NASCAR National Series News & Notes – Nashville Superspeedway

NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: Ally 400

The Place: Nashville Superspeedway

The Date: Sunday, June 25

The Time: 7 p.m. ET

The Purse: $8,516,134

TV: NBC, 7 p.m. ET

Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 399 miles (300 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 90),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 185), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 300)

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Next Race: Tennessee Lottery 250

The Place: Nashville Superspeedway

The Date: Saturday, June 24

The Time: 3:30 p.m. ET

The Purse: $1,616,383

TV: USA, 3 p.m. ET

Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 250.04 miles (188 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 45),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 188)

 

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series

Next Race: Rackley Roofing 200

The Place: Nashville Superspeedway

The Date: Friday, June 23

The Time: 8 p.m. ET

TV: FS1, 7:30 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 199.5 miles (150 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 45),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 95), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 150)

 

NASCAR Cup Series

 

NASCAR heads to Nashville to ‘boot-scoot and boogie’ in Music City

After soaking up the only off weekend of the season, the competitors in the NASCAR Cup Series prepare for one of the schedule’s most unique tracks in Nashville Superspeedway with this Sunday’s Ally 400 at 7 p.m. ET on NBC, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90). The D-shaped, concrete oval that stretches 1.33-miles, is the longest concrete surface track on the 2023 schedule and will have drivers and team dancing to find the perfect set-up in their cars for this weekend.

 

Construction of Nashville Superspeedway was completed in 2001 and the facility was originally owned by Dover Motorsports. The first NASCAR national series race held at Nashville Superspeedway was a NASCAR Xfinity Series event on April 14, 2001. The first Xfinity race at Nashville was won by Greg Biffle driving a Ford for RFK Racing. The first NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series race at Nashville Superspeedway was on August 10, 2001 and was won by Scott Riggs driving a Dodge for truck owner Jim Smith. Nashville Superspeedway was purchased in 2021 and is currently owned and operated by Speedway Motorsports.

 

 

Nashville Superspeedway’s two NASCAR Cup Series events have produced two different race winners and two different pole winners. Stewart-Haas Racing’s Aric Almirola won the pole for the inaugural race in 2021 and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin won the pole for last season’s Nashville race. Almirola would go on to finish fourth in 2021 and Hamlin finished sixth last year.

 

In 2021, Nashville Superspeedway hosted the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race at the 1.33-mile track, and the event was won by Hendrick Motorsport’s driver and 2021 series champion Kyle Larson. The California native took the win with a Margin of Victory of 4.335 seconds over Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain in second. The race produced 14 lead changes among seven different drivers. Larson led the most laps of the race, spending 264 of the scheduled 300 laps out front (88%).

 

Then last season, Larson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott took home the checkered flag at Nashville Superspeedway. The Dawsonville, Georgia native and 2020 series champion, held off 23XI Racing’s Kurt Busch by a scant .551-second to win. The 2022 Nashville Cup race saw 18 lead changes among seven different leaders. Polesitter Denny Hamlin led the most laps of the 2022 Nashville race with 114 circuits out front.

 

Crank-up the amplifiers and tune the guitars because NASCAR is rumbling into Tennessee’s Music City this weekend, and all the on-track Cup Series action begins with Practice at Nashville Superspeedway from 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday, June 23 on the USA Network. Then Busch Light Pole Qualifying is on Saturday, June 24 at 1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. ET also on the USA Network.

 

Hendrick Motorsports looks for their third straight trip to Victory Lane at Nashville

Nashville, Tennessee must be a special place for the folks that work at Hendrick Motorsports, because all they do is win when come to Nashville Superspeedway. In the first two NASCAR Cup Series races held at Nashville Superspeedway, Rick Hendrick’s organization and Chevrolet has sent to different drivers to Victory Lane (Kyle Larson, 2021 and Chase Elliott, 2022), and this weekend will look for their third consecutive victory at the famous concrete 1.33-mile track.

 

Kyle Larson kicked off the Hendrick Motorsport’s fun at Nashville by not only winning the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race at Nashville Superspeedway (2021), but he also celebrated winning the 2021 series championship in downtown Nashville as well.

 

Then last season, Chase Elliott followed up Larson’s victory with a win of his own at Nashville. Now the 27-year-old returns to the 1.33-mile track this weekend looking to go back-to-back and get his first win of the 2023 season. Defending a race win at a track is something Elliott has done twice among his 18 series career victories – at Watkins Glen International in 2018-2019 and Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course (2019-2020).

 

Race To The Playoffs: 10 races left in the regular season; Nashville up next

Coming from an off weekend, the NASCAR Cup Series teams are refreshed and focused on the different tasks each has in front of them with just 10 races left in the regular season. For the drivers and teams locked into the Playoffs already, these next 10 races are a great time to prepare for the postseason, pad Playoff points and set themselves up for the best possible position to finish the regular season. For the drivers and teams not locked into the Playoffs, these next 10 races are the final 10 chances they have to earn a spot in the coveted postseason. With 10 drivers in 2023 with wins, only six spot are still up for grabs in the 16-driver Playoff field as the series heads to Nashville Superspeedway this weekend for the Ally 400 (June 25 at 7 p.m. ET on NBC, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

 

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. catapulted himself to the top of the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings following his second win of the season at Sonoma two weeks ago. The 42-year-old from New Jersey, is racing with a vengeance this season for having gone winless last year after stringing together a streak of seven consecutive seasons with wins in the series (2016-2021). Truex is one of 10 drivers this season currently holding a spot in the Playoffs by virtue of their regular season wins, he is joined by William Byron, Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, Christopher Bell, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Tyler Reddick and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

 

The six drivers currently in Playoff transfer spot on points are Ross Chastain (+173 points up on postseason cutoff), Kevin Harvick (+172), Chris Buescher (+102), Brad Keselowski (+96), Bubba Wallace (+26) and Alex Bowman (+3).

 

Hendrick Motorsport’s Alex Bowman is currently in the most precarious position of the six drivers inside the Playoff cutoff heading into Nashville this weekend, because he is in the 16th and final transfer position on points. If a driver below him in the standings wins over the next 10 races, he could find himself bounced out of the Playoffs. Bowman currently has just a three-point advantage on Trackhouse Racing’s Daniel Suarez who is in 17th – the first spot outside the Playoffs’ cutoff. Suarez is one of five drivers currently below the Playoffs cutline that made the Playoffs last season, he is joined by Austin Cindric (-39 points from the cutoff), Chase Elliott (-84), Austin Dillon (-108) and Chase Briscoe (-148).

 

For many drivers, this part of the season can be a turning point in the direction their year will take. Kevin Harvick and Rodney Childers were one of those teams last season.

 

“The beginning of the year was rough – just a lot of concepts and things that didn’t really pay off or work out,” said Harvick of the 2022 season. “But when we went to Nashville, we had a practice session, we tried some things, and we ran really well in the race. That’s really when our season took a turn in the right direction, and we had a lot more confidence in the things that we were doing. So, as we went week-to-week, we kept getting a little bit better because our concepts and things were really in the direction that we needed to be headed.”

 

Of the drivers looking for their first NASCAR Cup Series win of the season, five have won previously at Nashville Superspeedway – Chase Elliott won last season’s Nashville Superspeedway Cup race, the four other drivers won in either the NASCAR Xfinity Series or the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series – Ryan Preece (2021, 2022 NCTS), Kevin Harvick (2006, 2010 NXS), Austin Dillon (2011 NCTS) and Brad Keselowski (2008, 2010 NXS).

 

Cup Playoff Outlook: Drivers Without Wins

Rank

Drivers

Points

Starts

Wins

Stages

Playoff Pts

Points From Cutoff

11

Ross Chastain

501

16

0

5

5

173

12

Kevin Harvick

500

16

0

1

1

172

13

Chris Buescher

430

16

0

1

1

102

14

Brad Keselowski

424

16

0

1

1

96

15

Bubba Wallace

354

16

0

0

0

26

16

Alex Bowman

331

*13

0

0

-5

3

17

Daniel Suarez*

328

16

0

0

0

-3

18

Ty Gibbs #

320

16

0

0

0

-11

19

Michael McDowell

317

16

0

0

0

-14

20

AJ Allmendinger

298

16

0

0

0

-33

21

Austin Cindric*

292

16

0

1

1

-39

22

Corey LaJoie

291

16

0

0

0

-40

23

Justin Haley

284

16

0

0

0

-47

24

Todd Gilliland

279

16

0

0

0

-52

25

Ryan Preece

269

16

0

1

1

-62

26

Aric Almirola

260

16

0

1

1

-71

27

Chase Elliott*

247

*9

0

1

1

-84

28

Austin Dillon*

223

16

0

0

-5

-108

29

Harrison Burton

219

16

0

0

0

-112

30

Erik Jones

190

16

0

0

-5

-141

31

Chase Briscoe*

183

16

0

0

-25

-148

32

Ty Dillon

146

16

0

0

0

-185

33

Noah Gragson

143

*15

0

0

0

-188

Note: Must compete in every race of the season to be eligible for the Playoffs or be granted a waiver by NASCAR (*).

 

Just outside the Playoffs cutoff (-3 points) is Trackhouse Racing’s Daniel Suarez, who made the postseason last year on his Sonoma win, still know there is time to earn a spot in Playoffs over these next 10 weeks.

 

“There are a lot of things still to happen,” said Suarez. “We have a lot of wildcard races coming up like the Chicago Street Circuit, road courses, things like that. I think we will be OK. We are getting better and better. Points wise we are about the same as we were last year, but speed wise we are probably a bit better. Our challenge has been execution this year. We have been fast at 90-percent of the tracks.”

 

In two starts at Nashville, Suarez has finished seventh (2021) and 15th (2022).

 

Summer Fun: Top performers in last 10 races of the regular season (2020-2022)

The Summer stretch of the NASCAR Cup Series regular season can be a grueling one, but some of the drivers really excel when it gets down to crunch time in the regular season. Below is a look at the top performers over the last three seasons in the last 10 races of each regular season (2020-2022).

 

2022

Winners: Chase Elliott (three), Kevin Harvick (two), Tyler Reddick (two), Austin Dillon, Christopher Bell and Kyle Larson (each had one).

Top Fives Leader: Chase Elliott (seven)

Top 10s Leader: Chase Elliott (seven)

Average Finishes (Top 3): Chase Elliott (7.2), Martin Truex Jr. (12.2), Austin Cindric (12.8)

Lap Leaders (Top 3): Martin Truex Jr. (284), Joey Logano (280), Chase Elliott (248)

 

2021

Winners: Kyle Larson (two), Ryan Blaney (two), AJ Allmendinger, Alex Bowman, Aric Almirola, Chase Elliott, Kurt Busch and Kyle Busch (each had one).

Top Fives Leader: Ryan Blaney (six)

Top 10s Leader: Ryan Blaney, Kyle Larson (seven each)

Average Finishes (Top 3): Kyle Larson (8.0), Kurt Busch (9.0), Ryan Blaney (9.6)

Lap Leaders (Top 3): Kyle Larson (404), Chase Elliott (221), Kyle Busch (189)

 

2020

Winners: Kevin Harvick (three), Denny Hamlin (two), Austin Dillon, Brad Keselowski, Chase Elliott, Cole Custer and William Byron (each had one).

Top Fives Leader: Martin Truex Jr. (nine)

Top 10s Leader: Martin Truex Jr. (nine)

Average Finishes (Top 3): Martin Truex Jr. (5.4), Kevin Harvick (6.2), Denny Hamlin (6.8)

Lap Leaders (Top 3): Kevin Harvick (477), Denny Hamlin (316), Brad Keselowski (273)

 

Looking at the above stats of the last 10 races of the regular season over the last three years, only one driver has pulled off wins during that timeframe in all three seasons – Chase Elliott. Which bodes well for the Georgia native, as he is currently mired in the points (27th) and looking for his first win of 2023.

 

NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.

 

Next Gen is producing some great competition in 2023 – In its sophomore season, the NASCAR Cup Series Next Gen car has performed at a high-level, producing some action-packed racing and with 16 races in the books, the stats keep adding up.

 

A total of 10 different drivers from six different organizations have won at least one race in the first 16 events of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season; led by Kyle Busch and William Byron with three victories each. This is the 38th consecutive season the NASCAR Cup Series has produced at least 10 different winners during a season (1986-23).

 

Eight different drivers from five organizations have won at least one pole in the first 16 events of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season; led by Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano and William Byron with two poles each.

The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season has produced an average of 10.3 lap leaders per race through the first 16 races of the year – tied with the 2022 season for the 12th-most in the 52 years of the Modern Era (1972-2023).

 

The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season has produced and average of 22.4 lead changes per race through the first 16 races of the season – the 10th-most in the Modern Era (1972-2023), and up +6.6% from last season’s 21.0 average lead changes.

 

The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season has produced an average Margin of Victory of 1.383-seconds; with seven of the 16 races this season finishing with a Margin of Victory of under a second.

 

The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season has produced 920 Green Flag Passes for the Lead through the first 16 points-paying races of the year – series-most through the first 16 races of a season since 2007 (last 17 seasons). Six different facilities this season have set new race records in Green Flag Passes for the Lead in the NASCAR Cup Series – Daytona (204), Richmond (35), Talladega (308, all-time GFPL single event record), Kansas (65), Darlington (29), and St. Louis (21).

 

The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season has produced 70,912 Total Green Flag Passes in the first 16 points-paying races of the year – the series-most through the first 16 races of a season since 2007 (last 17 seasons).

In a year-over-year comparison, the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season (70,912) has produced Green Flag Passes increase of 34.2% over the 2022 season’s first 16 races (52,840 Total Green Flag Passes).

 

Milestone Watch: 23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace to make 200th career Cup start – 23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace will become the 143rd different driver all-time to make their 200th career NASCAR Cup Series start this weekend in the Ally 400 (June 25 at 7 p.m. ET on NBC, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

 

In 199 previous NASCAR Cup Series starts, Wallace has put up two wins, 15 top fives and 27 top 10s and one pole. He completed 50, 471 laps and led 299 of them. His career average finish in thew series is 21.1.

 

If Wallace were to win this weekend at Nashville Superspeedway, he would become the fourth different driver in NASCAR Cup Series history to win on their 200th start; joining NASCAR Hall of Famers Bobby Allison (Hampton, VA in 1970), Terry Labonte (Riverside in 1985) and current driver Kevin Harvick (Watkins Glen in 2006).

 

In two series starts at Nashville Wallace has posted a 20th-place finish in 2021 and a 12th-place finish last season.

 

Busy week for Stewart-Haas Racing: Crew Chief shuffle & Berry announced to drive No. 4 in 2024 – Stewart-Haas Racing didn’t take much downtime in the off-week prior to heading to Nashville Superspeedway as they have announced a shuffle in their crew chief assignments and also driver Josh Berry will replace Kevin Harvick in the No. 4 Ford next season.

 

Richard Boswell, the main steward of SHR’s NASCAR Xfinity Series program since its inception in 2017, is now the crew chief for driver Chase Briscoe and the No. 14 team in the NASCAR Cup Series. John Klausmeier, the former crew chief for the No. 14 team, remains at SHR and has transitioned to the company’s vehicle performance group. Replacing Boswell as crew chief for the No. 98 Xfinity Series team is Davin Restivo. Since 2022, Restivo has been the lead engineer for the No. 10 team and driver Aric Almirola in the Cup Series. Prior to his time with the No. 10 outfit, Restivo was the lead engineer for driver Cole Custer, first in the Xfinity Series (2019) and then moving up with Custer to the Cup Series (2020-2021). Before joining SHR in 2019, Restivo was an engineer at Chip Ganassi Racing.

 

“We made these changes in the best interests of the entire organization,” said Greg Zipadelli, chief competition officer, SHR. “Different people in new positions brings new perspectives. There’s still a lot of racing left to do this year, which means there’s still a lot of opportunity. We need to seize these opportunities and make the most of them, and fresh perspectives from the top of the pit box to the preparation inside the shop will help us do that.”

 

Stewart-Haas Racing wasn’t done with just one announcement this week, SHR has also named Josh Berry as the driver of its No. 4 Ford Mustang in the NASCAR Cup Series beginning with the 2024 season. He will replace the retiring Kevin Harvick, whose 23-year Cup Series career will come to an end following the season finale Nov. 5 at Phoenix Raceway.

 

“I can’t imagine a better opportunity for me – to get in a car that’s been as successful and iconic as the No. 4,” Berry said. “Kevin is a future NASCAR Hall of Famer, and it’s going to be a challenge trying to come after someone so successful. But I know I’m going to have an amazing group of people around me, led by Rodney Childers, to where we can hit the ground running.”

 

Harvick and his crew chief, Rodney Childers, have combined for 37 points-paying wins since their pairing in 2014, when they came out of the gate in impressive fashion by winning the 2014 Cup Series title.

 

“We’re incredibly proud to have Josh Berry begin the next chapter of his racing career in our No. 4 Ford Mustang,” said Tony Stewart, co-owner of SHR with Haas Automation founder Gene Haas. “Kevin Harvick has obviously set a very high bar, but Josh brings maturity, experience and, above all, a winning record to Stewart-Haas Racing. He is the right driver, at the right time, for the No. 4 team and our organization.”

 

Award winning Country Music Band Old Dominion named Grand Marshal at Nashville – Award-winning country music band Old Dominion will serve as grand marshal for the Ally 400 NASCAR Cup Series race on June 25 at Nashville Superspeedway. The Nashville-based group, which received its eighth consecutive Academy of Country Music Awards nomination for Group of the Year earlier this spring and claimed the past five straight such accolades, is set to give NASCAR’s Cup Series drivers the command to start their engines before the 7 p.m. ET race under the lights.

 

“We’re honored to have Old Dominion serve as grand marshal for Middle Tennessee’s can’t-miss event of the summer,” Nashville Superspeedway general manager, Matt Greci said. “The Ally 400 race week is one of NASCAR’s brightest stages, and it could not be more fitting for one of country music’s finest groups to be a part of this spectacular event.”

 

With eight No. 1 singles, the chart-topping band has surpassed one billion on-demand streams, earned several Platinum and Gold single certifications and headlined arenas and amphitheaters around the globe.

 

 “NASCAR definitely brings us down Memory Lane, so to be asked to say the most famous words in motorsports at NASCAR’s Ally 400 race at Nashville Superspeedway is an honor and a privilege,” Old Dominion said. “We are excited to make even more NASCAR memories with our friends, family, and the NASCAR fans!”

 

Middle Tennessee’s Nate Bargatze to serve as Honorary Pace Car Driver at Nashville – Grammy-nominated comedian and podcaster Nate Bargatze will serve as the honorary pace car driver for the NASCAR Cup Series Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway on June 25. 

 

“This summer, we will provide the most thrilling entertainment in Nashville with the Ally 400 race weekend,” Nashville Superspeedway general manager Matt Greci said. “There is no better entertainer out there than Nate Bargatze to take part in our remarkable event to bring fans from Middle Tennessee — and across the country and world — together right here at Nashville Superspeedway.”

 

An Old Hickory, Tennessee, native, Bargatze followed in the showbiz footsteps of his father, a former clown turned world-class magician, whose influence is seen on his 2015 debut Comedy Central special, “Full Time Magic,” and his debut album, “Yelled at By a Clown,” which reached No. 1 on the iTunes Comedy Charts and was on Billboard’s Top 10 Comedy Charts for weeks.

 

Bargatze’s half-hour Netflix special, “The Standups,” premiered in 2017, and his first solo one-hour Netflix special, “The Tennessee Kid,” premiered globally with rave reviews in 2019. In 2021, he released his critically acclaimed second Netflix special, “The Greatest Average American,” which received a Grammy nomination for Best Comedy Album. Bargatze also released his latest and third one-hour special, “Nate Bargatze: Hello World,” on Amazon Prime, and it now holds the record as Amazon’s most-streamed original comedy special in its first 28 days of viewership.

 

Rising Country Music star Parker McCollum to perform pre-race concert at Nashville – Award-winning country music singer/songwriter Parker McCollum will get fans at Nashville Superspeedway revved up for the Ally 400 when he takes the stage as the official pre-race concert performer on Sunday, June 25. McCollum will perform at approximately 5 p.m. from the pre-race concert stage located on pit road.

 

“It’s really an honor to play the Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway,” said McCollum. “I’ve always been a big fan of NASCAR and am excited to bring my show to the track in June. See y’all there.”

 

McCollum is expected to sing many of his popular songs including his No. 1 platinum-selling hits “Pretty Heart” and “To Be Loved By You” from his critically-acclaimed debut album Gold Chain Cowboy.

 

“We are thrilled to showcase Parker McCollum, one of country music’s fastest rising superstars, at Nashville Superspeedway prior to the green flag for the Ally 400,” said Matt Greci, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Nashville Superspeedway. “As the home for NASCAR Cup Series racing here in Music City, we always want to make sure we provide an amazing music performance before America’s best drivers hit the track for the Ally 400.”

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series is rockin’ and rollin’ into Music City

After a well-deserved off week, the NASCAR Xfinity Series will be heading to Nashville Superspeedway for the Tennessee Lottery 250 on Saturday, June 24 at 3:30 p.m. ET, streaming on the USA Network, the NBC Sports App, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

 

Nashville Superspeedway has hosted 23 NASCAR Xfinity Series races, producing 15 different race winners and 16 different pole winners. Carl Edwards, who will be honored this weekend by Nashville Superspeedway, sits as the winningest driver in the Xfinity Series at the 1.33-mile track with five victories (2006, 2007 sweep, 2011 sweep), while Cup Series champions Kyle Busch and Joey Logano are tied for most poles at three each.

 

After the inaugural race in 2001, which was won by Greg Biffle, the Xfinity Series raced at the 1.33-mile track twice a year through the 2011 season. The series then took a 10-year hiatus from Nashville Superspeedway before returning in 2021 in a race that saw Kyle Busch take the checkered flag.

 

JR Motorsports’ Justin Allgaier is the track’s most recent winner. It was a race he dominated by leading 134 of 188 laps and crossing the finish line by a margin of victory of 4.513 seconds. If he wins the Tennessee Lottery 250 again, he’ll become just the second back-to-back race winner in the Xfinity Series at Nashville Superspeedway, joining Carl Edwards (2006, 2007 sweep, 2011 sweep).

 

The on-track action will kick off on Friday, June 23 with practice at 5:35 p.m. ET followed by qualifying on Saturday, June 24 at noon. Both can be streamed on the USA Network and on the NBC Sports App.

Drivers to watch: Nashville edition

A few drivers have done well on the 1.33-mile Nashville track and could very well find themselves in Victory Lane this weekend.

 

An obvious favorite is JR Motorsports’ Justin Allgaier, who is the only previous winner entered in Saturday’s Tennessee Lottery 250. He has made eight starts at the track, posting one win (2022), five top fives and five top 10s.

 

Stewart-Haas Racing’s Riley Herbst is still on the hunt to post his first Xfinity Series win and he could make it happen this weekend at Nashville Superspeedway. When the series made its return to the track in 2021, Herbst posted a 10th-place finish and then last year he won the pole and ultimately finished in third.

 

Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Hill started the season off strong, racking up three wins (Daytona, Las Vegas, Atlanta) in the first five races. Now, he’ll be looking to add a fourth trophy to his trophy case. Hill has made two starts at the Nashville track, posting two top-10 finishes.

 

Nashville Superspeedway: A place of “firsts”

Nashville Superspeedway has been a place of firsts for some drivers – seven of the 14 race winners were first-time winners when the series competed at the track from 2001-2011.

 

 Series

 

Track

 

First-Time Winners

 

Date

 

Xfinity

 

Nashville

 

Greg Biffle

 

Saturday, April 14, 2001

 

Xfinity

 

Nashville

 

Scott Riggs

 

Saturday, April 13, 2002

 

Xfinity

 

Nashville

 

Jack Sprague

 

Saturday, June 8, 2002

 

Xfinity

 

Nashville

 

Jason Leffler

 

Saturday, June 12, 2004

 

Xfinity

 

Nashville

 

Reed Sorenson

 

Saturday, March 26, 2005

 

Xfinity

 

Nashville

 

Clint Bowyer

 

Sunday, June 12, 2005

 

Xfinity

 

Nashville

 

Brad Keselowski

 

Saturday, June 7, 2008

 

 

One week off, two races on

Some drivers are making up for the off week by pulling double duty this weekend at Nashville Superspeedway including AJ Allmendinger, Ty Gibbs, Zane Smith and Carson Hocevar.

 

Allmendinger will be getting behind the wheel of the No. 10 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet for his third Xfinity Series start of the season. He’s made two starts at Nashville Superspeedway in the series, posting a fifth-place and 16th-place finish, respectively.

 

Gibbs will be piloting the No. 19 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing for his fourth start in the Xfinity Series this season. He’s only made one start at the Nashville track in the series where he posted a fourth-place finish.

 

Smith will be joining RSS Racing to drive the No. 28 Ford. This will be his first start in the Xfinity Series since the 2021 season and his first at Nashville Superspeedway.

 

Hocevar will be behind the wheel of the No. 77 Chevrolet for Spire Motorsports for his fourth Xfinity Series start of the season. This weekend’s Tennessee Lottery 250 will mark his Xfinity Series debut at Nashville Superspeedway.

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

 

Justin Marks to run in Chicago Street Course for Kaulig Racing – Trackhouse Racing team owner, Justin Marks, will be putting his driver hat on and joining Kaulig Racing in the No. 10 Chevrolet for the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at the Chicago Street Course.

 

This will be his first Xfinity Series race since the 2018 season but his 35th overall.

 

“It’s very difficult to retire as a race car driver,” said the 41-year-old Marks. “I’ve got a lot of experience on street courses, so when NASCAR announced it was going to Chicago, I just felt like I really had to be a part of that experience. We have a great relationship with Kaulig Racing through our pit crew department and being a fellow Chevrolet team, so making my return to racing with the team just felt right. Jockey coming on board makes it even more enticing to run well in Chicago.”

 

Brent Sherman to compete at the Chicago Street Course – Chicago native Brent Sherman will be joining RSS Racing in the No. 28 Ford to run in the inaugural Chicago Street Race next month.

 

The race will mark his 62nd career start in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and his first in a NASCAR National Series event since 2009.

 

“This opportunity just fell into place,” said Sherman. “When the street race was announced, I knew I wanted to explore the chance to get back in a race car. I can’t thank RSS Racing enough for the opportunity to compete in the No. 28. I know I’ll have some challenges with the temperature in Chicago during the summer months, but I’m up for the challenge and have been training to be prepared for it.

 

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series

 

Triple Truck Challenge continues under the lights in Music City

After a two-week break, the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck series jumps back into action under the lights at Nashville Superspeedway for the Rackley Roofing 200 (Friday, June 23, at 8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, and SiriusXM Radio), marking the last race of the 2023 Triple Truck Challenge.

 

To date, Nashville has hosted 15 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Races producing 12 different winners. The inaugural CRAFTSMAN Truck Series race dates back to August 10, 2001 – a race won by Scott Riggs, driving a Dodge for Jim Smith. Riggs led 131 of the 150 laps. Currently, Johnny Benson Jr., Kyle Busch, and Ryan Preece lead all drivers in wins at Nashville with two victories each.

 

Since its inception in 2019, no driver has been able to win all three Triple Truck Challenge races in one season to collect the $500,000 bonus. The streak continues this year after GMS Racing’s Grant Enfinger took home the $50,000 bonus at World Wide Technology Raceway, followed by ThorSport Racing’s Ben Rhodes’ win at Charlotte. “The Trip” will close out this season’s program at the 1.33-mile track with a new race winner receiving $50,000 or one of the two previous winners pocketing an additional $150,000.

 

Toyota Trucks lead the pack with the most wins in Music City, coming in at six victories. Ford follows with four trips to Victory Lane and Chevrolet with two.

 

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series drivers to watch in Music City, USA

Although there are no previous winners entered this weekend, there are several drivers who have consistently been at the front of the pack at the 1.33-mile track located just outside Nashville.

 

GMS Racing’s Grant Enfinger returns to Nashville after a red-hot start to the season, taking two checkered flags at Kansas and World Wide Technology Raceway and seven top -10 finishes. Although Enfinger was involved in a crash last year at Nashville that resulted in a DNF, he finished third in 2021.

 

The 2022 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Champion Zane Smith has had a rough stint the last five races. But the driver of the No. 38 ThorSport Racing Chevrolet has done exceptionally well at Nashville Superspeedway, finishing second last year with 70 laps led and fourth in 2021. Smith has two wins this season (Daytona, COTA), three poles, and five top-five finishes.

 

Halmar Friesen Racing’s Stewart Friesen is no stranger to the 1.33-mile track either. In two starts (2021 and 2022), he finished fifth in both events. In 12 starts this season, he’s led 13 laps and collected four top-five finishes.

 

And last but not least to keep an eye on this weekend would be TRICON Garage’s Taylor Gray. The 18-year-old from Denver, N.C. will be piloting the No. 17 Toyota this weekend, the same truck and team NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Preece took to Victory Lane at Nashville the last two seasons (2021-22). Gray has made nine starts this season putting up three top-10 finishes. This weekend will be Gray’s series track debut at Nashville.

 

Regular Season Title Watch: Corey Heim leads point standings with four to go

TRICON Garage’s Corey Heim continues to have a strong year as he continues to hold the driver points lead in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series with four races left in the regular season. The 20-year-old, Heim, is currently just one point up on ThorSport Racing’s Ty Majeski in second. Not only does a driver get the prestige of winning the regular season championship, but also 15 additional Playoff points to take into the postseason.

 

Heim’s points lead began after a strong finish at North Wilkesboro – winning Stage 1 and finishing sixth overall – gaining him a total of 48 points to jump from third in the standings lead over Ty Majeski and Zane Smith. The Georgia native has accumulated one win (Martinsville), four top-five and nine top-10 finishes this season.

 

The driver of the No. 11 Toyota cannot yet clinch the Regular Season Championship since there are still four wins and 240 points available.

 

ThorSport Racing’s Ty Majeski (-1 point back from the points leader) and Front Row Motorsports’ Zane Smith (-9) also continue to run well this season. Although Majeski has yet to win a race this year, he has collected six top-five and eight top-10 finishes. Smith, who swept the Regular Season and Post-Season Championship in 2022, has accumulated two wins, five top-five and five top-10 finishes.

 

Looking to Nashville, of the top three drivers in points, Smith holds the best average finish at the 1.33-mile track with a 3.0, followed by Majeski (6.0) and Heim (33.0). Heim has only made one start at Nashville (last season) but was caught in an incident that relegated him to a 33rd-place finish.

 

Six competitors locked into NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoffs

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

 

Locked In:

Six drivers have locked themselves into the 2023 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoffs by virtue of wins this season – Zane Smith (Daytona, COTA), Christian Eckes (Atlanta, Darlington), Carson Hocevar (Texas), Corey Heim (Martinsville), Grant Enfinger (Kansas, WWTR), and Ben Rhodes (Charlotte).

 

Currently in on Points:

Two drivers have built up a points cushion of 21 points or more over the Playoff cutoff following World Wide Technology Raceway – Ty Majeski (+113 points above the Playoff cutoff) and Matt Crafton (+21). Majeski is looking to earn a spot in the Playoffs for just the second-time in his career (2022); while Crafton is looking to extend his series record of seven Playoff appearances (2022 ’21, ’20, ’19, ’18, ’17, ’16) to eight.

 

With 14 points above the cutoff and ranked ninth in the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoff outlook is Halmar Friesen Racing’s Stewart Friesen is looking to make the Playoffs for the fifth-time in his career (2022, ’21, ’19, ’18). Friesen has finished fifth in both of his career starts at Nashville.

 

Following not far behind Friesen, is Rackley W.A.R’s Matt DiBenedetto, seven points above the cutoff. DiBenedetto is looking to make his first appearance in the Playoffs this season.

 

On the Outside Looking In:

Another 10 drivers sit outside the Playoff cutline, and time is running out for them to race their way into the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoffs.

 

TRICON Garage’s Tanner Gray is 11th in the Playoff standings, seven points behind Matt DiBenedetto. Gray will have the opportunity to drive the No. 17 Toyota this weekend at Nashville, the same truck Ryan Preece took to Victory Lane at the track the last two seasons.

 

Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Nick Sanchez sits 11 points off the final Playoff position.

Following Gray and Sanchez is Chase Purdy (-38 points back from Playoff cutoff), Jake Garcia (-58), Tyler Ankrum (-79), Rajah Caruth (-96), Hailee Deegan (-107), Colby Howard (-111), Daniel Dye (-109), and Taylor Gray (-126).

 

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series, Etc.

 

Zane Smith and Carson Hocevar to attempt Xfinity Series debut at Nashville – The 2022 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Champion Zane Smith and Spire Motorsports’ Carson Hocevar will be the only NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series drivers attempting double duty this weekend.

 

Smith will attempt to get behind the wheel of the No. 28 RSS Racing Ford on Saturday. The California native has made 11 previous career starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. His career-best finishes were fifth in Iowa and Phoenix in 2019.

 

Hocevar will look to get behind the wheel of the No. 77 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet. The 20-year-old has made three previous career starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with his best-career finish of sixth at Darlington this year.

 

“Carson Hocevar is a rising talent who earned the opportunity to compete in the NASCAR Xfinity Series,” said Spire Motorsports co-owner Jeff Dickerson. “Spire Motorsports prides itself on identifying talented race drivers who are still in the early stages of their career and pairing them with veterans who can help get the most out of that talent. Carson fits the bill perfectly.”

 

Spencer Boyd to make milestone start at Nashville – Young’s Motorsports’ Spencer Boyd will attempt to make his 100th NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series career start this weekend at Nashville Superspeedway.

 

In 99 previous Truck Series starts, Boyd has put up one win, two top fives and three top 10s.

 

This season Boyd has managed an average finish of 25.5 and is ranked 27th in the driver standings heading into Nashville this weekend.

NASCAR PR