NASCAR National Series News & Notes

NASCAR Cup Series Next Race: Quaker State 400 presented by Walmart The Place: Atlanta Motor

NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: Quaker State 400 presented by Walmart

The Place: Atlanta Motor Speedway

The Date: Sunday, July 11

The Time: 3:30 p.m. ET

TV: NBCSN, 3 p.m. ET

Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 400.4 miles (260 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 80),

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

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Next Race: Credit Karma Money 250

The Place: Atlanta Motor Speedway

The Date: Saturday, July 10

The Time: 3:30 p.m. ET

TV: NBCSN, 3 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: Corn Belt 150 Presented by Premier Chevy Dealers

The Place: Knoxville Raceway

The Date: Friday, July 9

The Time: 9 p.m. ET

TV: FS1, 8 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 75 miles (150 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 40),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 150)

 

NASCAR Cup Series

 

NASCAR Cup Series gears up for second stop of 2021 at Atlanta Motor Speedway

Slipping and sliding will be what the NASCAR Cup Series drivers will be preparing for as they get set to take on the NASCAR Cup Series’ oldest surface (last repave was in 1997) this Sunday, July 11 at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Quaker State 400 presented by Walmart on NBCSN, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio at 3:30 p.m. ET.

 

This weekend’s Quaker State 400 presented by Walmart will be the 115th running of a NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway and the second this season. Atlanta Motor Speedway is a 1.54-mile paved oval located in Hampton, Georgia just south of Atlanta. Originally called Atlanta International Raceway, the track was then a 1.5-mile paved speedway. The first NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta was on July 31, 1960, won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Fireball Roberts from the pole position. The track was re-measured to 1.522 miles in the spring of 1970, and it was renamed to Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1990. The track layout was reversed, and the track was re-configured to 1.54 miles between the two races in 1997.

 

The previous 114 NASCAR Cup Series races at Atlanta Motor Speedway have produced 52 different pole winners and 45 different race winners. NASCAR Hall of Famer Buddy Baker and Roush Fenway Racing’s Ryan Newman lead the series in poles at Atlanta Motor Speedway with seven each.

 

This weekend’s race had the starting lineups determined by Metric Qualifying and as a result the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series champion and most recent winner (at Road America last weekend) Chase Elliott will start from the pole and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch will join him on the front row.

 

NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt leads the series in wins at Atlanta Motor Speedway with nine victories (1980, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1995, 1996, 2000). Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick (2001, 2018, 2020) and Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch (2002, 2009, 2010) lead all active series winners at Atlanta with three victories each.

 

Six active former NASCAR Cup Series winners are entered this weekend; including Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney who grabbed his first Atlanta Motor Speedway win of his career earlier this season. Three of the six active Atlanta Cup race winners this weekend, are looking for their first win of the 2021 season – Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and Denny Hamlin.

 

Active Atlanta Winners

Wins

Seasons

Kevin Harvick

3

2020, 2018, 2001

Kurt Busch

3

2010, 2009, 2002

Brad Keselowski

2

2019, 2017

Kyle Busch

2

2013, 2008

Ryan Blaney

1

2021

Denny Hamlin

1

2012

 

 

Clinch Scenarios: Time is running out to secure a Playoff spot

With just six races remaining in the regular season in the NASCAR Cup Series time is running out for drivers to secure their spot in the Playoffs. Looking ahead to Atlanta Motor Speedway, five drivers have clinched a spot on wins and points with several others having the opportunity to do the same this weekend. 

 

Already Clinched

The following five drivers have clinched a spot in the 16-driver postseason field: Kyle Larson, Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr., Alex Bowman.

 

Can clinch via previous wins

The following drivers could clinch if they build up enough points to ensure they will not be left out of the playoffs due to not all winning drivers having a slot available: William Byron: Could only clinch with help. Joey Logano: Could only clinch with help.

 

Can clinch via win

The following drivers would clinch on a win alone this weekend: William Byron, Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, Brad Keselowski, Christopher Bell, Michael McDowell, Denny Hamlin.

 

Impossible to Clinch this weekend

Even with a win, Kevin Harvick would not clinch a Playoff spot on wins since there still exists the possibility of all winners failing to make the Playoffs. If they can’t clinch with a win, no winless driver below them in the standings could clinch either.

 

Regular Season Championship battle tightens with six races to go

Following the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway back on May 16, driver standings leader Denny Hamlin had grown his points cushion to a stout 101 points over second place, but since then Kyle Larson has rallied and has closed that points deficit to just three points, tightening up the race for the Regular Season Championship with just six races to go. 

 

Winning the NASCAR Cup Series Regular Season Championship not only garners the prestige of the accomplishment, but it also pays 15 Playoff points. That’s the equivalent to three race wins or 15 stage wins worth of Playoff points, quite the haul. 

 

The NASCAR Cup Series started awarding the Regular Season Championship in 2017. Since then, three different drivers have accomplished the feat – Kevin Harvick (2020), Kyle Busch (2019, 2018) and Martin Truex Jr. (2017).  In two of the past four seasons, the regular-season champ has gone on to win the Playoff title — Truex in 2017 and Busch in 2019.

 

Gazing to this weekend at Atlanta, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin will be working to build on the slim points lead he has left. Hamlin has made 22 series starts at the 1.54-mile track posting one pole, one win (2012), six top fives, nine top 10s and has led 418 laps. He finished fourth at Atlanta earlier this season.

 

Hendrick Motorsports’ Kyle Larson returns to Atlanta not only hunting for the points lead but also looking for redemption from earlier this season, when he dominated the event leading 269 of the 325 scheduled laps (82.7%) only to finish runner-up to Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney by 2.083-seconds. With a pass for the lead with eight laps left in the Atlanta race back in March, Blaney took the air out of an otherwise dominating performance by Kyle Larson. It was Larson’s second top five and fourth top 10 of his seven career starts at the 1.54-mile track. And ironically, Larson has led the exact same number of laps at Atlanta as Hamlin has at 418.

 

Kevin Harvick is hungry for a win in 2021

After putting up a career best nine-win NASCAR Cup Series season in 2020, Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick returns to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the 21st race of the 2021 season still winless and looking to secure a spot in the Playoffs. Last season’s regular season champion, Harvick, hasn’t visited Victory Lane since Bristol Motor Speedway in September of 2020 – 27 races ago – his longest winless streak since coming to SHR in 2014.

 

On a positive note, Atlanta Motor Speedway is one of Harvick’s best tracks statically. He is tied with Kurt Busch for the most wins among active drivers with three each. In total he has put up three wins (2001, 2018, 2020), nine top fives, 16 top 10s and two poles. His average finish in 31 series starts at Atlanta is 12.783, third-best. Plus, he is ranked in the top-10 of several key pre-race Loop Data categories with an Average Running Position of 11.728 (seventh-best), a Driver Rating of 101.4 (series-best), 606 Fastest Laps Run (series-best), and 5,085 Laps in the Top 15 (third-most).  

 

Keep an eye on Harvick this weekend, in four of his last six starts this season he has posted top-10 finishes. 

 

NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.

Atlanta Motor Speedway to undergo reprofile before 2022 – Following the July 11 Quaker State 400 presented by Walmart, Atlanta Motor Speedway will break ground on a historic project to create the next generation of Atlanta Motor Speedway in 2022.

 

Following 10 months of confidential research, development, testing and simulation with engineers and iRacing, the reprofile will increase the current 24-degree banking in Atlanta’s turns to 28-degrees—higher than any other intermediate track on the current NASCAR circuit. Straightaway banking will remain five degrees. In addition to the new high banks, the racing surface will become narrower with an overall decrease in width from 55 feet to 40 feet. New widths will be 52 feet on the front stretch, 42 feet on the back stretch and 40 feet in the turns.

 

“As Atlanta’s racing surface has aged, we’ve challenged ourselves to reimagine what NASCAR racing at an intermediate track can be,” said Speedway Motorsports President and CEO Marcus Smith. “With high banks in the turns, narrower width and new pavement technology, Atlanta will be unlike any other mile-and-a-half track on the circuit. It’s all new for ’22 and this will be specifically designed for close, competitive racing.”

 

Construction is slated to begin the week following the July 11 Quaker State 400 Presented by Walmart, with the next generation Atlanta Motor Speedway making its debut in 2022 in conjunction with NASCAR’s Next Gen car.

 

Honorary dignitaries for this weekend at Atlanta – This weekend will be packed full of great entertainment and racing action and Atlanta Motor Speedway has invited several great dignitaries to join in on the festivities.

 

As previously announced, breakout star BRELAND will get race fans revved up for the Quaker State 400 Presented by Walmart with a live concert on the pre-race stage at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday, July 11.

 

Employees of the College Park, Ga., Walmart store will serve as Grand Marshals for the Quaker State 400 Presented by Walmart on Sunday, July 11. The team earned the opportunity through a contest between Walmart locations to say the most famous words in motorsports and kick off 400 miles of racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

 

Sunday’s national anthem will be performed by country singer and songwriter Corbette Jackson. Jackson grew up in Newnan, Ga., before moving to Nashville to pursue a career as a country music artist. Currently one of the most played independent artists on country radio, Jackson is currently preparing for the release of a new fundraiser single “Small Town Kid”, with profits from the song going to the Coweta Community Foundation tornado relief fund.

 

Atlanta Operatic Tenor Timothy Miller will perform “God Bless America” during pre-race festivities for the Quaker State 400 Presented by Walmart. Miller is well known for his performances before Atlanta Braves home games and brings his powerful and legendary voice to NASCAR for the first time on Sunday.

 

And streaking across the sky above Atlanta Motor Speedway during the national anthem on Sunday will be a C-130 and two HH60 gunner helicopters piloted from Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, Ga.

 

Ford is looking to keep the wins streak alive – The longest consecutive wins streak by a manufacturer in the NASCAR Cup Series at Atlanta Motor Speedway is five victories by Ford (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021) and this weekend the manufacturer is looking to keep the streak alive and make it six. Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney is the most recent Ford winner at Atlanta taking home the trophy earlier this season.

 

In total, nine different manufacturers have won in the NASCAR Cup Series at Atlanta; led by Chevrolet with 40 victories; followed by Ford (34), Pontiac (11), Dodge (nine), Mercury (eight), Buick (four), Plymouth (four), Toyota (three) and Oldsmobile (one).

 

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway

The Xfinity Series heads back to Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend for the Credit Karma Money 250 on Saturday, July 10 at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio for the 18th race of the 2021 season.

 

It was once again the Kyle Busch show last weekend at Road America where Busch won his fourth Xfinity Series race in four starts this season bringing career series total to 101 victories. Busch has won in all three series this season claiming eight NASCAR National Series wins (Cup two wins, Xfinity four wins, Trucks two wins).

 

Following Busch was his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Daniel Hemric, finishing second, Michael Annett finished third and AJ Allmendinger finished fourth with Harrison Burton rounding out the top five.

 

This weekend will mark the second time this season that the NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway, the 1.54-mile paved track in Hampton, Georgia.

 

Justin Allgaier won the race earlier this season, leading 47 laps and beating NASCAR Cup Series regular Martin Truex Jr. by 1.449 seconds. Truex led a race-high 103 laps and swept both stages prior to being beat by Allgaier. The race was an eventful one, that saw seven cautions for 37 laps and six lead changes. The average speed was 115.117 mph, and the race was 2 hours, 10 minutes and 50 seconds.

 

Saturday’s Atlanta Motor Speedway race will be 251.02 miles and 163 laps with Stage 1 ending on Lap 40 and Stage 2 ending on Lap 80. This weekend’s race had the starting lineups determined by Metric Qualifying and as a result Kyle Busch will start on the pole with his JGR teammate Daniel Hemric joining him on the front row.

 

4 for 4: Kyle Busch keeps winning

Kyle Busch was once again victorious in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, this time at Road America on the 4th of July weekend. He won last Saturday’s Henry 180 claiming his fourth Xfinity Series win in four starts this season. Now the winningest driver in series history (101 victories), is turning his attention to Atlanta Motor Speedway to see he can make it perfect five-for-five.

 

Last weekend at Road America on Lap 41 of 45, Busch grabbed the lead from road course ace AJ Allmendinger, whose No. 16 was on old tires. The next four laps helped Busch extend his lead over Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Daniel Hemric who sped past Allmendinger for the runner-up spot.

 

Busch won in his Road America debut and for the 101st time in his career, continuing to extend his own series record.  With Busch’s win on Saturday, it also marked 12 different winners in as many races at Road America, keeping the streak alive.

 

This weekend, Busch is back behind the wheel at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Busch has made 13 starts at the 1.54-mile track posting two wins (2016, 2017), nine top fives and 10 top 10s.

 

The skinny on Atlanta Motor Speedway

This weekend’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the Credit Karma Money 250 on Saturday, July 10 at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will be the 31st running of the event at the historic track.

 

The previous 30 NASCAR Xfinity Series races at Atlanta Motor Speedway have produced 17 different pole winners and 19 different race winners. Kyle Busch leads the series in poles at Atlanta with six and Kevin Harvick leads the series in wins with five.

 

Chase Elliott holds the record for the youngest pole winner at 18 years, nine months, two days in 2014 and Dick Trickle holds the record for the oldest pole winner at 57 years, 0 months, 11 days in 1998.

 

NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon is the youngest winner in Atlanta Xfinity Series history at 20 years, seven months, 10 days in 1992 and Harry Gant is the oldest winner at 54 years in 1994.

 

The last race won from the pole was by Kyle Busch in 2017 and only six times in history did the winner start on the pole or first position.

 

Jeremy Clements and Kyle Busch have the most starts among active drivers in the Xfinity Series. Clements has 12 and Busch as 13. 

 

Busch has two wins at Atlanta and Allgaier and AJ Allmendinger each have one win. They are the only three active drivers in the series with wins at the track this weekend.

 

Harrison Burton has the third-highest average running position at 5.673 and the highest among active drivers, only behind Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. who have run select races in the series.

 

Burton also has the fifth-highest driver rating at Atlanta and is the highest ranked full-time Xfinity Series driver at 108.4. Allmendinger is behind him in sixth at 107.1.

 

Playoff Bubble: NASCAR Xfinity Series chances down to nine
With nine races left in the regular season it is time to take a look at the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff clinch scenarios heading into this weekend’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the Credit Karma Money 250 on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBCN, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. A win gets you in, but drivers must still clinch their spot on points by accumulating enough points that even with a win they do not fall out of the top 30 and become ineligible for the Playoffs. 

 

Already Clinched:

The following three drivers have clinched a spot in the 12-driver Xfinity postseason field: Austin Cindric, AJ Allmendinger and Justin Allgaier. Allgaier clinched a spot last weekend at Road America.

 

Can clinch via points at Atlanta:

Jeb Burton has not yet clinched a top-30 spot but could clinch a Playoff spot with a win this weekend. Burton has one win and is 397 points ahead of 31st.

 

Clinching for Regular Season Championship:
Austin Cindric cannot clinch the regular season championship this weekend with his four wins and 721 points because second-place has 632 and can still reach 1,172 points.

 

Outlined below is the current Playoffs standings for the Xfinity Series after Road America and heading to Atlanta this weekend.

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs Standings Post-Road America:

 

Rank

Driver

Points

Starts

Race Wins

Stage Wins

Playoff Pts

Pts From Cutoff

1

Austin Cindric

558

13

3

5

20

In On Wins

2

AJ Allmendinger

462

13

2

3

13

3

Justin Allgaier

395

13

2

1

11

4

Jeb Burton

419

13

1

0

5

5

Myatt Snider

321

13

1

0

5

6

Daniel Hemric

437

13

0

5

5

128

7

Harrison Burton

437

13

0

1

1

128

8

Justin Haley

401

12*

0

3

3

92

9

Brandon Jones

345

13

0

1

1

36

10

Jeremy Clements

334

13

0

0

0

25

11

Michael Annett

326

13

0

0

0

17

12

Noah Gragson

324

13

0

2

2

15

13

Brandon Brown

309

13

0

0

0

-15

14

Riley Herbst

279

13

0

0

0

-45

15

Ryan Sieg

244

13

0

0

0

-80

16

Landon Cassill

223

13

0

0

0

-101

 

Sieg and Jones heading home, again

Two drivers from Georgia entered in this weekend’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race, the Credit Karma Money 250 (3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), are extra revved-up about racing at their home track, Atlanta Motor Speedway and looking to finish better than they did earlier this season – RSS Racing’s Ryan Sieg from Tucker and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Brandon Jones from Atlanta.

 

Jones especially is looking for redemption after finishing 37th at the first Atlanta race. Sieg finished 10th.

 

The 33-year-old driver, Ryan Sieg, and his family-owned organization, RSS Racing, are based in Tucker, Georgia, Sieg’s hometown. The team is run by Ryan’s father, Rod Sieg, and the duo have competed in the NASCAR Xfinity Series since 2013 when they made their series debut at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

 

Last season Sieg had a career-best season, racking up seven top fives and 11 top 10s.

 

This weekend, Sieg will head to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the ninth time of his career. He’s completed 1,205 of 1,336 laps attempted, which is 90.2 percent and has an average start of 19.6 and an average finish of 19.9. His best finish is 10th that came earlier this season. Sieg will start 16th on Saturday.

 

Atlanta, Georgia’s own Brandon Jones of Joe Gibbs Racing has had an up-and-down 2021 season so far. Jones will make his seventh Atlanta start on Saturday. He’s completed 945 laps of 978 attempted, which is 96.6 percent. He has an average start of 15.5 and an average finish of 15.2. He has a best finish of fourth from 2019.

 

Jones goes into this weekend ninth in the series points standings, 36 points from the Playoff cutline. He will start 12th on Saturday.

 

Josh Berry holds onto his Sunoco rookie standings lead, Gibbs catching up

Josh Berry held onto the lead in the NASCAR Xfinity Series rookie driver standings over Joe Gibbs Racing’s rising star Ty Gibbs even though he didn’t compete at Road America on Saturday. Berry, who ran a partial schedule for JR Motorsports, is only 18 points ahead of Gibbs after Road America, where Gibbs did compete but had a transmission issue that made him finish 33rd.

 

Berry is entered to run this weekend at Atlanta for Jordan Anderson Racing in the No. 31 Chevrolet. Gibbs is currently not entered for the event.

 

Sunoco Rookie of the Year Standings

Rookies

Points

Awards

Josh Berry

348

5

Ty Gibbs

330

6

Ryan Vargas

162

4

Jade Buford

90

1

Sam Mayer

21

0

 

Manufacturer’s championship up for grabs

Chevrolet is still in the lead in the manufacturer’s championship standings but not by much as Toyota is catching up. With seven wins, Chevrolet has 622 points and with six wins, Toyota has 610. Toyota has won five of the last seven races. Ford has four wins, all coming from Austin Cindric. They are third in the standings with four wins and 573 points.

 

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

 

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is ready for a dirt filled debut at Knoxville Raceway

After taking last weekend off, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will be returning to action this weekend in the Corn Belt 150 Presented by Premier Chevy Dealers at Knoxville Raceway in Knoxville, Iowa on Friday, July 9 at 9 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio in the series’ debut at the famously historic dirt track.

 

Knoxville Raceway is a half-mile dirt oval with eight degrees of banking in the four turns. The width of the track varies from 60 to 80 feet and the surface is comprised of black Iowa soil. Over the years Knoxville Raceway has been aptly nicknamed the ‘Sprint Car Capitol of the World’. The track was constructed in the 1800s on the Marion County Fairgrounds and was originally a horse racing track.

 

Knoxville Raceway will be the second dirt track the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will compete on this season joining the Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt track. Much like that weekend in Bristol, the series will once again compete in a special format that will include Qualifying Races.

 

The tentative weekend schedule for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Knoxville Raceway is as follows:

 

Thursday, July 8

Random Qualifying Draw (6 p.m. ET)

Final NCWTS Practice (7:05 p.m. – 8:25 p.m. ET)

 

Friday, July 9

1st Qualifying Race (7 p.m. ET)

2nd Qualifying Race (7:15 p.m. ET)

3rd Qualifying Race (7:30 p.m. ET)

4th Qualifying Race (7:45 p.m. ET)

NCWTS Race (9 p.m. ET)

 

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series – Qualifying/Race Formats for Knoxville

This weekend’s racing will have a special format for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, the Corn Belt 150 Presented by Premier Chevy Dealers at Knoxville Raceway in Knoxville, Iowa on Friday, July 9 at 9 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

 

Heat Race Starting Lineup – Random draw determines heat race designation and starting position for the heat race. The draw will be in order of current owner points.

 

Qualifying Heat Races – Four qualifying races held at 15 laps each with only green flag laps counted – no overtime rule. Free pass and wave around procedures will be in effect.

 

Passing Points – Drivers will accumulate points in the heat races based on finishing position and passing points. The points total determines the starting position for the feature event.

 

Passing Points = The difference between assigned starting position and finishing position

Go forward – accumulate passing points

Go backward or finish where you started – zero passing points

Tiebreaker – Owner Points 

 

Finish

Points

1

10

2

9

3

8

4

7

5

6

6

5

7

4

8

3

9

2

10

1

                                                     

FeatureLineup based on combined points of Heat Race finishing position and passing points.  Feature race will be (NCWTS: 150 laps) divided into three stages (NCWTS: 40/90/150). Running order will be frozen at the conclusion of each stage. During the stage breaks, teams can change tires, add fuel and make adjustments to their trucks. These non-competitive pit stops must be completed in a time designated by NASCAR (TBD).

 

No fuel or tires except at stage breaks. (Note: It is mandatory to stop at least one of the stage breaks.)

 

Additional Event Highlights – Choose rule will not be in effect for the race at Knoxville. The overtime rules, free pass and wave around procedures will be in effect. 

 

Kyle Busch Motorsports, John H. Nemechek are setting up for a strong run in the postseason

One thing has been made very clear this season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, and that is Kyle Busch Motorsports has brought John Hunter Nemechek back to the series for wins and sadly for the competition, they are doing just that – winning. Plus, this weekend Nemechek could clinch the Regular Season Championship adding to his already impressive 2021 resume. 

 

Two weeks ago at Pocono Raceway, John Hunter Nemechek scored his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season leading fifth victory of 2021 – a new single season career-high for Nemechek. In total, Nemechek has amassed five wins (Las Vegas, Richmond, Charlotte, Texas and Pocono), eight top fives and 11 top 10s in 12 starts.

 

Nemechek also leads the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver standings following Pocono Raceway by 86 points over second place Ben Rhodes. With only two races left Nemechek looks poised to lockup the Regular Season Championship as well; which will grant him an additional 15 Playoffs points to add to his already series leading 34 Playoff points bringing his total to 49 to start the postseason if he doesn’t collect anymore at Knoxville and Watkins Glen. Nemechek can clinch the Regular Season Championship with 34 points or by being 60 points above the second-place driver in the standings following Knoxville.

 

Since the inception of the Playoffs in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2016, no Playoff driver has accumulated more than 42 Playoff points heading into the postseason. Nemechek is on path to surpass that record this season.

 

The 2016 Playoffs began with the No. 1 seed William Byron entering the postseason with 15 Playoff points. The 2017 Playoffs began with the No. 1 seed Christopher Bell entering the postseason with 40 Playoff points.

The 2018 Playoffs began with the No. 1 seed Johnny Sauter entering the postseason with 42 Playoff points. The 2019 Playoffs began with the No. 1 seed Brett Moffitt entering the postseason with 22 Playoff points.

The 2020 Playoffs began with the No. 1 seed Sheldon Creed entering the postseason with 26 Playoff points.

 

Also working in Nemechek’s favor, is four of the five No. 1 seeds entering the Playoffs earned a spot in their respective season’s Championship 4 Rounds, with the lone exception being William Byron. But of the five No. 1 seeds, only two took home the series title – Christopher Bell (2017) and last season’s champion Sheldon Creed.

 

Two vastly different tracks left to close out the Camping World Trucks’ regular season

When it comes to the last two tracks on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regular season schedule the differences between the two facilities couldn’t be more vast.

 

This weekend the series heads to Knoxville, Iowa for the Truck Series debut at Knoxville Raceway in the Corn Belt 150 Presented by Premier Chevy Dealers on Friday, July 9 at 9 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Knoxville Raceway is a half-mile dirt track with eight degrees of banking in the turns. The track is largely known for its Sprint Car races and will be unlike any other dirt track the series has competed on.

 

Then nearly a month later, following the Olympic break, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will head north to Watkins Glen International located just outside Watkins Glen, New York for the race on August 7 at 12:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. To wrap up the regular season the competitors will be tasked with navigating the multi-elevational, seven turn road course. It will be the sixth time the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has competed at the 2.45-mile course and the first time in 20 years (last race was on June 24, 2000). 

 

Playoff Bubble: Two chances remain to win and get into the Playoffs

With just two races left in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regular season, it’s time to start talking clinch scenarios and identify the drivers locked in and those still fighting to get in to the 2021 Playoffs. 

 

Already Clinched

The following five drivers have clinched a spot in the 10-driver postseason NASCAR Camping World Truck Series field: John Hunter Nemechek, Ben Rhodes, Austin Hill, Todd Gilliland, Sheldon Creed. Hill is the first driver to clinch a spot solely on points, the other four have won already this season.

 

Can clinch via points

If there is a new winner, the following drivers could clinch by being 56 points above the fifth winless driver in the standings – Zane Smith: Would clinch with 18 points; Matt Crafton: Would clinch with 53 points; Stewart Friesen: Could only clinch with help.

 

If there is a repeat winner, the following drivers could clinch by being 56 points above the sixth winless driver in the standings. They would also clinch if there was a new winner among (drivers) and being 56 points above the 5th winless driver in the standings – Zane Smith: Would clinch regardless of finish; Matt Crafton: Would clinch with 33 points; Stewart Friesen: Could only clinch with help; Carson Hocevar: Could only clinch with help

 

Can clinch via win

The following drivers would clinch on their win alone – Zane Smith, Matt Crafton, Stewart Friesen, Carson Hocevar, Chandler Smith, Johnny Sauter, Tyler Ankrum, Austin Wayne Self, Derek Kraus, Ryan Truex.

 

The following drivers could clinch with a win and clinching a Top 20 position – Hailie Deegan: Would clinch with 41 points; Tanner Gray: Would clinch with 59 points; Chase Purdy: Could only clinch with help.

 

Additionally, John Hunter Nemechek could clinch the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Regular Season Championship with 34 points or by being 60 points above the second-place driver in the standings following Knoxville.

 

Husband and wife team to tackle Knoxville Raceway

The Friesens tried at Bristol and unfortunately it didn’t work out, but this weekend, they will give it another shot to become the first married couple in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series history to compete against one another in a series’ race. Jessica Friesen, a well-known sprint car and modifieds dirt racer, will attempt to make her NASCAR national series debut while driving the No. 62 Halmar Friesen Racing Toyota at Knoxville Raceway.

 

This weekend will be Halmar Friesen Racing’s second attempt at fielding a second truck for a race, and it will be alongside the familiar No. 52 of Jessica’s husband Stewart Friesen – the most recent NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regular to win a race on dirt (Eldora, 2019 – Martin Truex Jr. won at Bristol earlier this season.

 

The Friesens have competed against each other in a race before (they actually finished first and second in a race at Utica-Rome Speedway two days after their wedding in 2014). But they will be attempting to become the first husband-wife duo to compete in the same NASCAR national series race since Elton Sawyer and Patty Moise last did it at Atlanta in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 1998.

 

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Etc.

Former Truck Dirt Winners Entered This Weekend – Only two former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series winners on dirt surfaces (Eldora Speedway or Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt) are entered this weekend – Matt Crafton (2017 Eldora Winner) and Stewart Friesen (2019 Eldora Winner).

NASCAR PR