NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: Toyota Owners 400

The Place: Richmond Raceway

The Date: Sunday, March 31

The Time: 7 p.m. ET

The Purse: $7,886,627

TV: FOX, 6 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 300 miles (400 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 70),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 230), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 400)

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Next Race: ToyotaCare 250

The Place: Richmond Raceway

The Date: Saturday, March 30

The Time: 1:30 p.m. ET

The Purse: $1,456,191

TV: FS1, 12:30 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 187.5 miles (250 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 75),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 150), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 250)

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series

Next Race: Long John Silver’s 200

The Place: Martinsville Speedway

The Date: Friday, April 5

The Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

The Purse: $746,572

TV: FS1, 6:30 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 105.2 miles (200 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 50),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 100), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 200)

NASCAR Cup Series

NASCAR adds to the celebration of Easter Weekend with some racing

This weekend’s Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway (Sunday, March 31 at 7 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) will be the NASCAR Cup Series’ 13th-time racing on Easter Sunday since its inception in 1949.

The last two seasons (2022-2023), NASCAR has hosted Easter Sunday races at the Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt track. Prior to 2022, the last time the Cup Series competed on Easter Sunday was March 26, 1989 at Richmond Raceway. The Richmond race was rescheduled to the Easter Sunday date after being snowed out from its original date in February – the rescheduled race was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace.

On two other occasions – in 1953 at Charlotte Speedway and 1954 at Orange Speedway in Hillsboro – the race was held on Easter Sunday as a make-up date due to rain.

The first scheduled Easter Sunday race was on April 17, 1960 at Wilson Speedway in Wilson, North Carolina. The race was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Joe Weatherly driving a Holman-Moody Racing Ford.

NASCAR Cup Series Races held on Easter Sunday

Date
Track – Race Winner
Reason for Scheduling on Easter
Sunday, April 5, 1953
Charlotte Speedway – Dick Passwater
Scheduled: March 22, 1953; Postponed due to rain.
Sunday, April 18, 1954
Hillsboro – Herb Thomas
Scheduled: April 11, 1954; Postponed due to rain.
Sunday, April 17, 1960
Wilson Speedway – Joe Weatherly
Scheduled Date
Sunday, April 2, 1961
Hillsboro – Cotton Owens
Scheduled Date
Sunday, April 22, 1962
Martinsville – Richard Petty
Scheduled Date
Sunday, April 14, 1963
South Boston – Richard Petty
Scheduled Date
Sunday, April 18, 1965
North Wilkesboro – Jr. Johnson
Scheduled Date
Sunday, April 6, 1969
Hickory – Bobby Isaac
Scheduled Date
Sunday, Mar. 29, 1970
Atlanta – Bobby Allison
Scheduled Date
Sunday, Mar. 26, 1989
Richmond – Rusty Wallace
Scheduled: Feb. 27, 1989; Postponed due to snow.
Sunday, April 17, 2022
Bristol Dirt – Kyle Busch
Scheduled Date
Sunday, April 9, 2023
Bristol Dirt – Christopher Bell
Scheduled Date

In total, 23 NASCAR Cup Series events have been held on Easter Weekend from Good Friday through Easter Monday (Easter Monday was a public holiday in North Carolina from 1935 to 1987).

The first time NASCAR held a Cup race on Easter Weekend was on April 12, 1952, when the event at Columbia Speedway was held on a Saturday; NASCAR Hall of Famer Buck Baker was the race winner.

Also worth noting, on Easter weekends in 1964 (Asheville-Weaverville Speedway) and 1966 (Greenville Pickens Speedway) the NASCAR Cup Series held races on Saturday instead of Sunday, and in 1967 the series raced on Monday (Bowman Gray Stadium).

Six races in and the level of Cup competition is soaring

The 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season has been filled with unpredictable finishes and premium on-track competition producing five different winners in six races. Plus, the series has seen five different driver point standings leaders through the first six races as well, with Joe Gibbs Racing’s veteran Martin Truex Jr. currently out front of the standings by a mere five points over his teammate Ty Gibbs in second.

This season the NASCAR Cup Series has produced an average of 13.0 lap leaders per race in the first six races of the year – tied with 2011 for the series-most average number of lap leaders through the first six races of a season in the Modern Era (1972-2024).

The NASCAR Cup Series is averaging 31.33 lead changes per race through the first six races of the 2024 season, the second-most in the Modern Era (1972-2024) behind only the 2011 season with 31.50.

The 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season has produced 503 Green Flag Passes for the Lead – the most through the first six races of the year since the inception of the stat in 2005, surpassing the previous record of 378 Green Flag Passes for the Lead through the first six races set in 2022.

The 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season has produced 32,204 Total Green Flag Passes – the series-most through the first six races of the year since the inception of the stat in 2005, surpassing the previous record of 30,451 Total Green Flag Passes through the first six races set last season.

Since the inception of the Overtime Finish in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2005, the 2024 season is just the second year the first six races on the schedule did not finish with Overtime; joining the 2021 season.

This weekend at Richmond Raceway expect the competition statistics to keep continuing to progress. Last season the spring Richmond Raceway Cup race set a new track record for Green Flag Passes for the Lead with 35 and both races last season set the highest two Total Green Flag Passes records on short tracks in the series with 3,816 (spring) and 3,909 (fall); just ahead of the 2024 Bristol Motor Speedway race a few weeks ago with 3,589 (third-most).

Byron snaps different winners streak, banks second win

Hendrick Motorsports’ William Byron became the first driver of the season to win multiple races (Daytona, Austin) snapping the different winners streak to start the NASCAR Cup Series season. With five different winners in six races the competition is scorching hot as the series heads to Richmond Raceway for the Toyota Owners 400.

With two wins in six races, the whispers of Byron and the No. 24 team with crew chief Rudy Fugle being an early championship favorite are already starting to bubble up. This season, they have won the season-opening DAYTONA 500 and last weekend’s race at Circuit of The Americas, along with putting up two top fives, three top 10s and a pole.

Hendrick Motorsports has come out swinging this season. Last weekend was the first-time since 2007 that Hendrick Motorsports has won in multiple NASCAR national series races at the same track in the same weekend. Prior to last weekend at COTA, the last time HMS accomplished the feat was at Phoenix Raceway (NCS, NXS wins) on November 10-11, 2007.

Looking to Richmond this weekend, Byron and the No. 24 team attempt to make it back-to-back wins in consecutive weeks, feat the team accomplished before (last season Las Vegas-1 and Phoenix-1). The team has made 11 starts on the Virginia short track posting one top-five and two top-10 finishes. His average finish at the 0.75-mile raceway is 15.9.

The short on racing at Richmond Raceway

This weekend, the NASCAR Cup Series prepares for the close, beating and banging racing the fans love at short tracks like Richmond. Originally known as the Atlantic Rural Exposition Fairgrounds, Richmond Raceway held its first race in 1946 as a half-mile dirt track.

The first NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond Raceway was held on April 19, 1953 and won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Lee Petty in a Petty Enterprises Dodge with an average speed of 45.535 mph.

The Richmond Raceway track surface was changed from dirt to asphalt between races in 1968.

In total, Richmond Raceway has hosted the NASCAR Cup Series 134 times producing 58 different pole winners and 54 different race winners.

NASCAR’s new package for short tracks and road courses is coming to Richmond

Collaborating with drivers and teams over the offseason, NASCAR has announced the following changes to the Next Gen car short track and road course package – starting in 2024 the NASCAR Cup Series cars will run a simplified diffuser at a majority of tracks measuring one-mile or shorter, as well as all road courses. (Note: Los Angeles, Bristol and Dover are excluded.)

The details of the components updated:

  • 2023 short track/road course splitter stuffers
  • No engine panel strakes
  • 3-inch spoiler
  • Simplified Diffuser
  • Simplified Diffuser Strakes

Starting on the pole has its incentives at Richmond

The first starting position is the most proficient starting position in the NASCAR Cup Series field at Richmond Raceway, producing more winners than any other starting position on the grid with 24 victories in 134 races (18.18%).

A total of 15 different drivers have won a NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond Raceway from the pole or first starting position, led by Richard Petty with six wins.

NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty (1961, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970 sweep, 1974, 1975) and Bobby Allison (1972 sweep, 1973 sweep, 1974, 1976, 1979, 1982) lead the NASCAR Cup Series in poles at Richmond with eight each.

Eight of the 58 NASCAR Cup Series Richmond Raceway pole winners are active this weekend, led by Denny Hamlin (2006, 2008, 2016) with three poles.

Active Richmond Pole Winners
Poles
Seasons
Denny Hamlin
3
2016, 2008, 2006
Brad Keselowski
2
2019, 2014
Joey Logano
2
2015 sweep
Tyler Reddick
1
2023
Kyle Larson
1
2022
Ryan Blaney
1
2022
Kyle Busch
1
2010
Martin Truex Jr
1
2018

Only three active drivers have been able to win from the pole or first starting position at Richmond: Kyle Busch (2010), Brad Keselowski (2014) and Denny Hamlin (2016).

Short Track Kings: Richmond edition

NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty leads the NASCAR Cup Series in wins at Richmond Raceway with 13 victories (spring 1961, 1967 sweep, fall 1968, fall 1970, 1971 sweep, 1972 sweep, 1973 sweep, fall 1974 and spring 1975) – the third-most wins by a single driver at a single track in series history, behind his 15 wins at Martinsville and North Wilkesboro. This weekend, Richard Childress Racing’s Kyle Busch leads all active drivers in wins at Richmond with six victories (spring 2009, spring 2010, spring 2011, spring 2012, 2018 sweep).

This Sunday, eight of the 54 NASCAR Cup Series Richmond Raceway winners will be active. Hendrick Motorsports’ Kyle Larson is the defending winner of this weekend’s race at Richmond Raceway, and RFK Racing’s Chris Buescher is the most recent victor taking the win last July.

Active Richmond Race Winners
Wins
Season
Kyle Busch
6
2018 sweep, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009
Denny Hamlin
4
2022, 2016, 2010, 2009
Martin Truex Jr
3
2021, 2019 sweep
Kyle Larson
2
2023, 2017
Brad Keselowski
2
2020, 2014
Joey Logano
2
2017, 2014
Chris Buescher
1
2023
Alex Bowman
1
2021

All the on-track action begins on Saturday, March 30 with practice from 10:35 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. ET and will be immediately followed by Busch Light Pole Qualifying from 11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ET. Both events will be broadcast on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Kaulig Racing taps Ty Dillon for five Cup races in 2024

Kaulig Racing has announced that Ty Dillon will make his first 2024 NASCAR Cup Series start this season in the No. 16 Chevrolet at Richmond Raceway this weekend and will compete in a limited schedule for organization making five total starts this year. 

“I’m excited to be back in the NASCAR Cup Series with Kaulig Racing,” said Dillon. “This is the highest level of our sport and allows me to go out and prove what I can do with great leaders in Matt Kaulig, Chris Rice, Travis Mack, and the entire team. Kaulig Racing gives me the best opportunity to showcase what I can do on the track.”

Dillon, grandson of Hall of Fame team owner Richard Childress, is currently competing for the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series title with team Rackley W.A.R.

“We’re excited to have Ty Dillon compete for Kaulig Racing this season in the NASCAR Cup Series,” said Chris Rice, President of Kaulig Racing. “With our continued success in the sport and support from Richard Childress Racing, it made perfect sense to lean on a veteran driver to help pilot the No.16.” 

In addition to Richmond, Dillon will run in the No. 16 Chevrolet at Texas Motor Speedway (April 14), New Hampshire Motor Speedway (June 23), Richmond (August 11) and Kansas Speedway (September 29).

Looking For Victory Lane: Which former champion will snap their winless streak first?

Heading into this weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series events at Richmond Raceway, seven former champions are riding winless streaks. So, who of the seven will be the first to get back to Victory Lane? Currently RFK Racing’s Brad Keselowski holds the longest winless streak dating back 104 races.

Driver
Track
Date
Races Since Last Win
Attempts Since
Brad Keselowski
Talladega
Sunday, April 25, 2021
104
104
Chase Elliott
Talladega
Sunday, October 02, 2022
47
40
Joey Logano
Atlanta
Sunday, March 19, 2023
37
37
Kyle Busch
Gateway
Sunday, June 04, 2023
27
27
Martin Truex Jr
Loudon
Monday, July 17, 2023
22
22
Ryan Blaney
Martinsville
Sunday, October 29, 2023
7
7
Kyle Larson
Las Vegas
Sunday, March 03, 2024
3
3

Five of the seven champions looking for a win are former Richmond Cup winners – Busch, Truex, Larson, Keselowski and Logano.

NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.

Sunoco Rookie Update: Hocevar continues to lead the rookie class – Through six races this season Spire Motorsports’ Carson Hocevar leads the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings by 18 points over Stewart-Haas Racing’s Josh Berry in second place.

NASCAR Cup Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year Standings
2024 RookiesPointsLeaderNextAwards
Carson Hocevar95002
Josh Berry77-18181
Kaz Grala65-30121
Zane Smith59-3662

This weekend, Hocevar, Kaz Grala and Zane Smith will be making their series track debuts at Richmond Raceway. Josh Berry made his Cup Series track debut at Richmond last spring substituting for an injured Chase Elliott in the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsport Chevrolet; he started 30th and finished second.

Track Laps for Charity benefitting Richmond Raceway Cares and the Special Olympics Virginia postponed to Wednesday, April 10 – Richmond Raceway has postponed the March 27 Track Laps for Charity due to potential inclement weather. The event benefitting Richmond Raceway Cares and the Special Olympics Virginia has been rescheduled to 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 10.

All other events remain on schedule for Toyota Owners 400 weekend at Richmond Raceway, which features exciting NASCAR racing Friday, Saturday and Sunday, culminating with Sunday night’s NASCAR Cup Series’ Toyota Owners 400 at 7 p.m.

“We’re always honored to help support great causes by giving fans the chance to drive around our ¾-mile D-shaped oval,” said Richmond Raceway President Lori Collier Waran. “Although the weather put a damper on our event tonight, we’re still looking forward to hosting our special Track Laps for Charity event with the Richmond Area Toyota Dealers and the Special Olympics Virginia in the near future.”

Track Laps for Charity provide fans the opportunity to drive on Richmond Raceway for five laps with a donation of $20. All proceeds will benefit Richmond Raceway Cares and the Special Olympics Virginia. Additionally, the Richmond Area Toyota Dealers will match donations of up to $5,000 to help support Special Olympics athletes.

Special Olympics Virginia’s mission is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for persons with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in the sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

To participate in Track Laps for Charity, fans must abide by the following rules and restrictions.

  • All drivers must be 18 years of age or older with a valid state-issued driver’s license.
  • Driver and passengers will sign both waivers as they are submitted to Track Personnel. Signatures must be witnessed by Track Personnel.
  • All participants must adhere to Virginia state laws regarding the usage of seat belts and child safety restraints.
  • Passenger vehicles only; motorcycles are not permitted.
  • Maximum speed is 55 miles per hour and regulated by Richmond Raceway personnel.
  • Passing other vehicles on the track is not permitted. Violators will be removed from track.
  • Drivers must stay up to speed and refrain from lagging behind in order to speed up. Violators will be removed from track.
  • Track Laps for Charity may be postponed or canceled due to inclement weather or safety conditions. If a cancellation is necessary, Richmond Raceway will make its best effort to contact guests in advance of their visit.

Fans can register and find more information by visiting http://www.richmondraceway.com/tracklaps. To learn more about Richmond Raceway Cares, go to www.richmondraceway.com/richmondracewaycares.

Cup Series driver milestone starts to watch for – Several drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series could reach milestones this weekend.

Starts

  • Joey Logano will make his 550th NASCAR Cup Series career start at Richmond Raceway this weekend. He will become the 39th different driver to reach 550 or more Cup Series starts.
  • Richmond Raceway’s most recent winner, Chris Buescher, is expected to make his 300th NASCAR Cup Series career start at Richmond Raceway this weekend.

Wins

  • If Martin Truex Jr. wins a race this season, he will tie Brad Keselowski for 24th on the all-time Cup Series wins list with 35 wins.
  • If Kyle Larson wins another race this season, he will reach 25 career wins, becoming the 36th different driver all-time in the NASCAR Cup Series to reach 25 victories or more.
  • If the Wood Brothers Racing organization wins this season, it will be their 100th NASCAR Cup Series victory, they currently have 99 wins in the series.

Early season Cup Series standouts statistically – Through six races this season let’s take a look at who in the NASCAR Cup Series is excelling.

Point Standing Lead – Through six races there has been five point standings leaders in the NASCAR Cup Series. Kyle Larson is the only driver of the five to lead the point following more than one race this season. Currently, Martin Truex Jr. is the point standings leader following the race at Circuit of The Americas.

Most Wins – Five different drivers have won this season in the first six races. William Byron leads the NASCAR Cup Series in wins this season with two victories (Daytona and Austin). The four other winners are Daniel Suarez (Atlanta), Kyle Larson (Las Vegas), Christopher Bell (Phoenix) and Denny Hamlin (Bristol).

Most Laps Led – A total of 29 different drivers have led laps in the NASCAR Cup Series this season. Denny Hamlin has led the most laps this season with 275 out front of the possible 1,607 laps completed (17.11%).

Most Races Led – Denny Hamlin is the only driver to lead laps in all six races of the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season. Martin Truex Jr. has led laps in five of the six races.

Most Runner-Up Finishes – Six different drivers have finished runner-up in the first six races of the NASCAR Cup Series season – Alex Bowman (Daytona), Ryan Blaney (Atlanta), Tyler Reddick (Las Vegas), Chris Buescher (Phoenix), Martin Truex Jr. (Bristol) and Christopher Bell (Austin).

Most Top Fives – Four drivers have finished in the top-five three times in the first six races of this season – Alex Bowman, Christopher Bell, Ryan Blaney and Ty Gibbs.

Most Top 10s – Only one driver this season have finished in the top-10 in five of the six races this season, Ty Gibbs. His lone finish outside the top-10 this season was his 17th-place finish in the season-opening DAYTONA 500.

Most Lead Lap Finishes – Martin Truex Jr. is the only driver to finish all six races on the lead lap this season, completing 100% of the 1,607 laps run this year.

Season-To-Date Driver Rating – The top three drivers ranked in the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season-to-date Driver Rating are all from the Joe Gibbs Racing organization – Denny Hamlin (104.5), Martin Truex Jr. (102.0) and Ty Gibbs (97.3).

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Show Me The Money: Who will qualify for the first round of Xfinity’s Dash 4 Cash?

Back once again thanks to its unparalleled popularity, the NASCAR Xfinity Series Dash 4 Cash program returns for another year of unpredictability and drama leading up to and during the four designated races in the program, giving drivers the opportunity to win a $100,000 bonus.

This Saturday’s ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond Raceway will serve as the qualifier for the first Dash 4 Cash race this season. To qualify, drivers must be full time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and be declared for points. According to the preliminary entry list, only two drivers currently entered are not eligible for the Dash 4 Cash this weekend, and that is NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series full time drivers Corey Heim (No. 26 Sam Hunt Racing Toyota) and Taylor Gray (No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota).

The four highest-finishing eligible Xfinity drivers will set the field for the first Dash 4 Cash race, which takes place on April 6 at Martinsville Speedway.

The Dash 4 Cash will continue with the April 13 race at Texas Motor Speedway and the April 20 race at Talladega Superspeedway. The Dash 4 Cash fun will conclude on April 27 at Dover Motor Speedway.

Grab a gear Richmond Raceway is up next

The NASCAR Xfinity Series is heading up to Richmond Raceway for the sixth race of the 2024 season, the ToyotaCare 250 on Saturday, March 30 at 1:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

This will be the 78th NASCAR Xfinity Series race at the 0.75-mile Richmond track. The previous 77 races have produced 39 different race winners and 40 different pole winners.

Sixteen of the 77 Xfinity races at Richmond have been won from the pole or first starting position, most recently by Ty Gibbs in 2022.

Kevin Harvick leads Xfinity Series at Richmond Raceway in wins (seven), top fives (18) and top 10s (21).

Kyle Busch holds a few records at the track himself – most poles (six), most laps led (1,497), and holds the qualifying record with his speed of 129.248 mph set in 2004.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series will have a jam-packed Saturday with practice at 8:35 a.m. ET followed by qualifying at 9:05 a.m. ET. Practice, qualifying, and the ToyotaCare 250 will all be broadcast on FS1.

Xfinity Series Richmond winners looking for a repeat

Richmond Raceway is a track that very few drivers entered in the ToyotaCare 250 have conquered. In fact, only two Xfinity Series drivers competing this weekend have made the trip to Victory Lane – JR Motorsports’ Justin Allgaier and Stewart-Haas Racing’s Cole Custer.

Allgaier is quite the veteran at Richmond Raceway with 23 starts under his belt, two wins (both in 2020), eight top fives, 11 top 10s and 496 laps led.

Custer has made eight trips to the 0.75-mile track in the Xfinity Series, posting one win (2019), three top fives, five top 10s and 165 laps led.

Both Allgaier and Custer are still looking for their first wins of the 2024 season.

Xfinity Sunoco Rookie of the Year Update: Love keeps mounting the points

The NASCAR Xfinity Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year Class now have five races under their belts and Richard Childress Racing’s Jesse Love remains atop the standings (166 points) with Kaulig Racing’s Shane van Gisbergen still in second back -58 points with 108 total.

Leland Honeyman Jr. slides in at third with 85 points (-81 from rookie standings lead), followed by Hailie Deegan with 51 points (-115) and Dawson Cram with 24 points (-142).

All drivers, besides Honeyman, will be making their series debuts at Richmond Raceway on Saturday. Honeyman made his first Xfinity start at the 0.75-mile track last season, posting a 25th-place finish.

Late Model standout Bubba Pollard to make NASCAR Xfinity Series debut at Richmond

Bubba Pollard, 37, will be getting behind the No. 88 Chevrolet with JR Motorsports to make his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut this weekend at Richmond Raceway.

Pollard has famously won more than 100 Late Model races in his career.

“I’m very excited,” Pollard said. “I really don’t know what to expect, as it’s all very new to us, but I’m very thankful for the opportunity that Rheem and JR Motorsports have given me. I hope we can make the most of it. I’ve never had any laps at Richmond, and I haven’t driven an Xfinity car, so it’s all going to be new.”

Taylor Gray joins Joe Gibbs Racing in Richmond

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series driver Taylor Gray will be making his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut this weekend at Richmond Raceway. Gray will be piloting the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota at Richmond Raceway and will be working with crew chief Seth Chavka.

Gray will be the fourth different driver to strap into the No. 19 this season; joining Aric Almirola, Ryan Truex and Ty Gibbs. So far, the best finish by the prior three drivers this season was a ninth-place finish by Truex at Atlanta.

Morgen Baird to make NASCAR Xfinity Series debut with JD Motorsports

Jumping into the No. 4 JD Motorsports Chevrolet this weekend will be driver Morgen Baird, as he will attempt to make his NASCAR Xfinity Series career debut.

Baird most recently raced Modifieds with Hire Racing in 2023 and has run part-time in the ARCA Menards Series the last eight seasons with multiple teams.

Baird has cut his teeth racing go-karts, Cup Mini cars and Dwarf Cars as a kid. In total, he has made 13 ARCA Menards Series starts in his career posting three top-10 finishes.

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

Xfinity Series Upcoming Milestones – Over the next couple of races, these drivers will be making milestone starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

Brandon Jones will be making his 275th career NASCAR Xfinity Series start at Richmond Raceway this weekend. Jones will become the 36th different driver to make 275 or more starts in the series.

Cole Custer is expected to make his 150th career NASCAR Xfinity Series start at Martinsville Speedway.

Riley Herbst is expected to make his 150th career NASCAR Xfinity Series start at Texas Motor Speedway.

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series

Five fantastic races lead to record start in the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series

The first five races of the 2024 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series season have passed the eye-test producing intense side-by-side, action-packed competition, and the stats are in to back it up.

This season is just the fourth-time since the inception of the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series in 1995 that the series has started a season with five different race winners and five different pole winners through the first five events of a season; joining the 1996, 2005 and 2012 seasons.

The 2024 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series season has seen 23 different drivers lead laps producing an average of eight different lap leaders per race; which is tied with 2005 for the second-most average lap leaders through the first five races in series history, behind only the 2022 season with 8.4 lap leaders per race. Christian Eckes, driver of the No. 19 McAnally-Hilgemann Racing Chevrolet, has led the most laps this season with 173.

The CRAFTSMAN Truck Series first five races have also generated an average of 16.20 lead changes per race; which is the series record for the most average lead changes through the first five races of season in series history (1995-2024). The previous record was 15.20 set in 2022.

Hot streak: 10 different winners in last 10 races at Martinsville

Martinsville Speedway continues to uphold its race winner streak with 10 different NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series winners in the last 10 races at the historic track. The streak is currently second to Bristol Motor Speedway (8/21/2014 – 03/16/2024) for the longest active streak in the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series.

The different winners streak began in 2017 when Chase Elliott took the checkered flag in the spring race, followed by Noah Gragson in the fall, John Hunter Nemechek (2018 spring), Johnny Sauter (2018 fall), Kyle Busch (2019 spring), Todd Gilliland (2019 fall), Grant Enfinger (2020), Zane Smith (2021), William Byron (2022), and most recently, Corey Heim (2023).

So far only two previous winners are entered in next Friday’s under-the-lights 200-lap tilt. Let’s take a look at how they have fared overfall at Martinsville:

Grant Enfinger: The veteran driver from Alabama, has yet to crack the top-five this season with his new team, but has two top-10 finishes under his belt. The driver of the No. 9 CR7 Chevrolet has made 11 starts at Martinsville Speedway and posted one win (2020), three top fives, and five top 10s. In addition, he’s led 56 laps at the paper-clip shaped track.

Corey Heim: The NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series’ most recent winner is on course for another breakout year. In two starts, the driver of the No. 11 TRICON Garage Toyota has posted one win (2023), one top five, and one top 10. The Marietta, Georgia native has also led 82 laps.

As the series returns to the half-mile Martinsville track next weekend, all eyes will be on the two stars to see if they will make another trip to Victory Lane.

It’s beginning to look like ‘Heim Time’ in 2024

After remarkable restarts all day long, Corey Heim triumphed at Circuit of The Americas to earn his first NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series victory of the year. The overtime finish was Heim’s sixth win of his career, winning three times last season.

Heim had to fend off teammate Taylor Gray to the checkered flag, which ultimately was the first 1-2 finish in TRICON Garage’s history. The team had a banner day that saw all five of its trucks finish in the top-10: Corey Heim (first), Taylor Gray (second), Jack Hawksworth (sixth), Dean Thompson (ninth), and Tanner Gray (10th).

There were 14 lead changes among eight drivers, but only the driver of the No. 11 TRICON Garage Toyota led double-digits. The 21-year old has finished sixth or better in all five races this season, a feat no other driver in the series has accomplished this season.

“Just great consistency and that was the name of the game last year to make it as far as we did,” Heim said. “Didn’t have the result at the end [of 2023] but I think this year we can make it back and prove we’re champions. Super excited for the rest of the year, we’re really just getting started and I think our best tracks are in front of us, so really can’t wait.”

The NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series will return to competition with the Long John Silver’s 200 at Martinsville Speedway on April 5 at 7:30 p.m. ET (FS1, MRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

CRAFTSMAN Truck point standings heat up at the top

The first five races have also made for an interesting battle in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series points standings. With 207 points, TRICON Garage’s Corey Heim has overtaken the lead from McAnally-Hilgemann’s Tyler Ankrum.

Sitting 10 points back from Heim in second is ThorSport Racing’s Ty Majeski. The San Bernadino, California native has made two previous starts at Martinsville. His first venture in 2022 netted a 16th-place finish and when he returned in 2023, Majeski scored a track-best fourth-place finish. The 29-year old has never led laps at the short track.

Ankrum, who sat atop of the standings through the first four races, now sits 11 points back in third. The driver of the No. 16 McAnally-Hilgemann Racing Chevrolet has made seven starts at Martinsville posting only one top-10 finish (2022).

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series, Etc.

Sammy Smith set to join Spire Motorsports for four races – NASCAR Xfinity Series regular Sammy Smith will pilot the No. 7 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet in four NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series races, beginning with the April 5 Long John Silver’s 200 at Martinsville Speedway. In addition, the 19-year old will be in the cockpit at North Wilkesboro (May 18), Indianapolis Raceway Park (July 19), and the Milwaukee Mile (August 25).

Smith is the full-time driver of the No. 8 JR Motorsports Chevrolet in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. He has logged three top-10 finishes in five races this season and earned a season-best eighth place effort earlier this month at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The Johnston, Iowa native has three previous NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at the legendary Virginia speedway where he finished second and third last season. Smith made his lone NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series start in last year’s season opener at Daytona International Speedway where he started 20th and raced his way to a respectable 14th-place finish.

“Sammy Smith is a versatile talent who is a great addition to our all-star driver lineup for Spire Motorsports’ No. 7 Chevy Silverado,” said Spire Motorsports president Doug Duchardt. “He’s a remarkably talented short-track racer who has already won at the Milwaukee Mile and North Wilkesboro, so he’s a perfect fit for this four-race schedule. We’re excited to see him in the seat in a couple of weeks at Martinsville.”

2024 Sunoco Rookie of the Year breakdown – Layne Riggs has jumped ahead to lead the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings following five races in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series.

The driver of the No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford was the highest-finishing Sunoco Rookie contender at COTA (27th) and now sits 12 points over Connor Jones and 21 points over Thadd Moffitt.

CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year
2024 RookiesPointsLeaderNextAwards
Layne Riggs61003
Connor Jones49-12121
Thadd Moffitt40-2191

NASCAR PR

Speedway Digest Staff
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