NASCAR Cup Series
Next Race: Cook Out 400
The Place: Richmond Raceway
The Date: Sunday, July 30
The Time: 3 p.m. ET
The Purse: $7,565,800
TV: USA, 2:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 300 miles (400 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 70), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 230), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 400)
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Next Race: Road America 180
The Place: Road America
The Date: Saturday, July 29
The Time: 3 p.m. ET
The Purse: $1,347,310
TV: NBC, 2:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 182.16 miles (45 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 22), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 34), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 45)
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series
Next Race: Worldwide Express 250
The Place: Richmond Raceway
The Date: Saturday, July 29
The Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
The Purse: $808,354
TV: FS1, 7 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 187.5 miles (250 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 70), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 140), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 250)
NASCAR Cup Series
Five To Go: Richmond Raceway the last of the short tracks in the regular season
Only five races remain in the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series regular season (Richmond, Michigan, Indianapolis, Watkins Glen and Daytona) to decide who will compete in the 16-driver Playoff field, and for the second time this year the NASCAR Cup Series will head to Richmond Raceway for some Sunday afternoon side-by-side short track action in the Cook Out 400 on July 30 at 3 p.m. ET on the USA Network, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
A little history about Richmond Raceway. … It was originally known as the Atlantic Rural Exposition Fairgrounds, Richmond Raceway held its first race in 1946 as a half-mile dirt track. The first NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond Raceway was held on April 19, 1953 and was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Lee Petty in a Petty Enterprises Dodge with an average speed of 45.535 mph.
The first 24 NASCAR Cup Series races held at Richmond Raceway were run on a dirt surface (1953-1968). NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson won the final Richmond race on dirt, driving a Holman-Moody Racing 1968 Ford to Victory Lane. The track surface was changed from dirt to asphalt between Cup Series races in 1968, with NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty winning the first NASCAR Cup Series race on the paved Richmond surface on September 8, 1968 driving a Petty Enterprises’ Plymouth. The track was then rebuilt as the three-quarters-mile D-shaped oval we know today in 1988. In total, Richmond Raceway has hosted the NASCAR Cup Series 133 times producing 57 different pole winners and 53 different race winners.
NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty (1961, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970 sweep, 1974, 1975) and Bobby Allison (1972 sweep, 1973 sweep, 1974, 1976, 1979, 1982) lead the NASCAR Cup Series in poles at Richmond with eight each. Eight of the 57 NASCAR Cup Series Richmond Raceway pole winners are active this weekend, led by Denny Hamlin (2006, 2008, 2016) and Kevin Harvick (2005, 2018, 2019) with three poles each.
|Active Pole Winners (8)||Poles||Seasons|
|Kevin Harvick||3||2019, 2018, 2005|
|Denny Hamlin||3||2016, 2008, 2006|
|Brad Keselowski||2||2019, 2014|
|Joey Logano||2||2015 sweep|
|Martin Truex Jr||1||2018|
NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty leads the NASCAR Cup Series in wins at Richmond Raceway with 13 victories (spring 1961, 1967 sweep, fall 1968, fall 1970, 1971 sweep, 1972 sweep, 1973 sweep, fall 1974 and spring 1975). Petty’s 13 Richmond wins are the third-most victories by a single driver at a single track in NASCAR Cup Series history, behind his 15 wins at Martinsville and 15 wins at North Wilkesboro.
This weekend, eight of the 53 NASCAR Cup Series Richmond Raceway winners are active, led by Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch with six victories (spring 2009, spring 2010, spring 2011, spring 2012, 2018 sweep).
|Active Race Winners (8)||Wins||Season|
|Kyle Busch||6||2018 sweep, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009|
|Denny Hamlin||4||2022, 2016, 2010, 2009|
|Kevin Harvick||4||2022, 2013, 2011, 2006|
|Martin Truex Jr||3||2021, 2019 sweep|
|Kyle Larson||2||2023, 2017|
|Brad Keselowski||2||2020, 2014|
|Joey Logano||2||2017, 2014|
Hendrick Motorsport’s driver Kyle Larson is the most recent active NASCAR Cup Series winner at Richmond Raceway. The California native scored his second career Richmond win (2017, 2023) back in April. Larson returns this weekend looking to become the 12th different driver in the NASCAR Cup Series to post consecutive series wins at the 0.75-mile track; joining Joe Weatherly (1962-1963), David Pearson (1965, 1966 sweep), Richard Petty (1970, 1971 sweep, 1972 sweep, 1973 sweep), Cale Yarborough (1976-1977), Bobby Allison (1982, 1983 sweep), Dale Earnhardt (1987 sweep, 1990-1991), Rusty Wallace (1989 sweep), Terry Labonte (1994-1995), Jimmie Johnson (2007 sweep), Kyle Busch (2018 sweep) and Martin Truex Jr. (2019 sweep). NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty leads the NASCAR Cup Series in consecutive wins at Richmond Raceway with seven consecutive victories from the September race of 1970 to the September race of 1973.
All the on-track NASCAR Cup Series action at Richmond Raceway begins on Saturday, July 29 with practice and Busch Light Pole Qualifying on the USA Network from 12:35 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. ET.
Regular Season Roundup: Who will add their name to the Playoffs?
Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin snatched his second win of the 2023 season at Pocono Raceway, and his seventh victory at the 2.5-mile track – breaking a tie with Jeff Gordon for the series-most wins at Pocono. Now, with 11 drivers already earning their spot in the Playoffs by virtue of their wins this season, which leaves five positions still up for grabs heading into this Sunday’s Cook Out 400 at Richmond Raceway. The five drivers currently in position to earn a spot in the Playoffs on points are Kevin Harvick (+163 points), Brad Keselowski (+122), Chris Buescher (+111), Bubba Wallace (+27) and Michael McDowell (+17).
Harvick, Keselowski and Buescher, each have comfortable point cushions above the postseason cutoff, but 23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace (up +27 points on the Playoff cutline) in 15th, and Front Row Motorsport’s Michael McDowell (+17 points) in the 16th and final available transfer spot, are in precarious positions with five regular season races to go. If one or two of the drivers outside the Playoff cutline were to win over these next five races it could bounce McDowell and Wallace out of the postseason. Heading into this weekend at Richmond, there are seven different drivers that won last season that are looking for their first win of this year; including Daniel Suarez, Alex Bowman, Chase Elliott, Austin Cindric, Erik Jones, Austin Dillon and Chase Briscoe – of that group, Hendrick Motorsport’s Alex Bowman is the only one to formerly win at Richmond (2021).
|2023 NASCAR Cup Series Driver Playoff Outlook Following Race No. 21 – Drivers Without Wins|
|Rank||Drivers||Points||Starts||Wins||Stages||Playoff Pts||Points From Cutoff|
|19||Ty Gibbs #||427||21||0||0||0||-28|
|33||Noah Gragson #||190||20||0||0||0||-265|
Just outside the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs cutoff is Kaulig Racing’s AJ Allmendinger in the 17th position, -17 points back from McDowell in the final Playoff transfer spot on points. Both McDowell and Allmendinger are looking to make the Playoffs for the second-time in their respective careers. McDowell made his postseason debut in 2021 and Allmendinger last made the Playoffs in 2014.
Also chasing McDowell and within striking distance are Trackhouse Racing’s Daniel Suárez and Joe Gibbs Racing’s rookie Ty Gibbs. Suarez is ranked 18th, -23 points behind McDowell and Gibbs is ranked 19th, -28 points back. Of the five drivers from 15th to 19th in the Playoff outlook standings, Suárez (16.1) has the best average finish at Richmond Raceway, followed by Allmendinger (22.1), Gibbs (22.5), Wallace (23.6) and McDowell (30.4).
Additionally, two drivers outside the postseason cutoff with the biggest Playoff streaks in jeopardy this season are Hendrick Motorsports teammates Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman. Elliott, the 2020 series champion, has earned a spot in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs the last seven consecutive seasons (2016-2022), and Bowman has appeared in the Playoffs the last five consecutive seasons (2018-2022). Currently Bowman is ranked 20th in the Playoff outlook standings, -46 points behind McDowell in 16th, and Elliott is ranked 21st, -56 points back.
Short Track Kings: Drivers to watch this weekend
Of the five remaining tracks on the NASCAR Cup Series regular season schedule, this weekend’s Richmond Raceway is the last short track, begging the question, ‘Who has been the best on the short tracks this season and should be the ones he watch this weekend?’
The NASCAR Cup Series has competed on six short tracks this season – Martinsville, Bristol Dirt, Phoenix, Dover, New Hampshire and Richmond, and two organizations have dominated the six events winning three each, Hendrick Motorsports won at Martinsville, Phoenix and Richmond and Joe Gibbs Racing grabbed wins at Bristol Dirt, Dover and New Hampshire.
Two drivers this season have won multiple times on the short tracks, including the current NASCAR Cup Series points leader Martin Truex Jr (Dover, New Hampshire) and Richmond Raceway’s most recent winner Kyle Larson (Richmond, Martinsville). The other two short track races were won by Christopher Bell (Bristol Dirt) and William Byron (Phoenix).
The driver with the best average starting position at the six previous short track races this season is Hendrick Motorsport’s William Byron with a 6.5, followed by Tyler Reddick with a 7.0, Kyle Busch with a 7.3, Christopher Bell with a 9.2 and Kyle Larson with a 10.5.
The driver with the best average finishing position at the six previous short track races this season is Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. with a 6.6, followed by Tyler Reddick with a 9.3, Christopher Bell with a 10.3, Kevin Harvick with a 10.3 and Chase Briscoe with a 11.5. Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick is the defending winner of this event at Richmond.
A total of 21 different drivers have led laps at the six previous short track races this season, led by Kyle Larson with 405 laps led, followed by William Byron with 383 and Martin Truex Jr. with 378.
Lucky No. 7: Richmond has produced six different winners in last six races
Long shots and streaks of different winners are nothing new at the famous Richmond Raceway, and this weekend the 0.75-mile track is riding a streak of six different NASCAR Cup Series winners in the last six races – 2020 Brad Keselowski, 2021 Alex Bowman, 2021 Martin Truex Jr., 2022 Denny Hamlin, 2022 Kevin Harvick and 2023 Kyle Larson. So, who will continue to the streak of different winners this weekend?
A total of 25 different drivers entered this weekend are looking for their first win of the 2023 season and nine are looking for their first career win in the series – AJ Allmendinger, Aric Almirola, Alex Bowman, Chase Briscoe, Chris Buescher, Harrison Burton*, Austin Cindric, Ty Dillon*, Austin Dillon, Chase Elliott, Ty Gibbs*, Todd Gilliland*, Noah Gragson*, Justin Haley, Kevin Harvick, Erik Jones, Brad Keselowski, Corey LaJoie*, Michael McDowell, BJ McLeod*, Ryan Newman, Ryan Preece*, Daniel Suárez, Bubba Wallace, JJ Yeley* – Note: Drivers with a (*) symbol indicates they are looking for their first career NASCAR Cup Series win.
Five drivers have posted their first career NASCAR Cup Series win at Richmond Raceway (all-time) – Kasey Kahne (2005), Tony Stewart (1999), Kyle Petty (1986), Neil Bonnett (1977) and James Hylton (1970).
Plus, keep in mind it’s anybody’s race until the checkered flag waves, especially at Richmond Raceway where 12 of the 133 NASCAR Cup Series races (9%) have been won by drivers starting outside the top-20, which is the second-most in the series behind Daytona International Speedway with 14. The deepest in the field that a NASCAR Cup Series race winner has started at Richmond Raceway is 32nd, by Kyle Busch in the April race of 2018.
Defending winner Kevin Harvick’s last ride at Richmond
Stewart-Haas Racing veteran Kevin Harvick announced at the beginning of the season this would be his last year competing fulltime in the NASCAR Cup Series, making this weekend’s Cook Out 400 at Richmond Raceway his last run at the famed three-quarters mile track.
“Richmond falls into that flat-track category, and we’ve always been really good at the flat-track stuff,” said Harvick. “As I’ve gone through the years, Richmond has just been one of those places that’s been really good. I know it’s not Rodney’s (Childers, crew chief) favorite racetrack to go to, but it’s one of my favorites to go to, and I’m glad we finally got to victory lane because we’ve had some good nights and some good cars there, and to be able to pull that off last year was good for everybody. Richmond is just a good short track.”
Harvick has made 44 series starts at Richmond posting four wins, 18 top fives and 30 top 10s. Harvick is currently the highest ranked driver in the standings without a win this season.
Win & You’re In: Who has previous wins at these last five tracks of the regular season
The easiest way to earn a spot in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs is to win a race, and with just five chances left to do just that in the regular season, here is a look at the drivers that have formerly visited Victory Lane in the NASCAR Cup Series at these next five upcoming tracks.
Of the 22 drivers that are currently winless this season and running fulltime for a championship, 11 of them have won at one of the five remaining tracks on the regular season schedule – Richmond, Michigan, Indianapolis, Watkins Glen and Daytona.
At Richmond Raceway, the three active drivers without wins this season that have formerly won at the 0.75-mile track are Kevin Harvick (four wins), Brad Keselowski (two wins) and Alex Bowman (one win).
At Michigan International Speedway, only one driver without wins this season has formerly won at the 2-mile track and it is Kevin Harvick with six Cup victories (series-most).
At the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course, only one driver without wins this season has formerly won at the 2.439-mile road course and it is Kaulig Racing’s AJ Allmendinger, who grabbed the win in 2021.
At Watkins Glen International, the three active drivers without wins this season that have formerly won at the 2.450-mile road course are Chase Elliott (two wins), AJ Allmendinger (one win) and Kevin Harvick (one win).
At Daytona International Speedway, the eight active drivers without wins this season that have formerly won at the 2.5-mile superspeedway are Austin Dillon (two wins), Kevin Harvick (two wins), Brad Keselowski (one win), Michael McDowell (one win), Austin Cindric (one win), Justin Haley (one win), Aric Almirola (one win), and Erik Jones (one win). Since Daytona moved to the regular season finale event in 2020, two of the three wins in the regular season finale have catapulted the driver into the postseason – William Byron (2020) and Austin Dillon (2022).
NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.
Truex Jr. on the verge of second Regular Season Championship – Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. put up his eighth top-five finish of the season last weekend at Pocono Raceway to open-up his NASCAR Cup Series driver point standings lead to 30 points over Hendrick Motorsports’ William Byron in second. With only five races left in the regular season, anything can happen but as they sit right now Martin Truex Jr. (2017) looks like he is on the verge of becoming just the second driver all-time to win multiple NASCAR Cup Series Regular Season Championships; joining Kyle Busch (2015, 2019). Plus, along with the prestige, Truex would bank the additional 15 Playoff bonus points that come with the title.
Truex is one of seven different drivers to occupy the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings lead this season. In 21 starts this year, Truex has accumulated three wins, three stage wins, eight top fives and 11 top 10s.
Regular Season Championship Clinch Scenarios:
Martin Truex Jr. (or whoever’s first in points) needs to be up by the corresponding number after the race to clinch:
Richmond – 240 or 241 points, depending on tie-break
Michigan – 180 or 181 points, depending on tie-break
Indianapolis – 120 or 121 points, depending on tie-break
Watkins Glen – 60 or 61 points, depending on tie-break
Daytona – 0 or 1 point, depending on tie-break
The inception of the NASCAR Cup Series Regular Season Championship into the series was in 2017, and since then five different drivers have won the title.
|NASCAR Cup Series Regular Season Champions|
|1||2||Kyle Busch||2019, 2018|
|Martin Truex Jr.||2017|
Three of the five drivers that have won the Regular Season Championship went on to win the overall NASCAR Cup Series Championship the same season – Martin Truex Jr. (2017), Kyle Busch (2019) and Kyle Larson (2021).
Richmond Raceway, The NASCAR Foundation ramp up community giveback efforts – As NASCAR racing returns to Richmond Raceway July 29-30 for the Cook Out 400 Weekend, the track and the sport will use its collective horsepower to make a difference within the Greater Richmond community. Race week events include:
- Wednesday, July 26 – Track Laps for Charity presented by Worldwide Express: From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., motorists can drive their personal vehicles five laps around the ¾-mile d-shaped oval for just a $20 donation. All proceeds will benefit Richmond Raceway Cares and UMFS: Virginia Foster. To register, visit https://www.richmondraceway.com/events/tracklaps/
- Thursday, July 27 – Building Bikes for the Greater Richmond YMCA: From 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., Toyota Racing in conjunction with Richmond Area Toyota Dealer employees and The NASCAR Foundation will build bikes at Richmond Raceway that will be delivered to kids from the Greater Richmond YMCA.
- Thursday, July 27 – WWEX Racing Delivers Smiles at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU: WWEX Racing, an initiative of the WWEX group of brands including Worldwide Express, will celebrate its longstanding relationship with Children’s Hospital of Richmond from 10 a.m.-noon. Drivers Bayley Currey and Carson Hocevar will visit with patients and families and pass out racing-themed goodies. The NASCAR Foundation will also distribute dozens of NASCAR-themed Speedy Bears as part of NASCAR’s efforts to give back to local communities through the “That You, Fans” campaign.
- Friday, July 28 – The NASCAR Foundation’s Speediatrics Fun Day Festival powered by Kaulig Giving: More than 130 kids from the Greater YMCA of Richmond will visit the NASCAR Experience in the Richmond Raceway midway from 10:00 a.m. – noon. Corey Heim, driver of the No. 11 Toyota Tundra in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series, will sign autographs and participate in NASCAR-themed activities. The children will then be surprised by the bikes built for them by employees of Richmond Area Toyota Dealers. Toyota Racing will also provide tickets for the Cook Out 400 to each child and a parent.
- Friday, July 28 – Coca-Cola & NASCAR Cup Series star Ryan Blaney donating backpacks: The Coca-Cola Company will be doing a backpack donation and check presentation at the Chickahominy YMCA from 9:45 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. In attendance will be Richmond Raceway President Lori Collier Waran, Virginia State Senator Lamont Bagby, and Ryan Blaney, driver of the No. 12 Team Penske Ford Mustang GT.
“It would be impossible for Richmond Raceway to showcase the world’s greatest drivers and our other great events if it weren’t for the support of our outstanding community,” said Richmond Raceway President Lori Collier Waran. “We owe it to the children and families of this community to use our powerful platform to make it a better place for all.”
West Coast Customs, 23XI Racing have special project for fans at Richmond – Ryan Friedlinghaus and his world-renowned team from West Coast Customs are building a street-legal NASCAR Next Gen Toyota Camry TRD during the Cook Out 400 Weekend on July 29-30 at Richmond Raceway. The West Coast Customs design inspired the look of Tyler Reddick’s No. 45 Xfinity 10G Toyota Camry TRD that Reddick will race for 23XI Racing in the Cook Out 400 on July 30.
The paint scheme designs for both cars were unveiled on social media on July 19, and current and recent students from the Henrico County Schools CTE program will assist Ryan Friedlinghaus with the build.
Fans can watch the West Coast Customs build live inside the NASCAR Racing Experience located in the Richmond Raceway midway July 29-30.
Note for planning Editors: Ryan Friedlinghaus will hold a demonstration for media at 2:30 p.m. July 28 at the NASCAR Experience build site at Richmond Raceway. Please RSVP to Matt Humphrey with NASCAR Communications ([email protected]) to attend.
Milestone Watch: Alex Bowman to make 275th career Cup start this weekend – Hendrick Motorsports’ driver Alex Bowman, from Tucson, Arizona, will attempt to make his 275th NASCAR Cup Series career starts this weekend at Richmond Raceway in the Cook Out 400 (Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on USA, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Bowman has competed in the NASCAR Cup Series for three different organizations during his career; in 2014 he drive for BK Racing, then in 2016 he competed for Tommy Baldwin Racing before moving over to Hendrick Motorsports where he has been since 2017.
Bowman made his NASCAR Cup Series career debut on February 17, 2014 in the DAYTONA 500, he started 29th and finished 23rd. In total, Bowman has made 274 career starts, earning a spot in the Playoffs the last five consecutive seasons (2018-2022), and posting four poles, seven wins, 31 top fives and 75 top 10s.
Looking to this weekend at Richmond, Bowman has made 14 starts at the 0.75-mile track putting up one win and four top 10s.
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Turning left and right at Road America
After some fun at Pocono Raceway with only three turns, the NASCAR Xfinity Series will now head to Road America to give its 14-turn course a go for the Road America 180 on Saturday, July 29 at 3 p.m. ET on NBC, the NBC Sports App, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
There have been 13 NASCAR Xfinity Series races at Road America’s 4.048-mile course, producing eight pole winners and a new winner every year (13). Three races have been won from the pole or first starting position, most recently by AJ Allmendinger in 2013.
Drivers will push to break the qualifying and race records this weekend, spots currently held by Alex Tagliani and Nelson Piquet Jr., respectively. Tagliani snagged the qualifying record in 2016 with a speed of 109.866 mph, while Piquet Jr. became the race record holder in 2012 with his speed of 85.171 mph.
A few other drivers have their names etched in the Road America Xfinity Series record book: AJ Allmendinger and Alex Tagliani are tied for most poles with two each, Brendan Gaughan has posted the most top fives at four, and Justin Allgaier and Elliott Sadler are tied for most top 10s at five each.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series will kick off its weekend with practice at 5 p.m. ET followed by qualifying at 6 p.m. ET on Friday, July 28 on the USA Network and streamed on the NBC Sports App.
Hot Streak: Will the Road America different Xfinity winners streak continue?
The NASCAR Xfinity Series has been making its way to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin to race at Road America since 2010, and surprisingly, there has yet to be a repeat winner.
Road America currently holds the longest active Xfinity Series different winners streak at 13. The record for the most consecutive different winners at a single track is 23, set at New Hampshire Motor Speedway between the 1990-2009 seasons.
The drivers that have landed themselves in Victory Lane at Road America are Carl Edwards (2010), Reed Sorenson (2011), Nelson Piquet Jr. (2012), AJ Allmendinger (2013), Brendan Gaughan (2014), Paul Menard (2015), Michael McDowell (2016), Jeremy Clements (2017), Justin Allgaier (2018), Christopher Bell (2019), Austin Cindric (2020), Kyle Busch (2021), and Ty Gibbs (2022).
Of the 13 drivers that have taken the checkered flag at Road America, only three will have the opportunity to add another Road America trophy to their trophy case this weekend – AJ Allmendinger, Jeremy Clements and Justin Allgaier.
Cup Series regular AJ Allmendinger has five Xfinity Series starts at the Wisconsin road course. In those five starts, he’s posted one win (2013), three top fives, and four top 10s. Road America is particularly special for him as it marks his first ever Xfinity Series win. The veteran driver isn’t called a road course ringer for nothing, sitting as the series’ winningest driver on road courses.
In his 450 Xfinity Series career starts, Clements has posted two wins – his first at Road America in 2017 and his second in Daytona in 2022. His first ever win at Road America came as a surprise for all as he was in a nine-year-old car with his small family-owned team. Clements is still looking to post his first top 10 of the 2023 season. His best finish thus far has been 14th, which was on the road course in Austin, Texas (COTA).
Allgaier has made 11 series starts at Road America, posting one win (2018), two top fives and five top 10s. He heads into the weekend with a string of top-five and top-10 finishes on other road courses this season – COTA (fifth), Portland (second), Sonoma (seventh) and Chicago (third).
Painting the Playoff picture heading into Road America
Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Hill capitalized on JR Motorsport’s Josh Berry’s mistake in Turn 1 during the final restart in Overtime at Pocono Raceway last weekend to win his fourth race of the season, and tie Joe Gibbs Racing’s John Hunter Nemechek for the series-most wins this year at four each. With another repeat winner, five spots are still up for grabs to make the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs with just seven races left in the regular season, including this weekend’s Road America 180.
The seven drivers that have already earned their spot in the Playoffs by virtue of their wins this season are John Hunter Nemechek, Austin Hill, Cole Custer, Justin Allgaier, Chandler Smith, Sammy Smith, and Jeb Burton.
The five drivers who are currently occupying the remaining postseason spots and would transfer on points are Josh Berry (+110 points above the Playoff cutoff), Daniel Hemric (+86 points), Sam Mayer (+78 points), Sheldon Creed (+49 points), and Riley Herbst (+26 points).
Berry, 110 points above the cutline, only has one start on the 4.048-mile road course in Elkhart Lake (2022) but pulled off a third-place finish after racing his up from the 16th starting position.
Hemric, 86 points above the cutline, has made five starts at Road America, posting two top-five and two top-10 finishes. His best finish on the road course was runner-up in 2021, finishing second behind Kyle Busch. The 2021 series champion is looking to make the Playoffs for the fifth time in his career (2017-2018, 2021-2022).
Mayer, 78 points above the cutline, has two starts on the Wisconsin road course with a best finish of 20th. Although he hasn’t done as well as he would hope at Road America, he has put up some great finishes on other road courses this season: COTA (seventh), Portland (third), Sonoma (10th). This year Mayer is looking for his second appearance in the postseason, he made his series career debut in the Playoffs last season (2022).
Creed, 49 points above the cutline, hasn’t had the best of luck at Road America, unable to finish the race in either one of his starts, but he has proved himself on other road courses this season, posting a ninth-place finish at COTA, a seventh-place finish at Portland, and an 11th-place finish at Sonoma. This season, Creed, the 2020 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series champion, is looking to make the Xfinity Series Playoffs for the first time in his career. He finished 14th in the final Xfinity championship standings last season.
Herbst, currently in the 12th final Playoff spot and 26 points above the cutline, has made three starts at Road America, where he has posted two top-10 finishes. This season, Herbst is looking to make the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs for the fourth consecutive year (2020-2022) in his career.
Exactly right below the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs cutline is Parker Kligerman in the 13th position with 467 points, -26 points back from Herbst in the 12th and final postseason transfer spot on points. Kligerman has made two Xfinity Series starts at Road America, posting a third-place finish (2013) and a 10th-place finish (2017). Kligerman is also looking to make his Xfinity Series career debut in the Playoffs this season.
Xfinity Sunoco Rookie of the Year race continues
The 2023 Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders have 19 races under their belts and are heading to Road America for their 20th of the season and their fifth on a road course this year.
Diving into the NASCAR Xfinity Series driver standings following Pocono Raceway, currently leading the pack of Sunoco rookies is Kaulig Racing’s Chandler Smith, from Talking Rock, Georgia. The Kaulig Racing rising star has secured his spot in the Playoffs with his one win (Richmond-1), five top fives and eight top 10s this season. He resides in fifth in the overall series driver standings with 587 points. Smith will be making his series track debut at Road America this weekend.
Sliding in next is Joe Gibbs Racing’s Sammy Smith, from Johnston, Iowa, who has also secured his spot in the Xfinity Playoffs with his first career win at Phoenix Raceway earlier this season. Smith is currently second in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standing, just -39 points behind Chandler Smith in the standings lead. Sammy Smith has racked up 548 points this season and has posted a win (Phoenix), four top fives and 10 top 10s. Smith made his series track debut at Road America last season; he started eighth and finished 24th.
Jordan Anderson Racing’s Parker Retzlaff, from Rhinelander, Wisconsin, is ranked third in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings with 340 points, -247 points back from the rookie standings lead. This season, Retzlaff has posted one top-five and four top-10 finishes in 19 starts.
And closing out the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings in 2023 is Our Motorsport’s Blaine Perkins, from Bakersfield, California, with 153 points, -434 points behind the rookie standings lead. Perkins has made 17 starts this season posting an average finish of 28.2.
NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.
Stanton Barrett to run at Road America for Emerling-Gase – Stanton Barrett will be getting behind the wheel of the No. 35 Chevrolet for Emerling-Gase Motorsports at Road America this weekend.
This will be his first start in the series since the 2019 season. He’s made five starts in the series at Road America, with a best finish of 17th (2010).
“We are excited to have Stanton and his partners on board for this weekend,” said EGM co-owner Joey Gase. “His wealth of experience is a huge asset for the team, and we can’t wait to see what Stanton can do behind the wheel of the #35.”
Milestone Watch: Justin Allgaier to make 425th NASCAR Xfinity Series career start this weekend – JR Motorsport’s veteran Justin Allgaier will attempt to make his 425th NASCAR Xfinity Series career start this weekend at Road America. Allgaier is ranked eighth on the all-time NASCAR Xfinity Series starts lists with 424 starts; second-most among active drivers behind Jeremy Clements at 450. Kenny Wallace holds the record for the most career NASCAR Xfinity Series starts with 547.
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series
Kyle Busch seizes KBM’s 100th CRAFTSMAN Truck Series victory with last-lap pass at Pocono
To cap off a thrilling afternoon at Pocono Raceway, Kyle Busch – the winningest driver in CRAFTSMAN Truck Series history with 64 victories – executed a perfect last-lap pass on the current driver standings leader, Corey Heim, to secure Kyle Busch Motorsports’ 100th NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series victory – the series-most.
The driver of the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Chevrolet made a daring move in Turn 2 and was able to edge Heim by 0.604-seconds at the finish line. With five starts on the year, Busch secured his second win of the season – the first being at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March. The Las Vegas native has now recorded 229 career victories across the three NASCAR national series – most all-time.
Following Heim, TRICON Garage’s Taylor Gray finished a career-best third with another NASCAR Cup Series full-timer, Christopher Bell, in fourth place in the Hattori Racing Enterprises No. 61 Toyota. Grant Enfinger rounded out the top five in the No. 23 GMS Racing Chevrolet.
Eighteen different drivers contributed to KBM’s 100 wins, including the driver of the No. 11 TRICON Garage Toyota, Corey Heim.
|KBM Race Winners||NCTS Wins|
|John Hunter Nemechek||7|
|Martin Truex Jr.||1|
How quickly will it take Kyle Busch Motorsports to reach 101? Could possibly happen this weekend, the KBM organization has won the last two races at 0.75-mile track – Chandler Smith (2021) and John Hunter Nemechek (2022).
Summer time Truck racing under the lights at Richmond Raceway
With just one race left in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series regular season, Richmond Raceway has set the stage for some Saturday night short track racing in the Worldwide Express 250 (July 29 at 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, and SiriusXM Radio) to decide who will fill the 10-driver postseason field for 2023 Playoffs.
To date, Richmond Raceway has hosted 14 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series races on the 0.75-mile track, producing 10 different pole winners and 11 different race winners.
The inaugural CRAFTSMAN Truck Series race at Richmond Raceway was held on September 7, 1995, the series’ inaugural season, and was won by one of NASCAR’s 75 Greatest Drivers, Terry Labonte, piloting the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.
Tony Stewart (2002, 2003), Mike Skinner (1996, 2005), and Jack Sprague (1998, 2001), lead the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series in wins at the 0.75-mile track with two victories each. GMS Racing’s Grant Enfinger (2020) is the only previous winner entered this weekend, while Matt Crafton has visited the track a total of eight times – the most out of the field.
One race left to set the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoff field
The Worldwide Express 250 at Richmond Raceway is the last chance for competitors to earn a spot in the Playoffs and it will officially mark the end of the 2023 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Regular Season. Six drivers are locked into the Playoffs by virtue of their wins this season – Corey Heim, Zane Smith, Grant Enfinger, Christian Eckes, Carson Hocevar and Ben Rhodes – and one driver has already clinched a spot on points – Ty Majeski – leaving just three postseason positions still up for grabs this weekend.
Clinch Scenarios for Richmond:
The following seven drivers have clinched a spot in the 10-driver postseason field: Corey Heim, Zane Smith, Grant Enfinger, Ben Rhodes, Ty Majeski, Christian Eckes and Carson Hocevar.
Can Clinch Via Points
If there is a repeat winner or a win by a driver who cannot advance to the Playoffs, the following drivers could clinch by being ahead of the fifth winless driver in the standings. The same point requirements listed below would hold true if a new win comes from among Ty Majeski, Matt DiBenedetto, Nicholas Sanchez or Matt Crafton.
- Matt DiBenedetto: Would clinch with 25 points
- Nicholas Sanchez: Would clinch with 35 points
- Matt Crafton: Would clinch with 47 points
- Stewart Friesen: Could only clinch with help
- Tanner Gray: Could only clinch with help
- Chase Purdy: Could only clinch with help
If there is a new winner from Stewart Friesen or another winless driver lower in the standings but still eligible to advance to the Playoffs, the following drivers could clinch by being ahead of the fourth winless driver in the standings.
- Matt DiBenedetto: Would clinch with 34 points
- Nicholas Sanchez: Would clinch with 43 points
- Matt Crafton: Could only clinch with help
- Stewart Friesen: Could only clinch with help
Can Clinch Via Win
The following drivers would clinch on their win alone:
- Matt DiBenedetto, Nicholas Sanchez, Matt Crafton, Stewart Friesen, Tanner Gray, Chase Purdy, Tyler Ankrum, Daniel Dye, Rajah Caruth, Hailie Deegan, Colby Howard, Dean Thompson, Bret Holmes, Lawless Alan, Spencer Boyd
Heim is one start away from a CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Regular Season Championship
Despite missing Gateway due to illness, TRICON Garage’s Corey Heim continues to have a strong year as he holds onto the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series driver standings lead with only one race left in the regular season. The 20-year-old is currently 42 points up on reigning CRAFTSMAN Truck Series champion, Zane Smith heading into Richmond Raceway. Heim is looking to become the seventh different driver to win the Regular Season Championship; joining Christopher Bell (2017), Johnny Sauter (2018), Grant Enfinger (2019), Austin Hill (2020), John H. Nemechek (2021) and Zane Smith (2022).
The Regular Season Championship can be clinched by the following drivers this weekend at Richmond Raceway:
- Corey Heim: Would clinch with 19 points
- Zane Smith: Could only clinch with help
- Grant Enfinger: Could only clinch with help
- Ben Rhodes: Could only clinch with help
- Ty Majeski: Could only clinch with help
Heim’s points lead began after a compelling finish at North Wilkesboro – winning Stage 1 and finishing sixth overall – gaining him a total of 48 points to jump from third in the standings over Ty Majeski and Zane Smith. He has continued to be dominant since. The Georgia native has accumulated two wins (Martinsville, Mid-Ohio), seven top-five and 12 top-10 finishes, as well as leading 399 laps on the season.
The driver of the No. 11 Toyota will clinch the Regular Season Championship if he can accumulate 19 points in Richmond. Heim finished fifth at Richmond last year.
Front Row Motorsports’ Zane Smith (-42 point back from the points leader) continues to stay close to the top spot. Although Smith had a tough stretch from Darlington to Gateway, he managed to bounce back in Nashville, as well as Mid-Ohio, finishing second at each track.
The 24-year-old, who swept the Regular Season and Postseason Championship in 2022, has accumulated two wins, seven top-five and seven top-10 finishes this season. Smith finished ninth at the 0.75-mile D-shaped track last year.
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series, Etc.
Sanchez maintains Sunoco Rookie of the Year lead – As the 2023 CRAFTSMAN Sunoco rookies head to Richmond Raceway, Rev Racing’s Nick Sanchez continues to dominate the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings, 106 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 15 starts he has put up four poles, two top-five and seven top- 10 finishes. He has also led 231 laps this season.
|NCTS Sunoco Rookie of the Year Standings|
If Sanchez is the only rookie to earn a spot in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoffs, he will theoretically clinch this season’s Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors, as his points will be reset to a minimum of 2,000 for the Playoffs, a total the drivers that did not make the postseason will not be able to mathematically reach.
— NASCAR —