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NASCAR National Series News & Notes - Atlanta Motor Speedway and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

Wednesday, Jul 06 507

NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: Quaker State 400 Presented By Walmart

The Place: Atlanta Motor Speedway

The Date: Sunday, July 10

The Time: 3 p.m. ET

The Purse: $7,034,869

TV: USA, 2 p.m. ET

Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 400.4 miles (260 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 60),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 160), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 260)

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Next Race: Alsco Uniforms 250

The Place: Atlanta Motor Speedway

The Date: Saturday, July 9

The Time: 5 p.m. ET

The Purse: $1,376,327

TV: USA, 4:30 p.m. ET

Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 251.02 miles (163 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 40),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 80), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 163)

 

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Next Race: O’Reilly Auto Parts 150 at Mid-Ohio

The Place: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

The Date: Saturday, July 9

The Time: 1:30 p.m. ET

The Purse: $671,050

TV: FS1, 1 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 151.28 miles (67 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 15),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 35), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 67)

 

NASCAR Cup Series

 

NASCAR Cup Series returns to newly reconfigured Atlanta Motor Speedway

This weekend marks ‘Round 2’ for the NASCAR Cup Series at Atlanta Motor Speedway this season, as the competitors prepare for some high-speed, door-to-door action in the Quaker State 400 presented by Walmart this Sunday, July 10 at 3 p.m. ET on USA, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Atlanta Motor Speedway underwent a reconfiguration in the offseason narrowing the racing surface and raising the degree of banking in the Turns to 28 degrees. The results of the NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta back in March set track records in number of leaders (20 different drivers), lead changes (46), green flag passes for the lead (141) and total green flag passes throughout the field (6,439). 

 

Earlier this season, Hendrick Motorsports’ driver William Byron scored his first win of the 2022 season at Atlanta Motor Speedway extending the organization’s series record wins total at the 1.54-mile facility to 15 victories. Heading into the 19th race of the season this weekend, Byron has the opportunity to become the 12th different driver to win consecutive races at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Cup Series; joining Marvin Panch (1965 sweep), Bobby Allison (1972 sweep), David Pearson (1973 sweep), Richard Petty (1974-75), Cale Yarborough (1980-81), Bill Elliott (1985 sweep, 1992 sweep), Dale Earnhardt (1989-90; 1995-96), Bobby Labonte (1997-98), Jeff Gordon (1998-99), Carl Edwards (2005 sweep) and Jimmie Johnson (2007 sweep; 2015-16).

 

Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain finished runner-up to Byron earlier this season at Atlanta, and this weekend and he expects the racing to be exactly what the fans are looking for.

 

“"It's full superspeedway style, think of Daytona and Talladega,” said Chastain. “We need our car to be very efficient in the air and the least amount of drag and still have grip, and not be too loose or tight.”

 

No practice this weekend, so all the NASCAR Cup Series on-track action will kick off with Busch Light Pole Qualifying from 11:35 a.m. ET to 1 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 9. The qualifying session will be live on the NBC Sports App at 11:30 a.m. ET or on the USA Network at 12 p.m. ET.     

 

Next Gen car providing plenty to talk about at the halfway point of the season

The introduction of the NASCAR Cup Series Next Gen car has been exceeding expectations as the series has reached the halfway point of the 36-race schedule. The 2022 season has produced 13 different winners, including five first-time winners, in the first 18 races. But that’s not all, diving into the Loop Data we can see the racing has been action-packed upfront and throughout the field almost each and every weekend. 

 

Last weekend, Road America produced the NASCAR Cup Series’ 13th different winner of the season - tied with the 2002 season for second-most winners through 18 races in the Modern Era (1972-2022); behind the 2003 season with 14 different winners. The most winners to finish a 26-race regular season in the Cup Series during the Playoff Era (2004-2022) is 15 different winners in 2011. The record for different winners in an entire season in the NASCAR Cup Series is 19 different winners and it has happened four times (1956, 1958, 1961 and 2001).  

 

The most first-time NASCAR Cup Series winners in a single season in the Modern Era (1972-2022) is five first-time winners and it has also happened four times – 2001, 2002, 2011 and 2022. This season’s first-time winners include Team Penske’s Austin Cindric (Daytona 500), Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe (Phoenix), Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain (COTA) and Daniel Suárez (Sonoma) and Richard Childress Racing’s Tyler Reddick (Road America).

 

The 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season has also produced 844 green flag passes for the lead (GFPL); which are the series-most through the first 18 races of a season since the Loop Data statistic was initially tabulated in 2007 (the last 16 seasons). A total of eight different tracks have set records in green flag passes for the lead this season; including Circuit of The Americas (30 GFPL), Atlanta Motor Speedway (141 GFPL), Las Vegas Motor Speedway (57 GFPL), Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt (20 GFPL) Darlington Raceway (28 GFPL), Kansas Speedway (41 GFPL), Charlotte Motor Speedway (64 GFPL) and Nashville Superspeedway (47 GFPL).

 

Last weekend Road America became the fifth track this season to set a track record in total green flag passes throughout the field; joining Atlanta (6,439), Richmond (3,072), Bristol Dirt (2,703) and Nashville (2,470). The NASCAR Cup Series Road America race produced 2,080 total green flag passes throughout the field this season, up +36.1% from the 2021 Road America Cup race with 1,528 green flag passes. The Road America race was also the 10th event this season with a positive year-over-year percentage difference in total green flag passes. The 2022 season has amassed a total of 60,002 green flag passes through the first 18 races. 

 

Atlanta Motor Speedway and the NASCAR Cup Series  

The NASCAR Cup Series and Atlanta Motor Speedway go way back, 62 years to be exact.

 

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

 

This last year was not the first time Atlanta has undergone a reconfiguration. The track was re-measured to 1.522 miles in the spring of 1970. It was renamed to Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1990. The track layout was reversed, and the track was reconfigured to 1.54 miles between the two races in 1997.

 

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

 

In total, there have been 116 NASCAR Cup races at Atlanta Motor Speedway since the first race there in 1960. The 116 NASCAR Cup Series races have produced 53 different pole winners and 46 different race winners.

 

Eight of the 53 NASCAR Cup Series Atlanta Motor Speedway pole winners are active this weekend.

 

Active Pole Winners

Poles

Season

Kevin Harvick

2

2017, 2014

Aric Almirola

1

2019

Kyle Busch

1

2018

Kurt Busch

1

2016

Joey Logano

1

2015

Ricky Stenhouse Jr

1

2013

Denny Hamlin

1

2010

Martin Truex Jr

1

2009

 

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

 

Seven of the 46 NASCAR Cup Series Atlanta Motor Speedway race winners are active this weekend.

 

Active Race Winners

Wins

Seasons

Kurt Busch

4

2021, 2010, 2009, 2002

Kevin Harvick

3

2020, 2018, 2001

Brad Keselowski

2

2019, 2017

Kyle Busch

2

2013, 2008

William Byron

1

2022

Ryan Blaney

1

2021

Denny Hamlin

1

2012

 

NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt leads the NASCAR Cup Series in wins at Atlanta Motor Speedway with nine victories (1980, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1995, 1996, 2000). Kurt Busch (2002, 2009, 2010, 2021) leads all active NASCAR Cup Series winners at Atlanta Motor Speedway with four victories, including this race last July. William Byron is the most recent winner, grabbing the checkered flag back in March.

 

Playoff Bubble: Postseason spots are disappearing

‘Feeling the squeeze’ might be an understatement for the drivers without wins this season in the NASCAR Cup Series as the competitors prepare for the 19th race of the 26-race regular season at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the Quaker State 400 presented by Walmart this Sunday, July 10 at 3 p.m. ET on USA, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, with just three spots open in the 16-driver Playoff field.

 

A total of 13 drivers have already won their way into the Playoffs by virtue of their victories this season – Chase Elliott, Ross Chastain, Joey Logano, William Byron, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson, Kyle Busch, Alex Bowman, Tyler Reddick, Austin Cindric, Kurt Busch, Chase Briscoe and Daniel Suárez.

 

With five first-time winners this season, that leaves five drivers that might have made the Playoffs in the past scrambling to find a way into the postseason with just eight races to go in the regular season. Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney has the most comfortable points cushion at the moment with 112 points up on the Playoff cutoff; followed by 2017 series champion and Joe Gibbs Racing’s driver Martin Truex Jr. with 61 points from the cutline. Blaney is a former Atlanta winner taking the checkered flag in March of 2021. 

 

Most notably sitting outside the current Playoff outlook cutoff is 2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion and Stewart-Haas Racing driver Kevin Harvick, who’s 12-year streak of making the Playoffs, the longest among active drivers, is in jeopardy as he sits in 20 points back from Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell in the 16th and final transfer spot on points. Tyler Reddick bounced Harvick from inside the cutline to outside with his win at Road America. But Harvick is one of the best at Atlanta and is sure to run well this weekend. In 33 starts at the 1.54-mile track he has put up three wins (2001, 2018, 2020), nine top fives, 16 top 10s and two poles. His average finish at Atlanta is 13.040 – fifth-best among active drivers. Plus, he leads the series in pre-race driver rating at Atlanta with a 98.5. Harvick will look to rebound from his performance at Atlanta back in March when he finished 21st after starting eighth.

 

The only other former NASCAR Cup Series Atlanta Motor Speedway winner without a win this season is RFK Racing’s Brad Keselowski, who scored his two wins at the historic track in 2017 and 2019 – both were the spring races. To accompany his pair of wins, Keselowski has also put up four top fives and nine top 10s at Atlanta. His average finish is 15.0 – eighth-best. Keselowski is also considered one of the best superspeedway racers having the most combined wins at Daytona and Talladega among active drivers. Keselowski finished 12th in the Atlanta race back in March.   

 

2022 Driver Playoff Outlook Following Race No. 18 - Drivers Without Wins

Rank

Driver

Points

Wins

Stages

Playoff Pts

Pts From Cutoff

14

Ryan Blaney

591

0

5

5

112

15

Martin Truex Jr.

540

0

5

5

61

16

Christopher Bell

499

0

0

0

20

17

Kevin Harvick

479

0

0

0

-20

18

Aric Almirola

452

0

0

0

-47

19

Erik Jones

414

0

0

0

-85

20

Austin Dillon

405

0

0

0

-94

21

Michael McDowell

384

0

0

0

-115

22

Chris Buescher

356

0

0

0

-143

23

Justin Haley

344

0

0

0

-155

24

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

327

0

0

0

-172

25

Bubba Wallace

322

0

1

1

-177

26

Ty Dillon

301

0

0

0

-198

27

Cole Custer

295

0

0

0

-204

28

Harrison Burton #

277

0

0

0

-222

29

Todd Gilliland #

264

0

0

0

-235

30

Brad Keselowski

239

0

0

-10

-260

 

NASCAR’s 2021 Cup Series Champion Nominated for ESPN’s Best Driver ESPY Award

NASCAR Cup Series defending champion, Kyle Larson, has been nominated for the ESPN ESPY, “Best Driver,” for the first time in his 10-year Cup series career.

 

Larson drives the No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports and has one win this season (Auto Club Speedway), eight top fives, 10 top 10s and two poles.

 

Larson finished his championship earning 2021 season with series season-highs in wins (10), top-five finishes (20) and top-10 finishes (26). He joins a host of NASCAR Hall of Famers by being one of just 11 drivers to have won 10 or more times in a given year. In addition to competing in the NASCAR Cup Series, Kyle also spends his time racing on dirt, in late model races, sprint cars and midgets. Winning an additional 22 times, totaling 33 wins in 2021. 

 

The 29-year-old Cup Series champion could join the likes of Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr. and Jimmie Johnson as NASCAR drivers who have taken home the hardware during the annual ESPY Awards show.

 

The 29th edition of the ESPY Awards will take place this year on Wednesday, July 20th at 8 pm ET. Fans can cast their votes for their favorite driver here, up until Sunday July 17th at 8 pm ET.

 

Looking ahead to this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Larson will look to redeem himself from the spring race where he finished 30th as he was involved in an incident at Lap 146 while battling for the Stage 2 victory.

 

Hometown Favorite: Chase Elliott leads series back to Atlanta Motor Speedway

After recently celebrating with other Georgia champions at the College Football Hall of Fame, the Dawsonville native and NASCAR Cup Series point standings leader, Chase Elliott, is returning to his home track, Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Quaker State 400 presented by Walmart this Sunday, July 10 at 3 p.m. ET on USA, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, looking to join his father as just the second Georgia native to win at 1.54-mile facility.

 

NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott captured his five NASCAR Cup Series victories at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1985 sweep, 1987, and 1992 sweep.

 

Now, Hendrick Motorsport’s driver Chase Elliott is looking for his first Cup win at Atlanta and third victory of the 2022 season. Through 18 races this year Elliott has performed at an elevated level posting two wins (Dover, Nashville), five top fives and 12 top 10s.

 

Looking ahead to the challenging 1.54-mile track this weekend, Elliott has made eight series starts posting one top-five and six top-10 finishes. He finished sixth in the Atlanta race back in March. 

 

Tyler Reddick the latest of lengthy list of new winners in the Cup Series

Richard Childress Racing’s Tyler Reddick became the 203rd different race winner in NASCAR Cup Series history with his first series career victory last weekend at Road America. Now the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season is tied with 2001, 2002, and 2011 for the most first-time winners in a single season in the Modern Era (1972-2022) with five each. This season’s first-time winners include Team Penske’s Austin Cindric (Daytona 500), Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe (Phoenix), Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain (COTA) and Daniel Suárez (Sonoma) and Richard Childress Racing’s Tyler Reddick (Road America).  This weekend, the series heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway with nine different drivers entered in the Quaker State 400 looking for their first career Cup win.

 

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

 

It’s a wonderful time to be competing in the NASCAR Cup Series. In fact, the last decade of Cup racing (2013-2022) has produced 21 of the 203 first-time winners in the series:

 

Cup First-Time Winners (2014-2022)

Track

Date

Tyler Reddick

Elkhart Lake

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Daniel Suárez

Sonoma

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Ross Chastain

Austin

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Chase Briscoe

Phoenix

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Austin Cindric

Daytona

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Bubba Wallace

Talladega

Monday, October 4, 2021

Christopher Bell

Daytona RC

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Michael McDowell

Daytona

Sunday, February 14, 2021

William Byron

Daytona

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Cole Custer

Kentucky

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Justin Haley

Daytona

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Alex Bowman

Chicago

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Chase Elliott

Watkins Glen

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Erik Jones

Daytona

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Ryan Blaney

Pocono

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Austin Dillon

Charlotte

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Ricky Stenhouse Jr

Talladega

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Kyle Larson

Michigan

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Chris Buescher

Pocono

Monday, August 1, 2016

AJ Allmendinger

Watkins Glen

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Aric Almirola

Daytona

Sunday, July 6, 2014

 

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

 

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

 

NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.

 

Atlanta Motor Speedway has lots planned for the fans this weekend –  Atlanta Motor Speedway and Fr8Auctions have teamed up to bring a variety of music during the NASCAR weekend with the Revs & Riffs NASCAR Weekend Music Festival Presented by Fr8Auctions. The music festival runs in conjunction with the race weekend, featuring musical performances that kick off Friday night and continue throughout the weekend. From the Fan Zone to the campgrounds to the frontstretch stage, fans will enjoy performances spanning a variety of genres including pre-race concerts by Candlebox on Saturday and Flo Rida on Sunday.

 

Also, Atlanta Motor Speedway will provide an opportunity for fans to hit the track prior to NASCAR, fans can take their own vehicles onto Atlanta’s 28-degree banked turns and make the first laps of the race weekend under the lights on July 8 from 8-11 p.m. ET. With a donation to Speedway Children’s Charities Atlanta, participants will be able to drive three laps around the 1.54-mile speedway behind the Atlanta Motor Speedway pace car. Fans can register to participate online at https://www.speedwaycharities.org/atlanta/.

 

NASCAR Cup Series Featured Matchups: 2022 Quaker State 400 Presented by Walmart at Atlanta Motor Speedway – Below is a close look at the featured matchups fans can bet on heading into this weekend’s event.

 

  • Fan Vote: Tyler Reddick vs. Austin Dillon

Tyler Reddick picked up his first NASCAR Cup series win last week at Road America, essentially locking him into the Playoffs. His teammate, Austin Dillon, had a flat tire in the late stages of the race, but pulled off to avoid a caution being thrown. With one RCR car locked into the Playoffs, will Tyler Reddick and Austin Dillon work together at Atlanta this weekend to try and get two RCR cars into the Playoffs, or will Tyler Reddick try and rack up Playoff Points?

 

  • Brad Keselowski vs. Kevin Harvick

Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick are two household names you expect to be in the Playoffs every year. With both having no wins this season, Atlanta is the perfect opportunity for them to grab their first checkered flag and lock themselves into the Playoffs. Both boast >80+ driver ratings on superspeedways – which makes this the perfect opportunity for them to grab their first win of the 2022 season.

 

  • Ryan Blaney vs. Martin Truex Jr.

Although Ryan Blaney sits second in the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series standings, he is without a win this season. The same could be said for Martin Truex Jr., who is seventh in the standings. With 13 race winners this year and eight races left, the need for both of these prolific drivers to lock themselves into the Playoffs with a win is paramount. Although one would think Blaney has a significant edge on superspeedways over Truex, their driver ratings at superspeedways are only three points apart. Blaney posts a 98 average, while Truex sits at 95, meaning that either one of these drivers has a great chance to push their great season into the Round of 16.

 

  • Michael McDowell vs. Bubba Wallace

Two drivers that scored their first career NASCAR Cup Series victories by winning races on superspeedways are Michael McDowell and Bubba Wallace. Although neither are in the top 20 of the current standings as we sit, both drivers have established themselves as superspeedway giants. Both of these drivers have performed above expectations this year, so expect both to be contending for the win when the white flag is waved on Sunday.

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series is back in Atlanta

The NASCAR Xfinity Series will be at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the second-time this season for the Alsco Uniforms 250 on Saturday, July 9 at 5 p.m. ET on USA Network, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR radio.

 

This will be the 33rd NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The previous 32 races have produced 17 different pole winners and 20 different race winners with Kevin Harvick leading the way with five wins under his belt. Harvick also holds the record for poles (six), top fives (11), top 10s (13), lead lap finishes (13), laps completed (3,135) and laps led (973).

 

Earlier this season, fans saw 19-year-old Joe Gibbs Racing phenom Ty Gibbs take the checkered flag in his first stint at the 1.54-mile track in Atlanta. His victory made him the youngest winner at Atlanta Motor Speedway at 19 years, five months, and 15 days old.

 

Coming off a win last weekend at Road America (the eighth of his Xfinity Series career), Gibbs has now put up the third-most wins in a driver’s first 34 NASCAR Xfinity Series starts all-time, behind NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip with 11 wins and Harry Grant with nine wins. Gibbs will look to keep the momentum going and attempt to become the fifth different driver to win back-to-back Xfinity races at Atlanta Motor Speedway, joining Mark Martin (1997, 1998), Jeff Burton (2006, 2007), Kevin Harvick (2013, 2014, 2015) and Kyle Busch (2016, 2017) on the consecutive winners list.

 

The on-track action for the Xfinity Series will kick off with qualifying at 10:05 a.m. ET on Saturday, July 9 streamed on the NBC Sports App.

 

Three drivers to watch at Atlanta Motor Speedway

This weekend Atlanta Motor Speedway offers the NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers a second chance at wrestling the newly reconfigured 1.54-mile track.

 

Richard Childress Racing’s rookie, Austin Hill, will be looking to snag his second checkered flag of the season after landing himself in Victory Lane in his first Xfinity Series race as a full-time driver in the season-opener at Daytona. In his 16 starts this season, he has posted one win, seven top fives and nine top 10s. Although he’s hit a few bumps this season, he’s been very consistent in the last few weeks, posting three top fives and five top 10s in the past six races. With a runner-up finish in March’s Atlanta race, Hill will surely be looking to get the job done this go around.

 

Kaulig Racing’s veteran driver AJ Allmendinger has been stellar all season long, already with two wins, seven top fives and 14 top 10s under his belt, it’s no surprise for his name to come up as a possible favorite this weekend. Earlier this season, Allmendinger posted a top five-finish in Atlanta and in 2020, he proved he knows his way around 1.54-mile track by racing his way to Victory Lane after starting in the 30th position.

 

Although Justin Allgaier fell victim to an incident at Atlanta Motor Speedway earlier this season, there’s no doubt that he will be coming into this weekend looking for redemption. Allgaier joins Gibbs and Allmendinger as one of three Atlanta race winners entered in this weekend’s Xfinity race. In his 13 starts at the 1.54-mile track, he’s posted one win (2021), three top fives and eight top 10s. He’s done very well this season, already with two wins (Darlington, Nashville), seven top fives and 10 top 10s. Both of his wins this season have been on tracks similar in length to Atlanta and he’s posted top 10 finishes at the other 1.5-mile tracks on the schedule (Las Vegas, Texas and Charlotte) as well.

 

Playoff Bubble: Who will snag the final spots?  

With another Ty Gibbs win following Road America, not much has changed in the Playoff standings and there are still five spots up for grabs on points as the NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend.

 

Seven drivers have earned spots in the Xfinity Series Playoffs on wins - Ty Gibbs, AJ Allmendinger, Justin Allgaier, Noah Gragson, Josh Berry, Brandon Jones and Austin Hill.

 

Sam Mayer (+169), Riley Herbst (+136) Daniel Hemric (+99) Ryan Sieg (+82) and Landon Cassill (+72) currently sit above the postseason cutline and take up the remaining Playoff spots on points. Just outside the Playoff cutoff sits Anthony Alfredo in the 13th position buried in a massive 72-point deficit behind Cassill in the 12th and final Playoff transfer spot on points. 

 

Of the drivers in the Playoff outlook above the cutline without wins yet, here how they have performed at Atlanta Motor Speedway over the years:

 

  • Sam Mayer (8th): Two starts – one top 10

 

  • Riley Herbst (9th): Four starts – one top five, two top 10s

 

  • Daniel Hemric (10th): Six starts – one top five, three top 10s

 

  • Ryan Sieg (11th): 10 starts – two top 10s

 

  • Landon Cassill (12th): Six starts – one top five, one top 10

 

Home track racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway 

There’s always a sense of home field advantage when racing in your hometown in front of friends and family and a few drivers will have that privilege this weekend – brothers Ryan and Kyle Sieg, Brandon Jones and Austin Hill. If any of the three Georgia native drivers win this weekend, they would become the first drivers from the state of Georgia to win a NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

 

The Sieg brothers are from Tucker, Georgia and are both running with their family-owned team, RSS Racing. Ryan Sieg has yet to post a Xfinity Series win but came extremely close earlier this season when he was leading the field in the final laps of the race before Gibbs took the lead in the last lap, leaving him with a 10th-place finish. Although he hasn’t always had the best of luck in Atlanta (he’s posted two top 10s in his 10 starts), he has been having a good 2022 season, posting one top five and nine top 10s thus far and currently sits 82 points above the Playoff cutline in 11th. Still fairly new to the Xfinity Series, 21-year-old little brother Kyle Sieg will be making his second start in Atlanta after a 24th-place finish in March.

 

Atlanta Georgia’s very own Brandon Jones has already secured his spot in the Playoffs with a win at Martinsville along with three top fives and seven top 10s on the season. He’s heading back home to Atlanta after a top-10 finish (seventh) there earlier this season. In Jones’ eight starts at his home track, he’s posted one top five, three top 10s and has completed 1,235 of 1314 laps (94%).

 

Winston, Georgia’s Austin Hill will be back at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the second time in his career hoping to find Victory Lane after a second-place finish earlier this season. Hill has been the standout rookie of the 2022 season winning the season-opener at Daytona back in February.

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

 

Double Duty Drivers at Atlanta – Two drivers will be pulling double duty this weekend and competing in both the NASCAR Xfinity Series race on Saturday and the NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday – Tyler Reddick and Noah Gragson.

 

The most recent NASCAR Cup Series winner, Tyler Reddick, will be taking his talents to the No. 48 Big Machine Racing Chevrolet this weekend in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in addition to his fulltime duties on Sunday with the Richard Childress Racing’s No. 8 team. Reddick has made two Xfinity Series starts at Atlanta posting one top-five finish.

 

Noah Gragson will be taking his turn in the Kaulig Racing No. 16 Chevrolet this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race. He will also be in the No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race. Gragson has five Xfinity career starts at Atlanta posting three top fives and four top 10s.

 

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

 

Camping World Truck Series prepares to race Mid-Ohio for first-time

For the first-time in series history, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will get ready for the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and the O’Reilly Auto Parts 150 at Mid-Ohio (July 9 at 1:30 P.M. ET on FS1, MRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

 

Since 2013, the track has hosted eight NASCAR Xfinity Series events. This season, however, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will be racing in their place as the venue will be the site of the penultimate race of the regular season. It will also act as the last road course race on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 2022 schedule.

 

The track was opened in 1962 inside the limits of Lexington, Ohio. Built right outside of Mansfield, Ohio which is set directly between Cleveland and Columbus, the facility hosts a road course with two different configurations: a 2.4-mile, 15 turn circuit or a 2.26-mile, 13 turn layout (the latter being what the Trucks will run on). The track sits on 380 acres of land and is often touted as the “Most Competitive in the U.S.” It currently plays host to IMSA, the NTT IndyCar Series, and now NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and ARCA Menard’s Series events.

 

Only nine drivers entered this weekend in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race have prior experience at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, all making starts in the Xfinity Series.

 

Last year’s Truck Series Champion Ben Rhodes ran at the track in 2015 for JR Motorsports, finishing 10th in one of 10 races he ran for the No. 88 team.

 

John Hunter Nemechek of Kyle Busch Motorsports ended his run at Mid-Ohio finishing 31st in 2019 for GMS Racing’s Xfinity program.

 

Spencer Boyd and Kaz Grala both made their lone Xfinity Series Mid-Ohio starts in 2018 finishing 25th and 27th, respectively.

 

Parker Kligerman made his solo Xfinity start at Mid-Ohio in 2013 driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports; he started ninth and finished 13th. The two drivers with the most recent Xfinity Series starts at Mid-Ohio are Colby Howard and Kris Wright, who both competed at Mid-Ohio in the Xfinity Series in 2021, they finished 22nd and 32nd, respectively. 

 

Matt DiBenedetto of Rackley W.A.R. finished 13th in 2014 while running most of the season for The Motorsports Group. In addition,

 

Of the group with previous experience at Mid-Ohio, Timmy Hill has the most starts at the road course with three Xfinity starts; he finished 27th (2019), 29th (2018) and 37th (2014).

 

Last chance for the Triple Truck Challenge in 2022

This weekend’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, the O’Reilly Auto Parts 150 at Mid-Ohio Sports Course will mark the last race of the Triple Truck Challenge for the 2022 season and the last chance for the competitors to bank an additional $50,000 for the win.

 

Beginning in 2019, the challenge stands as an added incentive to the winners of the three selected races: Gateway, Nashville, and Mid-Ohio. The winner of each individual race is awarded $50,000 for that event. If a driver wins two out of the three races, they will earn a total of $150,000. And if a driver manages to win all three of the selected races, they will rack in a total of $500,000.

 

The past two winners of the previous Triple Truck Challenge events were Corey Heim at Gateway and Ryan Preece at Nashville. With Preece not set to run this weekend, all eyes will be on the part-time rookie from Marietta, Georgia as he hopes to wheel his No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Tundra to Victory Lane for $150,000. It will not be easy, however, as the rest of the field will be vying for their chance at winning $50,000 to take home after the race.

 

This season, though on a part-time schedule, Corey Heim has been impressive when in the Kyle Busch Motorsports machine. In seven starts this season, he has collected two wins (Atlanta and Gateway), two top fives and three top 10s. 

 

Regular Season Title Watch: Zane Smith takes points standings lead with two to go

Front Row Motorsports’ Zane Smith continues to have a standout year as he claims the driver points lead in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with just two races to go in the regular season. The California native is currently 21 points up on John Hunter Nemechek in second in the series driver standings.

 

Smith’s ascension to the standing lead comes after a strong second-place finish at Nashville, where he narrowly edged out Carson Hocevar in the closing laps. Smith, in his first year driving the No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford, has accumulated three wins, eight top-fives and 12 top-10s.

 

Having a week off before competing in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 150 at Mid-Ohio, Smith anything can happen with two races left in the regular season.

 

"This regular season championship battle is far from over,” said Smith. "We have a 21-point lead on second place, but we’ve also seen how drastically the points can swing if you have a bad day. Winning this weekend at Mid-Ohio would be great, but realistically we need to focus on a great finish and holding the points lead so we have a chance at the 15 Playoff points that come with a Regular Season Championship.”

 

Mathematically, Smith could clinch the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Regular Season Championship at Mid-Ohio, but he would need help. Smith currently has the season-best average finish at road courses, with a win at Circuit of The Americas and a runner-up effort at Sonoma Raceway.

 

Clinch Scenarios: Time is running out for those not locked in

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has turned into a pressure cooker with five spots left up for grabs in the Playoffs and just two races remaining for drivers to win their way into the postseason. And with five spots left and only two races to go, that means at least three spots this season will be taken by drivers who transfer in on points.

 

Already Clinched

The following five drivers have clinched a spot in the 10-driver postseason field: Zane Smith, John Hunter Nemechek, Ben Rhodes, Chandler Smith and Stewart Friesen.

 

Can Clinch Playoff Spot 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 56 points above the fifth winless driver in the standings. The same point requirements listed below would hold true if a new win comes from either Ty Majeski, Christian Eckes, Carson Hocevar or Grant Enfinger.

  • Ty Majeski: Would clinch with 13 points
  • Christian Eckes: Would clinch with 43 points
  • Carson Hocevar: Could only clinch with help
  • Grant Enfinger: Could only clinch with help

 

If there is a new winner from Matt Crafton or another winless driver lower in the standings but still eligible to advance to the Playoffs, the following drivers could clinch by being 56 points above the fourth winless driver in the standings.

  • Ty Majeski: Would clinch with 23 points
  • Christian Eckes: Would clinch with 53 points
  • Carson Hocevar: Could only clinch with help

 

Can Clinch Playoff Spot Via Win

The following drivers would clinch on their win alone:

  • Ty Majeski, Christian Eckes, Carson Hocevar, Grant Enfinger, Matt Crafton, Derek Kraus, Tyler Ankrum, Matt DiBenedetto, Tanner Gray

 

The following drivers could clinch with a win:

  • Timmy Hill: Could only clinch with help
  • Colby Howard: Could only clinch with help
  • Lawless Alan: Could only clinch with help

 

Road Course Ringers Heading into Mid-Ohio

As the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series prepares to run at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, a handful of drivers look to capitalize off their road course prowess and expertise. Most recently, points leader Zane Smith has outclassed the field each time the trucks have visited a road course this season. The driver of the No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford F-150 stole a win at Circuit of the Americas earlier this year and followed it up with a runner-up effort at Sonoma Raceway. These results have earned him a 1.5 average finish at road courses this season, the best in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Smith will look to continue this streak of good races and cement his place atop the driver standings as the regular season nears its close.

 

Another driver to keep an eye on at Mid-Ohio is Parker Kligerman of Henderson Motorsports. The part-time driver of the No. 75 Toyota has shown speed in his last few road course starts, earning top-10 finishes at the Daytona Road Course in 2020 and Sonoma Raceway in 2022 along with a top-five at Watkins Glen in 2021. Kligerman is also coming fresh off a start in the Mazda MX-5 Cup Series at Road America, priming his road course skills for this upcoming weekend. The veteran driver would want nothing more than to see his recent efforts pay dividends this weekend with a good run at Mid-Ohio.

 

Jumping back into the driver’s seat after holding ownership duties for the past two years is Trackhouse Racing owner Justin Marks. He will be piloting the No. 41 Chevy Silverado this weekend for Niece Motorsports. Marks carries a major leg-up on the competition this weekend, as his last and only win in any of NASCAR’s three national series came in 2016 when he won at Mid-Ohio for Chip Ganassi Racing in the Xfinity Series. The victory was met with a top-10 outing the following year along with top-fives at Road America in 2017 and the Charlotte Roval in 2018. In addition, Marks has had massive success in sports cars. He has tallied eight wins across his career in IMSA, two of which also coming at Mid-Ohio. He will aim to add on two his impressive road course resume on Saturday.

 

Reaume Brothers Racing has also tapped Kenko Miura to drive the No. 33 Chevrolet Silverado this weekend. Miura is a Japanese-born driver who has made starts in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series and the Asian Formula 3 Series. This will be Miura’s first start in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and his first start at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

 

Lawless Alan maintains rookie point Lead into Mid-Ohio

The NASCAR Camping Word Truck Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year race has only gotten tighter with the top four drivers separated by just 20 points with just two races left in the regular season. As it stands, Lawless Alan of Niece Motorsports maintains the top spot on the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings as the series heads to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 150 at Mid-Ohio (July 9 at 1:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

 

Sunoco Rookie of the Year

   

Rookies

Points

Awards

Pts. Back From Leader

Lawless Alan

204

6

0

Corey Heim

196

2

-8

Dean Thompson

194

4

-10

Jack Wood

184

2

-20

Blaine Perkins

121

0

-83

 

Alan, driver of the No. 45 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet, was able to hold on to the rookie points lead by eight points over Kyle Busch Motorsport’s Corey Heim after a 24th-place finish at Nashville Superspeedway. With no experience at Mid-Ohio prior to this Saturday’ event, a good run would certainly turn heads as he hopes to cement his name on the Rookie of the Year Award at season’s end. On the previous road courses this season, he has finished 11th at Austin (COTA) and 25th at Sonoma. 

 

Sitting in Alan’s rearview mirror is Corey Heim of Kyle Busch Motorsports, only eight points back in second in the 2022 Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings. His second place standing on the rookie leaderboard is a true testament to how well he has run on a part-time schedule in the No. 51 KBM Toyota this season. He is still the only rookie to win a race this year and joins Zane Smith as the only other multiple-time winner in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for 2022. After a wreck at the end of the Nashville race that relegated him to a 33rd-place finish, Heim has his sights set on leaving Mid-Ohio with the rookie points lead and a good finish this weekend, but he will have his work cut out for him as it will be his series track debut and first event on a road course this year.  

 

Sitting just two points back of Heim is Niece Motorsport’s Dean Thompson, from Anaheim, California. The 20-year-old driver of the No. 40 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet was the best placing rookie in the field at Nashville, ending the night at 14th. The solid finish was the main benefactor in his jump from fourth in rookie standings to third heading into this weekend at Mid-Ohio. On road courses this season, he has finished 29th at Circuit of The Americas and 24th at Sonoma. Thompson will look to continue moving up the rookie leaderboard with another solid run at Mid-Ohio this weekend.

 

Someone who did not have the same sort of fortune as Thompson was GMS Racing’s Jack Wood. The No. 24 Chevrolet team did not have the race they had hoped for at Nashville, completing just six laps before crashing into Turn 4 and ending their night early. Wood moves from second in the standings down to fourth. However, he is still only 10 points back from Thompson in third and 20 points back from Alan in first. This goes to show just how tight the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings are at this point in the season. With just two races left before the Payoffs, Wood will need to lock in at Mid-Ohio and Pocono to give himself a shot at the rookie title.

 

Blaine Perkins of CR7 Motorsports stands at fifth on the rookie leaderboard with a decent margin between him and Wood. Perkins scored his first top-20 finish of the year at Nashville, finishing 18th in the race and second among rookies. As the regular season nears its final stretch of races, the No. 9 Chevrolet team will look to finish out with strong finishes to hopefully propel them further up in the rookie standings.

 

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