NASCAR Cup Series
Next Race: Food City Dirt Race
The Place: Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt
The Date: Sunday, April 9
The Time: 7 p.m. ET
The Purse: $7,808,640
TV: FOX, 6 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 125 miles (250 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 75), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 150), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 250)
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Next Race: Call811.com Before You Dig. 250
The Place: Martinsville Speedway
The Date: Saturday, April 15
The Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
The Purse: $1,475,583
TV: FS1, 6:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 131.5 miles (250 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 60), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 120), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 250)
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series
Next Race: Weather Guard Truck Race on Dirt
The Place: Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt
The Date: Saturday, April 8
The Time: 8 p.m. ET
The Purse: $738,461
TV: FS1, 7 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 75 miles (150 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 40), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 150)
NASCAR Cup Series
NASCAR Cup Series is back for some dirt racing at Bristol
Back for more. The NASCAR Cup Series is returns with the Next Gen car ready for some wild action on the dirt surface of Bristol Motor Speedway in the Food City Dirt Race, this Sunday, April 9 at 7 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
This season marks the third time the NASCAR Cup Series has competed on dirt at Bristol. The inaugural race at the Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt track was the first-time the NASCAR Cup Series had competed on dirt in over 50 years. Not since the checkered flag flew on September 30, 1970 at North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh, North Carolina when NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty won the race, had the NASCAR Cup Series competed on a dirt track.
With more than 23,000 cubic yards of dirt hauled in to create the temporary dirt track surface at Bristol, it is a sight to be seen when the full field takes the green flag. The inaugural Bristol Dirt event in 2021 saw five lead changes among five different leaders, but it was Team Penske’s Joey Logano who took the checkered flag over Ricky Stenhouse Jr. by a scant 0.554-second. Then last season’s race was even more intense at the finish, when Kyle Busch won the Food City Dirt Race from a distant third place after the Ford of second-place Chase Briscoe slid up the high-banked dirt track into the Chevrolet of leader Tyler Reddick in the final corner, turning both cars sideways. Busch led only the final lap en route to his first dirt win.
This weekend’s Cup Series action at Bristol will kick off on Friday, April 7 with Random Draw for Qualifying Race Assignments at 5:30 p.m. ET, and then first practice from 6:35 p.m. – 7:25 p.m. ET, and then followed by final practice from 8:32 p.m. – 8:57 p.m. ET. Both practices will be televised on FS1. Then on Saturday, April 8 the Qualifying Races will be held from 6 – 7 p.m. ET on FS1.
Looking back at the NASCAR Cup Series on dirt
The NASCAR Cup Series has had a long legacy of racing at dirt tracks prior to the Modern Era (1972-Present), from 1949 to 1970 the series competed in 501 races on dirt. The very first NASCAR Cup Series points-paying sanctioned race in the inaugural season of 1949 was on dirt at Charlotte (Old) Speedway, a 0.75-mile track in Charlotte, North Carolina and the event was won by Jim Roper driving a Lincoln.
Including this past season’s dirt race at Bristol, the 503 all-time dirt Cup races have produced 78 different winners. NASCAR Hall of Famer Lee Petty leads the series in dirt track wins with 46 victories; followed by Buck Baker with 42 and Herb Thomas with 41. Joey Logano (2021) and Kyle Busch (2022) are the only active drivers with a win on dirt in the NASCAR Cup Series.
|Top 10 NASCAR Cup Series Winners On Dirt|
|Rank||Cup Dirt Winners||Wins|
This week the competitors will be tasked with wrangling a Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt track that has been measured to exactly 0.5-mile, and the event will be 125 miles (250 laps) in length. The race will be broken up into three stages. The first two stages are 75 laps each and the final stage is 100 laps.
In addition, NASCAR has instituted a special format for Busch Light Pole Qualifying that includes qualifying races, to decide the starting lineup. The lineups for the qualifying races will be done by random draw on Friday, April 7 at 5:30 p.m. ET. There are four qualifying races scheduled with 37 entrants competing this weekend.
Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt – Qualifying & Race Formats
This weekend’s racing will have special formats for both the NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series races. Below are details on the 2023 Bristol Dirt qualifying and race formats:
- Qualifying Race Starting Lineup – Random draw determines qualifying race designation and starting position for the qualifying race. The draw will be in order of current owner points. Draw is scheduled for Friday, April 7 at 5:30 p.m. ET.
- Qualifying Races – Four qualifying races held at 15 laps each with only green flag laps counted – no overtime rule. Free pass and wave around procedures will be in effect.
- Points Earned During Qualifying Races – Drivers will accumulate points in the qualifying races based on finishing position and passing points. The points total of a driver’s passing points and race finishing position points determines the starting position for the feature event.
- Passing Points = The difference between assigned starting position and finishing position
- Go forward – accumulate passing points
- Go backward or finish where you started – zero passing points
- Race Finishing Position Points = Points received for the driver’s finishing position
- Tiebreaker – Owner Points
- Feature Main – Lineup based on combined points of Qualifying Race finishing position and passing points.
- Feature race will be 250 laps (NCTS: 150 laps) divided into three stages (NCS: 75/150/250) / (NCTS: 40/90/150).
- Running order will be frozen at the conclusion of each stage. During the stage breaks, teams can change tires, add fuel, and make adjustments to their cars/trucks. These non-competitive pit stops must be completed in a time designated by NASCAR. No fuel or tires except at stage breaks. Flat or damaged tires may be changed with approval by NASCAR. (Note: Teams will not be required to pit during the stage breaks. Teams that elect not to pit will re-start ahead of teams that pitted. Re-start order determined by the freeze at the conclusion of the preceding stage)
- Additional Event Highlights – Choose rule will be in effect for the Bristol Dirt race. The overtime rules, free pass and wave around procedures will also be in effect.
NASCAR and Easter weekend racing
This weekend’s Food City Dirt Race (Sunday, April 9 at 7 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) will be the NASCAR Cup Series’ 12th-time racing on Easter Sunday since its inception in 1949.
Prior to last season, the last time the series competed on Easter Sunday was March 26, 1989 at Richmond Raceway – the race was rescheduled to the Easter Sunday date after being snowed out from its original date in February. The race was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace.
On two other occasions – in 1953 at Charlotte Speedway and 1954 at Orange Speedway in Hillsboro – the race was held on Easter Sunday as a make-up date due to rain.
NASCAR Cup Series Races held on Easter Sunday
|Date||Track – Race Winner||Reason for Scheduling on Easter|
|Sunday, April 5, 1953||Charlotte Speedway – Dick Passwater||Scheduled for March 22, 1953; Postponed due to rain.|
|Sunday, April 18, 1954||Hillsboro – Herb Thomas||Scheduled for April 11, 1954; Postponed due to rain.|
|Sunday, April 17, 1960||Wilson Speedway – Joe Weatherly||Scheduled Date|
|Sunday, April 2, 1961||Hillsboro – Cotton Owens||Scheduled Date|
|Sunday, April 22, 1962||Martinsville – Richard Petty||Scheduled Date|
|Sunday, April 14, 1963||South Boston – Richard Petty||Scheduled Date|
|Sunday, April 18, 1965||North Wilkesboro – Jr. Johnson||Scheduled Date|
|Sunday, April 6, 1969||Hickory – Bobby Isaac||Scheduled Date|
|Sunday, March 29, 1970||Atlanta – Bobby Allison||Scheduled Date|
|Sunday, March 26, 1989||Richmond – Rusty Wallace||Scheduled for February 27, 1989; Postponed due to snow.|
|Sunday, April 17, 2022||Bristol Dirt – Kyle Busch||Scheduled Date|
In addition, 21 NASCAR Cup Series events have been held on Easter Weekend from Good Friday through Easter Monday (Easter Monday was a public holiday in North Carolina from 1935 to 1987).
The first time NASCAR held a Cup race on Easter Weekend was on April 12, 1952, when the event at Columbia Speedway was held on Saturday. NASCAR Hall of Famer Buck Baker was the race winner.
On Easter weekends in 1964, 1966, & 1967 the NASCAR Cup Series held races on Saturday at Greenville Pickens Speedway and on Monday at Bowman Gray Stadium.
The race held on Easter weekend, Saturday, April 11, 1971, was the first in NASCAR Cup Series history to be broadcast live from start to finish on national television on ABC’s Wide World of Sports.
Kyle Larson is the sixth different winner this season, adds name to Playoffs / All-Star Race
After another great race at Richmond Raceway that set track records in green flag passes for the lead (35 GFPL) and total green flag passes (3,816 GFP), Hendrick Motorsports driver Kyle Larson found the checkered flag first to get his first victory of the 2023 season. Now, the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion has earned his spot in the Playoffs and also locked himself into the NASCAR All-Star Race that will be held at the historic North Wilkesboro Speedway (May 21).
The win last weekend at Richmond, was the 20 victory in Kyle Larson’s NASCAR Cup Series career and his second at the 0.75-mile track (2017, 2023). This season, Larson is currently ranked sixth in the driver standings 41 points back from his Hendrick Motorsport’s teammate Alex Bowman in the standings lead. In seven starts this year, Larson has put up one win (Richmond), and three top fives. His average finish this season is 14.1.
Known as one the best dirt racers in the country, watch for Larson to be a force this weekend on the Bristol Dirt. In two starts on the dirt surface at Bristol, the California native has led 27 laps and put up one top-five finish. His average finish is 16.5. He finished fourth in last season’s Bristol Dirt race.
Superman Jonathan Davenport is tapped by Kaulig Racing for Bristol Dirt
Looking at all his accomplishments on dirt, it’s not surprising his nickname is Superman, because Jonathan Davenport is one of the most successful drivers competing on dirt today. This weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt, Kaulig Racing will be leaning on him for a super performance in Food City Dirt Race (April 9 at 7 p.m. Et on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) as he has been tapped to pilot the No. 13 Chevrolet with crew chief Eddie Pardue.
Davenport, hails from Blairsville, Georgia, and has been racing in some form or fashion since 1991. Some of his biggest accomplishments on dirt include winning the 2015, 2018, and 2019 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series National Championships and the 2022 ‘Eldora Million!’ at Eldora Speedway.
This weekend will mark the first time Jonathan Davenport has attempted to compete in a NASCAR Cup Series race and will be his first NASCAR national series start. He did attempt to qualify for one NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series races at Martinsville Speedway in 2013 but did not make the show.
Davenport will be teamed up Kaulig Racing’s Justin Haley, who in his series track debut last season started sixth and finished 14th on the Bristol dirt.
Playoff Bubble: Seven races into 2023
Seven races into the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series regular season and seven Playoff spots are spoken for as the series heads to Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt for the Food City Dirt Race (Sunday, April 9 at 7 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) for an Easter Weekend showdown. A total of six different drivers have won this season securing their spots in the Playoffs, but don’t forget the series points leader is also guaranteed a position in the Playoffs even without a win. That leaves just nine postseason spots still up for grabs with 19 races left in the regular season.
The six NASCAR Cup Series drivers with wins this year are William Byron (Las Vegas, Phoenix), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (Daytona) Kyle Busch (Fontana), Joey Logano (Atlanta), Tyler Reddick (Austin) and Kyle Larson (Richmond). A winless Alex Bowman currently holds the series driver standings lead taking the seventh spot in the postseason.
At the other end of the Playoff outlook are RFK Racing’s Chris Buescher in the 16th and final transfer spot into the Playoffs, up six points on Trackhouse Racing’s Daniel Suarez in the 17th position – the first spot outside the postseason cutoff. Both drivers are looking for their first win of 2023. In two starts at Bristol Dirt, Buescher has put up a best finish of 14th (2021) and an average finish of 14.5. Buescher also won on the paved oval at Bristol Motor Speedway last Fall. Look for Suarez to possibly make up some ground in the points on Buescher this weekend though. In two starts at Bristol Dirt, Suarez has led the second-most laps at the track in the series at 122 laps led and has posted a best finish of fourth (2021). His average finish is 8.0 on the Bristol Dirt half mile, and he finished 12th in last season’s dirt race.
NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.
Tebow, Wickham, Asbury to headline Easter Celebration at BMS prior to the Food City Dirt Race – American sports icon and evangelist Tim Tebow will join highly acclaimed and award-winning Christian musicians Phil Wickham and Cory Asbury to headline Bristol Motor Speedway’s live Easter celebration service on Sunday, April 9, prior to the start of the historic Food City Dirt Race.
The Easter celebration will begin at 4 p.m. (ET) on the BMS Fan Midway Stage near the E Parking Lot between the Green and Orange bridges. Tebow, who grew up the son of missionaries, founded the Tim Tebow Foundation in 2010 to “bring faith, hope and love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need,” will provide the faith message during the service while Asbury and Wickham will perform several of their most popular songs. Additionally, several other speakers from the NASCAR industry will make appearances, including Motor Racing Outreach chaplain Billy Mauldin.
“We are thrilled and humbled to provide our guests with such an amazing lineup of prominent worship leaders in Tim Tebow, Phil Wickham and Cory Asbury to headline our Easter Celebration prior to the start of the Food City Dirt Race,” said Jerry Caldwell, president and general manager, Bristol Motor Speedway.
Tim Tebow has been sharing faith messages from a young age when he decided to dedicate his life to spreading God’s word and serving the needy. His platform was amplified when he burst onto the national sports scene in the early 2000s as quarterback for the Florida Gators. Under his leadership and stellar play, the Gators won BCS championships in 2006 and 2008. Tebow is a past recipient of the prestigious Heisman Trophy among many awards and accolades he received during his prolific college football career. He played three seasons in the NFL and also played five years of Minor League Baseball for the New York Mets farm system. Tebow currently serves as an analyst for ESPN’s coverage of college football.
“I’m so excited to join with my friends Phil Wickham, K-LOVE, NASCAR and Bristol Motor Speedway for an amazing Easter celebration,” Tebow said.
San Diego native Phil Wickham has been described as a leader in the modern worship movement and he has claimed many awards for his contemporary Christian music, including being nominated for two Grammy Awards as well as multiple Billboard Music Awards. His Gold-certified single “This is Amazing Grace” was his first career No. 1 single.
Florida native Cory Asbury grew up in Franklin, North Carolina and started his music career at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. In 2019 the double-platinum selling artist was nominated for a Grammy for his album Reckless Love in the Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance category. The title track spent 18 weeks at No. 1 on Christian Radio and was named song of the year in the Contemporary Christian category by multiple music rating houses. He claimed GMA Dove Awards for several of his hits including “Reckless Love” and “The Father’s House.”
Food City names Rear Admiral Stephen Jackson as Grand Marshal for Sunday – Food City has announced that Rear Admiral Stephen “Josh” Jackson will serve as the Grand Marshal and deliver the starting command for Sunday night’s Food City Dirt Race.
“I am honored, on behalf of the men and women of the United States Navy, to be named the Grand Marshal for the Food City Dirt Race. As someone who has spent his entire career among high performing organizations in the military, I’m excited to see these race teams in action up close and personal, and it is even more special because I’ll be joined by my brothers and sisters in uniform for this experience. We are very grateful to Food City, Bristol Motor Speedway, and NASCAR for this incredible opportunity, and are looking forward to race weekend!”
A native of Syracuse, New York, Rear Admiral Jackson graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1993 and holds a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College. Rear Admiral Jackson has spent the majority of his 30-year career as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) officer, and currently serves as the Deputy Director of the Operations and Integration Directorate at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. In addition to his role as the Deputy Director, Rear Admiral Jackson is one of two Admirals who lead the Navy EOD community. He oversees the development and community health of over 1,500 EOD officers and technicians that deploy worldwide.
Sugarland and NASCAR create special edition 75th Anniversary Moonshine – Sugarlands Distilling Co., an award-winning craft distillery in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and NASCAR announced the release of an officially licensed limited-edition moonshine to commemorate NASCAR’s 75th anniversary. The Sugarlands NASCAR 75th Anniversary Moonshine will make its debut at Bristol Motor Speedway during the Food City Dirt Race weekend April 8-9. It will be available at the Sugarlands 360 Bar inside the track that weekend and also available for purchase at retailers nationwide while supplies last.
Moonshine played a pivotal role in the birth of NASCAR, which was founded by Bill France Sr. in Daytona Beach, Fla., in 1948 and has since grown into the No. 1 motorsport in America. A moonshine still on display at the NASCAR Hall of Fame tells the story of how many of NASCAR’s early stars got their start running moonshine.
Tying together both elements of NASCAR’s beginnings, the Sugarlands NASCAR 75th Anniversary Moonshine boasts a tropical piña colada flavor as a subtle nod to the sport’s beachside start. The label features a photo from a July 10, 1949, NASCAR race in Daytona along with NASCAR’s official 75th-anniversary diamond logo.
“Few products provide a more authentic homage to NASCAR’s roots than a commemorative moonshine,” said Megan Malayter, managing director of licensing and consumer products at NASCAR. “We’re thrilled to collaborate with Sugarlands to give fans a taste of the sport’s origins with a modern twist and provide a fun, fitting toast to NASCAR’s milestone 75th anniversary.”
Doubling The Duty On Dirt – Four different drivers will be attempting to compete in both of the NASCAR Cup Series and the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series races this weekend at the Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt – Jonathan Davenport, William Byron, Chase Briscoe and Joey Logano.
Cup Series driver milestone starts to watch for – Over the next few races two drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series will reach milestones starts if they continue to run fulltime in the series.
Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt on April 9, Richard Childress Racing’s Kyle Busch will be making his 650th NASCAR Cup Series career start. Busch will become the 27th different NASCAR Cup Series driver all-time to make 650 or more starts. Only one driver all-time has won on their 650th career NASCAR Cup Series start, and it was NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty at Dover Motor Speedway on Sept. 15, 1974.
Then at Talladega Superspeedway on April 23, Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick will be making his 800th career NASCAR Cup Series career start. Harvick will become just the 10th different NASCAR Cup Series driver all-time to make 800 or more starts in the series. Only one driver all-time has won on their 800th career NASCAR Cup Series start, and it was NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty at Dover Motor Speedway on Sept. 16, 1979.
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Kaulig Racing’s Chandler Smith finds Victory Lane for the first-time in Xfinity Series
Kaulig Racing rookie Chandler Smith’s hard work finally paid off last weekend at Richmond Raceway as he posted his first career win in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in just is 10th series start.
The victory was extra sweet for the No. 16 Chevrolet driver after nearly posting his first win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last month, only to lose the lead in the final lap and ultimately finished third.
“Feels great. This goes to testimony as to Vegas, dominated that race but didn’t win,” said Smith. “It was all in God’s timing. Here we are in Richmond, my favorite racetrack and we’re sitting in Victory Lane.”
As the Xfinity Series rests this weekend while the NASCAR Cup Series and CRAFTSMAN Truck Series head to Bristol for some dirt racing, Smith will get to savor his victory and strategize how to post a back-to-back wins when the series return next week at Martinsville Speedway (April 15).
Smith will be posting his first start at Martinsville Speedway in the NASCAR Xfinity Series next week but has given the track a go a couple times in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series. In his two starts, he’s posted one top five and two top 10-finishes.
Cashin’ Big Checks: Justin Allgaier grabs first Dash 4 Cash at Richmond
Four drivers competed in the first segment of the 2023 Xfinity Dash 4 Cash program last weekend at Richmond Raceway (Justin Allgaier, Sam Mayer, Daniel Hemric and Sammy Smith), but it was JR Motorsport’s Justin Allgaier who dashed his way to the $100,000 big check.
With the Dash 4 Cash win, Allgaier has secured his spot in the second segment of the program at Martinsville Speedway next weekend and will be joined by JR Motorsports teammate Josh Berry, Kaulig Racing’s Chandler Smith and Joe Gibbs Racing’s John Hunter Nemechek.
Allgaier has five starts under his belt at Martinsville, posting three top fives and four top 10s. His most recent finish at the track is fifth last Fall.
Berry is the only driver of the four Dash 4 Cash qualifiers that has posted a Xfinity Series win at Martinsville (2021). In his four starts, he has managed one win, one top five, one top 10 and has led 135 laps. His most recent finish at the track is 20th.
Both Smith and Nemechek will be posting their first Xfinity Series starts at the 0.526-mile short track next weekend.
Eyes On The Prize: Martinsville Edition
Two previous winners are entered in next weekend’s Call811.com Before You Dig 250 at Martinsville Speedway (April 15 at 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) – JR Motorsports teammates Josh Berry and Brandon Jones.
Berry raced his way to the checkered flag in 2021 after starting from the 29th position. He led 95 of the 250 laps en route to his victory.
Jones snagged his win last season (2022). In his five starts, he’s posted one win, one pole, two top fives, four top 10s and has led 142 laps.
While these drivers will be sure to push for a second win, other drivers will be putting up a fight to post their first on the Martinsville track.
Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Hill only has two stints on the short track (2022) but has put up some good numbers. He posted a fourth-place finish at the spring race and a ninth-place finish in the fall race, an impressive finish considering he navigated his way to the front from the 36th position.
JRM’s Sam Mayer has posted a top-10 finish in all three of his Martinsville starts – fourth (2021), fifth and sixth, respectively (2022). The 20-year-old driver has yet to post a Xfinity Series win, so he will be sure to try to land his No. 1 Chevrolet in Victory Lane next weekend.
Xfinity Sunoco Rookie of the Year battle continues
The 2023 Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders have seven races under their belts as they take the week off to prepare for some more short track racing at Martinsville Speedway next weekend.
Currently leading the pack is the NASCAR Xfinity Series’ most recent winner, Chandler Smith. The Kaulig Racing driver has secured his spot in the Playoffs with his one win (Richmond), four top fives four top 10s. He sits with 253 points; up 50 points on Sammy Smith in second in the rookie standings.
Sliding in next is Joe Gibbs Racing’s Sammy Smith, who also secured his spot in the Playoffs with his first Xfinity Series career win at Phoenix Raceway earlier this season. He has racked up 203 points with his one win, two top fives and two top 10s. Smith is up 82 points on third place Parker Retzlaff.
Jordan Anderson Racing’s Parker Retzlaff is ranked third in the rookie standings after seven races with 121 points. He has posted one top five and one top 10 this season.
Closing out the rookie standings is Blaine Perkins with 37 points. Perkins has made six starts this season posting a best finish of 22nd at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series
Niece Motorsports’ Carson Hocevar wins big at Texas, earns spot in Playoffs
Last weekend, Niece Motorsports’ Carson Hocevar was in the right place at the right time to take the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series victory in overtime at Texas Motor Speedway, after the race leaders, Nick Sanchez and Zane Smith, wrecked coming to the checkered flag. The victory was Hocevar’s first in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series, and with the win the Michigan native has secured his spot in the Playoffs for the third time in his career (2021, 2022).
This season, Hocevar has put up one win (Texas), one top five and two top 10s in five starts. He has led 20 laps and his average finish this season is 17.0.
As the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series heads to Bristol, Tennessee this weekend for the Weather Guard Truck Race on Dirt at Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt (Saturday, April 8 at 8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the No. 42 Chevrolet will look to carry his momentum and secure another victory – a feat that doesn’t seem to be too far from his reach. Last season at Bristol Dirt, the 20-year-old posted a runner-up finish and led for 55 laps.
IF Hocevar were to win this weekend, he would become the sixth different driver in NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series history to win their first two races back-to-back; joining Rich Bickle (1997: Portland, Evergreen), Kurt Busch (2000: Milwaukee, New Hampshire), Ted Musgrave (2001: Homestead-Miami, Mesa Marin), Todd Bodine (2004: Fontana, Texas), Kasey Kahne (2004: Darlington, Homestead-Miami), Kyle Busch (2005: Charlotte, Dover) and Johnny Benson Jr. (2006: Michigan, Milwaukee).
Playing’ in the dirt at Bristol
The NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series had some fun short track racing last weekend at Richmond Raceway and will be continuing with the short track action this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt with the Weather Guard Truck Race on Dirt on Saturday, April 8 at 8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
The CRAFTSMAN Truck Series has been heading to Bristol Motor Speedway since 1995 but it wasn’t until 2021 that they started running on dirt. There has been a different winner in both Bristol Dirt races – NASCAR Cup Series regular Martin Truex Jr. won the inaugural race in 2021 and former series champion Ben Rhodes won last season.
In total, the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series has run 11 races on dirt at three different tracks – Eldora Speedway (2013-2019, seven races), Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt (2021, 2022) and Knoxville Raceway (2021, 2022) producing 11 different winners – at Eldora Austin Dillon (2013), Bubba Wallace (2014), Christopher Bell (2015), Kyle Larson (2016), Matt Crafton (2017), Chase Briscoe (2018) and Stewart Friesen (2019); at Bristol Dirt Martin Truex Jr. (2021) and Ben Rhodes (2022); at Knoxville Raceway Austin Hill (2021) and Todd Gilliland (2022).
Three Cup Series regulars will be pulling double duty and joining in on the fun this weekend – Chase Briscoe (No. 22 AM Racing Ford), William Byron (No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Chevrolet) and Joey Logano (No. 66 ThorSport Racing Ford).
Drivers will head to their first practice on Friday, April 7 at 5:35 p.m. ET followed by final practice at 8:02 p.m., televised on FS1. The qualifying session will begin on Saturday, April 8 at 4:30 p.m. ET, televised on FS2.
CRAFTSMAN Truck Series drivers to watch: Bristol Dirt edition
Although the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series has only ran on Bristol Dirt twice (2021, 2022), there are a few drivers who have been consistently at the front of the pack in both races.
ThorSport Racing’s Ben Rhodes is no newbie to dirt racing at Bristol. After a second-place finish in 2021 and a first-place finish in 2023, the No. 99 Ford returns hoping to defend his victory at the 0.5-mile track. If the Kentucky driver takes the checkered flag again, he will become the first driver to win consecutive Truck Series races at the dirt track.
Front Row Motorsports’ Zane Smith has been on a hot streak this season finishing in the top-10 in three out of five races this season; including two victories at Daytona and COTA. The No. 38 Ford has also proved that a little bit of dirt can’t slow him down as he has posted top-10 finishes in both Truck Bristol Dirt races.
GMS Racing’s Grant Enfinger has also played well in the dirt, finishing sixth in the inaugural race in 2021 and eighth last season. This season, Enfinger has put up one top five and two top 10s in five starts.
Setting the field and race format for the CRAFTSMAN Trucks at Bristol
A total of 43 trucks are currently entered for Saturday night’s Weather Guard Truck Race on Dirt (8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) to vie for a spot in the field.
To set the field, Saturday afternoon will feature four qualifying races, starting at 4:30 p.m. ET. A random draw determines a driver’s qualifying race designation and starting position for the qualifying races, and the draw will be done in the order of current owner points.
Each qualifying race will be 15 laps, with only green flag laps counting and the overtime rule will not be in effect. Free pass and wave around procedures will be in use.
Drivers will accumulate points in the qualifying races based on finishing position and passing points. Then, positions 1-31 in the starting lineup for the feature race will be based on combined points of qualifying race finishing position points and passing points. For positions 32nd – 36th provisionals will be applied, ordered by points in the qualifying races.
Passing points are defined as the difference between the assigned starting position and the finishing position of the trucks. There will only be positive passing points awarded for moving forward – if a driver finishes in the same or a lower position, they will receive zero points.
Finishing points are awarded as such:
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series, Etc.
Tanner Carrick to make Truck Series debut – Tanner Carrick will be getting behind the wheel of the No. 30 On Point Motorsports Toyota to make his NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series debut this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt.
Carrick has been running on dirt since he was six years old, starting his driving career in an Outlaw Kart. He has since moved into winged sprint cars and midgets and has racked up some impressive titles.
“Running on dirt is something that I’m really familiar with, so I am really excited for this opportunity and look forward to working with everyone associated with the team,” said Carrick.
CRAFTSMAN Sunoco rookie standings update – Following the fifth race of the 2023 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series season, Rev Racing’s Nick Sanchez has opened up a sizable lead in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings, 42 points ahead of McAnally Hilgemann Racing’s Jake Garcia in second.
Sanchez has been the leader of the rookie standings most of the season. In five starts he has put up two poles, one top five and two top 10s. He has also led 187 laps this season.
|NCTS Sunoco Rookie of the Year Standings|
— NASCAR —