NASCAR Cup Series
Next Race: FireKeepers Casino 400
The Place: Michigan International Speedway
The Date: Sunday, August 6
The Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
The Purse: $7,544,696
TV: USA, 2 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR (Channel 90)
Distance: 400 miles (200 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 45), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 120), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 200)

NASCAR Xfinity Series
Next Race: Cabo Wabo 250
The Place: Michigan International Speedway
The Date: Saturday, August 5
The Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
The Purse: $1,367,625
TV: USA, 3 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR (Channel 90)
Distance: 250 miles (125 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 30), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 60), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 125)

Next Race: TSport 200
The Place: Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park
The Date: Friday, August 11
The Time: 9 p.m. ET
The Purse: $699,222
TV: FS1, 8 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR (Channel 90)
Distance: 137.2 miles (200 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 60), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 120), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 200)

NASCAR Cup Series

Michigan‘s Irish Hills welcomes the NASCAR Cup Series

Victory Lane has had a rotating door this season with 13 different NASCAR Cup Series winners through 22 races, and excluding Shane Van Gisbergen, who ineligible for the postseason, 12 of the winners have secured their spot in the Playoffs heading into this Sunday‘s FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway (August 6 at 2:30 p.m. ET on USA Network, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio); including last weekend‘s Richmond Raceway winner Chris Buescher. With four races left in the regular season, each of these final starts are imperative for contenders to position themselves in a good place as the postseason approaches.

Challenging the competitors this week will be the massive Michigan International Speedway, which sits on more than 1,400 acres in the “Irish Hills” of southeastern Michigan. Ground-breaking for the facility took place on September 28, 1967 and the two-mile asphalt paved track with 18 degrees of banking in the turns was created — the only track with those dimensions on the schedule.

The first NASCAR Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway was held on June 15, 1969, and the event was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough in the Wood Brothers‘ No. 21 Mercury at an average speed of 139.254 mph.

The NASCAR Cup Series events at Michigan International Speedway have been run at multiple different lengths. The first NASCAR Cup Series race at Michigan was 500 miles in length; the second was scheduled for 600 — but was shortened due to weather and only ran 330 miles. Michigan was re-measured to 2.04 miles for the last race in 1970 and both races in 1971 — with the race distance being 402 miles. All other races have been scheduled for 400 miles, except for the two 2020 races during the pandemic that were 312 miles each and run on consecutive days.

Michigan International Speedway has hosted a total of 105 NASCAR Cup Series races producing 51 different pole winners and 39 different race winners. NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson leads the series in wins at Michigan with nine victories (1969, 1972 sweep, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976 sweep, 1978). Kevin Harvick (2010, 2018, 2019, 2020-1, 2020-2, 2022) leads all active series drivers in wins at Michigan with six victories. Six of the 39 NASCAR Cup Series race winners at Michigan are active this weekend.

Active Michigan Race WinnersWinsSeasonsKevin Harvick62022, 2020 sweep, 2019, 2018, 2010Joey Logano32019, 2016, 2013Kyle Larson32017 sweep, 2016Denny Hamlin22011, 2010Ryan Blaney12021Kyle Busch12011

A total of 51 different drivers have qualified on the pole at Michigan International Speedway in the NASCAR Cup Series, led by NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson with 10 poles (1969, 1974 sweep, 1975, 1976, 1977 sweep, 1978 sweep and 1979). Joey Logano leads all active NASCAR Cup Series drivers in poles at Michigan with four (2013, 2016 sweep, 2019). And seven of the 51 NASCAR Cup Series Michigan pole winners are active this weekend.

Active Michigan Pole WinnersPolesSeasonsJoey Logano42019, 2016 sweep, 2013Brad Keselowski22019, 2017Bubba Wallace12022Denny Hamlin12018Kyle Larson12017Kevin Harvick12014JJ Yeley12007

The NASCAR Cup Series on-track activity kicks off with practice on Saturday, August 5 at 12:35 p.m. ET directly followed by Busch Light Pole Qualifying at 1:20 p.m. ET at Michigan International Speedway — both events can be viewed on the NBC Sports App at 12:30 p.m. ET.

The first starting position is the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more NASCAR Cup Series winners (22) than any other starting position at Michigan International Speedway: 21 winners from the pole and one from the first starting position due to qualifying being cancelled — 1985 (Bill Elliott). The most recent driver to win from the pole at Michigan was Joey Logano in 2019. The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Michigan is 32nd, by NASCAR Hall of Famer Mark Martin in the spring of 2009.

Stewart-Haas Racing‘s Kevin Harvick has one last shot at going back-to-back at Michigan

Needing a win to secure his spot in the Playoffs this season, Stewart-Haas Racing‘s Kevin Harvick revisits Michigan International Speedway with hopes of returning to Victory Lane this weekend and making it back-to-back victories at the two-mile facility. Harvick is one of 11 different drivers to win consecutive NASCAR Cup Series races at Michigan International Speedway, and this weekend looks to get his second set of back-to-back wins, he earned his first in the consecutive Michigan races during the pandemic in 2020. With Harvick announcing his retirement at the end of the season, this will be his last run at the 2-mile track.

Drivers with consecutive wins at Michigan:

Bobby Allison (1971 sweep),David Pearson (1972 sweep — 1973), (1974-1975),Cale Yarborough (1983 sweep),Bill Elliott (1985 sweep — 1986 sweep),Bobby Labonte (1995 sweep),Mark Martin (1997-1998),Ryan Newman (2003-2004),Greg Biffle (2004-2005), (2012-2013)Kyle Larson won three-straight at Michigan (2016-2017).Kevin Harvick (2019, 2020-1, 2020-2) — only driver to win in consecutive days at a single track.

The 47-year-old from Bakersfield, California, Harvick, is currently ranked 13th in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff outlook, 182 points ahead of Joe Gibbs Racing‘s Ty Gibbs in 17th — the first spot outside the postseason cutoff. In 22 starts this season, Harvick has put up one stage win, six top-five and 10 top-10 finishes.

Last season, Harvick only led the final 38 laps of the race after taking the lead coming off pit road during the final caution‘s pitstops. He would hold on to win his sixth race at the track — most among active drivers. In total, Harvick has made 42 starts at the two-mile track, posting six wins (2010, 2018, 2019, 2020-1, 2020-2, 2022), including four of the last five races, 16 top fives and 22 top 10s. His average finish at Michigan is 10.952 — second best among active drivers.

Race To The Playoffs: Four races to go, four open postseason spots

The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season has produced 13 different Cup winners, which is tied with the 1988, ‘00, ‘01, and ‘21 seasons for the third-most winners through the first 22 races of a season in the Modern Era (1972-Present). With Shane Van Gisbergen not eligible for the postseason, 12 drivers have earned a spot in the Playoffs leaving just four positions still up for grabs as the series heads to Michigan International Speedway for race No. 23 of the year.

Just four races remain in the NASCAR Cup Series regular season and tensions are running high in the garage for the competitors that haven‘t secured their spot in the postseason. Currently, the final four remaining transfer Playoff spots on points are occupied by Stewart-Haas Racing‘s Kevin Harvick (13th, +182 points above the cutline), RFK Racing‘s Brad Keselowski (14th, +151 points above the cutline), 23XI Racing‘s Bubba Wallace (15th, +54 points above the cutline), and Front Row Motorsports‘ Michael McDowell (16th, +18 points above cutline).

Heading into Sunday at Michigan International Speedway, several former winners at the track will be looking to return to Victory Lane this weekend, especially those that are winless this season. Of that group, Stewart-Haas Racing‘s Kevin Harvick bolsters the most success at the two-mile track with wins in all three of NASCAR‘s national series; including the series-most among active drivers (six) in the NASCAR Cup Series. He also has a victory in the NASCAR Xfinity Series (2003) and the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series (2011). Harvick and Kyle Busch are the only two active drivers with wins in all three NASCAR national series at Michigan.

RFK Racing‘s Brad Keselowski (two wins), Richard Childress Racing‘s Austin Dillon (one win), Kaulig Racing‘s AJ Allmendinger (one win) and Joe Gibbs Racing‘s Ty Gibbs (one win) each have NASCAR Xfinity Series victories at Michigan International Speedway, and all four need a win this season to get into the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. In last season‘s Cup race, Keselowski finished 15th, Dillon finished 13th, Ty Gibbs finished 10th and Allmendinger did not compete in the event.

23XI Racing‘s Bubba Wallace and Stewart-Haas Racing‘s Aric Almirola each have NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series wins at Michigan and are looking for their first wins of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season. In last year‘s Cup race, Almirola finished 34th due to an incident and Wallace finished runner-up to Kevin Harvick.

Keselowski & Jones chasing home track success this weekend at Michigan

RFK Racing driver Brad Keselowski from Rochester Hills and Legacy Motor Club‘s Erik Jones from Byron are returning to the great state of Michigan this weekend to compete at their home track – Michigan International Speedway.

A total of 101 different drivers in NASCAR national series history have their home state recorded as Michigan, and 10 of the 101 (9.9%) have won at least one race in a NASCAR national series.

Michigan drivers have combined to win 162 NASCAR national series races, led by RFK Racing‘s Brad Keselowski, who has won a combined 75 NASCAR national series races – nearly half of the state‘s total.

NASCAR Winners From Michigan:

DriverCupXfinityTruckCombinedBrad Keselowski3539175Paul Goldsmith9009Erik Jones39719Johnny Benson131418Tim Fedewa0404Butch Miller0213Tracy Leslie0101Jack Sprague012829Carson Hocevar0033Bob Keselowski0011Totals485955162

Next to Martin Truex Jr.‘s 32 winless starts at Michigan, Brad Keselowski has made the second-most starts among active drivers at Michigan without a trip to Victory Lane at 25. But in his 25 previous starts, he has put up seven top fives and 13 top 10s; including three runner-up finishes (2012, 2018, 2020). His average finish is 12.640 — sixth-best among active drivers.

Legacy Motor Club‘s Erik Jones has the third-most combined NASCAR national series wins by a driver from Michigan with 19 victories, behind only Keselowski with 75 and Jack Sprague (Spring Lake) with 29. Jones has made 10 Cup Series starts at Michigan posting one top five (third in 2017) and two top 10s. He finished eighth in this event last season. His average finish is at the 2-mile speedway is 15.7 — 11th best among active drivers.

Outside Looking In: JGR rookie Ty Gibbs is so close to a Playoff berth

Joe Gibbs Racing‘s Ty Gibbs has made the most of his rookie season through the first 22 races of the year, and now sits in contention to become just the fourth driver in series history to make the Playoffs in their rookie NASCAR Cup Series season; joining Denny Hamlin (2006), Chase Elliott (2016) and Austin Cindric (2022).

Gibbs is currently 17th in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff outlook, just 18 points behind Front Row Motorsport‘s Michael McDowell in the 16th and final postseason transfer position on points.

This season Gibbs has made 22 starts putting up one top-five and six top-10 finishes. Michigan is probably a track Gibbs has had circled this season, not only has he won their in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2021, but in his Cup Series debut at the 2-mile track he finished inside the top-10 (10th).

NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.

Ford Motor Company goes for eighth straight win at Michigan — This weekend at Michigan International Speedway, Ford will be looking to visit Victory Lane for the ninth consecutive time in the NASCAR Cup Series at the engine manufacturers‘ home track.

Ford enters this weekend having won the last eight consecutive NASCAR Cup Series races at Michigan International Speedway (2018-2022) and this weekend will look to keep the streak alive — the longest consecutive streak of wins by a manufacturer at the two-mile facility.

OEMDateMichigan WinnerFordSunday, June 10, 2018Clint BowyerFordSunday, August 12, 2018Kevin HarvickFordMonday, June 10, 2019Joey LoganoFordSunday, August 11, 2019Kevin HarvickFordSaturday, August 8, 2020Kevin HarvickFordSunday, August 9, 2020Kevin HarvickFordSunday, August 22, 2021Ryan BlaneyFordSunday, August 7, 2022Kevin Harvick

Eight different manufacturers have won in the NASCAR Cup Series at Michigan; led by Ford with 43 victories; followed by Chevrolet with 26, Mercury (12), Dodge (nine), Toyota (five), Buick (four) Pontiac (four) and Oldsmobile (two).

Truex Jr. one race closer to second Regular Season Championship – Joe Gibbs Racing‘s Martin Truex Jr. put up his 12th top-10 finish of the season last weekend at Richmond Raceway to open-up his NASCAR Cup Series driver point standings lead to 39 points over Hendrick Motorsports‘ William Byron in second. With only four races left in the regular season, anything can happen but as they sit right now Martin Truex Jr. (2017) looks like he is on the verge of becoming just the second driver all-time to win multiple NASCAR Cup Series Regular Season Championships; joining Kyle Busch (2015, 2019). Plus, along with the prestige, Truex would score the additional 15 Playoff bonus points that come with the title.

Truex is one of seven different drivers to occupy the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings lead this season. In 22 starts this year, Truex has accumulated three wins, three stage wins, eight top fives and 12 top 10s.

Regular Season Championship Clinch Scenarios:

Martin Truex Jr. (or whoever‘s first in points) needs to be up by the corresponding number after the race to clinch:

Michigan — 180 or 181 points, depending on tie-break

Indianapolis — 120 or 121 points, depending on tie-break

Watkins Glen — 60 or 61 points, depending on tie-break

Daytona — 0 or 1 point, depending on tie-break

The inception of the NASCAR Cup Series Regular Season Championship into the series was in 2017, and since then five different drivers have won the title.

NASCAR Cup Series Regular Season Champions RankTitlesDriversSeasons12Kyle Busch2019, 201821Chase Elliott2022Kyle Larson2021Kevin Harvick2020Martin Truex Jr.2017

Three of the five drivers that have won the Regular Season Championship went on to win the overall NASCAR Cup Series Championship the same season — Martin Truex Jr. (2017), Kyle Busch (2019) and Kyle Larson (2021).

Milestone Watch: Ty Dillon to make 225th NASCAR Cup Series career start — Spire Motorsport‘s Ty Dillon will attempt to make his 225th NASCAR Cup Series career start this weekend at Michigan International Speedway.

Over the course of his 224 previous starts, Dillon has competed for eight different organizations in the NASCAR Cup Series — Richard Childress Racing, Leavine Family Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing, Tommy Baldwin Racing, Germain Racing, Gaunt Brother Racing, Petty GMS Racing and Spire Motorsports.

In his 224 starts, he has put up two top fives and seven top 10s. His average start is 26.8 and his average finish is 22.8.

Dillon has made 11 career starts at Michigan posting a best finish of 11th in 2019.

Spire Motorsports and Corey LaJoie agree on multi-year extension — Spire Motorsports has reached a multi-year extension with Corey LaJoie to remain the driver of the team‘s No.7 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Cup Series.

“Corey LaJoie took a chance on Spire Motorsports before we had any tools, any cars, or even a race shop,” said Spire Motorsports co-owner Jeff Dickerson. “He is part of the fabric of this race team so it‘s hard to put into words what his commitment means to T.J. (co-owner T.J. Puchyr) and I. He made a very thoughtful and deliberate decision to return to Spire Motorsports. He had plenty of other opportunities and chose to stay the course. We‘re excited that Corey will continue to anchor this team and we‘re ready to keep making meaningful progress every time we unload.”

LaJoie has been with the team since 2021 and in 222 starts his career best finishes include a fourth- and a fifth-place showing, both coming at Atlanta Motor Speedway. In 22 NCS races this year, LaJoie has scored one top-five and 11 top-20 finishes.

The Concord, N.C., native is a staple on social media platforms and hosts the podcast ‘Stacking Pennies.‘

“When Jeff, TJ and I sat at the conference table three years ago, with a whiteboard and vision to build a competitive race team, I was excited for the challenge,” explained LaJoie. “Since that meeting, I‘ve grown, matured and developed my skills and will continue to improve myself and my extended family at Spire Motorsports for years to come. We will continue stacking pennies and deliver for our great partners on and off the track. We‘re even more eager to bring our loyal fans on the journey with us.”

LaJoie has made nine NASCAR Cup Series starts at Michigan posting a best finish of 19th last season.

NASCAR Xfinity Series

NASCAR Xfinity Series revs up for Michigan

After some fun turning left and right at Road America, the NASCAR Xfinity Series will be shifting gears and heading to Michigan International Speedway for the Cabo Wabo 250 on Saturday, August 5 at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Michigan International Speedway has hosted 30 NASCAR Xfinity Series races since 1992, producing 22 different race winners and 23 different pole winners. Only three races have been won from the pole or first starting position, most recently by Brad Keselowski in 2010.

Eight different drivers are tied for the most wins at the Michigan in the Xfinity Series with two victories each – Todd Bodine (1992, 2000), Kyle Busch (2004, 2015), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (1999, 2006), Denny Hamlin (2007, 2017), Carl Edwards (2008, 2011), Brad Keselowski (2009, 2010), Mark Martin (1993, 1995) and Ryan Newman (2001, 2005). Of the 22 former winners at Michigan International Speedway, only two are entered in this weekend‘s Cabo Wabo 250 — AJ Allmendinger (2021) and Ty Gibbs (2022). Both will be pulling double duty this weekend, running in both the Cup Series and Xfinity Series races.

NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers will kick off their weekend with practice on Friday, August 4 at 3:35 p.m. ET followed by qualifying at 4:05 p.m. ET. Both will be televised on the USA Network.

Hot, Hot, Hot: Michigan winners streak could continue on Saturday

Michigan International Speedway is currently riding a wave of different winners in the NASCAR Xfinity Series that has reached 12 drivers in Victory Lane and dates back to 2010. This weekend, the Cabo Wabo 250 has the chance to produce another new winner bringing the total to a baker‘s dozen 13 and keep the streak going.

The streak of different winners began in 2010 with Brad Keselowski, then Carl Edwards (2011), Joey Logano (2012), Regan Smith (2013), Paul Menard (2014), Kyle Busch (2015), Daniel Suárez (2016), Denny Hamlin (2017), Austin Dillon (2018), Tyler Reddick (2019), AJ Allmendinger (2021), and Ty Gibbs (2022). The series did not compete at Michigan in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Only two drivers will have the opportunity to break the streak — AJ Allmendinger and Ty Gibbs — but many in the field will be looking to keep the streak very much alive.

JR Motorsports‘ Justin Allgaier has been dominant on Michigan‘s two-mile track, posting three top fives and seven top 10s in his 11 starts. Last season, he came extremely close to finally adding a Michigan trophy to his trophy case, finishing second only to Ty Gibbs. Allgaier heads into the weekend with one win (Charlotte), nine top fives, 12 top 10s and 274 laps led this season thus far.

Another driver who has done well at Michigan and is hungry for a win this season is Allgaier‘s JRM teammate Brandon Jones. The 26-year-old driver has made six starts at the track, posting two top fives and five top 10s. Like Allgaier, Jones has also come extremely close to tasting victory at Michigan International Speedway, finishing runner-up in 2021 after racing his way up from the 24th position.

Sam Mayer takes the checkered flag at home track

It appears that the stars aligned for JR Motorsports‘ Sam Mayer last weekend as he posted his first NASCAR Xfinity Series win at none other than his home track, Road America.

The Franklin, Wisconsin native, Mayer, definitely had his work cut out for him in the dash for the win, running three-wide in the second overtime start before finally emerging out front and snagging the checkered flag.

With his win, he kept the different winners streak alive at Road America, joining Carl Edwards (2010), Reed Sorenson (2011), Nelson Piquet Jr. (2012), AJ Allmendinger (2013), Brendan Gaughan (2014), Paul Menard (2015), Michael McDowell (2016), Jeremy Clements (2017), Justin Allgaier (2018), Christopher Bell (2019), Austin Cindric (2020), Kyle Busch (2021) and Ty Gibbs (2022).

Mayer will be looking to keep this momentum going as the series heads to Michigan International Speedway for the Cabo Wabo 250. The 20-year-old has only made two starts at the two-mile track. Although he hasn‘t had the best of luck at Michigan, finishing 33rd in both of his starts, he has proved that he can perform well on other two-mile tracks. He finished runner-up at Auto Club earlier this season and sixth at his debut at the track in 2022.

Xfinity Playoffs loom with six race left in the regular season

JR Motorsport‘s Sam Mayer became the eighth different driver to earn a spot in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs this season by virtue of his big hometown victory at Road America last weekend. Mayer‘s win leaves just four spots left in the 12-driver Playoff field as the series has just six races left in the regular season.

The eight drivers in the 2023 Playoffs on wins are Austin Hill, John Hunter Nemechek, Cole Custer, Justin Allgaier, Chandler Smith, Sam Mayer, Jeb Burton and Sammy Smith.

The drivers currently occupying the remaining four spots in the Playoff outlook are Josh Berry (ninth, +107 points above the cutline), Daniel Hemric (10th, +74 points above the cutline), Riley Herbst (11th, +25 points), Sheldon Creed (12th, +22 points). Richard Childress Racing‘s Sheldon Creed sits in the 12th and final transfer spot on points, up 22 points on Big Machine Racing‘s Parker Kligerman in the 13th position — the first spot outside the cutoff.

Looking ahead to Michigan, of the five drivers long the Playoff cutline, Josh Berry has the best average finish at the 2-mile track with a 5.0, followed by Creed (11.0), Hemric (15.2), Herbst (17.6), and Kligerman (25.0).

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

NASCAR Xfinity Series to be aired on The CW — Starting in 2025, The CW Network will become the exclusive home to the NASCAR Xfinity Series and will extend through the 2031 season. The NASCAR Productions group will work closely with The CW Network to produce all races and content.

“Landing the NASCAR Xfinity Series is a game changer for The CW and our CW Sports division and represents another important building block in our programming strategy,” said Dennis Miller, President of The CW. “Live sports are the most watched television content and with The CW‘s national reach, moving NASCAR Xfinity Series to The CW will transform and elevate the viewing experience for the series and its fans.”

Brian Herbst, Senior Vice President, Media and Productions for NASCAR said: “CW‘s leadership shared a compelling vision for cultivating the next generation of NASCAR talent by bringing the NASCAR Xfinity Series exclusively to broadcast television and we are thrilled for the opportunity to partner with them. With more than 1 million viewers tuning in each week to see NASCAR‘s future stars battle some of its biggest names at our most legendary tracks, the NASCAR Xfinity Series consistently delivers the moments that excite current fans and create new fans of our great sport.”

Conor Daly to run Xfinity Series race at Indianapolis — IndyCar veteran Conor Daly will be making his first Xfinity Series start of the 2023 season next weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway behind the wheel of the No. 44 Alpha Prime Racing Chevrolet.

The Indiana native made his debut in the Xfinity Series in 2018 at Road America. He has since made starts in both the Cup Series and CRAFTSMAN Truck Series. His most recent start was in the Truck Series a few weeks ago at Mid-Ohio where he finished 18th.

The Xfinity Series race at IMS will be his first stock car stint on the road course.


NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoffs set for Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park

After Niece Motorsport‘s driver Carson Hocevar emerged victorious at Richmond Raceway, the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoffs are set to get underway next weekend at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park for the TSport 200 (Saturday, August 11 at 9 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, and SiriusXM Radio).

The 2023 season will mark the eighth running of the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoffs (2016-2023). Since the inception of the new format in 2016, seven different drivers have hoisted the championship trophy – Johnny Sauter (2016), Christopher Bell (2017), Brett Moffitt (2018), Matt Crafton (2019), Sheldon Creed (2020), Ben Rhodes (2021), and Zane Smith (2022).

The structure of the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoffs will remain the same as years past: a seven-race, three round elimination format. The CRAFTSMAN Truck Series will cap off their season in conjunction with the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the NASCAR Cup Series at Phoenix Raceway for the Championship 4 Finale.

Characteristics of the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoff format include:

The number of championship drivers in contention for the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series championship will decrease after every three Playoff races, from 10 to start in the Playoffs; eight after race No. 3; and four after race No. 6.The first three races of the Playoffs (17-19) will be known as the Round of 10; races 20-22 will be known as the Round of 8; and race No. 23 will be the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Championship (Championship 4 Round).A win by a championship-eligible driver in any Playoff race automatically clinches the winning driver a spot in the next round.Four drivers will enter the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Championship with a chance at the title, with the highest finisher among those four capturing the championship.

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoff Structure:

Round of 10: Races 17-19 will be at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park, the Milwaukee Mile, and Kansas Speedway. If a driver in the Playoffs wins a race in this round, the driver automatically advances to the Round of 8. The remaining available positions (1-8) that have not been filled by wins will be filled on points. Each advancing Playoff contender will then have their points reset to 3,000, plus any Playoff points awarded to that point are added.Round of 8: Races 20-22 will be at Bristol Motor Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway. Likewise, if a driver in the top eight in points wins a race in this round, the driver automatically advances to the Championship 4 Round. The remaining available positions (1-4) that have not been filled by wins will be filled on points. Each advancing Playoff contender will then have their points reset to 4,000.Each eliminated driver will return to the Playoff-start base of 2,000 (plus any awarded Playoff points), with their accumulated points starting with race No. 17 added. This will allow all drivers not in contention for the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series title to continue to race for the best possible season-long standing, with final positions fifth-through-10th still up for grabs.

The 2023 10-driver NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoff Field:

Corey Heim — TRICON Garage — No. 11 Toyota — 2,030 pointsZane Smith — Front Row Motorsports — No. 38 Ford — 2,022 pointsCarson Hocevar — Niece Motorsports — No. 42 Chevrolet — 2,021 pointsChristian Eckes — McAnally-Hilgemann Racing — No. 19 Chevrolet — 2,019 pointsGrant Enfinger — GMS Racing — No. 23 Chevrolet — 2,017 pointsTy Majeski — ThorSport Racing — No. 98 Ford — 2,014 pointsBen Rhodes — ThorSport Racing — No. 99 Ford — 2,013 pointsNick Sanchez — Rev Racing — No. 2 Chevrolet — 2,005 pointsMatt DiBenedetto — Rackley W.A.R. — No. 25 Chevrolet — 2,002 pointsMatt Crafton — ThorSport Racing — No. 88 Ford — 2,002 points

The return to historic Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park

For the second time since 2011, the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series is returning to Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park next weekend. The track will play host to a Playoff race for only the second time in CRAFTSMAN Truck Series history. Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park is the fifth track to open the Playoffs, along with New Hampshire Motor Speedway (2016, 2017), Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (2018), Bristol Motor Speedway (2019, 2020), and World Wide Technology Raceway (2021).

This historic track houses a 0.68-mile paved oval located in Clermont, Indiana, but the original intent was to design a 15-turn, 2.5-mile road course. In 1995, the inaugural CRAFTSMAN Truck Series race at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park was won by Mike Skinner, piloting the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. Skinner went on to win the series championship that same year.

Through the 18 previous events at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park in the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series, only twice has the winner come from a starting position outside of the top five. In 2011, Timothy Peters started in 16th and Johnny Benson Jr. started eighth in 2008. The pole winner has gone on to win five of the eighteen races. In addition, the winner has started on the front row eight separate times. Cometic Gaskets Pole Qualifying will surely be key for the 10 drivers who will begin their Playoff run for the 2023 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series championship next weekend.

Scouting the 2023 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoff Roster

The field for the 2023 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoffs is packed with both postseason veterans and several new ones. Eight different teams are represented along with all three of NASCAR‘s OEMs (Chevrolet, Ford, and Toyota). Below is a quick look at the contenders in this year‘s Playoff grid as the drivers have a week off to prepare for the first race of the Round of 10 at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park.

The 2023 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Regular Season Champion Corey Heim enters the Playoffs at the No. 1 seed with 2,030 points. The driver of the No. 11 TRICON Garage Toyota‘s first year with his new team has gone without a significant hitch securing two wins (Martinsville, Mid-Ohio) to lock him into the Playoffs. Despite missing Gateway due to illness, The Marietta, Georgia native leads the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series field with 408 laps led, 13 top-10 finishes, and five stage wins. This is Heim‘s first Playoff appearance.

Heading into the Playoffs as the No. 2 seed is the reigning NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Champion Zane Smith with 2,022 points. The 24-year-old swept both the regular and postseason titles last year. Like Heim, Smith reached the Playoffs on two wins (Daytona, COTA). The driver of No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford became the first repeat NASCAR winner at COTA and made the Front Row Motorsports team a perfect 3-for-3 in CRAFTSMAN Truck Series races at the famed road course, after taking the reins from Todd Gilliland. With eight top-five finishes, Smith leads the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series field.

With 2,021 points, Carson Hocevar of Niece Motorsports enters as the No.3 seed. The third-year driver has been in the Playoffs since his rookie season in 2020. Piloting the No. 42 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet, Hocevar leads the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series with three wins (Texas, Nashville, Richmond). The Michigan native held an impressive streak of five consecutive top-five finishes — the longest of his career — during the stint from Darlington to Nashville.

The driver of the No. 19 McAnally-Hilgermann Racing Chevrolet Christian Eckes heads into the Playoffs at the No. 4 seed with 2,019 points. It didn‘t take Eckes long to mesh well with his new team. The 22-year-old raced his way into his third Playoffs after securing two wins (Atlanta, Darlington). The New York native‘s four stage wins are tied for second among the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series field.

Postseason veteran and the No. 5 seed Grant Enfinger enters the Playoffs two points behind Eckes with 2,017 points. With steady performances week in and week out, the driver of the No. 23 GMS Racing Chevrolet has only failed to crack the top-15 only twice — both before May. With two wins (Kansas, St. Louis) securing his Playoff spot, Enfinger will look to continue his consistency in the postseason.

The No. 6 seed Ty Majeski follows Enfinger into the Playoffs with 2,014 points — three behind the veteran. The driver of the No. 98 ThorSport Racing Ford was the first driver to lock himself into the Playoffs via points. The Wisconsin native has had a knack for high finishes this season. His seven top-five finishes are tied for second among the entire CRAFTSMAN Truck Series field, while his 11 top- 10 finishes rank second.

2021 CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Champion Ben Rhodes enters the Playoffs as the No. 7 seed with 2,013 points. Rhodes is no stranger to the postseason as this is his sixth Playoff appearance. The 26-year-old secured his spot with one win (Charlotte). In sixteen starts this season, the driver of the No. 99 ThorSport Racing Ford has 10 top-10 finishes and 88 laps led.

Entering as the No. 8 seed with 2,005 points is Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Nick Sanchez. The 2022 ARCA Menards Series Champion has taken the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series by storm as he leads the field with four poles. Although the rookie has not seen Victory Lane yet, there is no doubt about the speed he possesses. The 22-year-old finished inside the top-10 in five of the final six regular season races.

Following closely behind by three points as the No. 9 seed is Matt DiBenedetto (2,002 points). After a rough start to the season, the driver of the No. 25 Rackley W.A.R. Chevrolet raced his way into the Playoffs via points. The California native concluded the 2023 regular season by finishing inside the top-10 in six of his last seven events.

Rounding out the 10 CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoff contenders is veteran Matt Crafton, who also has 2,002 points. A seventh-place finish in the regular-season finale at Richmond helped the driver of the No. 88 ThorSport Racing Ford sneak his way into the postseason field — extending his series record of postseason appearances to eight seasons (2016-2023). With the experience of three prior titles (2013, 2014, 2019), Crafton is very familiar with the high adrenaline that the Playoffs bring.


Hocevar to attempt Xfinity race at Michigan with Spire Motorsports — Unlike most of his fellow NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series competitors who will be taking this weekend off, Niece Motorsport‘s Carson Hocevar will instead be moonlighting in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in the Cabo Wabo 250 (Aug. 5) at Michigan International Speedway for Spire Motorsports.

Hocevar, who is just coming a big win in the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series regular season finale at Richmond, will be piloting the No. 77 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet on Saturday in the Xfinity Series race.

Hocevar has made four NASCAR Xfinity Series starts this season, posting two top 10s.


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