NASCAR National Series News & Notes – Atlanta Motor Speedway

NASCAR Cup Series
Next Race: Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500
The Place: Atlanta Motor Speedway
The Date: Sunday, March 20
The Time: 3 p.m. ET
The Purse: $8,263,045
TV: FOX, 2:30 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 500 miles (325 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 105),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 210), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 325)
2021 Race Winner: Ryan Blaney

NASCAR Xfinity Series
Next Race: Nalley Cars 250
The Place: Atlanta Motor Speedway
The Date: Saturday, March 19
The Time: 5 p.m. ET
The Purse: $1,232,553
TV: FS1, 4:30 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 251 miles (163 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 40),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 80), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 163)
2021 Race Winner: Justin Allgaier

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Next Race: Fr8 208
The Place: Atlanta Motor Speedway
The Date: Saturday, March 19
The Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
The Purse: $669,442
TV: FS1, 2 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 208 miles (135 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 30),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 60), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 135)
2021 Race Winner: Kyle Busch

NASCAR Cup Series

Refreshed and Reconfigured Atlanta Motor Speedway awaits the NASCAR Cup Series

It took construction crews 163 days, but the newly redesigned Atlanta Motor Speedway awaits the NASCAR Cup Series for this Sunday’s (March 20) Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio at 3 p.m. ET, the fifth race of the 2022 season.

Not long after Kurt Busch took the checkered flag last July at Atlanta Motor Speedway, crews began dismantling the track in preparation for its first repave since 1997. The reconfiguration produced 28-degrees of banking in every corner of the 1.54-mile speedway, making Atlanta the steepest intermediate track on the NASCAR schedule.

“Our goal all along for the reconfiguration of Atlanta Motor Speedway has been to create a first-of-its-kind experience on the NASCAR circuit and we’ve done just that,” said AMS Executive Vice President and General Manager Brandon Hutchison. “Never before has NASCAR raced on an intermediate track like ours with 28 degrees of banking, much less with superspeedway cars. Both will happen for the first time in Atlanta this year.”

In addition to the steeper turns, over the course of the five months of transformation the changes to the speedway include a new drainage technology and brand-new asphalt.

All the action begins at Atlanta for the NASCAR Cup Series this Friday, March 18 with 50 minutes of practice from 5:05-5:55 p.m. ET and the Busch Light Pole Qualifying will be held on Saturday, March 19 from 12:30-1:50 p.m. ET and both will be televised on FS1.

There are many unknowns on how this weekend’s racing will play out, but all indications are pointing to superspeedway-style racing that has been seen at Daytona and Talladega.

“In NASCAR we have our Daytona and Talladega style draft and those are on 2.5- and 2.66-mile tracks,” NASCAR driver and four-time Atlanta winner Kurt Busch said during testing at Atlanta back in January. “This is a mile-and-a-half. Things are going to be moving quicker. You’re going to be digesting things much faster and you’re going to have that Daytona and Talladega style feel here at a mile-and-a-half.”

Atlanta Motor Speedway and the NASCAR Cup Series  

The NASCAR Cup Series and Atlanta Motor Speedway go way back, 62 years to be exact.

Originally called Atlanta International Raceway, the track was then a 1.5-mile paved speedway, and it hosted its first NASCAR Cup Series race on July 31, 1960. The event was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Fireball Roberts from the pole position in a 1960 Pontiac.

This last year was not the first time Atlanta has undergone a reconfiguration. The track was re-measured to 1.522 miles in the spring of 1970. It was renamed to Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1990. The track layout was reversed, and the track was reconfigured to 1.54 miles between the two races in 1997.

From 1960 – 2010, Atlanta Motor Speedway hosted multiple NASCAR Cup Series races during each season; starting in 2011 the series began only visiting Atlanta once a year (2011-2020). Last season marked the first time since 2010 that the series visited the facility more than once a season. Also, from 1987 to 2000 Atlanta Motor Speedway held the final championship race of the NASCAR Cup Series schedule.

In total, there have been 115 NASCAR Cup races at Atlanta Motor Speedway since the first race there in 1960. The 115 NASCAR Cup Series races have produced 53 different pole winners and 45 different race winners.

Nine of the 53 NASCAR Cup Series Atlanta Motor Speedway pole winners are active this weekend.

Active Pole Winners (9) Poles Season
Kevin Harvick 2 2017, 2014
Aric Almirola 1 2019
Kyle Busch 1 2018
Kurt Busch 1 2016
Joey Logano 1 2015
Ricky Stenhouse Jr 1 2013
Denny Hamlin 1 2010
Martin Truex Jr 1 2009
Greg Biffle 1 2007

Buddy Baker (1968, 1971, 1976, 1979 sweep, 1980, 1984) and Ryan Newman (2003 sweep, 2004 sweep, 2005 sweep, 2007) are tied for the NASCAR Cup Series most poles at Atlanta Motor Speedway with seven each. Kevin Harvick leads all active NASCAR Cup Series drivers in Atlanta poles with two (2014, 2017).

Six of the 45 NASCAR Cup Series Atlanta Motor Speedway race winners are active this weekend.

Active Race Winners Wins Seasons
Kurt Busch 4 2021, 2010, 2009, 2002
Kevin Harvick 3 2020, 2018, 2001
Brad Keselowski 2 2019, 2017
Kyle Busch 2 2013, 2008
Ryan Blaney 1 2021
Denny Hamlin 1 2012

NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt leads the NASCAR Cup Series in wins at Atlanta Motor Speedway with nine victories (1980, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1995, 1996, 2000). Kurt Busch (2002, 2009, 2010, 2021) leads all active NASCAR Cup Series winners at Atlanta Motor Speedway with four victories, including the most recent race last July.

Busch has the opportunity to become the 12th different driver to win consecutive races at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Cup Series joining Marvin Panch (1965 sweep), Bobby Allison (1972 sweep), David Pearson (1973 sweep), Richard Petty (1974-75), Cale Yarborough (1980-81), Bill Elliott (1985 sweep, 1992 sweep), Dale Earnhardt (1989-90; 1995-96), Bobby Labonte (1997-98), Jeff Gordon (1998-99), Carl Edwards (2005 sweep), Jimmie Johnson (2007 sweep; 2015-16).

Team Penske’s Joey Logano jumps to points standings lead heading to Atlanta

2018 NASCAR Cup Series champ and Team Penske driver Joey Logano has returned to the driver points standings lead for the first time since following Martinsville Speedway’s Playoff race in 2020.

This season, Logano and crew chief Paul Wolfe started slow with a 21st-place finish at Daytona but have since put up a fifth at Auto Club Speedway, a 14th at Las Vegas and then an eighth-place finish last weekend at Phoenix.

Logano heads to Atlanta looking for his first win at 1.54-mile track. In 16 series career starts at Atlanta, Logano has posted two top fives and five top 10s.

Though Logano has yet to win at Atlanta, with the new configuration and anticipation of superspeedway-type racing he might be one to watch. Logano is considered one of the best active drivers at Daytona and Talladega; where he has combined to win four times (Daytona, one win; Talladega, three wins).

Chase Briscoe latest of long list of new winners in the Cup Series

Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe became the 200th different winner in NASCAR Cup Series history with his victory last weekend at Phoenix Raceway. Briscoe joins Sunoco rookie and Team Penske driver Austin Cindric (Daytona 500 winner) as the second Cup Series first-time winner of the 2022 season. Now the series heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway with 10 different drivers entered this weekend looking for their first win.

If there is another new winner this weekend at Atlanta, it will be the 23rd time the NASCAR Cup Series has seen back-to-back first-time winners; most recently last season when Michael McDowell (Daytona) and Christopher Bell (Daytona Road Course) opened up the year with two first-time winners.

It’s a great time to be competing in the NASCAR Cup Series. In fact, the last decade of Cup racing (2013-2022) has produced 18 of the 200 first-time winners in the series:

Cup First-Time Winners Track Date
Chase Briscoe Phoenix Sunday, March 13, 2022
Austin Cindric Daytona Sunday, February 20, 2022
Bubba Wallace Talladega Monday, October 4, 2021
Christopher Bell Daytona RC Sunday, February 21, 2021
Michael McDowell Daytona Sunday, February 14, 2021
William Byron Daytona Sunday, August 29, 2021
Cole Custer Kentucky Sunday, July 12, 2020
Justin Haley Daytona Sunday, July 7, 2019
Alex Bowman Chicago Sunday, June 30, 2019
Chase Elliott Watkins Glen Sunday, August 5, 2018
Erik Jones Daytona Saturday, July 7, 2018
Ryan Blaney Pocono Sunday, June 11, 2017
Austin Dillon Charlotte Sunday, May 28, 2017
Ricky Stenhouse Jr Talladega Sunday, May 7, 2017
Kyle Larson Michigan Sunday, August 28, 2016
Chris Buescher Pocono Monday, August 1, 2016
AJ Allmendinger Watkins Glen Sunday, August 10, 2014
Aric Almirola Daytona Sunday, July 6, 2014

Since the inception of the NASCAR Cup Series in 1948, the 1950 season holds the record for the most first-winners in a single season with 12 followed by 1956 with 10. The 2011 season holds the record for the most first-time winners in a single season during the Modern Era (1972-Present) with five.

Parity Party: 2022 season off to a fast start

Consider this, in the first four races of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season the fans have seen four different pole winners, four different race winners and three different driver point standings leaders.

Joey Logano is the latest of the three driver point standings leaders taking the top spot following his eight-place finish last Sunday at Phoenix. Logano joins Austin Cindric and Kyle Larson as the three drivers to hold the point standings lead this season.

2021 series champ Kyle Larson (Daytona), Austin Cindric (Auto Club), Christopher Bell (Las Vegas) and Ryan Blaney (Phoenix) have all won a pole this season. Both Cindric and Bell were first-time pole winners in the NASCAR Cup Series becoming the 241st and 242nd different drivers to win a pole in the series, respectively.

Rookie Austin Cindric (Daytona), Kyle Larson (Auto Club), Alex Bowman (Las Vegas) and Chase Biscoe (Phoenix) have all won a race this season. Cindric and Briscoe were first-time winners in the series. Briscoe became the 200th different winner in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Through four races the 2022 season has also seen 16 different drivers post top-five finishes – the second-most through the first four races of season behind the 2020 (17) in the last 10 years (2013-2022).

In the NASCAR Cup Series, the first four races of 2022 have produced an average number of different leaders per race of 10.75 – the most since 2014 (12.0) – and an average of 26.0 lead changes per race – the most since 2011 (35.0). And to boot, all four of the NASCAR Cup Series races have concluded with a Margin of Victory of less than a second and the season’s average Margin of Victory through four races is 0.295-second – the closest since 2016 (0.232-second).

NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.

NASCAR Cup Series Featured Matchups: 2022 Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway – Below is a close look at the featured matchups fans can bet on heading into this weekend’s event.

5 – Kyle Larson VS. 12 – Ryan Blaney

    • The lead matchup for this week’s slate sees a pair that dueled for the win in last year’s Spring event at Atlanta, after a dominant performance from Larson was spoiled late in the race by Blaney, who charged past Larson in the final laps of the event to take the surprise victory.
    • Atlanta, however, is not the same track that it was when these two dueled in 2021. With 4 more degrees of banking and a freshly-repaved track surface, Atlanta is likely to race closer to the 2.5-mile Daytona track than a traditional 1.5 mile track – something which would suit Blaney, who is widely regarded as a top driver on the circuit on superspeedways.
    • Larson struggles mightily in superspeedway-style races and has the 47th best average finish among drivers who have competed in similarly styled races since 2019. Blaney, on the other hand, has the fifth best average finish over the same time period on superspeedways.
    • Larson’s team’s hope would be for Atlanta to end up racing more similarly to a typical intermediate track, a track-style of which he is the best in the series (he ranks first in driver rating on intermediates since 2019).
    • Look for Blaney to have the edge in this matchup if the race turns into a pack-style drafting race, and Larson if it takes on a more traditional intermediate-track look/feel.

9 – Chase Elliott VS. 11 – Denny Hamlin

    • Georgia’s favorite son Chase Elliott visits his home track in Atlanta this weekend in a matchup against a veteran driver in Hamlin who has struggled mightily in the first four races of 2022.
    • Hamlin currently sits 27th in points, after a combination of wrecks, poor luck and driver/team errors to start the season have plunged his No. 11 team to its worst start in multiple years.
    • Elliott, who sits third in NASCAR Cup Series points courtesy of stage points, has had similarly up and down luck to start the season after showing race-winning speed in both Fontana and Phoenix, and only posting finishes of 26th and 11th to show for it.

47 – Ricky Stenhouse Jr. VS. 23 – Bubba Wallace

    • This matchup pits two superspeedway specialists together just weeks after the two traded the lead late in the Daytona 500.
    • Stenhouse and Wallace have each shown the most aptitude at superspeedways in their respective careers thus far, with each driver garnering their first wins at Talladega and posting their best career finishes to-date at the superspeedway track type.
    • Both drivers were significant factors to win in February’s Daytona 500 – with Wallace coming up just short of victory with a second-place finish, while Stenhouse was leading with under 10 laps to go in the event before a wreck in the closing laps squashed his shot at victory.

14 – Chase Briscoe vs. 8 – Tyler Reddick

    • Two of the biggest surprises of the 2022 season thus far comprise the final matchup of this week’s slate, with Phoenix winner Chase Briscoe going head-to-head with Tyler Reddick.
    • Both Reddick and Briscoe have been threats to win in multiple races to start the 2022 season, with Reddick showing dominant speed and leading large chunks of the race at The Clash and Fontana; while Briscoe finally broke through for his first career Cup win last Sunday in Phoenix.
    • In superspeedway-style events, both drivers have shown flashes of brilliance thus far in their young careers – Briscoe posted a third-place finish in the season opening Daytona 500 and has the sixth-best average finish in the series on superspeedways since 2019. Reddick has struggled to deliver finishes on superspeedways in his young Cup career thus far, but has shown a nose for the front of the field – he nearly won the 2020 summer race at Daytona before getting collected in a wreck while leading with under five to go in the race.
    • Should the race take on a more intermediate track look/feel, Reddick may have an edge. His 13.54 average finish since 2019 on intermediates is 11th best in the series, compared to Briscoe’s 20.31 which ranks 27th.

Brantley Gilbert named Grand Marshal for Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 – Multi-platinum selling Country superstar Brantley Gilbert has been named the grand marshal for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday, March 20. The Georgia native will give the command to start engines ahead of the 500-mile race as part of his grand marshal duties. Gilbert will also help kick off the party in Atlanta Motor Speedway’s Peach Pit on Saturday night.

“I can’t wait to be part of a weekend full of fun and incredible NASCAR racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway,” Gilbert said. “I know that nobody brings more excitement and enthusiasm than Georgia race fans and I can’t wait to kick things off at my home track!”

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Close loss in Las Vegas fuels Noah Gragson to win big in Phoenix

Last week, Las Vegas native Noah Gragson fell short to Ty Gibbs at his home track, Las Vegas Motor Speedway. After winning both Stage 1 and Stage 2, it was a tough loss for 23-year-old Gragson, but he wasn’t knocked down. He came back this past weekend to lead 114 laps and win the United Rentals 200 at Phoenix Raceway by a margin of 2.555 seconds.

Gragson has had an impressive start in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, posting a top-three finish in all four races. His win in Phoenix was the first of the 2022 season and his sixth in his NASCAR Xfinity Series career.

Closing out the top five was Brandon Jones, Gragson’s JR Motorsports teammate Josh Berry, Trevor Bayne and John Hunter Nemechek. Las Vegas winner Ty Gibbs came in sixth place.

This win widened the gap between Gragson and Ty Gibbs in the NASCAR Xfinity Series standings. After posting a second-place finish in Las Vegas, Gragson was still ahead of Gibbs by 17 points. Now, Gragson has racked up 203 points, putting him 39 points ahead of Gibbs’ 164 heading to Atlanta.

Fans will get to see Gragson in action twice this weekend as he will be competing at Atlanta Motor Speedway in both the No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet for the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the No.16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet for the NASCAR Cup Series.

Gragson has made four NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Atlanta posting three top fives and four top 10s. His average finish a 4.5 – best among active drivers this weekend.

NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Atlanta   

The NASCAR Xfinity Series will be in Atlanta, Georgia this weekend for the Nalley Cars 250 on Saturday, March 19 at 5 p.m. ET (on FS1, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The race will be the second of the day as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will kick off a doubleheader at 2:30 p.m. ET.

This will be the 32nd NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The previous 31 races have produced 17 different pole winners and 19 different race winners with Kevin Harvick leading the way with six wins under his belt. Three of those wins were back-to-back-to-back in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Not far behind are drivers Mark Martin and Kyle Busch with three wins each. (Fun fact: Kyle Busch has won 102 NASCAR Xfinity Series races, making him the first driver in Xfinity Series history to hit 100 wins.)

Justin Allgaier won last year’s March Xfinity Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway He will be competing again this weekend hoping to make his way to Victory Lane once again. Allgaier has had a hot start to the 2022 season, posting two top-five and four top-10 finishes. He is currently third in the series points standings 42 points behind Gragson in the standings lead.

Busch is the most recent winner at the 1.54-mile track, beating second and third place drivers Jeb Burton and Noah Gragson. Both Burton and Gragson will be competing in the Nalley Cars 250 on Saturday for their chance at redemption. Burton is looking to post his first victory this season while Gragson is looking for a back-to-back win and to post his fifth consecutive top-five finish this season.

Playoff Picture: How’s it panning out?

As of right now, Noah Gragson, Ty Gibbs and rookie Austin Hill are leading the pack in the Playoff standings with their wins (Hill in Daytona, Gibbs in Las Vegas and Gragson in Phoenix).

In the fourth-place position currently sits Justin Allgaier with 161 points, followed by AJ Allmendinger (160), Josh Berry (150), Daniel Hemric (135), Brandon Jones (121), Ryan Sieg (98), Sam Mayer 97), Riley Herbst (95) and Brandon Brown (92).

Just outside the Playoff cutoff in points is Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Sheldon Creed (-3) and Landon Cassill (-3) with 89 points each.

With 29 NASCAR Xfinity Series races remaining, a lot can change. For a full Playoff outlook following Phoenix Raceway, click here.

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

Sunoco Rookie UpdateAustin Hill is still in the top spot in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year point standings with 94 points. Inching closer is Sheldon Creed (89) just down by five points. Kyle Sieg comes next with 26 points, followed by Jesse Iwuji’s 14 points.

New and familiar faces joining in on the NASCAR Xfinity Series fun – Fulltime NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver John Hunter Nemechek will be returning to Joe Gibbs Racing in its No. 18 Toyota for three NASCAR Xfinity Series races – April 2 in Richmond, April 30 in Dover and September 24 in Texas.

Nemechek also ran three NASCAR Xfinity Series races last year for JGR and posted one victory and two top-10 finishes.

Another driver joining the NASCAR Xfinity Series is Derek Griffith. He will be making his Series debut in the No. 26 Sam Hunt Racing Toyota at Richmond Raceway.

He made his first NASCAR National Touring Series start last year in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at World Wide Technology Raceway. He also has 10 ARCA Menards Series starts where he posted three top-five and eight top-10 finishes.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Atlanta Motor Speedway is all brand new for the Trucks 

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will return to the newly repaved and reconfigured Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday, March 19 for the Fr8 208 on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio as part of a doubleheader afternoon with the NASCAR Xfinity Series race, the Nalley Cars 250, at 5 p.m. ET.

Atlanta Motor Speedway has hosted 20 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series but since the series has last been there, the track has undergone a reprofiling and now more resembles a quad-oval layout. Also, as part of the updates, the banking was increased in the turns from 24 to 28 degrees. The banking will remain at five degrees on the straights. Additionally, the racing surface will become narrower with an overall decrease in width from 55 feet to 40 feet. The new widths will be 52 feet on the front stretch, 42 feet on the back stretch and 40 feet in the turns.

Since this will be the first time the series has competed on the new track teams will have 50 minutes of practice on Friday, March 18 at 3:05 – 3:55 p.m. ET. Cometic Gaskets Pole Qualifying will take place on Saturday, March 19 at 10:30 a.m. ET.

Truckin’ in Atlanta

This weekend’s Fr8 208 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race will be the 21st time the series has competed at the historic 1.54-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The previous 20 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races have produced 11 different pole winners and 14 different races winners.

Mike Skinner (2005, 2006, 2007) and NASCAR Hall of Famer Ron Hornaday Jr. (2007, 2008, 2010) lead the Truck Series in poles at Atlanta with three each. Only one former series Atlanta pole winner is entered this weekend – Matt Crafton (2016).

Kyle Busch leads the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in wins at Atlanta with six victories. Only three former Truck Series Atlanta winners are entered this weekend Matt Crafton (2015), John Hunter Nemechek (2016) and Grant Enfinger (2020).

KBM’s Chandler Smith leads Truck Series points for first time in his career; heads to Atlanta

For the first time in Kyle Busch Motorsport driver Chandler Smith’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career, he’s the driver points standings leader and this weekend, he leads the series to Atlanta Motor Speedway as part of a Saturday doubleheader with the NSCAR Xfinity Series. Smith will look to hold onto his spot atop the standings on Saturday, March 19 at 2:30 p.m. ET (on FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) when the series lines up for the Fr8 208.

With his big win two weeks ago at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the 19-year-old jumped from sixth in the series’ points to first, and now holds a five-point margin over Team DGR’s Tanner Gray in second and 15 points up on ThorSport Racing’s Ty Majeski in third place. The Vegas victory was his first Camping World Truck Series win at the 1.5-mile facility and the third of his series career.

Now Smith turns his attention to the newly repaved Atlanta, where he made his Truck Series track debut last season, but he struggled during the event starting 11th and finishing 35th.

Matt DiBenedetto has Rackley W.A.R running upfront early

Rackley W.A.R. and Matt DiBenedetto are off to great start for 2022, with back-to-back top-10 finishes to open the season at Daytona (10th) and Las Vegas (sixth). It’s the best start to a season for Rackley W.A.R. since joining the series last year and the first time the team has posted multiple top-10 finishes in a season.

DiBenedetto’s experience has been a certain boost to the organization this season. The 30-year-old from Grass Valley, California spent the last seven seasons in the NASCAR Cup Series refining his skills and working with teams like Leavine Family Racing and the famed Wood Brothers Racing.

Though in his first season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, he has meshed quite quickly with crew chief Chad Kendrick and the No. 25 Chevrolet team. The two jumped eight spots in the series driver standings with their performance at Las Vegas and now are ranked sixth just 29 points back from the standings lead.

This week at Atlanta Motor Speedway, DiBenedetto will be making his Truck Series track debut at the recently reconfigured 1.54-mile track. Though, the veteran does have seven NASCAR Cup Series starts at the track posting one top-10 finish.

Front Row Motorsport’s Zane Smith has some rebounding to do

After nearly winning the Las Vegas Motor Speedway race, Front Row Motorsport’s Zane Smith crossed the finish line runner-up, but his No. 38 Ford failed post-race inspection and his result was disqualified. Smith instead finished last (36th), and now the Californian has dropped from the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points lead to 12th in the driver standings; 40 points behind Chandler Smith in the standings lead.

This weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Zane Smith will have his work cut out for him. The 22-year-old is locked into the Playoffs thanks to his win in the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway, but that all is contingent if he can stay in the top-20 in points and that he competes fulltime in the series.

Despite the speed bump at Vegas, look for Smith to rebound this week at Atlanta. In two starts, he has put up one top-five and two top 10s. His average finish at the 1.54-mile track is a solid 5.5.

Team DGR has Tanner Gray off to best start to a season in his career

In his third season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and Team DGR, Tanner Gray is off to the best start to a season in his career after posting two top-five finishes in as many races. Now the North Carolina native finds himself second in the series driver standings – the highest Gray has ranked in the points in his series career – just five points back from series standings leader Chandler Smith.

Gray’s previous best career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series point standings position was fourth following Daytona to open the 2022 season, but prior to that it was 12th in 2020.

In 2022, Gray has been paired with veteran crew chief Jerry Baxter. The duo has been quick from the drop of the green flag; finishing fourth to open the season at Daytona and then followed it up with a fifth-place finish two weeks ago at Las Vegas.

Looking to Atlanta, Gray has made two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts at the track posting an average finish of 15.0.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Etc.

Sunoco Rookie Class Update: Dean Thompson wins rookie of the race at Vegas – Through two races the 2022 Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series have been led by Niece Motorsports’ Lawless Alan (with 30 points), followed by Dean Thompson (-3), Jack Wood (-14), Corey Heim (-18) and Blaine Perkins (-22). Alan won the Rookie of the Race award for Daytona and Thompson won it at Las Vegas.

Red Hot Ross Returns To Trucks – NASCAR Cup Series driver Ross Chastain has had an impressive start to 2022 Cup season posting a third-place finish at Las Vegas and then a runner-up finish last weekend at Phoenix. Now the Florida native, is returning to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series to pilot the Niece Motorsports No. 41 Chevrolet in this weekend Fr8 208 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Chastain has made five Truck Series starts at Atlanta posting four top 10s and an average finish of 9.8.