NASCAR National Series News & Notes – Daytona International Speedway

NASCAR Cup Series
Next Race: Daytona 500
The Place: Daytona International Speedway
The Date: Sunday, February 20
The Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
TV: FOX, 1 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 500 miles (200 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 65)
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 130), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 200)
2021 Race Winner: Michael McDowell

NASCAR Xfinity Series
Next Race: Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. 300
The Place: Daytona International Speedway
The Date: Saturday, February 19
The Time: 5 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, 4 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 300 miles (120 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 30),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 60), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 120)
2021 Race Winner: Austin Cindric 

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 
Next Race: NextEra Energy 250
The Place: Daytona International Speedway
The Date: Friday, February 18
The Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, 6;30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 250 miles (100 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 20),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 40), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 100)
2021 Race Winner: Ben Rhodes

NASCAR Cup Series

Lots of momentum heading into DAYTONA 500

Embracing new challenges and incorporating as much fun and entertainment as possible, the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum jump started the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season in front of a packed house at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Fans not only were dancing to the beats of Pitbull, Ice Cube and DJ Skee but also the rumble of NASCAR’s Next Gen car, which made its competition debut.

Upwards of 70% of the tickets sold to the Busch Light Clash were from first-time NASCAR ticket purchasers. Plus, the event pulled the highest TV Rating for the Busch Light Clash since 2016. With smiles on their faces and loads of momentum at their backs, the NASCAR Cup Series turns their attention to the Great American Race, the DAYTONA 500, on February 20, 2022 at Daytona International Speedway (2:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the first point-paying event of 2022.

Front Row Motorsports driver Michael McDowell is the defending winner of the 2021 DAYTONA 500; his first NASCAR Cup Series victory. The most recent winner at the 2.5-mile track is Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney who grabbed his first victory at Daytona last August.

Team Penske’s Joey Logano grabbed the checkered flag at the LA Memorial Coliseum for the 2022 Busch Light Clash, his second victory in the exhibition non-points paying event. Logano will look to become the sixth different driver to start the season with a win in the Clash and the Daytona 500; joining Bobby Allison (1982), Bill Elliott (1987), Dale Jarrett (1996 and 2000), Jeff Gordon (1997) and Denny Hamlin (2016).

NASCAR Cup Series schedule shaken-up for 2022

One of the first things that everyone is noticing this season is the shake up the NASCAR Cup Series schedule underwent for the 2022 season. From kicking the season off in Los Angeles, to adding a new track to the mix like World Wide Technology Raceway, the changes were made with the fans in mind.

For the first time since 1981, the NASCAR Cup Series season started somewhere other than Daytona. And of all places, NASCAR picked the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Not only was a track constructed, but an entire fan engaging experience was built around the annual season-opening non-points paying exhibition race, the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum.

“First off just props to NASCAR and everybody involved, all the men and women that put a lot of the effort into making it happen,” Chase Elliott said. “Building a racetrack, paving it and all the logistics that have gone into this. Props to everyone for making it happen. They did a really good job with it. The workmanship and logistics of how this has worked has really impressed me.”

Some other great aspects to the schedule to keep eye out for in 2022 are the return of the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway, the newly revamped Atlanta Motor Speedway with steeper turns now reaching 28 degrees, the return of Homestead-Miami Speedway to the Playoffs and last but not least the addition of World Wide Technology Raceway. The NASCAR Cup Series will compete for the first time at the 1.25-mile track located in the St. Louis market.

NASCAR’s Next Gen car has arrived

The wait is over. The NASCAR Next Gen car has arrived and is ready for action.

With more than two years in development, the NASCAR Cup Series Next Gen car, an entirely new racecar, and the seventh version of the stock car NASCAR has introduced since 1949, has arrived and will compete for the first time in a points-paying NASCAR Cup Series race, the DAYTONA 500 (Feb. 20 at 2:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

NASCAR, drivers, teams and the entire industry have worked countless hours to get to this debut. With each version of the stock car NASCAR has introduced it has been an improvement from its predecessor, but the Next Gen car is a massive leap forward, as never in NASCAR’s 73 prior years has this much time and energy been spent to bring a car from concept to reality.

While the Gen 6 car provided outstanding competition during its time in the series, NASCAR made the decision to overhaul the car with the help from the manufacturers and the teams and as a result, things like the H-pattern shifter, five-lug wheels, and even centered door numbers are no more. Instead, Next Gen is equipped with a sequential shifter, a single center-lock wheel nut, 670-horsepower engines, and car numbers just behind the front wheels. But that’s not all, the Next Gen car also boasts rack-and-pinion steering which replaces the recirculating ball, an independent rear suspension upgrade from the full floating axle, carbon fiber-reinforced body panels, and a rear-end diffuser. All these updates were made in the spirit to increase competition on the track.

The on-track activity begins this week with two practice session for DAYTONA 500 Pole Qualifying on Tuesday at 5:05 p.m. ET and 6:35 p.m. ET on FS1.

See the full rundown of TV and national radio coverage for Daytona below:

Date Time (E.T.) Event TV/Radio/Stream
Tuesday, Feb. 15 5:05 p.m. Daytona 500 practice FS1/MRN/FOX Sports App
Tuesday, Feb. 15 6:35 p.m. Daytona 500 practice FS1/MRN/FOX Sports App
Wednesday, Feb. 16 8:05 p.m. Daytona 500 qualifying FS1/MRN/FOX Sports App
Thursday, Feb. 17 7 p.m. Bluegreen Vacations Duel 1 FS1/MRN/FOX Sports App
Thursday, Feb. 17 8:45 p.m. (approx.) Bluegreen Vacations Duel 2 FS1/MRN/FOX Sports App
Friday, Feb. 18 6 p.m. Daytona 500 practice FS1/MRN/FOX Sports App
Saturday, Feb. 19 10:30 a.m. (FS1 at 11 a.m.) Daytona 500 practice FS2/MRN/FOX Sports App
Sunday, Feb. 20 2:30 p.m. Daytona 500 FOX/MRN/FOX Sports App

Cup Garage: New faces in new places

Much like the shuffling of a deck of cards, several drivers in the offseason made moves to different organizations in the NASCAR Cup Series making several new faces in new places in 2022.

The 2004 Cup Series champ and Las Vegas native, Kurt Busch, was one of the drivers to join a new team for the 2022 season as the 42-year-old will be bringing his expertise of over 750 NASCAR Cup Series starts to 23XI Racing’s newly formed No. 45 Toyota team with crew chief Billy Scott. 23XI Racing is Busch’s seventh different organization he has driven for in the NASCAR Cup Series; joining Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing, Team Penske, Phoenix Racing, Furniture Row Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing. Busch won the Daytona 500 in 2017 and is looking to become the 13th different driver in the series history to win multiple Daytona 500s.

Announced last season, Brad Keselowski has joined Roush Fenway Racing and in process purchased an ownership stake in the company and starting in 2022 the organization has been rebranded to Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing (RFK Racing). The 2012 NASCAR Cup Series champion, Keselowski, will pilot the No. 6 Ford with crew chief Matt McCall on the pit box. Keselowski is still looking for his first Daytona 500 victory, one of the last few jewels left to add to his crown of achievements in the sport. His best finish in the Great American Race is third back in 2014.

A vacancy in the No. 2 Ford at Team Penske provides the perfect opportunity for NASCAR Xfinity Series champion (2020) Austin Cindric to take the next step in his career and into the NASCAR Cup Series fulltime. The son of Team Penske’s President Tim Cindric, Austin will drive the No. 2 Ford with the guidance of crew chief Jeremy Bullins. Cindric made his NASCAR Cup Series career debut in last season’s Daytona 500; he started 39th and raced his way up to a 15th-place finish.

With Trackhouse Racing’s acquisition of the Chip Ganassi Racing assets at the conclusion of the 2021 season, the organization expanded to a two-car team and signed Ross Chastain to be the driver for the newly formed No. 1 Chevrolet team. Chastain will be working with crew chief Phil Surgen this season and the pair will make their debut this weekend as both look for their first Daytona 500 victory. Chastain has made three Daytona 500 starts and posted his career-best finish of seventh in last season’s race.

Another graduate into the NASCAR Cup Series this season is Harrison Burton. The second generation racer spent the last two full seasons with Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series earning the Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in 2020 and making the Playoffs both seasons (2020-2021). Now the 20-year-old will have his shot at driving the famous Wood Brothers Racing’s No. 21 Ford with crew chief Brian Wilson at his side. Burton made his NASCAR Cup Series career debut last season at Talladega Superspeedway where he started 39th and finished 20th. This weekend will be his first attempt at competing in the Daytona 500.

Following in his father David Gilliland’s footsteps, Todd Gilliland will take the reins of the No. 38 Ford for Front Row Motorsports in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2022. Gilliland has spent the last three full seasons competing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. This season, Gilliland will be working with crew chief Seth Barbour. Gilliland will be making his series career debut this weekend at Daytona.

Kaulig Racing has made the fulltime jump to the NASCAR Cup Series in 2022 and will have Justin Haley piloting the newly formed No. 31 Chevrolet Team with a rotation of drivers (AJ Allmendinger, Daniel Hemric and Noah Gragson) sharing the seat time in the No. 16 Chevrolet. Kaulig Racing made big splash in the NASCAR Cup Series after winning the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course race in their first part-time season in the series.

One other group to keep your eye on this season is The Money Team Racing (TMT Racing) a newly formed race team by boxing legend Floyd Mayweather. TMT Racing will have Tony Eury Jr. as crew chief and Kaz Grala as the driver of the No. 50. The team will look to make their series debut this weekend at Daytona.

Locked In: Qualifying on the front row for Daytona 500 has its perks

Start your engines and make sure you don’t miss Daytona 500 Qualifying on Wednesday, Feb. 16 at 8:05 p.m. ET on FS1.

This week, seven former Daytona 500 pole winners are entered in the event – Chase Elliott (2016, 2017), Alex Bowman (2018, 2021), Austin Dillon (2014), Martin Truex Jr. (2009), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (2020), William Byron (2019), Greg Biffle (2004) – and will once again try to lock themselves in on the front row.

Bill Elliott, Cale Yarborough and Buddy Baker lead the NASCAR Cup Series in Daytona 500 poles with four each. Alex Bowman (2018, 2021) and Chase Elliott (2016, 2017) lead all active drivers in the series in Daytona 500 poles with two each. Elliott is also one of just five drivers to win consecutive Daytona 500 poles all-time; joining Fireball Roberts (1961-1963), Buddy Baker (1979-1980), Bill Elliott (1985, 1986, 1987), and Ken Schrader (1988, 1989, 1990).

The fastest two drivers in Qualifying are locked into the Daytona 500. While some competitors will argue their starting spot is of no consequence in the Daytona 500, the pole position is the most proficient starting position in the Daytona 500 field, producing more winners (nine) than any other position. The Daytona 500 pole starting position has a winning percentage of 14.3%. The most recent driver to win the Daytona 500 from the pole is NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett in 2000.  NASCAR Hall of Famers Bill Elliott (1985, 1987) and Cale Yarborough (1968, 1984) are the only two drivers to accomplish the feat of winning the Daytona 500 from the pole more than once. But starting in the back doesn’t totally discount a driver’s chances at winning either, 18 of the 63 Daytona 500s have been won from starting spot outside the top 10. Matt Kenseth won the Daytona 500 from the 39th starting position in 2009, the deepest a Daytona 500 race winner has started.

Season Daytona 500 Winners From The Pole
1962 Fireball Roberts
1966 Richard Petty
1968 Cale Yarborough
1980 Buddy Baker
1984 Cale Yarborough
1985 Bill Elliott
1987 Bill Elliott
1999 Jeff Gordon
2000 Dale Jarrett


How the Daytona 500 starting lineups will be decided:

Single-car qualifying on Feb. 16 (8:05 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) will now have two rounds, with the top 10 qualifiers in Round 1 moving on to the second round. The fastest two cars in Round 2 will lock in as the front-row starters for Sunday’s Daytona 500 (Feb 20 at 2:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

The rest of the starting grid will be decided by the Duels.

First, the single-car qualifying results will set the lineups for the Bluegreen Vacation Duels races on Thursday evening. Cars finishing first, third, fifth, seventh, etc. in single-car runs will comprise the field for Duel 1. The cars in even-numbered finishing positions in single-car qualifying will comprise the field for Duel 2.

Then the results from the Bluegreen Vacation Duels will set the starting lineup for the Daytona 500. The finishers from Duel 1 will line up on the inside row in order of their Duel finish. Meanwhile, the finishers from Duel 2 will line up on the outside row in order of their Duel finish.

If more than 40 cars are entered for the race, the two fastest open cars, without a charter, in single-car qualifying will lock their way into the race regardless of the results of Thursday’s duels. The final two spots of the 40-car field will be determined by the best finishers of the qualifying races.

Dueling for a good spot in the Daytona 500

On Thursday, Feb. 17, NASCAR Cup Series drivers that do not qualify on the front row (first & second) of the Daytona 500 will have the opportunity to compete for their starting position in the Great American Race in the Bluegreen Vacations Duels (7 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) – two 60 lap (150-mile) qualifying races. The qualifiers will be divided up evenly into each Duel event depending on their qualifying position.

This season 42 teams will vie for just 40 eligible spots. The 36 of the 40 eligible spots are already taken by the Charter cars leaving just six spots for the Open teams. The Open teams hoping to make the 64th running of the Daytona 500 are Beard Motorsports’ No. 62 with driver Noah Gragson, TMT Racing’s No. 50 with driver Kaz Grala, MBM Motorsports’ No 66 with driver Timmy Hill and No. 55 with driver JJ Yeley,  NY Racing Team’s No. 44 with driver Greg Biffle and Team Hezeberg’s No. 27 with driver Jacque Villeneuve.

A total of 43 different drivers have won the NASCAR Cup Series Bluegreen Vacations Duels, led by NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt with 12 Duel victories – seven more than the next competitor. Ten active drivers have won at least one of the Duel events, led by Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Denny Hamlin (2008, 2014, 2017) and Kyle Busch (2009, 2013, 2016) with three victories each. The other eight active Duel winners are Chase Elliott (2017, 2018), Joey Logano (2019, 2020), Kevin Harvick (2013, 2019), Kurt Busch (2011), Ryan Blaney (2018), William Byron (2020), Austin Dillon (2021) and Aric Almirola (2021).

From 1972 to 2004 the Duels were scheduled for 50 laps each and during that time frame eight of the Duel events had a driver lead 100% of the laps from flag-to-flag – NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip was the first to accomplish the feat in 1988; he was later joined by Dale Earnhardt (1991,1998), Davey Allison (1991), Ernie Irvan (1996), Bill Elliott (2000), Ricky Rudd (2000) and Jeff Gordon (2002). The race was moved to 60 laps in 2005 and ever since the most a driver has led in a Duel event is 86.7% (52 laps of the scheduled 60) by Aric Almirola last season.

No greater victory than the Great American Race

Known as the biggest race in NASCAR, the Daytona 500 holds a special place in every stockcar driver’s heart. It’s an instant catapult to fame for the victor. It’s the pinnacle of a racer’s career, the crowning achievement that all other drivers aspire to possess, and fans and media admire. The NASCAR Cup Series season-opener is unlike any other event and holds the prestige among its competitors due to its ever-changing difficulty to master, much less finish.  And this year’s Great American Race will undoubtedly bring all the action and excitement we have all grown to love and anticipate.

In total, only 40 different NASCAR Cup Series drivers have won a Daytona 500, and six of the 40 are active this weekend – Denny Hamlin (2016, 2019, 2020), Michael McDowell (2021), Austin Dillon (2018), Kurt Busch (2017), Joey Logano (2015), Kevin Harvick (2007).

NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty leads the series in Daytona 500 victories with seven trophies – (1964, 1966, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1979, 1981). Richard’s father, Lee Petty, won the inaugural Daytona 500 on Feb. 22, 1959; he led 38 laps and won by two feet in an Oldsmobile. Front Row Motorsport’s Michael McDowell won last season Daytona 500. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin leads all active drivers in Daytona 500 wins with three trophies (2016, 2019, 2020).  Lee Petty, who won the inaugural Daytona 500 (1959), and Trevor Bayne, 2011 Daytona 500 champion, are the only two drivers to win the Daytona 500 in their first appearance.

Michael McDowell looks to join Sterling Marlin in rare achievement

Front Row Motorsport’s Michael McDowell returns to Daytona International Speedway as the defending Daytona 500 winner and this weekend will look to add his name to the list of multiple Daytona 500 winners. If he does win this weekend, he will join Sterling Marlin (1994, 1995) as just the second driver in series history to score their first two wins in the Daytona 500.

Last season’s Daytona 500 victory was Michael McDowell’s first career NASCAR Cup Series win. McDowell’s 358 starts are the second-most in series history by a driver before their first win; behind Michael Waltrip with 463 starts before his first win in the 2001 Daytona 500.

This season, McDowell will have a new crew chief atop the pit box as Blake Harris will serve as crew chief for the No. 34 team in 2022.

First-time Cup winners at Daytona happen

Though it is rare, it still happens from time-to-time, first-time winners in the Daytona 500 that is.

Of the 63 Daytona 500 races, only eight times has a driver posted his career-first NASCAR Cup Series victory with a win in the event; the most recent to accomplish the feat was Michael McDowell last season.

First-Time Winners in Daytona 500 Seasons
Tiny Lund 1963
Mario Andretti 1967
Pete Hamilton 1970
Derrike Cope 1990
Sterling Marlin 1994
Michael Waltrip 2001
Trevor Bayne 2011
Michael McDowell 2021

Three other drivers posted their career-first victory in (points-paying) qualifying races at Daytona: Johnny Rutherford (1963), Bobby Isaac (1964) and Earl Balmer (1966).

NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.

2022 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Class – This season three drivers will battle it out for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in the NASCAR Cup Series – Harrison Burton, Austin Cindric and Todd Gilliland.

Wood Brothers Racing’s Harrison Burton will drive the historic No. 21 Ford with crew chief Brian Wilson. This weekend be Burton’s first appearance in the Daytona 500.

Team Penske’s Austin Cindric will fill the recently vacated No. 2 Ford with crew chief Jeremy Bullins atop the pit box. Cindric made his Daytona 500 debut last season where he finished in the top-15.

Front Row Motorsport’s Todd Gilliland will jump into the No. 38 Ford with crew chief Seth Barbour. This weekend be Gilliland’s first appearance in the Daytona 500.

Cup Series Featured Matchups: 2022 Daytona 500

Below is a close look at the featured matchups fans can bet on heading into this weekend’s event.

  • Denny Hamlin VS. Joey Logano
    • The two strongest drivers at Daytona/Talladega over the past half-decade square off in a heavyweight battle of superspeedway supremacy to kick off the ’22 season in Daytona.
    • The two drivers notably were among the strongest cars in the draft during off-season Next-Gen testing at Daytona, and nearly wrecked each other at one point during the test.
    • Hamlin (+800) is the current outright betting favorite to win the 500, while Logano (+900) has the second shortest odds on the board (per BetMGM)
  • Chase Elliott VS. Kevin Harvick
    • Elliott and Harvick infamously tangled numerous times throughout the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, making them an easy matchup to follow heading into the start of the ’22 season.
    • Both drivers are among the favorites to win the 500, as Elliott (+1000) is tied for the third shortest odds to win, with Harvick (+1600) just behind with the seventh shortest odds.
  • Austin Dillon VS. Bubba Wallace
    • This matchup pits two drivers who have proven to be Superspeedway specialists in recent years, as both Dillon (’18 Daytona) and Wallace (’21 Talladega) earned recent wins in key Superspeedway races that elevated their stock on the sport’s largest tracks.
    • Both drivers were major factors throughout last year’s Speedweeks, with Dillon and Wallace notably finishing first and second in the second Duel race for the ’21 Daytona 500.
  • Justin Haley VS. Michael McDowell
    • A battle of underdogs is the theme of our final matchup, as last year’s shock Daytona 500 winner McDowell finds himself matched with pseudo-Cup rookie and Superspeedway specialist Justin Haley.
    • Haley enters Speedweek 2022 as a trendy longshot, as he enters his first full-time Cup season with a bevy of Superspeedway credentials already to his name: four NASCAR Xfinity Series Superspeedway wins; one Cup Series Superspeedway win (’19 Daytona Summer)
    • McDowell enters the weekend looking to defend his surprise win in the ’21 edition of the Great American Race, with the stats suggesting he has a good shot at doing so – as he enters the race with the eighth highest average finish since Feb. 2019 on Superspeedways.

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner 300 is back to kick off the 2022 Xfinity Series in Daytona

The 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series season is just around the corner and the stage has been set for Daytona International Speedway to host this weekend’s Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. 300 at 5 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Last year’s action-packed season opener saw NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Austin Cindric hold off Brett Moffitt and Harrison Burton in a two-lap overtime to take the checkered flag. This victory marked his first on the 2.5-mile Daytona track.

The inaugural NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Daytona was on February 13, 1982 and was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt. He went on to win six more Xfinity Series races in Daytona (1986,1990,1991,1992,1993,1994)

Saturday evening’s race will be 120 laps for 300 miles. Stage 1 will end on Lap 30 and Stage 2 will end on Lap 60.

The Xfinity Series’ first practice will be on Friday, Feb. 18 at 4:35 p.m. ET on FS1 and qualifying will take place at 11:35 a.m. ET on Saturday, Feb. 19.

Xfinity Series Champ Daniel Hemric is coming back for more

Daniel Hemric, the 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion, will be competing in his No. 11 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet in hopes that his momentum from last season will carry over into this weekend. Last year, Hemric finished ninth in the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. 300.

Hemric’s 2021 victory in the NASCAR Xfinity Series championship race at Phoenix Raceway marked the first of his career. That season, he posted 15 top fives, 21 top 10s and led a career-high 663 laps.

He will also be doubling up his seat time this season and competing part-time in the No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet in the NASCAR Cup Series where he won Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in 2019.

If Hemric goes back-to-back in Xfinity Series championships, he’ll be the eighth driver in series history to do so. Other drivers to achieve back-to-back Xfinity Series championships are Sam Ard, Larry Pearson, Randy LaJoie, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Martin Truex Jr. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Tyler Reddick.

Xfinity Series: New Faces in New Places

This offseason, we saw some shuffling of drivers in the NASCAR Xfinity Series garage so don’t be surprised to see some new faces in new places.

Kaulig Racing picked up picked up a couple drivers that are sure to run well this season, including last year’s 2021 Xfinity Series Champ Daniel Hemric and Landon Cassill.

Hemric makes the jump to Kaulig Racing after driving with Joe Gibbs Racing last season where he made 33 starts. He has qualified for the Xfinity Series Playoffs three times and plans to come back to try for a fourth.

Cassill’s NASCAR career began in 2007 and since then, has polished his resume with impressive accomplishments such as being named the 2008 NASCAR Xfinity Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year and competing and posting top-five finishes in all three of NASCAR’s national series.

Another team to add some new names to the fulltime roster is JR Motorsports. This season, you can expect to see Sam Mayer and Josh Berry competing in bigger capacities.

Mayer made his Xfinity Series debut with JR Motorsports in the 2021 season but is coming back this season full-time. He tallied one top-five and six top-10 finishes and posted a best finish of fourth at Martinsville Speedway. In 2020, he won his first race in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in just his seventh start.

Berry rejoins JR Motorsports fulltime after running part-time (22 starts) last season. He posted two wins at Martinsville and Las Vegas. He managed six top fives and 12 top 10s and was runner-up for the 2021 Sunoco Rookie of the Year award.

2022 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Class: Who will bring it home this year?

Last year, five drivers competed for NASCAR Xfinity Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year, but it was Ty Gibbs who won the title. He hit the ground running by winning his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut in Daytona and tallied four wins on the season to earn the award.

Now, we’re seeing some new, yet familiar faces vying for the title in 2022 – Sheldon Creed, Austin Hill and Jesse Iwuji.

Sheldon Creed: Creed has a diverse history of racing but his first stint with stock car racing began in 2016 after competing in the ARCA Menards Series, Trans-Am Series, ARCA Menards Series West and ultimately in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series events. In 2020, he was named the NASCAR Camping World Series champion, having won five races with GMS Racing. This season, he will be behind the wheel of the No. 2 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing. In total, prior to this season he has made four starts in the Xfinity Series posting one top-10 finish.

Austin Hill: Hill is no stranger to NASCAR as he was a part of the NASCAR Next program in 2014 and 2015. During this time, he ran part-time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and eventually made a name for himself. In 2019, he qualified for the Truck Series Playoffs for the first time in his career, posting four wins, seven top fives and 13 top 10s. (He has made the NCWTS Playoffs in both years following 2019).  That same year, he made his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and finished inside the top-10. This season, he will pilot the No. 21 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing.

Jesse Iwuji: Iwuji made his NASCAR national series debut in 2018 in the NASCAR Cup Series but cut his teeth in the ARCA Menards Series West in 2015 and has since worked his way to the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Before making his debut in the Xfinity Series in 2020 with MBM Motorsports, he was competing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with Reaume Brothers Racing where he made four starts in 2020 and 2021, and five starts in 2019. Last year, Iwuji made one Xfinity Series start for Mike Harmon Racing.

Iwuji has partnered with National Football League Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith to form Jesse Iwuji Motorsports. He will be driving the No. 34 Chevrolet. 

Daytona International Speedway: Quick Stats

Below are quick stats for the NASCAR Xfinity Series heading into the Beef. Its What’s for Dinner. 300 (5 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

  • Daytona International Speedway has hosted 60 NASCAR Xfinity Series races.
  • 34 different drivers have won at Daytona International Speedway in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, led by Dale Earnhardt and Tony Stewart with seven wins each.
  • Only five races in history have been won from the pole or first starting position (2002, 2003, 2008, 2009, 2021).
  • Geoff Bodine still holds onto the race record from 1985 at 157.137 mph.
  • Qualifying Record – Tommy Houston (194.389 mph, 2/14/1987)
  • All-time Lap Leader – Dale Earnhardt Jr., 560 Laps Led
  • Single Race Laps Led Record – Joe Nemechek, 105 Laps Led (2/14/1998)

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

Dash 4 Cash returns in 2022 – The NASCAR Xfinity Series Dash 4 Cash program was designed to add elements of unpredictability and drama leading up to and during four designated races, increase on-track competition, engage fans and reward / recognize NASCAR Xfinity Series regular competitors.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series Dash 4 Cash will take place at four tracks in 2022:

  • Circuit of The Americas (March 26)
  • Richmond Raceway (April 2)
  • Talladega Superspeedway (April 23)
  • Dover International Speedway (April 30)

 Lots for Fans this week in Daytona – Fans can expect to enjoy more than just a great race. Rodney Atkins will be kicking things off on Tuesday, February 15 on the UNOH Fanzone stage at 8:00 p.m.

On Sunday, February 20, fans can get the fun started with Drew Parker at the UNOH Fanzone Stage then keep it going with Luke Combs for the DAYTONA 500 Pre-Race Show at 1:30 p.m.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 

2022 Camping World Truck Series season fires off at Daytona

Under the lights at Daytona International Speedway, the 28th NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season kicks off with the NextEra Energy Resources 250 this Friday (Feb. 18 at 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

This weekend’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Daytona is the 23rd running of the event, and 2021 series champion Ben Rhodes is the defending winner of the race.

In total 19 different drivers have won a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Daytona International Speedway, led by Johnny Sauter with three victories (2013, 2016, 2018). Just four former series Daytona winners are entered this weekend – Sauter (three wins), Austin Hill (2019), Grant Enfinger (2020) and Ben Rhodes (2021) each have one. The youngest Camping World Truck Series race winner at Daytona is Kaz Grala (02/24/2017 – 18 years, 1 months, 26 days) and the oldest is Joe Ruttman (02/16/2001 – 56 years, 3 months, 19 days).

Six different NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers scored their first series career win at Daytona – Austin Hill (2019), Kaz Grala (2017), Tyler Reddick (2015), John King (2012), Michael Waltrip (2011), Robert Pressley (2002).

New Stops On the 2022 Camping World Truck Schedule

Lots to look forward to this season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, most notably, the new stops on the 2022 schedule.

The Camping World Truck Series will renew its beating and banging brand of racing when it returns to the .686-mile Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis for the first time since 2011. The July 29 event will serve

as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs opener and offer drivers the first chance to clinch a spot in the Round of 8. The event is part of a jam-packed weekend of racing in the city of Indianapolis, as

the NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Cup Series will race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

In addition, the Camping World Truck Series will visit a pair of new road courses in 2022. The series will return to wine country’s Sonoma Raceway for the first time since 1998, joining the Cup Series for a weekend

doubleheader (June 11). Then, after trips to Knoxville Raceway (June 18) and Nashville Superspeedway (June 24) for the second consecutive year, the Camping World Truck Series will debut at Mid-Ohio Sports

Car Course on July 9 – a track that hosted the NASCAR Xfinity Series on an annual basis from 2013 – 2021.

“For the NASCAR Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series, we loved the idea of being able to deliver new road courses to both schedules and a short track for the Camping World Trucks while still returning to our traditional venues and the new tracks we introduced in 2021,” said Ben Kennedy, NASCAR senior vice president of strategy and innovation. “Not only do these changes continue to deliver on what our fans are asking for, but we feel they will create even more drama and intensity as drivers battle to win championships at Phoenix Raceway in November.”

Triple Truck Challenge Returns in 2022

The Triple Truck Challenge was introduced in 2019, as a three-race program that provides drivers in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series an opportunity to win up to $500,000 in bonus money.

The Triple Truck Challenge will award a $50,000 bonus to the race winner of any one of the three events; win two of the three races and pocket an additional $150,000; win all three and collect a cool half a million dollars.

This season the Triple Truck Challenge will be held at the following tracks:

  • World Wide Technology Raceway (June 4)
  • Nashville Superspeedway (June 24)
  • Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (July 9) 

Truck Series welcomes a new class of rookies

Last season, we saw Chandler Smith take home the Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, beating some tough competition: Carson Hocevar, Hailie Deegan, Chase Purdy, Kris Wright and Tim Veins.

This year, there’s a new class of rookies looking to add their name to the Sunoco Rookie of the Year winners list: Jack Wood, Dean Thompson, Lawless Alan, Corey Heim and Blaine Perkins.

Jack Wood:  Wood made his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut last season with GMS Racing on a part-time basis. In his 12 starts, he posted one top-10 finish at Gateway.

This season, he’s back with GMS Racing and will be driving the No. 24 Chevrolet.

Dean Thompson: Thompson made one start in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series last season and was just shy of a top-20 finish, placing 21st.

This season, he’s back for a full season and will be behind the wheel of the No. 40 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet.

Lawless Alan: Alan’s first stint in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series was last season at the Daytona Road Course. He made nine starts that season posting a best finish of 18th at Bristol.

He’s joining Niece Motorsports this season and will pilot the No. 45 Chevrolet.

Corey Heim: Heim made his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut last season with Kyle Busch Motorsports where he had three starts. He posted a best finish of 11th at Martinsville and had an average finish of 17.3.

He’ll be back with Kyle Busch Motorsports driving the No. 51 Toyota.

Blaine Perkins: Perkins is scheduled to run fulltime this season with CR7 Motorsports in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Last season, he made his debut in the NASCAR Xfinity Series where he made eight starts for Our Motorsports.

He will be behind the wheel of the No. 9 CR7 Motorsports Chevrolet.