ Zane Smith and Friday‘s pole sitter, Nick Sanchez of Rev Racing.
During a late restart with three laps remaining, there was a tightly contested final push towards the finish line among the trio, but ultimately Hocevar prevailed by a 0.271-second margin. Smith finished second, while Sanchez finished third.
The victory for the 20-year-old driver of the No. 42 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet makes him the fourth multi-race winner of the season. On top of that, the Michigan native continues his impressive streak of five consecutive top-five finishes — the longest of his career.
Hocevar not only went home with a one-of-a-kind Gibson Les Paul guitar, but he also earned $50,000 as part of the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series‘ Triple Truck Challenge — a three-race program that gives drivers an opportunity to win up to $500,000 in bonus money.
The young driver joins Ben Rhodes (Charlotte) and Grant Enfinger (WWTR) as the three recipients of the bonus money this season, continuing the four-year streak in which no driver has been able to win all three Triple Truck Challenge races in one season.
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series prepares to race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
For the second time in series history, the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series will get ready for the O‘Reilly Auto Parts 150 at Mid-Ohio next week (Saturday, July 8 at 1:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, and SiriusXM Radio).
The Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course had hosted eight NASCAR Xfinity Series events up until last year when the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series took their place. This 2.26-mile, 13-turn layout will act as the last road course race on the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series schedule this season.
Opened in 1962 inside the limits of Lexington, the track is set directly between Cleveland and Columbus. The facility hosts a road course with two different configurations: a 2.4-mile, 15-turn circuit or a 2.26-mile, 13-turn layout with the latter being what the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series will run on.
Sitting on 380 acres of land, the track is often touted as the “Most Competitive in the U.S.” and currently plays host to IMSA, the NTT IndyCar Series, and now the ARCA Menard‘s Series and NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series events.
Regular Season Title Watch: Corey Heim leads point standings with three to go
TRICON Garage‘s Corey Heim continues to have a strong year as he continues to hold the driver points lead in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series with just three races left in the regular season. The 20-year-old is currently 16 points up on reigning CRAFTSMAN Truck Series champion, Zane Smith.
Heim‘s points lead began after a strong finish at North Wilkesboro — winning Stage 1 and finishing sixth overall — gaining him a total of 48 points to jump from third in the standings over Ty Majeski and Zane Smith. The Georgia native has accumulated one win (Martinsville), five top-five and 10 top-10 finishes.
The driver of the No. 11 Toyota cannot yet clinch the Regular Season Championship since there are still 180 points and 3 wins available.
Front Row Motorsports‘ Zane Smith (-16 point back from the points leader) continues to stay close to the top spot. Although Smith had a tough stretch from Darlington to Gateway, he managed to bounce back in Nashville and finish second.
The 24-year-old, who swept the Regular Season and Post-Season Championship in 2022, has accumulated two wins, five top-five and five top-10 finishes this season.
Six competitors locked into NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoffs
With four races to go in the regular season, here‘s a look at the current CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoff standings:
Six drivers have locked themselves into the 2023 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoffs by virtue of win this season – Zane Smith (Daytona, COTA), Christian Eckes (Atlanta, Darlington), Carson Hocevar (Texas, Nashville), Corey Heim (Martinsville), Grant Enfinger (Kansas, WWTR), and Ben Rhodes (Charlotte).
Currently in on Points:
Two drivers have built up a points cushion of 14 points or more over the Playoff cutoff following Nashville — ThorSport Racing‘s Ty Majeski (86 points above the Playoff cutoff) and Matt DiBenedetto (+14) of Rackley W.A.R.
With 10 points above the cutoff and ranked ninth in the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoff outlook is ThorSport Racing‘s Matt Crafton. Following behind the driver of the No. 88 Ford is Rev Racing‘s Nick Sanchez, 6 points above the cutoff.
On the Outside Looking In:
Another 10 drivers sit outside the Playoff position but still have three races to earn their way into the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoffs.
Halmar Friesen‘s Stewart Friesen is 11th in Playoff standings, six points behind Nick Sanchez. TRICON Garage‘s Tanner Gray also sits six points off the final Playoff position.
Following Gray and Sanchez is Chase Purdy (-39 points back from Playoff cutoff), Jake Garcia (-63), Tyler Ankrum (-72), Rajah Caruth (-123), Daniel Dye (-126), Hailie Deegan, (-130), Taylor Gray (-134), and Colby Howard (-135).
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series, Etc.
Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Nick Sanchez continues to stand out — Although he is still seeking his first career CRAFTSMAN Truck Series win, the driver of the No. 2 Rev Racing Chevrolet Nick Sanchez has earned three poles this season — the most in the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series.
The Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate has led 224 laps so far, following behind leader Corey Heim (342 laps). With six top-10 finishes, two of those within the top-five, Sanchez looks to continue the momentum and race his way into the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoffs.
“I‘ve always tried to put points aside and treat every race like its own season,” the 22-year-old from Miami, Florida said.
“Race aggressive, race hard and the goal is to win. Just got to keep that mindset.”
— NASCAR —