Caruth Carries Momentum Into Weather Guard Truck Race at Bristol Motor Speedway

Rajah Caruth became NASCAR’s most recent major headliner two weeks ago in Las Vegas, scoring a victory and becoming the third black driver in the sport’s history to win a national series race. The popular rising star in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series received a reported 600 congratulatory texts from friends, teammates and family members.

With his dominating win in the Victoria’s Voice Foundation 200 presented by Westgate Resorts, Caruth led 38 laps at the controls of his blue and white No. 71 Spire Motorsports Chevy, including the final 21, to finish .851 of a second in front of second-place finisher Tyler Ankrum.

Corey Heim, Taylor Gray and Cup Series regular Christopher Bell completed the top-five.

He admitted that hanging on in the 21 closing laps was a thrill ride and he focused on remaining calm the entire time.

“I was trying to not get excited and thinking about what we would need in case of a caution, what adjustments I would need for a short run, being in the game was my mindset in the final laps,” Caruth said. “For your first win you always hear people say you’ll feel like something’s going to go wrong, and that was true, I was hearing things hit the crush panels, my right front tire felt a little weird and I thought I felt a different vibration. Fortunately it all worked out and we will try to repeat this weekend.”

Caruth, 21, a native of Washington D.C., joins current Cup Series star Bubba Wallace, driver of the No. 23 XI Racing Toyota and NASCAR legend Wendell Scott as the sport’s only black winners. Wallace is a two-time Cup Series winner with his most recent victory coming at Kansas Speedway in 2022, while Scott won the 1965 race in Jacksonville, Fla. Scott had a career-best finish of fifth at Bristol, coming in 1965.

Caruth got his start racing on SIMs through iRacing and virtual races and became the first driver in the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program not to already have experience on an actual racetrack. He eventually started racing Legends cars on the asphalt in 2019 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Caruth had an extra week to absorb and fully process his victory and he said during that time he observed something totally different.

“One of the biggest things I’ve taken away is what that win meant to other people,”’ Caruth said. “It’s important to think how it affects you and everyone in your inner circle, like everybody at the shop and my family. Personally, I had some time off last week and think about it, but the coolest thing was seeing how it affected everyone around me.”

Caruth now will turn his attention to trying to score a victory at the .533-mile Bristol Motor Speedway in Saturday night’s WEATHER GUARD Truck Race (8 p.m., FS1, MRN Radio). The 250-lap race on the all-concrete high-banks will be Caruth’s fourth Truck start at Bristol. He also has one Xfinity race under his belt at Bristol and two ARCA Menards Series races, where he finished sixth in 2021 and fourth in 2022.

In Caruth’s three previous Truck starts at Bristol he finished 34th in his first run in 2022, 11th on the Bristol Dirt in 2023 and a career-best sixth after starting fifth last September.

Caruth will need to be on his game to hold off a host of tough challengers, who have all shown they have the skills to contend for victories at Bristol, including defending series champ Ben Rhodes, UNOH 200 winner Corey Heim, Nick Sanchez, Christian Eckes, veteran driver Grant Enfinger, Ty Dillon and moonlighting Cup stars Kyle Busch and Zane Smith, among others.

“Bristol is a place I feel really good at and walk in there with a little pep in my step,” Caruth said. “It’s such a fun racetrack and I will knock on wood cause everything I’ve drove at Bristol in the past I was able to make good speed so we hope that continues on Saturday. My confidence level doesn’t mean too much cause I like to keep everything at even-keel as possible, and Bristol is a fun track and it’s fun every time we go there.”

The Bristol race weekend also will feature action in the NASCAR Cup Series with the tradition-rich Food City 500 on Sunday afternoon, March 17 (3:30 p.m., FOX and PRN Radio) with current champ Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Daytona 500 winner William Byron, Joey Logano, Atlanta winner Daniel Suarez, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin leading the way.

Bush’s Beans Practice and Bush’s Beans Qualifying for both the NASCAR Cup Series and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will set the starting lineups for each race on Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. for Trucks and 5 p.m. for Cup. Bush’s Beans Practice and Bush’s Beans Qualifying will be televised on FS1.

To purchase tickets for the WEATHER GUARD® Truck Race or the Food City 500, please visit the BMS website, or call the BMS Ticket Sales Center at (866) 415-4158. For a limited-time tickets can also be purchased at your neighborhood Food City store.