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NASCAR National Series News & Notes – Charlotte Motor Speedway

NASCAR Cup Series
Next Race: Coca-Cola 600
The Place: Charlotte Motor Speedway
The Date: Sunday, May 29
The Time: 6 p.m. ET
The Purse: $8,919,032
TV: FOX, 5 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 600 miles (400 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 100), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 200), Stage 3 (Ends on Lap 300), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 400)

NASCAR Xfinity Series
Next Race: Alsco Uniforms 300
The Place: Charlotte Motor Speedway
The Date: Saturday, May 28
The Time: 1 p.m. ET
The Purse: $1,284,615
TV: FS1, 12 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 300 miles (200 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 45), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 200)

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Next Race: North Carolina Education Lottery 200
The Place: Charlotte Motor Speedway
The Date: Friday, May 27
The Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
The Purse: $676,097
TV: FS1, 8 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 201 miles (134 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 30), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 60), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 134)

NASCAR Cup Series

Charlotte Motor Speedway is set for Memorial Day Weekend festivities

Charlotte Motor Speedway will host the NASCAR Cup Series for the 63rd running of the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday at 6 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, in a weekend filled with remembrance for the brave men and women who are serving or have served in our military. The annual event takes pride in honoring our service members and their families and this weekend is expected to be another great experience for all.

Charlotte Motor Speedway is one of the most historic venues on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule. The famous facility is a 1.5-mile, paved oval with 24 degrees of banking in the turns and is located just outside Charlotte, North Carolina.

Charlotte Motor Speedway has hosted 123 NASCAR Cup Series races all-time – the fourth most in series history behind Daytona (150), Martinsville (147) and Richmond (131). The first NASCAR Cup Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway was on June 19, 1960 and the event was won by driver Joe Lee Johnson driving a Chevrolet for car owner Paul McDuffie.

Charlotte’s 123 Cup races have produced 48 different pole winners, led by NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson with 14 poles (1961, 1972, 1973, 1974 sweep, 1975 sweep, 1976 sweep, 1977 sweep, 1978 sweep, 1982). Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch leads all active drivers in NASCAR Cup Series poles at Charlotte Motor Speedway with three (2008, 2014, 2018). Hendrick Motorsport’s driver Kyle Larson is the most recent pole winner at Charlotte, winning the pole for last season’s Coca-Cola 600 with a speed of 180.282 mph. Nine of the 48 NASCAR Cup Series Charlotte Motor Speedway pole winners are active this weekend.

Active Charlotte Pole Winners Poles Seasons
Kyle Busch 3 2018, 2014, 2008
Kevin Harvick 2 2017, 2016
Denny Hamlin 2 2017, 2013
Kyle Larson 1 2021
Kurt Busch 1 2020
William Byron 1 2019
Martin Truex Jr 1 2016
Aric Almirola 1 2012
Brad Keselowski 1 2011

Charlotte Motor Speedway has also produced 53 different race winners in the 123 Cup Series races, led by Jimmie Johnson with eight victories (2003 summer, 2004 sweep, 2005 sweep, 2009 Playoffs, 2014 summer, 2016 Playoffs). Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. (2016, 2017, 2019) and Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick (2011, 2013, 2014) lead all active drivers in Charlotte wins with three each. Nine of the 53 former Cup Series Charlotte Motor Speedway winners are entered this weekend, with four of the nine still looking for their first victory of the 2022 season – Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick, Austin Dillon and Brad Keselowski.

Active Charlotte Race Winners Wins Seasons
Kevin Harvick 3 2014, 2013, 2011
Martin Truex Jr 3 2019, 2017, 2016
Brad Keselowski 2 2020, 2013
Austin Dillon 1 2017
Chase Elliott 1 2020
Joey Logano 1 2015
Kurt Busch 1 2010
Kyle Busch 1 2018
Kyle Larson 1 2021

Hendrick Motorsport’s driver Kyle Larson is the defending winner of the 2021 Coca-Cola 600 and will look to become the seventh different driver to win back-to-back Coke 600s; joining Buddy Baker (1972-‘73), Darrell Waltrip (twice: 1978-’79 and 1988-’89), Neil Bonnett (1982-’83), Dale Earnhardt (1992-’93), Jeff Gordon (1997-‘98) and Jimmie Johnson (2003, ’04, ’05) – Johnson leads the series in consecutive Coca-Cola 600 wins with three straight.

All of the on-track action for the NASCAR Cup Series will begin with practice on Saturday night from 7 p.m. – 7:45 p.m. ET directly followed by Busch Light Pole Qualifying at 7:45 p.m. ET (both events on FS1).

NASCAR Salutes the military and their families in Coca-Cola 600

NASCAR Salutes Together with Coca-Cola returns for its eighth season, celebrating the service and sacrifice of U.S. service members and their families. Tributes this season began at Dover Motor Speedway (May 2) and will conclude with the 600 Miles of Remembrance during the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Memorial Day weekend. Fans can follow and engage on social media using #NASCARSalutes.

“In partnership with NASCAR, Coca-Cola is proud to honor our nation’s Armed Forces during The Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day weekend,” said Sue Lynne Cha, Vice President of Integrated Marketing Experiences for Coca-Cola North America. “The Coca-Cola 600 brings racing fans together to recognize the service and sacrifices made by our U.S. military members and their families.”

Unique to the program this year, the NASCAR Salutes Wall of Honor will make its debut at each NASCAR race weekend in May. The mural wall will be located in track midways and allow fans to write messages to the military on individual magnets. Each magnet will then be added to the mural to create a giant mosaic unique to each track that will later be donated to a military base.

“It’s always incredible to see the NASCAR industry and our fans unite to celebrate our military service members and their families through NASCAR Salutes Together with Coca-Cola,” said Michelle Byron, Vice President of Partnership Marketing, NASCAR. “Through the support of Coca-Cola, the month of May has become a time when together as an industry, we can reflect on our nation’s heroes and honor the sacrifices they make every day to keep our country and its communities safe.”

To conclude NASCAR Salutes Together with Coca-Cola, NASCAR and Coca-Cola will again host Gold Star Families during Memorial Day weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway with all 40 NASCAR Cup Series cars featuring the name of a fallen service member on the windshield during the Coca-Cola 600.

In addition, several other NASCAR Salutes activities will take place, including:

  • At each NASCAR event during the month of May, service members from local bases will have access to complimentary grandstand tickets and unique VIP experiences made possible by Vet Tix and the NASCAR Troops to the Track Program.
  • Charlotte Motor Speedway continues its annual Mission 600, pairing the Coca-Cola Racing Family and other drivers with military bases to educate the NASCAR community about the day-to-day lives of the men and women who serve.
  • Xfinity, a Proud Premier Partner, will display red, white and blue Xfinity windshield headers on their race cars during the NASCAR Xfinity Series Alsco Uniforms 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway to showcase their company’s commitment to hiring 21,000 veterans, National Guard and reserve service members, and military spouses who bring unique skills and experiences to Comcast NBCUniversal.
  • Camping World will celebrate with red, white and blue windshield decals on all trucks racing in the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Camping World is a strong supporter of all military branches and proudly displays 3,200 square foot American flags at its nationwide retail locations.
  • AMR, the “Official Emergency Medical Services Partner of NASCAR,” will feature the NASCAR Salutes Together with Coca-Cola branding on its NASCAR safety trucks and safety team helmets throughout the program.
  • For a fifth season, Mack Trucks, the “Official Hauler of NASCAR”, will wrap one of its NASCAR haulers in support of NASCAR Salutes leading into Memorial Day weekend. The final design was selected by fan votes with the voting period closing this week.
  • Continuing its tradition, Goodyear will replace its iconic “Eagle” sidewall design with “Honor and Remember” during the Coca-Cola 600 in recognition of the organization working closely with the industry to honor gold star families who have lost family members as a result of serving.
  • During the broadcast of the Coca-Cola 600, FOX will display the name of every U.S. Armed Forces member who lost his or her life since last year’s Memorial Day weekend race as part of a special tribute titled “FOX Sports Remembers,” an initiative begun in 2009. FOX’s scroll will begin running during its pre-race show at 5 p.m. ET.

With a win this weekend, Denny Hamlin could join elite club

Three major pillars within the NASCAR Cup Series schedule, some even refer to them as the ‘Crown Jewel events’ of the series – the Daytona 500, the Southern 500 and this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway – are all extremely difficult to win by themselves, but even more so, is conquering all three. In NASCAR Cup Series history only 11 drivers have won all three major events, and with a win this weekend, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin could be the 12th.

NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon leads the series in ‘Crown Jewel’ wins with a combined 12 victories across the three events – three Daytona 500 wins (1997, 1999, 2005), six Southern 500s (1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2007) and three Coca-Cola 600s (1994, 1997, 1998).

Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick is the only active driver to already accomplish the feat with five combined victories across the three historic events – one Daytona 500 (2007), two Southern 500s (2014, 2020) and two Coca-Cola 600s (2011, 2013).

NASCAR Cup Series Drivers With Wins In All Three Events

Rank Drivers Daytona 500 Southern 500 Coca-Cola 600 Combined
1 Jeff Gordon 3 6 3 12
2 Richard Petty 7 1 2 10
3 Bobby Allison 3 4 3 10
4 Jimmie Johnson 2 2 4 8
5 Dale Earnhardt 1 3 3 7
6 Darrell Waltrip 1 1 5 7
7 David Pearson 1 3 3 7
8 Buddy Baker 1 1 3 5
9 Kevin Harvick 1 2 2 5
10 Matt Kenseth 2 1 1 4
11 LeeRoy Yarbrough 1 1 1 3

Denny Hamlin is one of 11 active drivers that have already won at least one of the three events – the Daytona 500, Southern 500 or Coca-Cola 600 – and leads all active drivers in combined wins of the races with six victories – three Daytona 500s (2016, 2019, 2020) and three Southern 500s (2010, 2017, 2021).

Active NASCAR Cup Series Drivers With Wins In At Least one Of The Three Events

Rank Active Drivers Daytona 500 Southern 500 Coca-Cola 600 Combined
1 Denny Hamlin 3 3 0 6
2 Martin Truex Jr 0 1 2 3
3 Austin Dillon 1 0 1 2
4 Kurt Busch 1 0 1 2
5 Brad Keselowski 0 1 1 2
6 Joey Logano 1 0 0 1
7 Michael McDowell 1 0 0 1
8 Erik Jones 0 1 0 1
9 Kyle Busch 0 0 1 1
10 Kyle Larson 0 0 1 1
11 Austin Cindric 1 0 0 1

Hamlin is joined by Team Penske’s Joey Logano and rookie Austin Cindric, Front Row Motorsport’s Michael McDowell, Hendrick Motorsport’s Kyle Larson, and Petty GMS Motorsport’s Erik Jones as the drivers with wins in at least one of the three events that are still looking for a Coca-Cola 600 win.

Hamlin has made 30 NASCAR Cup Series starts at Charlotte Motor Speedway posting two poles, 10 top fives and 19 top 10s, including three runner-up finishes.

Harvick, Truex still winless in 2022; lead series in Charlotte victories

Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. lead all active NASCAR Cup Series drivers in wins at Charlotte Motor Speedway and head into this weekend winless on the season hoping to visit Victory Lane.

Harvick is currently riding the second longest winless streak of his career at 56 races without a win. His longest streak of races in his Cup career without a win was 115 races from 2007-2010. Prior to this current winless streak he is on, he went 11 straight seasons (2010-2020) with at least one win. Harvick last won at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sept. 19, 2020.

Harvick and the No. 4 SHR team have struggled on 1.5-mile tracks this season finishing 12th at Las Vegas, 21st at Atlanta and 15th at Kansas. His best finish this season is runner-up at Richmond Raceway. In 13 starts, he has put up two top fives and six top 10s. At Charlotte, Harvick has made 39 series starts posting three wins (2011, 2013, 2014), nine top fives and 20 top 10s; including finishing in the top-10 in his last four starts at the track.

Joe Gibbs Racing Martin Truex Jr. is tied with Harvick for the most wins at Charlotte among active drivers with three victories (2016, 2017, 2019). Truex has currently competed in 21 races since his last win in the NASCAR Cup Series at Richmond Raceway on Sept. 11, 2021.

This season, Truex has collected two top-five and six top-10 finishes. His best finish this season is a fourth-place at Richmond. Though, Truex has had speed at the 1.5-mile tracks this season finishing eighth at Las Vegas and Atlanta and sixth at Kansas. At Charlotte, Truex has made 30 series starts posting three wins, seven top fives and 13 top 10s.

Charlotte Motor Speedway is a great place for first-time winners

When it comes to getting your first win in the NASCAR Cup Series, nowhere beats Daytona International Speedway with 22 first-time winners. But when it comes to 1.5-mile tracks, none have produced more first-time winners than Charlotte Motor Speedway with 10 – fourth-most all-time behind Daytona (22), Talladega (13), and Martinsville (12)

The most recent driver to win his first career NASCAR Cup Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway was Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon, who collected his first checkered flag back in 2017.

First-Time Cup Winners at Charlotte Date
Austin Dillon Sunday, May 28, 2017
David Reutimann Monday, May 25, 2009
Casey Mears Sunday, May 27, 2007
Jamie McMurray Sunday, October 13, 2002
Matt Kenseth Sunday, May 28, 2000
Bobby Labonte Sunday, May 28, 1995
Jeff Gordon Sunday, May 29, 1994
Charlie Glotzbach Sunday, October 20, 1968
Buddy Baker Sunday, October 15, 1967
David Pearson Sunday, May 28, 1961

The 2022 season has already seen three first-time winners in Austin Cindric (Daytona 500), Chase Briscoe (Phoenix) and Ross Chastain (COTA, Talladega). In the Modern Era (1972-Present) the most first-time winners the NASCAR Cup Series has seen in a single season is five in 2001 and 2011.

NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.

Blaney wins All-Star race looks to become ninth driver to win All-Star and Coke 600 in same season – Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney won the 2022 NASCAR All-Star Race last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway and this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway will attempt to become the ninth different driver to win the NASCAR All-Star Race and the Coc-Cola 600 in the same season; joining Kyle Larson (2021), Kurt Busch (2010), Kasey Kahne (2008), Jimmie Johnson (2003), Jeff Gordon (1997), Dale Earnhardt (1993), Davey Allison (1991) and Darrell Waltrip (1985).

 

Lynyrd Skynyrd to play Coca-Cola 600 pre-race concert at Charlotte Motor Speedway – Iconic rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd will salute America with the ultimate Memorial Day Weekend concert ahead of the 63rd running of the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The 2006 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees will perform a bevy of their Southern rock anthems for Coca-Cola 600 ticket holders during an hour-long pre-race concert on pit road. Fans who upgrade their race ticket to a Track Access Pass will have stage-front access for the performance.

“We can’t wait to get to rocking with all the race fans,” lead singer Johnny Van Zant said. “This is going to be one of the coolest concerts we’ll play all year. It’s not often that you get the chance to perform before something as true-blue American as the Coca-Cola 600. Everybody had better be ready because it’s going to get wild.”

Carolina Panthers Wide Receiver DJ Moore named honorary pace car driver – Carolina Panthers wide receiver DJ Moore will lead the field to green as the honorary pace car driver for the 63rd running of the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 29.

Moore will join an all-star cast of current and former Panthers to serve in dignitary roles at America’s Home for Racing, joining Christian McCaffrey, Greg Olsen and Thomas Davis who have helped bring the NASCAR crown jewel event to life through the years behind the wheel of the Toyota Camry TRD pace car.

“Big time players make big time plays on big stages,” Moore said. “I’m used to pulling away from guys on the field, but it’s going to be totally different being out front of the Coca-Cola 600. I can’t wait to get the party started.”

Tripleheader weekend for Ryan Preece – Connecticut native, Ryan Preece will have a full plate of racing this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway as the 31-year-old will be pulling triple duty competing in all three of NASCAR’s national series races.

On Friday night in the North Carolina Education Lottery 200, Preece will be in the No. 17 Team DGR Ford for his fifth start in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series this season. In his four previous starts this year, he has posted two top fives and four top 10s.

On Saturday in the Alsco Uniforms 300, Preece will be jumping into the No. 5 BJ McLeod Motorsports Ford for his second NASCAR Xfinity Series start this season. In his series season debut in the No. 5 at Richmond he posted a 16th-place finish.

Then on Sunday, Preece will pilot the No. 15 Rick Ware Racing Ford, his second start of the season. He made his series season debut at Dover a few week back putting up a 25th-place finish.

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Up Next: Memorial Day Weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway

Majority of the NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers entered this weekend won’t have to travel too far as the Alsco Uniforms 300 will take place at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday, May 28 at 1 p.m. ET on FS1, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio – marking the halfway point of the 2022 regular season.

We last saw Joe Gibbs Racing’s Ty Gibbs jump to lead in the last 20 laps of the 200-lap Charlotte Motor Speedway Xfinity Series race to snag his second Xfinity Series career win after what seemed like a promising run for his then JGR teammate Daniel Hemric (Hemric had led 105 laps before falling victim to an incident on Lap 186) last season.

Gibbs will be back to compete in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Charlotte Motor Speedway race this weekend looking to become the sixth different driver to win consecutive Xfinity Series races at Charlotte Motor Speedway; joining Rob Moroso (1988-1989 sweep), Jeff Gordon (1992 sweep), Mark Martin (1995, 1996 sweep), Kyle Busch (2008 sweep, 2009, 2010, 2013 sweep), Austin Dillon (2015 sweep).

Charlotte Motor Speedway has hosted 76 NASCAR Xfinity Series races dating back to inaugural event on May 29, 1982. The first NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte was won by Harry Gant. There have been 49 different Xfinity race winners and 37 different race winners with Gibbs currently sitting as the youngest winner (won last year’s race at 18 years, seven months and 25 days old).

As with many tracks, veteran Kyle Busch has etched his name in the Charlotte Motor Speedway record books with the most wins (9), most top fives (19), most top 10s (22), most lead lap finishes (22) and most laps led (1,475) in the Xfinity Series.

Others that have also made a name for themselves at the track are Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth, both tied for most poles (4) and Kenny Wallace with most laps completed (6,281 in 35 races).

The on-track action for the Xfinity Series is set to start on Friday, May 27 with practice at 3:30 p.m. ET and qualifying at 4 p.m. ET. Make sure to tune-in on FS1.

Xfinity drivers to watch this weekend at Charlotte

Three drivers that have been running well in the recent past at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Daniel Hemric, Justin Allgaier and Riley Herbst, might be the ones to watch this weekend.

Aside from Hemric’s crash last season that resulted in a 28th-place finish at Charlotte, he’s done quite well at the 1.5-mile North Carolina track. In his four other starts, he posted two top 10s and a runner-up finish.

Hemric has also done well at other 1.5-mile tracks such as Las Vegas and Texas. At Las Vegas, he’s posted four top fives and five top 10s in eight starts, most recently placing third. As for Texas, he’s coming off of an 11th-place finish last weekend and has posted three top fives and four top 10s since the 2018 season. Last year’s Xfinity Series champion is looking for his first win of the season and Charlotte Motor Speedway could be the place he makes it happen.

Veteran Justin Allgaier has had a hot start to his 2022 season (one win, five top fives and seven top 10s) and the same could be said about his history at Charlotte Motor Speedway. In 19 starts, he’s posted five top fives, 10 top 10s and now he’s just looking to add a win to his Charlotte stats. He came close in 2019 after posting a second-place finish and considering his performance the past two weeks at Darlington (1.366-mile track) and Texas (1.5-mile track), it appears Allgaier is ready for a second trip to Victory Lane this season.

Another driver to keep an eye on this weekend is Stewart-Haas Racing’s Riley Herbst. Although he is yet to post a Xfinity Series win, he’s done well this season with four top fives and nine top 10s in 12 starts. He’s only given Charlotte Motor Speedway a go twice, but has already won a pole (2021) and has finished 12th in both races. As for other 1.5-mile tracks on the schedule this season, he’s proven to know how to get near the front of the pack. He posted a 12th-place finish at Las Vegas, a fourth-place finish in Atlanta and an eighth-place finish at Texas last weekend. In total this season he has put up four top fives and nine top 10s.

Nick Sanchez returns to the Xfinity Series lineup at Charlotte

The NASCAR Drive for Diversity program is a developmental program designed to provide training and opportunities for women and minorities in the driver’s seat and on pit crews within the NASCAR industry and fans will get to see one of these drivers, Nick Sanchez, make his second start in the Xfinity Series this weekend in the Alsco Uniforms 300 (1 p.m. ET on FS1, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Sanchez made his series debut earlier this season at Phoenix Raceway, placing 26th in the No. 5 B.J. McLeod Motorsports Chevrolet. He’ll once again join BJMM this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, as well as later on this season at Pocono Raceway, Michigan International Speedway, Kansas Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The Miami, Florida native currently drives the No. 2 Rev Racing Chevrolet full-time in the ARCA Menards Series where he stands third in the points standings, just four points shy of the points leader. In his 26 ARCA Menards Series starts, he has posted three wins, 11 top fives and 18 top 10s. He took on full-bodied stock cars after winning the Wendell Scott Trailblazer Award in 2019 as the most outstanding minority driver at NASCAR’s weekly level in a late model.

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

JR Motorsports continues to rack up points JR Motorsports has been on a roll this season with four of the 12 races having been won by a JRM driver (Noah Gragson-Phoenix, Talladega; Josh Berry- Dover, Justin Allgaier-Darlington).

Now, they’ve set the record for most consecutive stage wins (8) in the Xfinity Series after having won every stage from Talladega to last weekend’s race in Texas. Joe Gibbs Racing previously held the record for snagging seven consecutive stage wins in 2019.

Mason Filippi to attempt his Xfinity Series debut at Portland International Raceway IMSA Pilot Challenge driver Mason Filippi, with the support of OpenFender, will attempt his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut in the No.91 DGM Racing Chevrolet at Portland International Raceway next weekend.

Filippi, a California native, has quickly climbed the ranks of SRO and IMSA and has experience at Portland International Raceway, including a win and a third-place finish.

“I’m thrilled to get behind the wheel of a Xfinity car and see what I can do on the track with DGM Racing,” said Filippi. “I’ve raced in Portland before and can’t wait to go back with a new challenge.”

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Up Next: Charlotte Motor Speedway to host 10th race of the 2022 season

Charlotte Motor Speedway is cranking up the lights for Friday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, the North Carolina Education Lottery 200, at 8:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. The 10th race of the 2022 Camping World Truck Series season kicks off a Memorial Day Weekend celebration at Charlotte Motor Speedway that is set to pay tribute to those that serve and honor those that have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

With his sixth-straight top-10 finish of the season last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, John Hunter Nemechek has leap-frogged ThorSport Racing’s Ben Rhodes in the championship driver standings to take lead in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points. Nemechek is up by four points over Rhodes heading into Charlotte this weekend and is the fourth different driver to hold the points lead this season.

Charlotte Motor Speedway will be the fourth different 1.5-mile track the series has visited this season; joining Las Vegas, Atlanta and Kansas. Charlotte Motor Speedway has hosted the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 19 times dating back to the inaugural event on May 16, 2003. The first Truck Series event at Charlotte was won by Ted Musgrave driving a Dodge for truck owner Jim Smith.

In total, the 19 previous Camping World Truck Series races at Charlotte have produced 10 different pole winners and 10 different race winners. Kyle Busch Motorsport’s owner/driver Kyle Busch (2008, 2010, 2014) is tied with Mike Skinner (2005, 2006, 2007) for the series-most poles at Charlotte with three each.

KBM’s Kyle Busch also leads the series in wins at the 1.5-mile facility with eight victories (2005, 2006, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2019). In fact, Kyle Busch Motorsports has won an impressive seven of the last 12 races (2010-2021) at Charlotte (winning percentage of 58.3%); including John Hunter Nemechek’s win in last season’s race.

This weekend, all the on-track activities will start with NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice from 1:30-2 p.m. ET, directly followed by Cometic Gaskets Pole Qualifying at 2 p.m. ET (both on FS1).

Fabulous Five: Friesen becomes fifth championship contender to win this season

Halmar Friesen Racing’s Stewart Friesen snagged the win in overtime last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway to become the fifth different championship contender to lock themselves into the postseason by virtue of their victory this season. Now with the Camping World Truck Series headed to Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend for the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 (8:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), who will be the next driver to add their name to the winners list?

A total of 10 different NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers have won at Charlotte Motor Speedway, led by Kyle Busch with eight victories. This weekend, three active Camping World Truck Series Charlotte Motor Speedway winners are entered in the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 – Kyle Busch (eight wins, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2019), Matt Crafton (two wins, 2008, 2016) and John Hunter Nemechek (one win, 2021).

Of the 10 different winners, three of them have scored their first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway; including Kyle Busch (2005), Matt Crafton (2008) and Justin Lofton (2012).

Four of the five winless drivers this season inside the top-10 in the driver standings after Texas are looking for their first series career win at Charlotte this weekend; Matt Crafton is the only exception. Ty Majeski (+85), Christian Eckes (+73), Carson Hocevar (+59), and Grant Enfinger (+37) have all built sizeable leads over the Playoff cutoff but have yet to win this season or at Charlotte. Of the four, Hocevar (2.0) has the best average finish at the 1.5-mile track, making his series track debut at Charlotte last season finishing runner-up to John Hunter Nemechek; followed by Majeski (7.5), Enfinger (10.5), and Eckes (12.5).

Seven Races-To-Go: Just five spots left as the Playoffs are looming

A sense of urgency has begun to drape itself over the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship competitors that haven’t already locked themselves into the Playoffs as the series prepares for the 10th race of the season, the North Carolina Education Lottery 200, this Friday, May 27 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (8:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Stewart Friesen became the fifth different driver vying for the title this season to win his way into the Playoffs, by taking the checkered flag in a dramatic overtime finish at Texas Motor Speedway last Friday; joining Zane Smith (three wins this season), Chandler Smith, John Hunter Nemechek and Ben Rhodes (one win each).

Holding on to the final NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs transfer position in 10th is ThorSport Racing’s Matt Crafton, up a hefty 35 points over 11th place Tanner Gray following Texas. Crafton is currently riding a streak of six straight Playoff appearances in the series (most all-time) and is looking to keep the streak alive in 2022. Though Crafton hasn’t been to Victory Lane in 44 races (last win: Kansas 2020), Charlotte is one of his better tracks, and could be the place he rights the ship. Crafton has made 19 series starts at Charlotte Motor Speedway posting two wins (2008, 2016), seven top fives and 13 top 10s.

Camping World Truck Series Drivers along the Playoff Cutline following Texas

Rank Driver Points Starts Top 5 Top 10 DNFs Pts From Cutoff
10 Matt Crafton 260 9 1 6 1 35
11 Tanner Gray 225 9 2 3 1 -35
12 Derek Kraus 203 9 0 2 2 -57
13 Matt DiBenedetto 193 9 0 4 1 -67
14 Tyler Ankrum 192 9 0 3 2 -68
16 Timmy Hill 154 9 0 0 0 -106
18 Austin Wayne Self 144 9 0 2 1 -116
20 Colby Howard 133 9 0 0 2 -127

The drivers outside the Playoff cutline definitely will have their work cut out for them if they plan to point their way into the postseason with just seven races left in the regular season.

Team DGR’s Tanner Gray is the closest to the Playoff cutline currently in 11th in the standings, 35 points behind Crafton in 10th. Gray is having one of the best seasons of his career already securing two top fives and three top 10s in nine starts. Gray has made two series starts at Charlotte putting up an average finish of 21.0.

McAnally-Hilgemann Racing’s Derek Kraus is currently 12th in the driver standings, 57 points back from Crafton in the final Playoff transfer position (10th). Kraus has had an up-and-down season so far in 2022. In nine starts, he has put up two top 10s. Looking to this weekend, Kraus has run well at Charlotte. In two starts he managed an average finish of 12.0; including an eighth-place finish in this race last season.

Following back-to-back top-10 finishes in the last two weeks Rackley W.A.R.’s Matt DiBenedetto is finally starting to gel with this new team and all the arduous work is starting to show up in the boxscore. In nine starts this season, DiBenedetto sits 13th in points, 67 markers back from Crafton in 10th, after putting up four top 10s on the season. DiBenedetto is seeking his first career Playoff berth in the series. This weekend will be his series track debut at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Hattori Racing Enterprises’ Tyler Ankrum in 14th in the driver standings following Texas, is one point back from DiBenedetto in 13th and 68 points back from Crafton in 10th. This season, Ankrum has put up three top-10 finishes in nine starts and is looking to make the Playoffs for the third time in his career (2019, 2020). Ankrum has three starts at Charlotte Motor Speedway posting an average finish of 18.7.

The remaining three drivers still eligible to earn a spot in the Playoffs – Timmy Hill (-106), Austin Wayne Self (-116) and Colby Howard (-127) – are all more than 100 points outside the postseason cutline and though mathematically possible to point their way in, a win would be the much easier route to the Playoffs. At Charlotte this weekend, Colby Howard will attempt to make his series track debut, and Self (19.5) has a slightly better average finish than Hill (23.0) at the 1.5-mile track.

Heim tightens up the Sunoco Rookie standings considerably

Kyle Busch Motorsport’s Corey Heim might be on a part-time schedule this season (not participating this weekend), but with the time he has spent behind the wheel, he has definitely made the most of it – closing the points lead down to two points in the rookie standings between himself and standings leader Lawless Alan.

In last weekend’s race at Texas, Heim finished seventh – his second top 10 of the season. Heim is now second in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings, moving up two spots from fourth in the previous week.

Lawless Alan still holds the rookie standings lead and will look to build on it this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Of the five rookies, Heim is not entered this weekend and Jack Wood is the only one that has made a previous start at Charlotte. The other three (Alan, Dean Thompson and Blaine Perkins) will all be making their series track debuts this weekend. Wood made his track debut at Charlotte last season; he started 20th and finished 15th.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Etc.

Four different winners in last four races at Charlotte – The door to Victory Lane at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has been a rotating one with four different winners in the last four races – Johnny Sauter (2018), Kyle Busch (2019), Chase Elliott (2020) and John Hunter Nemechek (2021). Both Busch and Nemechek are entered this weekend and will attempt to snap the different winner’s streak.

Nemechek is the defending winner of this race (2021) and Busch leads the series in wins with eight; his last victory was in 2019.

Mexico’s Max Gutierrez will attempt to make Truck Series career debut at Charlotte – This weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Max Gutierrez from Mexico City, Mexico, will attempt to qualify for the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 to make his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career debut.

If Gutierrez makes the event, he will become the 66th different driver all-time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with their home country recorded as outside of the United States of America. He would also become the ninth different driver from Mexico to compete in the series; joining Daniel Suárez (Monterrey), Carlos Contreras (Mexico City), Germain Quiroga (Mexico City), Michel Jourdain (Mexico City), Enrique Contreras III (Mexico City), Jose Luis Ramirez (Mexico City), Ruben Pardo (Mexico City) and Juan Ma Gonzalez (Mexico City).

Gutierrez will be piloting the No. 37 AM Racing Chevrolet with crew chief Jamie Jones. Gutierrez has made seven career starts in the ARCA Menards Series from 2020-2022 posting one top-10 finish. He has also made 11 appearances in the ARCA Menards Series East posing one win (New Smyrna, 2021), three top fives and six top 10s.

— NASCAR —