NASCAR Cup Series
Next Race: Quaker State 400 Available at Walmart
The Place: Atlanta Motor Speedway
The Date: Sunday, July 9
The Time: 7 p.m. ET
The Purse: $7,449,067
TV: USA, 6:30 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 400.4 miles (260 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 60), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 160), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 260)

NASCAR Xfinity Series
Next Race: Alsco Uniforms 250
The Place: Atlanta Motor Speedway
The Date: Saturday, July 8
The Time: 8 p.m. ET
The Purse: $1,654,863
TV: USA, 7:30 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 251.02 miles (163 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 40), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 80), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 163)

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: $671,050
TV: FS1, 12:30 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

Round 2: Atlanta Motor Speedway will be ‘under the lights‘

This Sunday, the NASCAR Cup Series will be returning to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Quaker State 400 Available at Walmart (July 9 at 7 p.m. ET on USA, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), and this go-around the competitors will have to navigate the high-speed, door-to-door action for the first time ‘under the lights‘ since the 1.54-mile track was recently reconfigured by narrowing the racing surface and raising the degree of banking in the Turns to 28 degrees.

Earlier this season, Team Penske‘s Joey Logano scored his first and only win of the 2023 season at Atlanta Motor Speedway extending the organization‘s wins total at the 1.54-mile facility to seven victories. Heading into the 19th race of the season this weekend, Logano has the opportunity to become the 12th different driver to win consecutive Cup races at Atlanta Motor Speedway; joining Marvin Panch (1965 sweep), Bobby Allison (1972 sweep), David Pearson (1973 sweep), Richard Petty (1974-75), Cale Yarborough (1980-81), Bill Elliott (1985 sweep, 1992 sweep), Dale Earnhardt (1989-90; 1995-96), Bobby Labonte (1997-98), Jeff Gordon (1998-99), Carl Edwards (2005 sweep) and Jimmie Johnson (2007 sweep; 2015-16).

RFK Racing‘s Brad Keselowski finished runner-up to Logano earlier this season at Atlanta, and he and his former teammate put on quite the show for the fans in the closing laps.

“A heck of a battle,” exclaimed Brad Keselowski on pit road following the Atlanta race in March. “The coolest thing about this race is two veterans showed you can run a race here side-by-side, bump-drafting, and not wreck the field. It can happen if you race respectfully. I thought everybody did a great job.”

No practice this weekend, so all the NASCAR Cup Series on-track action will kick off with Busch Light Pole Qualifying at 5:35 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 8. Qualifying will be televised on the USA Network.

NASCAR Cup Series is ready to turn-up the heat at Atlanta Motor Speedway

When celebrating the 75th Anniversary of NASCAR, it‘s the people and the places that have helped make the sport what it is today, and one track that has been around a good portion of the 75 years is Atlanta Motor Speedway, 63 years to be exact.

Originally called Atlanta International Raceway, the track was then a 1.5-mile paved speedway, and it hosted its first NASCAR Cup Series race on July 31, 1960. The event was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Fireball Roberts from the pole position in a 1960 Pontiac.

Much like we all evolve over time, Atlanta Motor Speedway has undergone a few reconfigurations since opening its doors. The track was re-measured to 1.522 miles in the spring of 1970, and it was renamed to Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1990. The track layout was reversed, and the track was reconfigured to 1.54 miles between the two races in 1997. Then in the offseason prior to 2022, the track was again reconfigured by narrowing the racing surface and raising the degree of banking in the Turns to 28 degrees.

From 1960 — 2010, Atlanta Motor Speedway hosted multiple NASCAR Cup Series races during each season; starting in 2011 the series began only visiting Atlanta once a year (2011-2020). The 2021 season marked the first time since 2010 that the series visited the facility more than once a year. Also worth noting, from 1987 to 2000 Atlanta Motor Speedway hosted the final championship race on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule.

In total, there have been 118 NASCAR Cup races at Atlanta Motor Speedway since the first race there in 1960. The 118 NASCAR Cup Series races have produced 52 different pole winners and 48 different race winners.

Seven of the 52 NASCAR Cup Series Atlanta Motor Speedway pole winners are active this weekend.

Active Atlanta Pole Winners (7)PolesSeasonJoey Logano22023, 2015Kevin Harvick22017, 2014Aric Almirola12019Kyle Busch12018Ricky Stenhouse Jr12013Denny Hamlin12010Martin Truex Jr12009

Buddy Baker (1968, 1971, 1976, 1979 sweep, 1980, 1984) and Ryan Newman (2003 sweep, 2004 sweep, 2005 sweep, 2007) are tied for the NASCAR Cup Series most poles at Atlanta Motor Speedway with seven each. Joey Logano (2015, 2023) and Kevin Harvick (2014, 2017) lead all active NASCAR Cup Series drivers in Atlanta poles with two each.

Eight of the 48 NASCAR Cup Series Atlanta Motor Speedway race winners are active this weekend.

Active Atlanta Race WinnersWinsSeasonsKevin Harvick32020, 2018, 2001Brad Keselowski22019, 2017Kyle Busch22013, 2008Joey Logano12023Chase Elliott12022William Byron12022Ryan Blaney12021Denny Hamlin12012

NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt leads the NASCAR Cup Series in wins at Atlanta Motor Speedway with nine victories (1980, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1995, 1996, 2000). Kevin Harvick (2001, 2018, 2020) leads all active NASCAR Cup Series winners at Atlanta Motor Speedway with three victories. Chase Elliott is the defending winner of this race (July 2022), and Joey Logano is the most recent winner, grabbing the checkered flag back in March.

Race To The Playoffs: Eight chances to earn a spot in the postseason

Drivers without wins this season in the NASCAR Cup Series only have eight chances left in the regular season to earn a spot on the Playoffs as the competitors prepare for Atlanta Motor Speedway and the Quaker State 400 Available at Walmart this Sunday, July 9 at 7 p.m. ET on USA, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

A total of 11 drivers have already earned their spot in the Playoffs by virtue of their victories this season — William Byron, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Larson, Ross Chastain, Christopher Bell, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano, Tyler Reddick and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Five spots are still up for grabs to make the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. Currently in those spots on points are Kevin Harvick (+151 points above the cutoff), Chris Buescher (+104), Brad Keselowski (+91), Bubba Wallace (+15) and rookie Ty Gibbs (+6).

Heading into this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the 19th race of the 26-race regular season, six drivers that made the Playoffs last season are currently outside the postseason cutoff, including Daniel Suarez, Alex Bowman, Austin Cindric, Chase Elliott, Austin Dillon and Chase Briscoe. In the Playoff outlook, positions 15th — 18th are separated by just 25 points.

“We have seen that this configuration (at Atlanta) provides a lot of opportunity for teams that don‘t always run up front to be very competitive,” said Joe Gibbs Racing‘s Denny Hamlin. “That makes it very exciting and the fact that we‘re all right on top of each other the whole time makes it very challenging.”

Teetering along the postseason cutline are Joe Gibbs Racing‘s Ty Gibbs, currently in the 16th and final transfer position on points to the Playoffs, and Trackhouse Racing‘s Daniel Suarez, who is just six points back from Gibbs in 17th — the first spot outside the postseason cutoff. But the drivers outside the Playoff cutoff will have their work cut out for them if they expect to catch up to Gibbs, in his series track debut at Atlanta earlier this season he started 35th and raced his way up to a ninth-place finish.

Most notably sitting outside the current Playoff cutoff is the defending winner of this race and Georgia‘s own, Chase Elliott from Dawsonville, who is currently 24th in the standings and 55 points back from the postseason cutoff. Luckily for Elliott and all his enduring fans, Atlanta is one of his better tracks. In nine Cup Series starts he has put up one win (2022), two top fives and seven top 10s. His average finish at the 1.54-mile track is 11.3 — best among active drivers with more than one start.

Shane Van Gisbergen is the latest of lengthy list of new winners in the Cup Series

Trackhouse Racing‘s Project 91 delivered big time last weekend in the inaugural Chicago Street Race, when New Zealand‘s Shane Van Gisbergen became the 204th different race winner in NASCAR Cup Series history.

With the Chicago win, Van Gisbergen became seventh driver all-time in the NASCAR Cup Series history to win in his series debut and the first to do it since Johnny Rutherford accomplished the feat in 1963 at Daytona. Van Gisbergen is also the first driver not from the United States to win in his Cup Series debut.

Looking to this weekend, the NASCAR Cup Series heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway with 10 different drivers entered in the Quaker State 400 Available at Walmart (July 9 at 7 p.m. ET on USA, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) looking for their first career Cup win — Harrison Burton, Ty Dillon, Ty Gibbs, Todd Gilliland, Noah Gragson, Austin Hill, Corey LaJoie, BJ McLeod, Ryan Preece and JJ Yeley. Spire Motorsport‘s Corey LaJoie came close to getting his first career Cup win at Atlanta back in March, he finished a career-best fourth.

If there is another first-time winner this weekend at Atlanta, it will be the 23rd time the NASCAR Cup Series has seen back-to-back first-time winners; most recently, in 2021 when Michael McDowell (Daytona) and Christopher Bell (Daytona Road Course) opened up the season with two first-time winners.

It‘s a wonderful time to be competing in the NASCAR Cup Series. In fact, the last decade of Cup racing (2013-2023) has produced 22 of the 204 first-time winners in the series:

Cup First-Time Winners (2014-2023)TrackDateShane Van GisbergenChicago SRSunday, July 2, 2023Tyler ReddickElkhart LakeSunday, July 3, 2022Daniel SuárezSonomaSunday, June 12, 2022Ross ChastainAustinSunday, March 27, 2022Chase BriscoePhoenixSunday, March 13, 2022Austin CindricDaytonaSunday, February 20, 2022Bubba WallaceTalladegaMonday, October 4, 2021Christopher BellDaytona RCSunday, February 21, 2021Michael McDowellDaytonaSunday, February 14, 2021William ByronDaytonaSunday, August 29, 2021Cole CusterKentuckySunday, July 12, 2020Justin HaleyDaytonaSunday, July 7, 2019Alex BowmanChicagoSunday, June 30, 2019Chase ElliottWatkins GlenSunday, August 5, 2018Erik JonesDaytonaSaturday, July 7, 2018Ryan BlaneyPoconoSunday, June 11, 2017Austin DillonCharlotteSunday, May 28, 2017Ricky Stenhouse JrTalladegaSunday, May 7, 2017Kyle LarsonMichiganSunday, August 28, 2016Chris BuescherPoconoMonday, August 1, 2016AJ AllmendingerWatkins GlenSunday, August 10, 2014Aric AlmirolaDaytonaSunday, July 6, 2014

Since the inception of the NASCAR Cup Series in 1949, the 1950 season holds the record for the most first-time winners in a single season with 12 followed by the 1956 season with 10 different first-time winners.

The all-time most different winners in an entire NASCAR Cup Series season are 19 different race winners in a single season and it has happened four times — 1956 (56 race season), 1958 (51 race season), 1961 (52 race season) and 2001 (Modern Era: 36 race season).

The 2023 season with 12 different Cup winners is tied with the 1986, ‘88, ‘00, ‘01, ‘07, ‘11 and ‘12 seasons for the third-most winners through the first 18 races of a season in the Modern Era (1972-Present). The 2003 season holds the record for most different winners through the first 18 races of a season in the Modern Era with 14 different winners.

NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.

NASCAR‘s Kyle Larson Nominated for ESPN‘s Best Driver ESPY Award – NASCAR Cup Series 2021 champion and Hendrick Motorsports driver, Kyle Larson, has been nominated for the ESPN ESPY, “Best Driver,” Award for the second consecutive year in a row. Larson won the award in 2022 for his performance in his championship winning season in 2021.

The four drivers vying for the ESPY award this year are Brittany Force (NHRA), Kyle Larson (NASCAR), Josef Newgarden (IndyCar) and Max Verstappen (F1).

Larson drives the No. 5 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports and has two wins this season (Richmond and Martinsville), eight top fives, nine top 10s and two poles.

Larson finished the 2022 season with three wins, 13 top fives, 19 top 10s and four poles. He also led 635 laps.

The 30-year-old Cup Series champion is one of five drivers to win the award, along with Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr. and Jimmie Johnson.

The 30th edition of the ESPY Awards will take place this year on Wednesday, July 12th at 8 pm ET. Fans can cast their votes for their favorite driver here, up until Sunday July 9th at 8 pm ET.

Andy Grammer to headline Revs & Riffs at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend – Multiplatinum singer Andy Grammer will headline Atlanta Motor Speedway‘s Revs & Riffs during the NASCAR weekend (July 8-9). Grammer will bring his hugely popular pop anthems to the pre-race stage on Sunday evening, July 9, ahead of Quaker State 400 Available At Walmart NASCAR Cup Series race.

Fans will enjoy Grammer‘s catalog full of bona fide hits, including the quadruple-platinum “Honey, I‘m Good” and platinum singles like “Keep Your Head Up,” “Fine By Me,” and “Good To Be Alive (Hallelujah).”

The pre-race concert will be the headline act for the sophomore year of Revs & Riffs, which blends concerts and racing together in one entertainment-filled weekend during Atlanta Motor Speedway‘s summer NASCAR weekend.

NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Childress named Grand Marshal for Atlanta Motor Speedway – NASCAR Hall of Famer and legendary team owner Richard Childress will give the command to fire engines for Sunday night‘s Quaker State 400 Available at Walmart. Childress will utter the most famous words in motorsports from inside the cockpit of the No. 29 car Kevin Harvick drove to victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 2001.

“To be the Grand Marshal for Atlanta, one of my favorite racetracks as a driver and a car owner, is an honor,” said Childress.

His team Richard Childress Racing has scored 15 victories at AMS across NASCAR‘s three national touring series, including nine at the NASCAR Cup Series level. With Sunday night‘s race starting with an RCR car leading the field during pace laps, Childress hopes the race will end the same way after 400 miles of close-quarters racing.

“We‘ve had some good runs there (since the reconfiguration). We‘ve won with Austin Hill (in the Xfinity Series) but now we need to win a Cup race,” said Childress.

NASCAR Xfinity Series

NASCAR Xfinity Series set for Round Two at Atlanta Motor Speedway

After a historic weekend in the Windy City (Chicago), the NASCAR Xfinity Series is now heading back to Atlanta Motor Speedway to race under the lights for the Alsco Uniforms 250 on Saturday, July 8 at 8 p.m. ET (USA Network, the NBC Sports App, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

There have been 34 NASCAR Xfinity Series races at Atlanta Motor Speedway, producing 21 different race winners and 18 different pole winners. Seven races have been won from the pole or first starting position, most recently by Kyle Busch in 2021.

NASCAR Cup Series regular Kevin Harvick holds just about every Xfinity Series record at the Atlanta, Georgia track — most wins (five), top fives (11), top 10s (13), lead lap finishes (13), laps completed (3,135) and laps led (973).

Richard Childress Racing‘s Austin Hill is the track‘s most recent winner. The Winston, Georgia native actually has two wins at his home track — summer 2022 & spring 2023. If he pulls off another win this Saturday, he‘ll become just the second Xfinity Series driver in Atlanta Motor Speedway history to win three consecutive races, joining Kevin Harvick (2014, 2015, 2016).

Drivers will skip practice this weekend and will kick off the doubleheader weekend at the 1.54-mile Atlanta track with qualifying on Saturday, July 8 at 4:05 p.m. ET on the USA Network and streamed on the NBC Sports App.

Race For The Win: Three previous Atlanta winners entered this weekend

Although Austin Hill clearly knows what it takes to be successful at Atlanta Motor Speedway winning the last two races at the 1.54-mile track, he isn‘t the only driver entered in this weekend‘s Alsco Uniforms 250 that has made the trip to Victory Lane. Joining him on the winners list is JR Motorsports‘ Justin Allgaier and Cup Series regular Ty Gibbs.

Allgaier, who‘s Atlanta win came in 2021, will be returning to Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend looking for redemption after falling victim to an incident earlier this season at the 1.54-mile track. The veteran driver has made 15 starts at the track, posting one win (2021), three top fives and nine top 10s. This season thus far, he‘s posted one win (Charlotte), nine top fives and 11 top 10s.

Gibbs will be getting behind the wheel of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota for his fifth Xfinity Series start of the season. The 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion, Gibbs, snagged his victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway in his series debut at the track in 2022. In his four starts in the series this season, he has posted three top fives and three top 10s.

Wins Needed: Three drivers to watch at Atlanta Motor Speedway

Austin Hill, Justin Allgaier and Ty Gibbs will be sure to race their competitors hard for the chance to add another Atlanta trophy to their respective trophy cases, but three drivers in the field that will be sure to give them a run for their money this Saturday are Riley Herbst, Daniel Hemric and Justin Haley.

Stewart-Haas Racing‘s Riley Herbst has given the Atlanta track a go six times in the Xfinity Series and has posted two top fives and four top 10s. Fans can expect the 24-year-old driver to be on his A-game this weekend as he is still looking to post his first-ever Xfinity Series win. With the success he‘s had on the 1.54-mile Atlanta track, he could add his name to the winner‘s list and secure his spot in the 2023 Xfinity Series Playoffs.

Kaulig Racing‘s Daniel Hemric has also put up some good stats at Atlanta Motor Speedway. In his eight starts, he‘s posted three top fives and five top 10s. Hemric is looking to post his first win of 2023. Earlier this season, he posted a runner-up finish at Atlanta, missing the win by a mere .085 seconds.

Cup Series regular Justin Haley will be pulling double duty and driving the No.10 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet in this weekend‘s Alsco Uniforms 250 at Atlanta, a track that has treated him well. He has finished 10th or better in all five of his Xfinity Series starts at the track. His most recent Xfinity Series stint at Atlanta Motor Speedway was earlier this season where he finished 10th.

Postseason Countdown: NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs update

With another win by Stewart-Haas Racing‘s Cole Custer this past weekend at the inaugural Chicago Street Race, five spots are still up for grabs for the 2023 Xfinity Series Playoffs as the series heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the second time this season.

The following seven drivers have already secured their spots in the Playoffs by virtue of wins: John Hunter Nemechek, Austin Hill, Cole Custer, Justin Allgaier, Chandler Smith, Sammy Smith and Jeb Burton.

Currently in the eighth spot in the Playoff outlook is JR Motorsport‘s Josh Berry, who made it to the Championship 4 Round last season. He‘s posted seven top fives and 11 top 10s this season thus far. Earlier this season, he posted a seventh-place finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway and in last year‘s summer Atlanta race, he finished runner up. Berry is currently +81 points over the Playoff cutline.

Just three points behind Berry is his JRM teammate Sam Mayer, who made his first Playoff appearance last season, and ultimately finished seventh in the standings. Mayer is currently +45 points above the Playoff cutline.

Richard Childress Racing‘s Sheldon Creed takes up the 10th spot with 445 points, 193 points behind current points leader John Hunter Nemechek and +42 points above the postseason cutoff.

The final two spots in the Playoff outlook are occupied by Daniel Hemric (+33 points) and Riley Herbst (+26 points), respectively. Right below the cutline is Parker Kligerman, who is 26 points behind Herbst.

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

Cole Custer to run three Cup Series races this season — SHR‘s Cole Custer, who ran a full-time NASCAR Cup Series schedule last season, will be making a return to the series this weekend with Rick Ware Racing behind the wheel of the No. 51 Ford. He will also join the team later this season at New Hampshire and Pocono.

“RWR is building a solid program and I‘m happy to help keep it growing in the right direction. It‘s fun to be part of their group and hopefully we‘ll have some solid runs together,” said Custer.

This is not the first time Custer has made some starts with the team, although his last stint with RWR was in 2021.

“We have put a lot of effort into elevating our program the past two years and having Cole come race with us again is great for the team,” said Rick Ware. “He has won at every level he‘s competed in and is having a strong season in the Xfinity Series this year.”


NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series ready for the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

For only the second time in series history, the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series will head to Mid-Ohio for the O‘Reilly Auto Parts 150 (Saturday, July 8 at 1:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, and SiriusXM Radio).

Sitting on 380 acres of land, the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Road Course 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.

The classic road 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.

Nestled inside the limits of Lexington, the track is set directly between Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. The facility, opened in 1962, 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.

In the inaugural CRAFTSMAN Truck Series race last year, Parker Kligerman, driving the No. 36 Henderson Motorsports Chevrolet, dominated his way into Victory Lane after leading 56 of 67 laps. He claimed his third win of his NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series career and his first on a road course.

CRAFTSMAN Truck Series drivers to watch: Road course ringers edition

In total, the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series has run 31 road course races all-time (1995-Present) producing 24 different winners, led by Joe Ruttman and NASCAR Hall of Famer Ron Hornaday Jr. with three road course wins each. Two road course winners in the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series are active this weekend — Ben Rhodes (Daytona RC, 2021) and Zane Smith (COTA, 2022 and 2023).

In 2021, Ben Rhodes became the third driver in CRAFTSMAN Truck Series history to win the first two races of the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series season after dominating the Daytona opener and the Daytona Road Course. The driver of the No. 99 ThorSport Racing Ford has yet to win another road course race but has finished in the top-10 three times since. Last year, Rhodes finished 23rd at Mid-Ohio.

The 2022 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series champion Zane Smith has been particularly dominant on road courses. Smith became the first repeat NASCAR winner at COTA and made the Front Row Motorsports team a perfect three-for-three in CRAFTSMAN Truck Series races at the famed road course, after taking the reins from Todd Gilliland.

Although he is still seeking his first career CRAFTSMAN Truck Series win, the driver of the No. 2 Rev Racing Chevrolet, Nick Sanchez, has been strong. The Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate finished seventh at COTA earlier this season. The 22-year-old will look to build off his momentum and claim his first victory this weekend.

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 three races to go in the regular season, here‘s a look at the current CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoff standings:

Locked In:

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, six points above the cutoff.

On the Outside Looking In:

Another 10 drivers sit outside the Playoff cutline 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).

Clinch Scenarios For Mid-Ohio:

Can Clinch via Points

If there is a repeat winner or a win by a driver who cannot advance to the Playoffs, the following drivers could clinch by being 111 points above the 3rd winless driver in the standings. The same point requirements listed below would hold true if a new win comes from among Ty Majeski or Matt DiBenedetto.

Ty Majeski: Could only clinch with help

If there is a new winner from Matt Crafton or another winless driver lower in the standings but still eligible to advance to the Playoffs, the following drivers could clinch by being 111 points above the 2nd winless driver in the standings.

Ty Majeski: Could only clinch with help

Can Clinch Via Win

The following drivers would clinch on their win alone:

Ty Majeski, Matt DiBenedetto, Matt Crafton, Nicholas Sanchez, Stewart Friesen, Tanner Gray, Chase Purdy, Tyler Ankrum, Rajah Caruth, Daniel Dye, Hailie Deegan, Colby Howard, Bret Holmes, Dean Thompson, Lawless Alan, Spencer Boyd


NTT IndyCar Series Veteran Conor Daly to return to Mid-Ohio — Conor Daly looks to return to the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this weekend to pilot the No. 41 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet.

In the IndyCar Series, Daly has eight career starts at Mid-Ohio. His best finish, sixth, came in 2016 with Dale Coyne Racing. He led 22 laps in that race. In 105 IndyCar starts, he has one podium finish, a runner-up finish at Belle Isle, and one pole position at Iowa Speedway.

The Indiana native, who raced in the Daytona 500 this season, also has two NASCAR Cup Series starts at road courses. He raced at COTA earlier this season and at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL in 2022.

In addition to his multiple Cup Series starts, Daly competed in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Road America in 2018. In CRAFTSMAN Truck Series events, the NTT Indy Car Series veteran has two starts, both at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Between those two starts, Daly has a best finish of 18th.

“Mid-Ohio is one of my favorite tracks and the experience I have there — I think it will be really beneficial in getting me up to speed quickly,” Daly said.

Marco Andretti to attempt to make CRAFTSMAN Truck Series debut at Mid-Ohio — Marco Andretti will attempt to make his NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series debut this weekend behind the wheel of the No. 7 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet this weekend.

The Nazareth, Pennsylvania native made his NASCAR national series debut in 2022 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series — driving the No. 26 Sam Hunt Racing Toyota at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL. He finished 26th.

The third generation NTT IndyCar Series racer has over 250 IndyCar starts with two victories. He‘s also started 18 consecutive Indianapolis 500s. Additionally, Andretti is the reigning Superstar Racing Experience (SRX) series champion, beating Ryan Newman and Bobby Labonte to the title. He knows Mid-Ohio very well, having over a dozen IndyCar starts at the road course and a best finish of sixth.

“I can‘t wait to get my feet wet in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series,” said Andretti. “I‘m grateful for Group 1001 and Spire Motorsports for making this happen. I have a lot of laps in an Indy car around Mid-Ohio. It‘s going to be a bit different but a lot of fun. The Cup Series guys I have spoken to said I will love it.”


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