Wednesday, Mar 22
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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On Saturday’s Race at Atlanta: “I think we did a really nice job today of being up front and competing. Track position was king so we had to sacrifice sometimes to stay up top. We could go where we wanted because the AUTOChargit truck was so fast; it was just unfortunate getting caught up in the incident with Carson.”

A top-20 finish in Las Vegas for Lawless Alan allowed the California driver to build upon his confidence from the year prior. While Alan was able to run inside the top-15 for a majority of the race in Atlanta, a busted radiator coming from an incident with his teammate would end his day with under 15 laps remaining.

Alan started the race in 21st and quickly made his way up into the top-15 as single-file train formed around the top of the racetrack. A caution late in the first stage would create a strategy opportunity for the No. 45 team to collect stage points. But ultimately, Alan finished just outside the top-ten, in twelfth in Stage One.

The second stage saw a few cautions throughout its running, but Alan stayed up front throughout the stage, ending in the 13th position when the green-white checkered flag flew. 

Unfortunately, the final stage of the event wouldn’t go as smooth for Alan and the AUTOChargit team as the caution flew on lap 124 for an incident involving Alan and his teammate, Carson Hocevar. After a tire blew on the truck in front of him, the California driver ran into Hocevar which would ultimately bust his radiator and lead to a 32nd-place finish.

Niece Motorsports PR

On His Best Career NASCAR Finish: “It’s awesome. I really wanted to come out here and get some good runs with these guys. I’m friends with all these guys so to come out here and have a great run with them, Unishippers and Worldwide Express is really cool.  I’m really excited to see what the future holds.”

After a trip out west to Las Vegas Motor Speedway two weeks prior, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series visited Atlanta Motor Speedway for the running of the Fr8 208. Currey started 30th due to qualifying being rained out and the lineup being set by the metric.

From his starting position in the rear of the field, Currey was able to make his way up into the top-20 by lap 20. Strategy came into play late in the first stage as the No. 41 team decided to take two tires and fuel under a late-stage caution to propel them to the front come the end of Stage One.

The second stage was relatively quiet for the Texas driver as cautions would fly throughout the segment, but no trips down pit road were made. Ultimately, Currey would finish 16th at the conclusion of the penultimate stage.

As the final stage began, Currey started inside the top-ten and cautions throughout a majority of the stage would keep him close to the front. But, the halts in the racing action didn’t slow Currey from making his way to fourth-place and battling for the lead as the race neared its end. After a green-white-checkered to end the race, Currey would finish 4th; his best finish in NASCAR competition.

Niece Motorsports PR

Hailie Deegan - No. 13 AdventHealth Ford F-150

Atlanta Race Information

Started: 32nd

Stage 1: 25th

Stage 2: 19th

Finished: 12th

Laps: 137/137

Laps Led: 0

Status: Running

Driver Points: 21st

Owner Points: 26th


“I think it was a great day. I think our goal going into this race was to hang back until it really means something. It means something at the end in the third stage, so we just hung back and waited, and I think it worked because there were a few times where I’d be in a good position to keep going forward and I’d tell myself, ‘This doesn’t feel good. Something is gonna happen.’ And then like a lap later all of a sudden something would happen, so I think we put ourselves in a good position to bring home a clean truck and be able to have it for Texas. That’s great because we have something to build off of and we’re not repairing something.”

Matt Crafton - No. 88 Menards/Great Lakes Flooring Ford F-150


Atlanta Race Information

Started: 8th

Stage 1: 4th

Stage 2: 1st

Finished: 9th

Laps: 137/137

Laps Led: 29

Status: Running

Driver Points: 2nd

Owner Points: 2nd


"I didn’t want to take the bat off my shoulder until I had to go to the bottom and try to see if I could make something work because we kept picking the top and the top would go, but then the bottom would slow as soon as we got all of those yellows in that quick spurt and we kept losing track position. So, as soon as I did it we ran a lot longer green, and I sank big time. All in all, this Menards Ford F-150 was good. It handled great and we just made very minor adjustments. We’re already up front. We led laps and did everything we needed to do today, but we just made that one mistake.”

Ty Majeski - No. 98 Curb Records Ford F-150

Atlanta Race Information

Started: 2nd

Stage 1: 6th

Stage 2: 2nd

Finished: 11th

Laps: 137/137

Laps Led: 0

Status: Running

Driver Points: 3rd

Owner Points: 3rd


“We just got behind. Our pit crew couldn’t get the gas engaged and we lost a lot of track position on that fuel only pit stop. We just never could recover. I tried the top and tried the bottom, but couldn’t really recover to get over that hump. All in all it was a solid points day. We wanted a top 10, but have to settle for 11th.”

Ben Rhodes - No. 99 Ford F-150

Atlanta Race Information

Started: 3rd

Stage 1: 8th

Stage 2: 4th

Finished: 5th

Laps: 137/137

Laps Led: 3

Status: Running

Driver Points: 4th

Owner Points: 4th


What were you thinking on the final restarts? “I thought we were in really good shape. The 2 and the 19, although they’re Chevy’s, I don’t think wanted to really work together. The 19 and I, Christian, we get along really good off the track. We worked really well together at Daytona and he’s kind of become my satellite teammate, I guess, and just comes from his time at ThorSport of being real teammates there. Congrats to Christian on winning it. I pushed him as hard as I could down the backstretch, but, again, I had a big run and I tried to take it. I lost my momentum getting loose like that, but there was no need for the whole truck to be destroyed for sixth place. I think right now it should be a top five and a fairly clean truck.”

ThorSport PR

Chase Purdy was in the mix for the win late in Saturday’s Fr8 208 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, running second with 15 laps remaining before getting shuffled back a few positions on a pair of late-race restarts. In the end, he would finish eighth as the race ended under caution in NASCAR overtime, giving him back-to-back top-10 finishes for the first time in his career.
Chase Purdy, Driver of the No. 4 Bama Buggies Chevrolet:
Talk about being up front competing for the win today.
“We had a really fast Bama Buggies No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Silverado – I thought we were going to have a shot there riding around in second letting laps die down. I was just riding waiting on the right opportunity when it was time to go – unfortunately we had some restarts that made things challenging. Some rows pushed harder than others and made it really hard for us. Overall, I’m really proud of everybody on this Bama Buggies Kyle Busch Motorsports Silverado. Everybody at KBM – we’ve got really fast trucks and I’m excited to go to COTA (Circuit of the Americas) and these next few races, I think we have something to prove.”
Fr8 208 Recap:
  • Christian Eckes won Saturday’s Fr8 208 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It was his first win of 2023 and the second of his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series career. Nick Sanchez finished second, while John Hunter Nemechek, Bayley Currey and Ben Rhodes rounded out the top five.
  • There were 11 cautions for 58 laps and 17 lead changes among nine drivers.
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Point Standings:
Purdy leaves the second event on the 2023 schedule eighth in the driver point standings, 34 tallies behind points leader Christian Eckes. 


Shortly after taking the lead with 20 laps remaining in Saturday’s Fr8 208 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Jack Wood got one too many bumps from John Hunter Nemechek and went spinning down the backstretch bringing out the caution. Wood would rally back in the closing laps to earn his first top-10 finish of 2023 and second across 37 career Craftsman Truck Series starts.
Jack Wood, Driver of the No. 51 Logitech Chevrolet:
Talk about being up front competing for the win today.
“I think to start off with I was definitely a little conservative with the piece that we had. We were able to work some strategy and get ourselves to the front. When we got there, I thought the Logitech Silverado had plenty of speed to start on the bottom like we did, and two times in a row go up and take the lead. Overall, it was a good day. Kind of a bummer what happened with us and the 17 truck, but it’s another confidence builder for us. First top 10 for me this year, and all of our trucks were in the top 10. I think there are good things coming. We just need a little more time a little more time and we will be there. Proud of everybody!”
Fr8 208 Recap:
  • Christian Eckes won Saturday’s Fr8 208 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It was his first win of 2023 and the second of his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series career. Nick Sanchez finished second, while John Hunter Nemechek, Bayley Currey and Ben Rhodes rounded out the top five.
  • There were 11 cautions for 58 laps and 17 lead changes among nine drivers, including Wood who led twice for two laps.
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Owner Point Standings:
 The No. 51 team leaves the third event on the 2023 schedule 9th in the Craftsman Truck Series owner point standings


Austin Hill led for 103 of the 163 laps during the Xfinity Series RAPTOR King of Tough 250, but it was his efforts during the race’s final seconds which earned the Georgia native his second straight win at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Hill, who grew up an hour from the 1.54-mile track and raced at the venue as a junior, held off a charging pack down the homestretch. Runner-up Daniel Hemric crossed 0.085 seconds behind Hill and Ryan Truex placed third. Parker Kligerman slid into fourth with Riley Herbst holding on for fifth.

“I knew it was going to be tough today,” Hill said. “We were on it all night. Once I got the lead, I knew that it was wreck-it-or-check-it.”

Hill joined Mark Martin and Kyle Busch as the only drivers to win three of the season’s first five Xfinity Series races.

Hemric made a valiant charge into the mix on the final lap and made contact with Kligerman moments before the finish.

“Obviously, mayhem happened on the (last) corner,” Hill added. “I have no idea how I saved it.”

Filling out the top-10 were Brett Moffitt, Josh Berry, John Hunter Nemechek, Sam Mayer and Justin Haley.

A track-record 12 caution periods extended the race well into the evening hours, but the action-packed finish undoubtedly made it well worth the wait.

Racing weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway culminates Sunday with the Ambetter Health 400 (3 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Tickets remain available at or by calling 877-9-AMS-TIX.


Richard Childress Racing's No. 2 Whelen Chevrolet Team Shows Speed at Atlanta Motor Speedway with Sheldon Creed





“We had a fast Whelen Chevrolet tonight at Atlanta Motor Speedway. I feel like I worked on this pretty hard because I’m normally not good at speedways. I did a lot of work at this one to be better and I think it showed by winning Stage 1 and finishing fourth in Stage 2. Being able to pick up stage points will go a long way come NASCAR Playoffs time. We had a right-front tire go flat under green flag conditions late in the race and with the long pit road that killed our day. I’m proud of the work Richard Childress Racing puts into my cars and I’m looking forward to going back to road course racing next week at Circuit of the Americas.”


-Sheldon Creed

Austin Hill Claims Third Win of the NASCAR Xfinity Series Season in the Bennett Transportation and Logistics Chevrolet at Atlanta Motor Speedway





“We basically came here with the same setup as last year. We finished second in the first race and won the second one, so we thought we were at a really good spot on what we needed setup-wise. We knew that our Bennett Transportation and Logistics Chevrolet was going to drive a little bit different just because of the new rear package that we have this season. During Stage 1 we knew that we were going to have to figure that out to see if I was going to be a little too loose or a little too tight and make whatever adjustments we needed to get the car where we needed it. Our Chevrolet Camaro wasn’t that far off when we unloaded, which shows that everybody at Richard Childress Racing puts in the work and pays attention to all those minor details that need to be done to be fast.”


-Austin Hill


Christian Eckes returned to victory lane at Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS) in thrilling fashion to give McAnally-Hilgemann Racing the organization’s first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) victory on Saturday afternoon. The driver of the No. 19 NAPA Auto Care Chevrolet Silverado RST reclaimed the points lead after racking up 50 points and capturing his second stage win of the year. The victory gives Eckes and his team a virtual lock to the NCTS playoffs for the third time in his career.
The Middletown, N.Y. native started the 137-lap event from fourth position after inclement weather washed out qualifying on Friday afternoon. Eckes boldly asserted himself as a threat by taking the lead on the opening lap and dominated Stage 1. The NAPA Auto Care Chevrolet paced the field on the outside of AMS’ high banks until a caution flew on lap 24. Crew chief Charles Denike kept Eckes on track to go for the stage win, and the call paid off. Eckes held off all challengers on lap 30 to earn 10 points and one playoff point with his second stage win of 2023 by leading every lap.
Eckes pitted under the stage caution for right side tires and restarted 20th on lap 38 as the running order flip-flopped due to contrasting pit strategies. Eckes stayed in the lead draft for the majority of Stage 2 and ran as high as ninth but was scored 14th at the end of the segment on lap 60. Denike put four tires on Eckes’ Chevrolet which allowed him to restart 11th on lap 68. Another quick caution on lap 79 offered Eckes the chance to top off with fuel for the final run, but was caught speeding on pit road.
Eckes started his march back to the front from 28th position on lap 84 and took advantage of every opportunity to claw his way back into contention. A restart on lap 103 saw him rocket to 11th, which included a four-wide maneuver to cut through the pack. Eckes worked the less-preferred bottom lane to perfection as he capitalized on the restarts to crack the top five on lap 121 and claimed the runner-up spot on lap 123. A late caution set up an overtime restart and Eckes elected to take the bottom of the front row, which proved to be the winning decision. Eckes traded the lead with fellow Chevrolet driver Nick Sanchez on the overtime restart and used a surge of momentum on the final lap to pull alongside for the lead down the backstretch. Eckes held the lead on the final lap as a caution waved coming out of Turn 4 to secure the victory, his third playoff berth, and his first victory at AMS.
Christian Eckes Quote:
“Just really happy. Thanks to Charles (Denike), everybody on this team. They work so damn hard and this is what makes it all worth it. Thanks to NAPA, Chevrolet, everybody. I’m pumped. It’s going to be a really good year.”
“I think this is just what I kind of figured was going to happen coming here. I knew the potential of Charles (Denike), and I knew the potential of the race team, and Bill’s passion to win, so it made my decision to come here really easy.”
Jake Garcia battled through a shock issue and came back from a three-lap deficit for a lead lap finish in 18th position in his home race at Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS) on Saturday afternoon. The driver of the No. 35 Quanta Services Chevrolet Silverado RST remains 17th in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) championship standings after two starts in 2023.
Inclement weather forced the cancellation of qualifying on Friday, which placed Garcia 12th on the starting grid per the rulebook. Garcia didn’t skip a beat from his 10th-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, as he quickly joined the top-10 in the opening laps. As the majority of the field paced the first stage in single-file formation, Garcia held the eighth position for the bulk of the first 30-lap segment. After briefly being shuffled to 12th, Garcia took advantage of a one-lap dash to finish Stage 1 and collected one point in 10th position at lap 30.
Crew chief Mark Hillman brought Garcia in for left side tires and fuel under the stage break but discovered an issue with the left rear shock. The Georgian took the green flag in Stage 2 from 22nd on lap 38, but quickly pitted under a subsequent caution on lap 39 to troubleshoot the issue. Garcia lost a lap during the repair, but was also nabbed with a pit road speeding penalty, which trapped him three laps down to the leader.
A caution on lap 84 allowed Garcia to “wave by” the pace car and regain one of his laps. Two cautions in the final 20 laps allowed Garcia to earn the Lucky Dog and rejoin the lead lap. He restarted outside the top-20 as the race went to overtime, but took advantage of the afternoon's final chaotic restart and avoided a multi-truck accident on the final lap to salvage an 18th-place result.
Jake Garcia Quote:
“I’m proud of our team for sticking with it and taking advantage of the wave around and putting ourselves in position to get back on the lead lap at the end. We had a fast Quanta Services Chevrolet today and felt good about our speed during the first stage running inside the top-10. We had an issue with the left rear shock and lost some laps, plus got caught speeding on pit road. Our trucks are fast, and that’s the main thing. Hopefully we can keep that going next week at COTA and score some more points there. Big congratulations to my teammate Christian (Eckes) on the win. That’s big for the whole the whole team and everyone involved with MHR.”

Grant Enfinger, No. 23 Champion Power Equipment Chevrolet Silverado RST





Post-Race Quote: "We had really good speed and driveability out of our Champion Power Equipment Chevy. I feel like we were choosing most of the right lanes in the first stint and a half. We lost a little track position and I thought it would be a little easier to get it back than it was. Spent the rest of the race getting it back. We finally got up there around 10th or so and they spun out in front of us and I just got run over from behind.

The guys did a great job changing the tires and everything and not going a lap down. Then I went back out there and just tried to make whatever happen and got to the outside of the No. 51. I think he thought I wasn’t quite there yet, but I was. It just squeezed us into the wall and next thing you know the right front went down. We were playing catch-up after that and the guys did good getting us back on the lead lap to at least salvage something. Definitely let an opportunity slip away today and I think we had a good enough truck. If the situation let us and the stars lined up we would have had a shot at it.”


Rajah Caruth, No. 24 Wendell Scott Foundation Chevrolet Silverado RST





Post-Race Quote: "It started out pretty nicely, we missed out on stage points but got our track position back for later in the race and got up to fourth. If I had to choose a lane again, I would have definitely chose behind Christian. And then, at the end, we just cut a tire. It really stunk, but our Wendell Scott Foundation Chevy was really nice, and I can’t thank the men and women at GMS Racing and GMS Fabrication enough for their hard work. We’ll just keep on digging and do well at COTA next week!"


Daniel Dye, No. 43 Heise LED Lighting Systems / Orlando Longwood Auto Auction Chevrolet Silverado RST





Post-Race Quote: I had trouble there early with the motor being down. Went two laps down I think and finally got it fixed, then we made our way back. Running half the race under caution made it hard to make moves. We were right on the edge of a top-15 spot. I finished 16th which is not a terrible day. I am very proud of my GMS Racing team for not giving up and fighting to make something happen. Our focus now shifts to COTA next weekend!"

GMS Racing PR


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