NASCAR National Series News & Notes – Pocono Raceway

NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: The Great American Getaway 400 Presented by VISITPA.com

The Place: Pocono Raceway

Track Length: 2.5 Mile Asphalt Tri-Oval

The Date: Sunday, July 14

The Time: 2:30 p.m. ET

The Purse: $7,776,907

TV: USA, 2 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 400 miles (160 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 30),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 95), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 160)

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Next Race: Explore The Pocono Mountains 225

The Place: Pocono Raceway

Track Length: 2.5 Mile Asphalt Tri-Oval

The Date: Saturday, July 13

The Time: 3 p.m. ET

The Purse: $1,439,558

TV: USA, 2:30 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 225 miles (90 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 20),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 40), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 90)

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series

Next Race: CRC Brakleen 175

The Place: Pocono Raceway

Track Length: 2.5 Mile Asphalt Tri-Oval

The Date: Friday, July 12

The Time: 5:30 p.m. ET

The Purse: $757,128

TV: FS1, 5:30 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 175 miles (70 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 15),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 30), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 70)

NASCAR Cup Series

NASCAR Cup Playoff spots are disappearing by the week

Just like DJ Khaled has famously exclaimed, ‘Another one!’ – the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs has added another driver to its 16-contender field for the second straight week, after Hendrick Motorsports’ Alex Bowman, who was teetering the postseason cutline, won at the Chicago Street Course claiming the 12th different Playoff spot by virtue of a win this season. Now, with just six races to go to decide the final four Playoff positions before the postseason gets underway at Atlanta (Sept. 8), the series heads to Pocono Raceway for The Great American Getaway 400 Presented by VISITPA.com on Sunday, July 14 at 2:30 p.m. ET on USA Network, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Bowman’s win has him joining an already exceedingly competitive Playoff field that includes race winners from this season – Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin, William Byron, Christopher Bell, Chase Elliott, Tyler Reddick, Ryan Blaney, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Daniel Suarez and Austin Cindric. Then holding the final four postseason spots currently on points are Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Martin Truex Jr. (+125 points above the cutline) and Ty Gibbs (+84), Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain (+53) and RFK Racing’s Chris Buescher (+45).

Currently, seven former Cup Playoff drivers are below the cutline heading into Pocono Raceway this weekend, including 23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace in the 17th position in the Playoff outlook, -45 points behind RFK Racing’s Chris Buescher in 16th. Wallace made the postseason for the first-time in his Cup career last season, and in 11 starts at Pocono, he has posted one top-five and two top-10 finishes.

Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe is in Wallace’s (17th) tire tracks in the driver standings Playoff outlook in 18th, -88 points from Buescher in the 16th and final postseason transfer spot on points. Briscoe last made the Playoffs in 2022. Looking to Pocono, the 2.5-mile track has been a challenge for Briscoe, in four starts he has put up a best finish of 15th.

Two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and Richard Childress Racing driver Kyle Busch is ranked 19th in the driver standings Playoff outlook following the 20th race of the season – the lowest in the standings he has ranked since 2015, when he was injured in a NASCAR Xfinity Series race and missed the first 11 Cup races of that year. Ironically, he went on to win his first of his two titles that season with Joe Gibbs Racing. The Las Vegas native has made 16 Playoff appearances in his career. Busch heads to Pocono this weekend looking for his first win of the season, riding a 41-race winless streak. In 36 Cup starts at the ‘Tricky Triangle’ Busch has posted four wins (2017, 2018, 2019, 2021), 11 top fives and 18 top 10s.

Michael McDowell (-156 points), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (-182 points), Erik Jones (-231 points) and Austin Dillon (-265 points) make up the remaining four drivers that are former postseason contenders currently below the Playoff cutline this season.

NASCAR prepares for Pocono Raceway’s one-of-kind Tri-Oval

Unique in its design, the three-turn, asphalt paved 2.5-mile tri-oval, known as Pocono Raceway, will host the NASCAR Cup Series this weekend for The Great American Getaway 400 Presented by VisitPa.com on Sunday, July 14 at 2:30 p.m. ET on USA Network, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90), the 21st event of the 26-race regular season.

Originally named Pocono International Raceway, the facility opened as a three-quarter-mile track in 1968. Located in Long Pond, Pennsylvania, Pocono Raceway, as what it is known as today, is operated by the family-owned Mattco Inc., started by Joseph II and Rose Mattioli.

Pocono Raceway held the first race on the 2.5-mile track in 1971 and the first NASCAR Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway was on August 4, 1974. The first NASCAR Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty, driving the famous Petty Enterprises’ No. 43 Dodge. The 500 mile race was shortened to 480 miles (192 laps) due to rain and took 4 hours, 9 minutes and 9 seconds to complete with an average speed of 115.593 MPH. Petty started third and led 152 of the 192 laps on his way to his 161st Cup Series victory in his illustrious 200-win career.

Since 1974, there have been 90 NASCAR Cup Series races at Pocono Raceway, one race from 1974 through 1981, and two races per year from 1982-2021. The 2012 season marked the first year the NASCAR Cup Series races at Pocono were scheduled for 400 miles. Prior to 2012, all of the NASCAR Cup Series races at Pocono were scheduled for 500 miles in length.

The 2020-2021 seasons were the first time the NASCAR Cup Series held doubleheader weekends at Pocono Raceway with the races running at 325 miles and 350 miles in length on consecutive days.

This season will be the 91st-time the NASCAR Cup Series has visited Pocono Raceway. The prior 90 Cup races have produced 46 different pole winners and 40 different race winners.

Starting from the pole at Pocono gives you the best chance to win

A total of 23 different starting positions on the grid have resulted in wins in the NASCAR Cup Series at Pocono Raceway, but the pole or first starting position is the most proficient starting position producing more wins (16) than any other start spot on the grid – winning percentage of 17.78%.

In total, 46 different drivers have won the pole at Pocono Raceway in the NASCAR Cup Series and nine of them are active this weekend, led by Kyle Busch (Spring 2010, Fall 2015, 2017 sweep) and Denny Hamlin (2006 sweep, 2014, 2022) with four Pocono poles each.

Active Pocono Pole Winners (9)
Poles
Seasons
Denny Hamlin
4
2022, 2014, 2006 sweep
Kyle Busch
4
2017 sweep, 2015, 2010
William Byron
2
2023, 2019
Joey Logano
2
2012, 2011
Daniel Suarez
1
2018
Ryan Blaney
1
2018
Brad Keselowski
1
2016
Martin Truex Jr
1
2016
Kyle Larson
1
2014

While the pole has its perks, starting from the outside front row (11.11%) or even third (12.22%) are also decent odds in winning percentage at Pocono Raceway. The top three starting positions have attributed for 41.11% of the race wins in the 90 NASCAR Cup Series events at the Tricky Triangle.

Make sure to check out all of the NASCAR Cup Series on-track activity this weekend from Pocono Raceway, with practice directly followed by Busch Light Pole Qualifying on Saturday, July 13 from Noon ET – 2 p.m. ET. Both events will be televised on the USA Network starting at Noon ET.

Not so tricky of a triangle for some

Among the 40 different drivers to visit Victory Lane in the NASCAR Cup Series at Pocono Raceway, no one has done it more than Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin with seven victories to his credit (2006 sweep, 2009, 2010, 2019, 2020, 2023), including last season’s race.

A total of nine of the 40 NASCAR Cup Series Pocono Raceway winners are entered this weekend, and three of them – Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and Chris Buescher – are looking for their first win of 2024.

Active Pocono Winners (9)
Wins
Seasons
Denny Hamlin
7
2023. 2020, 2019, 2010, 2009, 2006 sweep
Kyle Busch
4
2021, 2019, 2018, 2017
Martin Truex Jr
2
2018, 2015
Chase Elliott
1
2022
Alex Bowman
1
2021
Ryan Blaney
1
2017
Chris Buescher
1
2016
Joey Logano
1
2012
Brad Keselowski
1
2011

Busting Out The Calculator: Mathematically drivers are clinching their postseason spots

While the NASCAR Cup Series drivers can ‘earn’ a spot in the Playoffs by virtue of their wins, but they technically have not ‘clinched’ a spot until they are mathematically ineligible to fall out of the Playoffs on points and have competed in all 26-races of the regular season or have been granted a waiver. With all that said, below are the clinch scenarios heading into Pocono Raceway this weekend, with six races left in the regular season.

Already Clinched

The following four drivers have clinched a spot in the 16-driver postseason field: Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin, William Byron and Christopher Bell.

Can Clinch Via Previous Wins

The following drivers could clinch on previous wins with a win by Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, Tyler Reddick, Denny Hamlin, William Byron, Ryan Blaney, Christopher Bell, Brad Keselowski, Alex Bowman, Joey Logano:

  • Chase Elliott: Could only clinch with help
  • Tyler Reddick: Could only clinch with help

Can Clinch Via Win

The following drivers would clinch on their win alone:

  • Chase Elliott, Tyler Reddick, Ryan Blaney, Brad Keselowski, Alex Bowman, Joey Logano, Daniel Suarez, Austin Cindric

The hunt for the Regular Season Championship

Despite completely missing the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte and finishing 39th at the Chicago Street Course last weekend, Hendrick Motorsports’ Kyle Larson still holds onto the NASCAR Cup Series driver point standings lead by 11 points over HMS teammate Chase Elliott in second. With just six races left in the regular season, both drivers are shooting for the title and the additional 15 Playoff bonus points that come with it.

Larson is one of seven different drivers to occupy the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings lead this season, along with William Byron, Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott.

Both Larson (2021) and Elliott (2022) are former NASCAR Cup Series Regular Season Championship winners, and if either of them wins this season, they will join Martin Truex Jr. (2017, 2023) and Kyle Busch (2018, 2019) as the third multiple regular season title holder.

Regular Season Championship Clinch Scenarios:

Kyle Larson (or whoever’s first in points) needs to be up by the corresponding number after the race to clinch:

Pocono – 300 or 301 points, depending on tie-break

Indianapolis – 240 or 241 points, depending on tie-break

Richmond – 180 or 181 points, depending on tie-break

Michigan – 120 or 121 points, depending on tie-break

Daytona – 60 or 61 points, depending on tie-break

Darlington – 0 or 1 point, depending on tie-break

NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.

Milestone Watch: Pocono RacewayBelow are the possible milestones that can be achieved this weekend at Pocono Raceway or in coming weeks in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Starts

Team Penske’s Austin Cindric, from Mooresville, North Carolina, is expected to make his 100th NASCAR Cup Series career start at Pocono Raceway this weekend. The 25-year-old made his first Cup Series start in 2021 and has since won two races, including Gateway this season and the 2022 Daytona 500. He has also put up eight top fives and 17 top 10s in his career. 

Kyle Busch is expected to make his 700th NASCAR Cup Series career start at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Harrison Burton is expected to make his 100th NASCAR Cup Series career start at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Brad Keselowski is expected to make his 550th NASCAR Cup Series career start at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Wins

Denny Hamlin currently has 54 NASCAR Cup Series wins, if he were to win another race, he would tie NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace for 11th on the all-time wins list with 55 victories each.

Brad Keselowski currently has 36 NASCAR Cup Series wins, if he were to win another race, he would tie Bobby Isaac for 23rd on the all-time wins list with 37 victories each.

Joey Logano currently has 33 NASCAR Cup Series wins, if he were to win another race, he would tie Kurt Busch and Martin Truex Jr. for 25th on the all-time wins list with 34 victories each.

Track Specific

If Denny Hamlin (2006 sweep, 2014, 2022) or Kyle Busch (2010, 2015, 2017 sweep) win the pole this weekend in the NASCAR Cup Series at Pocono, they will tie NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott (1984, 1985 sweep, 1995 and 2002) and Ken Schrader (1989, 1992, 1993 sweep and 1995) for the NASCAR Cup Series lead in poles at Pocono Raceway with five poles each.

Crew Member Spotlight: Pocono Raceway Weekend – This weekend at Pocono Raceway we wanted to highlight several of the team’s crew members that are from the surrounding areas of the track in Pennsylvania.

PENNSYLVANIA
NameOrganizationTeamCurrent RoleHometown
TJ FlemingStewart-Haas Racing98Car ChiefPittsburgh, PA
Jason SeitzingerHendrick Motorsports48Assistant Race EngineerShartlesville, PA
David SteinerLegacy Motor Club43Truck DriverHarrisville, Pa
Donnie TasserHendrick Motorsports48Front Tire ChangerBelle Vernon, PA
Allen HolmanHendrick Motorsports48JackmanHarrisburg, PA
Evan BenschLegacy Motor Club43Race EngineerMiddletown, PA
Chris AunspawLegacy Motor club43MechanicZelienople PA
Tyler MonnHendrick Motorsports5SpotterWaynesboro, PA
Mike SkarbowskiTrackhouse Racing1EngineerUpper Black Eddy, PA
Patrick LydenTrackhouse Racing1Tire CarrierErie, PA
Jim MedagliaWood Brothers Racing21Primary Hauler DriverReading, PA
Kyle BelmontWood Brothers Racing21Interior Mechanic/Tire SpecialistPenndel, PA
Drew BaumWood Brothers Racing21Tire CarrierJersey shore pa
Matthew BarndtHendrick Motorsports9Car ChiefBethlehem, PA
Brandon JohnsonHendrick Motorsports5JackmanHarrisburg, PA

NASCAR Xfinity Series

NASCAR Xfinity Series takes on Pocono Raceway

The NASCAR Xfinity Series transitions from the streets of Chicago to Pocono Raceway’s “Tricky Triangle” for the running of the Explore the Pocono Mountains 225 on Saturday July 13 at 3:00 p.m. ET on USA Network, the NBC Sports App, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

This weekend marks the ninth time the NASCAR Xfinity Series has visited NASCAR’s unique 2.5 mile three-turn racetrack with the inaugural race held on June 4, 2016, won by Kyle Larson.

The race day festivities start off with practice beginning at 10:00 a.m. ET followed by qualifying at 10:30 a.m. ET on USA Network and the NBC Sports App.

Hot Streak: Conquering the Tricky Triangle

In the first eight Xfinity Series races at Pocono, never has there been a repeat winner at the Tricky Triangle.

Kyle Larson won the inaugural event in 2016, followed by Brad Keselowski (2017), Kyle Busch (2018), Cole Custer (2019), Chase Briscoe (2020), Austin Cindric (2021), Noah Gragson (2022), and Austin Hill (2023).

Six out of eight race winners started within a top-10 starting position, with the farthest starting position to win being Austin Cindric in 2021 from 13th on the grid. 

Will Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Hill go back-to-back?

Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Hill is set to defend his victory here from a year ago where he took the lead with two laps remaining, picking up one of his four wins last season. The 30-year-old Georgia native looks to become the first multi-time winner at Pocono in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and seeks to join Shane van Gisbergen as the only drivers to have three wins this season.

Hill’s only other Xfinity Series appearance at Pocono came in 2022 with an eighth-place finish. 

Drivers to watch at Pocono Raceway

Apart from Austin Hill, the only other driver entered in this weekend’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Pocono Raceway is Stewart-Haas Racing’s Cole Custer, but there are several drivers worth keeping an eye on this weekend.

SHR’s Cole Custer won in 2019 after starting from pole position and dominated the race leading 58 of 103 laps. In his five starts at Pocono, along with his sole win, Custer has two top fives, and four top 10s.

Kaulig Racing’s Shane van Gisbergen is set to visit Pocono for the first time where he hopes to win back-to-back races for the second time this season. Van Gisbergen returned to Victory Lane at Chicago this past weekend for his third victory of the season, leading all Xfinity Series drivers. The New Zealander became the 12th rookie and the first since Ty Gibbs in 2021 to win three or more races in their rookie season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

Van Gisbergen’s Kaulig Racing teammate A.J. Allmendinger has shown impressive consistency across his only two starts at Pocono. Allmendinger finished in the top-five on both occasions with a fifth-place finish in 2021, and fourth-place in 2022. Allmendinger is also scheduled to compete on Sunday for Kaulig Racing in the No. 16 Chevrolet.

JR Motorsports’ Justin Allgaier is one of four drivers to have competed in all previous eight races at Pocono. Despite that experience, he continues his search for his first win at the track. The Illinois native has posted two top fives, and four top 10s with a best finish of second-place in 2017 at Pocono.

NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff Standings following Chicago

With another win by Shane van Gisbergen last weekend in Chicago, six Playoff spots remain filled by virtue of wins and the seventh spot is guaranteed to the points leader if they do not have any wins, leaving just five open spots.

Currently five drivers are holding those spots on points – Riley Herbst (+91), AJ Almendinger (+90), Sheldon Creed (+73), Parker Kligerman (+63), and Sammy Smith (+23).

Ryan Sieg (-23) is the first driver below the Playoff cut line, followed by Brandon Jones (-67), and Anthony Alfredo (-85).

NXS Playoff Outlook Following Chicago

RankDriverPointsStartsRace WinsStage WinsPlayoff Pts+/- Cutoff
1Shane van Gisbergen #457183217In On Wins
2Chandler Smith618182515
3Austin Hill597182313
4Sam Mayer474182111
5Justin Allgaier6191811015
6Jesse Love #54818149
7Cole Custer63217022Pts Leader (221)
8Riley Herbst5231801191
9AJ Allmendinger5221800090
10Sheldon Creed5051800073
11Parker Kligerman4951801163
12Sammy Smith4551800023
13Ryan Sieg43218000-23
14Brandon Jones38818000-67
15Anthony Alfredo37018000-85
16Brennan Poole32618000-129
17Parker Retzlaff31018000-145
18Josh Williams28918000-166
19Jeremy Clements26018000-195
20Jeb Burton25218000-203
21Leland Honeyman #24618000-209
22Kyle Weatherman24018000-215
23Ryan Sieg23718000-218
24Kyle Sieg22116000-234
25Blaine Perkins19218000-263

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

Sunoco Rookie of the Year update – Richard Childress Racing’s Jesse Love continues to hold his lead in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings with 548 points after scoring consecutive top-five finishes with a fifth-place finish at Chicago this past weekend. The 19-year-old rookie this season has one win, five top fives, and nine top 10’s. 

One hundred and one points behind Love is Shane van Gisbergen with 457 points in total. Van Gisbergen is the only other rookie to reach Victory Lane with three wins to his name, which leads all drivers this season.

Leland Honeyman has earned 246 points throughout the season, while Hailee Deegan rounds out the rookie points standings with 174 points. Deegan announced this week she is parting ways with AM Racing for the remainder of the season.

Josh Berry joins AM Racing at Pocono – NASCAR Cup Series regular Josh Berry will be piloting the No. 15 AM Racing Chevrolet at Pocono Raceway in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race this Saturday.

This will be Berry’s first start in the Xfinity Series since the conclusion of the 2023 season at Phoenix. 

Berry has made three NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Pocono Raceway putting up one top five and two top 10s.

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series

Pocono’s ‘Tricky Triangle’ awaits the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series

The NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series returns to competition at Pocono Raceway for the CRC Brakleen 175 on Friday, July 12 at 5:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, the 14th race of the 16 race regular season.

Nestled in the Pocono Mountains, the 14 previous CRAFTSMAN Truck Series races at the triangular 2.5-mile track have produced 12 different race winners and 9 different pole winners. Four races have been won from the pole or first starting position, most recently by Kyle Busch in 2018.

Since the track’s inaugural NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series race, Cup Series regular Kyle Busch has been the only repeat winner (2015, 2018, 2023). No full-time CRAFTSMAN Truck Series driver has ever returned to Victory Lane.

A surplus of talented drivers have engraved their names in the Pocono Raceway record books:

  • Race record: Kyle Busch 136.813 mph (07/28/2018)
  • Qualifying record: Austin Hill 171.347 mph (07/27/2019)
  • Most races: Matt Crafton (14)
  • Most poles: Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Elliott Sadler, Nelson Piquet Jr., Kyle Larson, Erik Jones, Ben Rhodes, Austin Hill, Nick Sanchez (1)
  • Most wins: Kyle Busch (3)
  • Most top fives: Kyle Busch (5)
  • Most top 10s: Matt Crafton (8)
  • Laps led: Kyle Busch (155)

The CRC Brakleen 175 will be broken up into three stages. The first stage will be 15 laps, followed by another 15 in the second stage, and the final stage will be 40 laps for a race total of 70 laps (175 miles). 

CRAFTSMAN Truck Series practice will begin Friday, July 12 at 2:00 p.m. ET on FS2 followed by Cometic Gasket Pole Qualifying at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Clinch Scenarios: Pocono Raceway – Just three races to go

As the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series heads to Pocono Raceway this weekend, four drivers have earned their spot in the Truck Series Playoffs by virtue of their wins – Christian Eckes, Corey Heim, Nick Sanchez and Rajah Caruth – leaving six spots in the 10-driver Playoff field still available.

With only three races in the regular season remaining, time is running out to secure the final postseason transfer spot. Following Nashville Superspeedway, Daniel Dye is ranked 11th in the Playoff outlook, 14 points back from Tanner Gray in the 10th and final postseason transfer spot on points. Just behind Dye is Stewart Friesen in 12th, -17 points back from the postseason cutoff, and three-time Truck Series champion Matt Crafton is 13th, -54 points back from Gray.

Below are the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoff clinch scenarios for Pocono:

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 5th winless driver in the standings.

  • Ty Majeski: Would clinch with 45 points

The following drivers could clinch on points with a win by Tyler Ankrum:

  • Ty Majeski: Would clinch with 47 points

The following drivers could clinch on points with a win by Taylor Gray:

  • Ty Majeski: Would clinch with 49 points

The following drivers could clinch on points with a win by Ben Rhodes or a new winner lower in the standings still eligible for the Playoffs:

  • Ty Majeski: Would clinch with 50 points

Can Clinch Via Win

The following drivers would clinch on their win alone:

  • Ty Majeski, Tyler Ankrum, Taylor Gray, Ben Rhodes, Grant Enfinger, Tanner Gray, Daniel Dye, Stewart Friesen, Matt Crafton, Chase Purdy, Jake Garcia, Layne Riggs, Dean Thompson, Ty Dillon, Bayley Currey, Bret Holmes, Timmy Hill, Matt Mills, Mason Massey, Lawless Alan, Spencer Boyd.

Victors of the ‘Tricky Triangle’

Although only one previous winner in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series (Ross Chastain, 2019) is entered this weekend at Pocono Raceway, five current full-time drivers have experience winning at Pocono Raceway outside of the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series.

Grant Enfinger (2016), Christian Eckes (Spring 2019), Ty Majeski (Fall 2019), Corey Heim (2021), and Taylor Gray (2022) have each taken the checkered flag in the ARCA Menards Series at Pocono.

Notably, all five competitors recorded a top-10 finish in last year’s Truck Series race.

Eckes and Heim are already multi-winners this season and have locked themselves into the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoffs. Enfinger, Majeski, and Gray will look to grab their first victory of the season at the Tricky Triangle.

Let’s take a look at each driver’s CRAFTSMAN Truck Series performance history at the 2.5-mile track:

Grant Enfinger: The veteran behind the wheel of the No. 9 CR7 Motorsports Chevrolet has made seven starts at Pocono Raceway recording one top five and three top 10s. Last year, the 39-year-old finished fifth.

Christian Eckes: The series’ points leader, who pilots the No. 19 McAnally-Hilgemann Racing Chevrolet, has consistently ran in the top 10 each week – the only exception being at Atlanta (32nd) due to brake failure. The Middletown, New York native has made five Pocono starts posting one top five and three top 10s as well as led 15 laps.

Ty Majeski: The driver of the No. 98 ThorSport Racing Ford has made four starts at the Tricky Triangle racking up two top 10s. Despite starting 34th last year, the Seymour, Wisconsin native persevered to a sixth-place finish.

Corey Heim: Undergoing a tremendous season thus far, the driver behind the wheel of the No. 11 TRICON Garage Toyota is on the hunt to become the first driver to win multiple Regular Season Championships in the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series. The Marietta, Georgia has posted two top fives and two top 10s in just two starts at the 2.5-mile track as well as led 27 laps. The 22-year-old finished second last year.

Taylor Gray: The driver of the No. 17 TRICON Garage Toyota is on track to a have a career-best season. In just one start at Pocono Raceway, the Denver, North Carolina native has posted one top five and one top 10. The 19-year-old finished third last year.

Eckes can almost taste the Regular Season Championship with three to go

McAnally-Hilgemann Racing’s Christian Eckes continues his breakout year after a historic run at Nashville Superspeedway, leading flag-to-flag becoming the fourth driver in NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series history to complete the feat.

Track
Winner
Start
Finish
Date
Led
Completed
1
Bristol
Timothy Peters
2
1
8/22/2012
204
204
2
Louisville
Ron Hornaday Jr
4
1
7/12/1997
225
225
3
Bristol
Ron Hornaday Jr
1
1
6/21/1997
200
200
4
LOR
Mike Skinner
1
1
8/1/1996
200
200
5
Sonoma
Ron Hornaday Jr
1
1
10/7/1995
40
40
6
LOR
Mike Skinner
1
1
8/3/1995
150
150
7
Portland
Mike Skinner
1
1
5/5/1995
200
200
8
Nashville
Christian Eckes
3
1
6/28/2024
150
150

Eckes currently holds the driver points lead in the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series with three races left in the regular season.

The 23-year-old, Eckes, is currently 40 points up on Corey Heim in second as the series heads to Pocono Raceway for the CRC Brakleen 175 on Friday, July 12 at 5:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

If Eckes can hold on and win the Regular Season Championship, he will get an additional 15 Playoff points to take with him into the postseason and will become the eighth different driver to win the regular season title; joining Christopher Bell (2017), Johnny Sauter (2018), Grant Enfinger (2019), Austin Hill (2020), John H. Nemechek (2021), Zane Smith (2022) and Corey Heim (2023).

The Middletown, New York native has accumulated three wins, seven top-five, and 12 top-10 finishes this season. He also leads the series in laps led this season with 612.

But the driver of the No. 19 Chevrolet cannot yet clinch the Regular Season Championship since there are still three wins and 180 points available.

Regular Season Championship Clinch Scenarios:

Christian Eckes (or whoever’s first in points) needs to be up in points over second by the corresponding number after the race to clinch:

Pocono – 120 or 121 points, depending on tie-break

Indianapolis – 60 or 61 points, depending on tie-break

Richmond – 0 or 1 point, depending on tie-break

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series, Etc.

Conor Daly nabs three-race deal with Niece Motorsports – NTT INDYCAR SERIES veteran Conor Daly will rejoin Niece Motorsports for a three-race deal in his return to the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series, piloting the No. 44 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet.

The Noblesville, Indiana native’s CRAFTSMAN Truck Series campaign will see stops in Indianapolis (July 19), Kansas (September 27), and Homestead-Miami (October 26).

The 32-year-old has competed in some of the world’s most prestigious racing events, including the Daytona 500, Indianapolis 500, and the ROLEX 24 At DAYTONA.

“I couldn’t be more excited to get back into a truck with Niece Motorsports,” said Daly. “Al Niece and Cody Efaw have always been great to me and supportive of my Indy 500 efforts as well over the years as we’ve got to know each other. We’ve been working on putting a program together for a while and I’m happy we could finally work out the details to go racing together once again. I have a lot to learn but I want to compete, and I know these guys will give me a great chance at that.”         

Thad Moffitt joins Young’s Motorsports for second half of season – 2024 Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Thad Moffitt will have a fresh start to the remainder of the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series season beginning immediately.

The 23-year-old will still retain his No. 46 Chevrolet but with Young’s Motorsports this weekend at Pocono Raceway and throughout the remainder of the season.

“This will feel a little bit like Daytona this weekend,” mentioned Moffitt. “Everything will be a little bit new for us as a team with new people. But it’s exciting, too. We have a great program and now it’s time to really show what we can do. The new team gives me a lot of hope of some great finishes for the rest of the season.”

Multiple CRAFTSMAN Truck Series drivers hopeful for double duty in Pocono – Four full-time NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series drivers will attempt double duty this weekend: Corey Heim (No. 11 TRICON Garage Toyota), Taylor Gray (No. 17 TRICON Garage Toyota), Daniel Dye (No. 43 McAnally-Hilgemann Racing Chevrolet), and Mason Massey IV (No. 02 Young’s Motorsports Chevrolet)

2023 CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Regular Series Champion, Corey Heim, will attempt his ninth NASCAR Xfinity Series start behind the wheel of the No. 26 Sam Hunt Racing Toyota. In his previous eight starts, Heim has recorded two top-five, three top-10 finishes, and has led 15 laps. The 22-year-old had a career-best finish of third at Iowa Speedway, matching Sam Hunt Racing’s best finish in the Xfinity Series.

On track to have a career-best season in the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series, Taylor Gray will look to attempt his eighth Xfinity Series start piloting the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. This season, the 19-year-old has posted one top-five and one top-10 finish – a career-best third-place finish at Richmond Raceway.

Driving the No. 10 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet, Daniel Dye hopes to attempt his fifth Xfinity Series start of the 2024 season. In his previous four attempts, the 20-year-old has posted one top-10 finish (10th at Iowa).

Mason Massey IV will get behind the wheel of the No. 14 SS-Green Light Racing Chevrolet this weekend hoping to make his third start of the season. The 27-year-old recorded a best-finish of 11th at Talladega in April.

NASCAR PR