NASCAR Cup Series Goodyear 400
Darlington Raceway The Purse: $7,722,261
Sunday, May 14 3 p.m. ET TV: FS1, 1:30 p.m. ET Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 400.2 miles (293 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 90), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 185), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 293)
NASCAR Xfinity Series Shriners Children’s 200
Darlington Raceway The Purse: $1,399,187
Saturday, May 13 1:30 p.m. ET TV: FOX, 1 p.m. ET Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 200.8 miles (147 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 45), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 147)
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Buckle Up South Carolina 200
Darlington Raceway The Purse: $690,259
Friday, May 12 7:30 p.m. ET TV: FS1, 6:30 p.m. ET Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 200.8 miles (147 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 45), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 147)
NASCAR Cup Series
NASCAR readies for Throwback Weekend at Darlington Raceway
The NASCAR Cup Series is on a blast to the past this weekend at Darlington Raceway, as NASCAR legends of today and yesteryear come together to celebrate Throwback Weekend and the series competes in the 13th race of the 2023 season, the Goodyear 400 on Sunday, May 14 at 3 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Many of the drivers will be paying tribute to the past this weekend with special paint schemes on their cars. For a full detailed list of the paint schemes and cars participating, plus the opportunity to vote on your favorite paint scheme, select this link and visit NASCAR.com’s 2023 Throwback Weekend Gallery.
In addition, to cars on-track having a distinctive look with their paint schemes this weekend, the FOX Sports booth will have some special guests join Mike Joy and Clint Bowyer to call portions of the Goodyear 400. NASCAR Hall of Famer ‘The King’ Richard Petty and his son former driver Kyle Petty will be first up bringing their vast knowledge of the series. The Pettys will be in the booth during Stage 1 of the race, followed by retired driver Carl Edwards, who was recently named to NASCAR’s 75 Greatest Drivers list, during the second stage and NASCAR Hall of Famer ‘Awesome Bill from Dawsonville’, Bill Elliott, will close out the race in the final stage.
All three of the four special guests in the FOX Sports booth this weekend have won at Darlington Raceway in the NASCAR Cup Series, led by Bill Elliott with five victories (1985 sweep, 1988, 1992, 1994), then Richard Petty with three (1966, 1967 sweep) and Carl Edwards has one (2015).
Historic Darlington Raceway a perfect stage for Throwback Weekend
The industry and fans alike all agree Darlington Raceway is the perfect stage for Throwback Weekend.
The historic 1.366-mile egg-shaped paved oval, known as Darlington Raceway, has hosted 123 NASCAR Cup Series races dating back to 1950. The raceway was originally built as a 1.25-mile paved superspeedway in 1949-1950 and hosted the first 500-mile race in NASCAR history, and the first on asphalt on September 4, 1950. A total of 75 cars competed in the inaugural event and Curtis Turner won the pole at 82.034 mph. The race was won by Johnny Mantz (Plymouth, 75.250 mph), and took 6 hours, 38 minutes, and 40 seconds to complete.
Since then, Darlington Raceway has undergone some changes through the years. In 1953, the track was re-measured to 1.375 miles. Then in 1970, the track was re-configured to 1.366 miles following the spring race of that season. The track was repaved in 1995 and then again prior to the 2008 season. Over the years the historic facility has become known amongst its competitors as ‘the track too tough to tame.’
In total, the 123 NASCAR Cup Series races have produced 52 different pole winners and 52 different race winners. Six of the 52 NASCAR Cup Series Busch Light pole winners at Darlington Raceway are active this weekend.
Active Darlington Pole Winners
Joey Logano 2 2022 sweep
Kevin Harvick 2 2017, 2014
William Byron 1 2019
Denny Hamlin 1 2018
Brad Keselowski 1 2015
Ryan Newman 1 2003
NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson leads the NASCAR Cup Series in poles at Darlington Raceway with 12 (1967, ’70, ’72, ’73 sweep, ’75 sweep, ’76 sweep, ’77, ’78 and ’82). Joey Logano (2022 sweep) and Kevin Harvick (2014, 2017) lead all active drivers in poles at Darlington with two each.
Of the 52 NASCAR Cup Series race winners at Darlington Raceway, seven are active this weekend.
Active Darlington Race Winners
Denny Hamlin 4 2021, 2020, 2017, 2010
Kevin Harvick 3 2020, 2020, 2014
Erik Jones 2 2022, 2019
Martin Truex Jr 2 2021, 2016
Joey Logano 1 2022
Brad Keselowski 1 2018
Kyle Busch 1 2008
NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson leads the NASCAR Cup Series in victories at Darlington Raceway with 10 wins (1968, ’70, ’72, ’73, ’74, ’76 sweep, ’77, ’79, 80); followed by Dale Earnhardt with nine and Jeff Gordon with seven. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin leads all active drivers in victories at Darlington with four (2010, 2017, 2020, 2021).
This weekend’s Goodyear 400 will be 293 laps (400.2 miles) and will be broken up into three stages. The first stage will be 90 laps, the second stage will be 95 laps and the final stage will be 108 laps.
On-track activity for the NASCAR Cup Series is set to start with practice and Busch Light Pole qualifying, and both events will be televised on FS1 starting at 10:30 a.m. ET.
Let NASCAR help you celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend
This weekend’s Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway (May 8 at 3:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) will be just the 10th-time in NASCAR Cup Series history the series has competed on Mother’s Day.
The 2021 season was the first time since 2007 the NASCAR Cup Series had competed on Mother’s Day. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. took the win on May 9, 2021 becoming the seventh different driver to win on Mother’s Day in the series.
Then last season, Team Penske’s Joey Logano joined in the Mother’s Day festivities grabbing his first win on the special holiday on May 8, 2022, becoming the eighth different driver to win on Mother’s Day.
Prior to the 2021 season race, the most recent winner on Mother’s Day in the NASCAR Cup Series was NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon, who won the 2007 rain delayed Darlington Raceway race on May 13, 2007.
NASCAR Hall of Famer Buck Baker holds the record for the most wins on Mother’s Day in the NASCAR Cup Series with two victories on the holiday (1956, 1954).
Mother’s Day Race Winners Date Track Holiday
Joey Logano Sunday, May 8, 2022 Darlington Raceway Mother’s Day
Martin Truex Jr. Sunday, May 9, 2021 Darlington Raceway Mother’s Day
Jeff Gordon Sunday, May 13, 2007 Darlington Raceway Mother’s Day
Cale Yarborough Sunday, May 14, 1978 Talladega Superspeedway Mother’s Day
Benny Parsons Sunday, May 9, 1971 South Boston Speedway Mother’s Day
Bob Welborn Sunday, May 11, 1958 Greensboro Fairgrounds Mother’s Day
Buck Baker Sunday, May 13, 1956 Orange Speedway Mother’s Day
Tim Flock Sunday, May 8, 1955 Arizona State Fairgrounds Mother’s Day
Buck Baker Sunday, May 9, 1954 Wilson Speedway Mother’s Day
Joe Gibbs Racing is getting hot for the Summer stretch
Back-to-back wins for Joe Gibbs Racing at Dover and Kansas has the organization heating up as the NASCAR Cup Series prepares for the Summer stretch of the 2023 schedule. Virginia native, Denny Hamlin is the most recent winner from the JGR camp to visit Victory Lane and secure his spot in not only the Playoffs but the NASCAR All-Star Race that will take place next weekend at the historically famous North Wilkesboro Speedway.
This is the 17th-time Hamlin has qualified for the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs – the series-most. This season, Hamlin has put up one win (Kansas), three top fives and five top 10s in 12 starts. He is currently ranked fourth in the driver standings just 36 points behind Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain in the series lead.
With Hamlin’s win last weekend, three of the four Joe Gibbs Racing drivers have qualified for the postseason on wins (Christopher Bell, Bristol Dirt and Martin Truex Jr., Dover) leaving just Ty Gibbs the lone man out. In his rookie season, Ty Gibbs is currently ranked 18th in the driver standings just seven points back from Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe in the 16th and final Playoff transfer spot.
Looking to Darlington this weekend, don’t expect the JGR contingent to slow down any. Joe Gibbs Racing has the second-most wins by an active organization at Darlington with 10 victories (2021 sweep, ‘20, ’19, ’17, ’15, ’13, ’10, ’08, ’00), the most recent was when the organization swept the 2021 season’s races with Martin Truex Jr. winning in May and Denny Hamlin taking the win in September of that year. Plus, Denny Hamlin leads all active NASCAR Cup Series drivers in wins at Darlington Raceway with four (2021, 2020, 2017, 2010).
“It’s a tough track mentally and physically,” said Denny Hamlin. “It’s a driver’s track because the driver can make a difference at Darlington. You can manipulate the way your car is handling based on the line you choose to run. There’s something about it that has always matched my style of driving no matter what type of car we’re racing, so I anticipate we’ll have a really good shot at contending this weekend.”
Joe Gibbs Racing’s drivers at Darlington:
Denny Hamlin – In 21 starts he has put up four wins, 12 top fives and 16 top 10s. His average finish is 7.4 and he has led 792 laps at the 1.366-mile track.
Martin Truex Jr. – In 21 starts he has posted two wins, four top fives and 10 top 10s. His average finish is 12.3 and he has led 769 laps at the 1.366-mile track.
Christopher Bell – In seven starts has put up one top fives and two top 10s. His average finish is 16.2 and he has led 16 laps at the 1.366-mile facility.
Ty Gibbs – Made his series track debut last September and he started 21st and finished 15th.
Regular Season Midway Point: Playoff spots are disappearing
The NASCAR Cup Series has reached its midway point of the regular season with the 13th race of 2023 schedule, the Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway on Sunday, May 14 at 3 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. At the halfway point of the regular season, Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain is the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings point leader and nine other drivers have won already this season bringing the total of Playoff spots already occupied to 10. That leaves just six positions still available to make the postseason.
The 10 drivers that have currently earned a spot in the Playoffs are Kyle Larson (two wins), William Byron (two wins), Kyle Busch (two wins), Christopher Bell, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., Tyler Reddick, Joey Logano, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (each have one win) and Ross Chastain (currently winless but is the points leader).
Of the six drivers currently in Playoff contention on points, Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick has the biggest points cushion (+98) between himself and the postseason cutoff. Just behind Harvick in the Playoff outlook is Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney with +89 points on the postseason cutoff, and RFK Racing teammates Brad Keselowski with +75 and Chris Buescher with +49. Trackhouse Racing’s Daniel Suárez is currently ranked 15th in the Playoff outlook just 22 points up on 23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace in 17th – the first spot outside the Playoff cutoff.
Currently in the Playoff hot seat is Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe, who is grasping ahold of his 16th and final Playoff spot by a mere three points over Bubba Wallace in 17th and seven points over Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate and Joe Gibbs Racing driver Ty Gibbs in 18th.
Heading into this weekend at Darlington Raceway, of the 22 Playoff eligible drivers that have not already earned a spot in the postseason this year, 13 have made the Playoffs previously in their careers and seven of them made the Playoffs last season – Kevin Harvick, Ryan Blaney, Daniel Suárez, Chase Briscoe, Austin Cindric, Chase Elliott and Austin Dillon all made the postseason in 2022. The other six drivers looking for a spot in the 2023 Playoffs that have made the postseason prior to last year are Brad Keselowski, Chris Buescher, Michael McDowell, Erik Jones, Aric Almirola and AJ Allmendinger.
Three former Darlington winners without victories this season
A total of seven former NASCAR Cup Series Darlington Raceway winners are active this weekend in the Goodyear 400 (3 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), and three of them are still looking for their first win of the 2023 season.
Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick has three NASCAR Cup Series victories at Darlington Raceway (2014, May 2020, Sept. 2020) and hopes to make it four this weekend. Harvick is currently riding a winless streak that dates back to August 14, 2022 at Richmond Raceway – 24 races ago. This season, Harvick has announced this will be his final fulltime season in the series and in 12 starts has put up three top fives, five top 10 and an average finish of 13.5. Harvick has made 30 series starts at Darlington collecting two poles, three wins, 13 top fives and 18 top 10s. His average finish is 12.7 (eighth-best among active drivers). He finished fourth in this event last season.
LEGACY MOTOR CLUB’s Erik Jones won at Darlington Raceway in 2019, just his second career victory in the series, and then did it again last September to become the most recent winner at the famous Darlington Raceway. Jones is currently wrestling a winless streak that dates back to his win at Darlington on September 4, 2022 – 21 races ago. This season, Jones is ranked 24th in the driver standings and has put up two top 10s in 12 starts. Looking ahead to this weekend, Darlington Raceway is one of Jones’ best tracks on the schedule. The Byron, Michigan native has made 10 starts at the ‘Lady In Black’ posting two wins (2019, 2022), five top fives and seven top 10s. His average finish at 1.366-mile track is 10.7 (third-best among active drivers).
RFK Racing’s Brad Keselowski has just a single victory at Darlington Raceway (2018) but don’t count him out this weekend. Keselowski made the jump to invest in RFK Racing and become an owner/driver last season and in his second year with organization the Michigan native has put up two top fives and five top 10s in 12 starts. Keselowski is straddling a winless streak that dates back to April 25, 2021 at Talladega Superspeedway – 74 races ago. Keselowski has made 18 series starts at Darlington putting up one pole, one win, five top fives and nine top 10s. His average finish is 12.1.
NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.
Ricky Craven, Kurt Busch named Honorary Starters for Goodyear 400 – Twenty years after their side-by-side battle at Darlington Raceway produced the closest finish in NASCAR Cup Series history, Ricky Craven and Kurt Busch are teaming up to produce an exhilarating start to the Goodyear 400.
Darlington Raceway announced that the legendary NASCAR drivers will serve as the Goodyear 400’s Honorary Starters on May 14. They will also serve as Grand Marshals for the annual Darlington Throwback Parade on Saturday, May 13, adding yet another historic connection to The Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR.
“I still get excited watching replays of that incredible finish,” said Darlington Raceway President Kerry Tharp. “The fact that it is still widely talked about 20 years later is a testament to the legendary racers who made it happen. The way Ricky Craven and Kurt Busch raced to the checkered flag, and the way they handled themselves afterwards, is the finest example of good, hard, competitive racing that I can remember. We’re honored to have them serve in these dignitary roles for our upcoming Throwback Weekend.”
Darlington Raceway Throwback Parade to showcase NASCAR history – Grand Marshals Kurt Busch and Ricky Craven will lead the cavalcade through downtown Darlington at 4:45 p.m. ET following the NASCAR Xfinity Series Shriners Children’s 200. The parade will begin on Edwards Street and proceed down Pearl Street before turning left onto Race Track Road and entering Gate 32 into the track’s midway.
This annual parade will feature the Lamar High School Marching Band, historic stockcars, beauty queens, the Goodyear Earth Roamer with NASCAR legend Dave Marcis aboard, and Shriners Children’s Hospital representatives. A group of NASCAR’s 75 Greatest Drivers including Dale Jarrett, Greg Biffle, Ryan Newman, Ernie Irvan and the Labonte brothers, Terry and Bobby will ride the route in the back of Ford F-150s.
“The Throwback Parade is such an appropriate way to celebrate the Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR and NASCAR’s 75th Anniversary,” said Darlington Raceway President Kerry Tharp. “Each legendary driver in this tradition-rich parade has put their mark on NASCAR history in some way.”
Dale Jarrett Named Honorary Pace Car Driver for Goodyear 400 – One of NASCAR’s 75 Greatest Drivers will lead its current stars to the green flag on Sunday, May 14. Darlington Raceway announced that NASCAR Hall of Famer and 1999 NASCAR Cup Series champion Dale Jarrett will serve as the Honorary Pace Car Driver for the Goodyear 400. He joins an illustrious list of living legends who will be on hand for the culmination of The Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR and the pinnacle of NASCAR’s 75th Anniversary celebration.
“Dale Jarrett is more than just a legendary driver and broadcaster, he’s an incredible ambassador for NASCAR,” said Darlington Raceway President Kerry Tharp. “Not only does he provide a powerful connection to our past, he also promotes our present and serves as a shining example for our future. We’re thrilled he’ll lead the field to green for the Goodyear 400.”
A year before winning his NASCAR Cup Series championship, Jarrett was named as one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers of All Time. He was enshrined in the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2014 following a 24-year career that included three DAYTONA 500 triumphs and two Brickyard 400 wins.
“I’ve always had a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for Darlington Raceway,” said Jarrett, who now serves a NASCAR on NBC broadcaster. “The track is challenging, the fans are passionate and the racing is always fantastic. It was a major achievement to win races there, and I’m grateful to have this opportunity to drive the pace car on this historic day for our sport.”
Next Gen puts up impressive numbers at Kansas – The Next Gen car in the NASCAR Cup Series continues to provide some of the best racing the NASCAR Cup Series has ever produced.
This season’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway set a new track record in lead changes with 37; up +29.7% from the previous Kansas track record of 26 lead changes set in 2009.
The 2023 Kansas Speedway NASCAR Cup Series race with 65 Green Flag Passes for the Lead, set a new track record and saw an increase of +58.5% in Green Flag Passes for the Lead compared to the 2022 Kansas event with 41 Green Flag Passes for the Lead.
The 2023 Kansas Speedway NASCAR Cup Series race (3,632 GFP) saw an increase of +67.6% in Total Green Flag Passes compared to the 2022 Kansas-1 event with 2,167 Total Green Flag Passes.
Milestone Watch: Burton, Dillon, Gilliland and Keselowski – Over the next several weeks a few NASCAR Cup Series drivers will be making milestone starts in their careers.
This week at Darlington Raceway, Harrison Burton is expected to make his 50th NASCAR Cup Series career start.
Then in a couple of weeks at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Austin Dillon is expected to make his 350th NASCAR Cup Series career start.
Front Row Motorsport’s Todd Gilliland will also be making his 50th NASCAR Cup Series career start at Charlotte Motor Speedway in a few weeks. Plus, this weekend Todd Gilliland and FRM will honor former driver and current Senior Vice President of Competition at NASCAR, Elton Sawyer with a throwback paint scheme on his No. 38 Ford to help celebrate NASCAR’s 75th Anniversary and its annual throwback weekend. Gilliland’s car will have a similar paint scheme to what Sawyer ran in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in the 1997 and 1998 seasons.
Then at World Wide Technology Raceway, RFK Racing’s Brad Keselowski is expected to become the 46th different driver all-time to eclipse the 500 starts mark in the NASCAR Cup Series.
NASCAR Xfinity Series
NASCAR Xfinity Series gears up for Darlington’s Throwback Weekend
After a weekend off, the NASCAR Xfinity Series will be back in action at Darlington Raceway for the Shriners Children’s 200 this Saturday, May 13 at 1:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR radio, the 11th race of the 2023 season.
There have been 65 Xfinity Series races held at Darlington Raceway, producing 35 different race winners and 31 different pole winners. Fifteen races have been won from the pole or first starting position, most recently by Denny Hamlin in 2017, who sits as the Darlington race record holder with his 2015 speed of 141.355 mph.
NASCAR Hall of Famer Mark Martin holds quite a few records at the historic 1.366-mile track as well – most wins (eight), most poles (eight), most top fives (14), most top 10s (18) and most laps led (972).
The Xfinity Series drivers will kick off their weekend on Friday, March 12 with practice at 5:05 p.m. followed by qualifying at 5:35 p.m. on FS1.
Conquering ‘The Lady in Black’
It’s NASCAR’s Throwback weekend at Darlington Raceway so let’s take a trip down memory lane.
Three drivers entered in this weekend’s Shriners Children’s 200 have conquered ‘The Lady in Black’ – Cole Custer (2019), Brandon Jones (2020) and Justin Allgaier (2021 and 2022).
Stewart-Haas Racing’s Cole Custer snagged his win in 2019 in his No. 00 Ford. He has made three starts at Darlington Raceway, posting one win, two top fives and three top 10s.
JR Motorsport’s Brandon Jones posted his Darlington Raceway Xfinity Series win in 2020 after leading just the last two laps and beating the competition by 3.363 seconds. He’s no stranger to the 1.366-mile track, having made 10 starts posting one win (2020), two top fives and five top 10s. In last season’s fall race, he started from the pole position.
Allgaier is the only driver in the field this weekend with multiple wins at ‘The Track Too Tough To Tame’ (2021, 2022). In fact, JR Motorsports has won the last four straight Darlington races – Justin Allgaier (May 2021 and May 2022), Noah Gragson (Sept. 2021 and Sept, 2022). The veteran driver from Illinois has made 15 starts at the 1.366-mile egg-shaped track posting two wins, six top fives, 11 top 10s and has led 157 laps.
Going big on the throwback paint schemes at Darlington
This weekend is NASCAR’s official throwback weekend, and the NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers are excited to show off their paint schemes at the track. Take a look at the paint schemes that have been announced so far:
Cole Custer’s No. 00 SHR Ford will honor Jason Leffler’s 2004 paint scheme.
Riley Herbst’s No. 98 SHR Ford is inspired by Ken Block’s 2010 Fiesta Rally car.
Sheldon Creed’s No. 2 RCR Chevrolet will pay tribute to Kevin Harvick’s 2001 championship winning ACDelco car.
Austin Hill’s No. 21 RCR Chevrolet will resemble Kevin Harvick’s 2006 championship winning car.
Justin Allgaier’s No. 7 JRM Chevrolet will pay homage to BRANDT’s 70th anniversary.
Sam Mayer will be throwing it back to Kurt Busch’s 2001 black and blue Sharpie scheme in his No. 1 JRM Chevrolet.
Josh Berry’s No. 8 JRM Chevrolet will resemble Hut Stricklin’s 1996 Circuit City car.
Sammy Smith’s No. 18 JGR Toyota will honor Pilot Flying J’s 65th anniversary.
Brett Moffitt’s No. 25 Ford with AM Racing will throw it back to Tim Richmond’s 1986-1987 Folgers car.
Kaz Grala’s No. 26 SHR Toyota will honor NASCAR’s fire and safety workers, as well as first responders.
Jeffrey Earnhardt’s No. 45 Alpha Prime Racing Chevrolet will honor his grandfather’s (Dale Earnhardt) 1997 All-Star race paint scheme.
Sage Karam’s No. 44 Alpha Prime Racing Chevrolet will pay tribute to Richard Childress’ original CRCAuto paint scheme.
Ryan Ellis’ No. 43 Alpha Prime Racing Chevrolet will throw it back to Kevin Harvick’s 2005 Quicksilver design.
Jeremy Clements’ No. 51 Chevrolet will resemble Geoff Bodine’s paint scheme from the 1980s.
For additional paint schemes and other Throwback Weekend information please visit this link to NASCAR.com.
Double duty drivers at Darlington
Some drivers can’t get enough of all the throwback fun, so they’ll be pulling double duty in this weekend’s Shriners Children’s 200 NASCAR Xfinity Series race – Kyle Larson, Ross Chastain, Ty Dillon, Corey Heim, Carson Hocevar and Matt Mills – will all be strapping in on Saturday.
Larson will be teaming up with Kaulig Racing to get behind the wheel of the No. 10 Chevrolet. This will be his first Xfinity Series start of the 2023 season. But the California phenom is familiar with Darlington Raceway, he has made five Xfinity Series starts at 1.366-mile track, posting two top fives and five top 10s.
Current NASCAR Cup Series point standings leader and Trackhouse Racing driver, Ross Chastain, will be pulling triple duty this weekend at Darlington Raceway. For the Shriners Children’s 200, he will be getting behind the wheel of the No. 91 DGM Racing Chevrolet for his second Xfinity Series start of the season. He has made seven starts at the historic Darlington track in the Xfinity Series, posting one top five, three top 10s and has led a total of 134 laps. Chastain will also be in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series race on Friday in the No. 41 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet. This will be Chastain’s fifth Truck Series start of the 2023 season.
Spire Motorsports’ driver Ty Dillon will be rejoining Richard Childress Racing to pilot the No. 3 Chevrolet this weekend at Darlington in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Dillon will be making his first Xfinity Series start of the season this weekend. The North Carolina native, has made eight Xfinity Series starts at Darlington, posting three top 10s.
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series competitor and TRICON Garage driver Corey Heim will be driving the No. 24 Toyota for Sam Hunt Racing this Saturday at Darlington. Heim made his Xfinity Series career debut earlier this season at Dover Motor Speedway and will be making his series track debut at Darlington this weekend.
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series driver and Niece Motorsport’s rising star, Carson Hocevar, will be teaming up with Spire Motorsports to pilot the No. 77 Chevrolet this weekend. Hocevar made his Xfinity Series debut earlier this season at COTA and will be making his series track debut at Darlington this weekend.
NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.
Sunoco Rookie of the Year battle: Chandler Smith holds the lead – The 2023 Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders have 10 races under their belts as they head into this weekend’s Shriners Children’s 200 at Darlington Raceway.
Currently leading the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings is Chandler Smith. The Kaulig Racing driver has secured his spot in the Playoffs with his one win (Richmond), four top fives and five top 10s. He sits in third in the overall standings with 339 points.
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. Smith has racked up 296 points with his one win, three top fives and four top 10s. He currently 43 points behind Chandler Smith.
“I’m hoping we can continue our good short track finishes this weekend at Darlington,” said Sammy Smith. “I’ve never raced here so getting some practice in on Friday will be important. The guys at the shop have prepped a great No. 18 Pilot Flying J Toyota GR Supra for the track. Our paint scheme this weekend is awesome and would look great in Victory Lane!”
Jordan Anderson Racing’s Parker Retzlaff is third in the rookie standings with 199 points. He has posted one top five and two top 10s in his 10 starts this season.
Closing out the competition is Blaine Perkins with 64 points.
JGR’s Ryan Truex is looking to go back-to-back – After finally getting the first win of his career a couple of weeks ago at Dover, Joe Gibbs Racing driver Ryan Truex is back this weekend at Darlington Raceway looking to make two-in-a-row. If Truex accomplishes the feat he will become the eighth different Xfinity Series driver to get their first two wins in back-to-back races; joining Rick Mast (1987), Steve Grissom (1990), Chad Little (1995), Jamie McMurray (2002), Chase Elliott (2014), William Byron (2017) and Austin Cindric (2019).
“The goal is still to win. It always will be,” said Ryan Truex. “That said, there is an immense amount of pressure off my back. I’m not sure how much the mindset will really change between last week and this week in terms of approach. If anything, now that I know what it feels like to win, I’m even more motivated to get back to Victory Lane. I had a great time celebrating the win and all, but our focus is on coming back and competing for some more hardware at Darlington.”
Ryan Truex has made three series starts at Darlington posting a best finish of 15th in 2018.
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series
Grant Enfinger soars to Heart of America 200 victory for GMS
GMS Racing’s wheelman, Grant Enfinger, prevailed late Saturday night at Kansas Speedway to earn his first NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series victory of the season and clinch a spot in the Playoffs. This season marks the fifth-time Enfinger has earned a spot in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoffs in his career (2023, ‘22 ’20, ’19, ’18).
The victory was Enfinger’s eighth career win and his first at Kansas Speedway, as well as his first since winning at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park in 2022. The driver of the No. 23 GMS Racing Chevrolet led a race-high of 65 laps en route to his Kansas win.
TRICON Garage’s Corey Heim won a close battle for second over Front Row Motorsport’s Zane Smith. Heim posted his sixth top-10 finish of 2023 and his second top-10 in three races at Kansas. Smith earned his sixth top-10 finish in seven Kansas races.
In her historic debut, Toni Breidinger earned a 15th-place finish, driving the No. 1 Victoria’s Secret Toyota Tundra for TRICON Garage. She made history not only as the first Arab American woman to debut in the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series, but the best debut finish in history by a female driver. That feat was previously owned by Hailee Deegan, who finished 16th in her debut at Kansas Speedway in 2020.
“I feel like this gives me a confidence boost as a driver and hopefully I can do more Truck races and get even better finishes,” said Toni Breidinger. “Nobody gives an inch, so I feel like there’s a massive learning curve throughout.”
CRAFTSMAN Truck Series ‘throwing it back’ at Darlington Raceway
After an adrenaline-charged weekend in Kansas, the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series is ready to ‘throw it back’ during the Buckle Up South Carolina 200 at Darlington Raceway (Friday, May 12, at 6:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Darlington Raceway has hosted 10 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series races with the inaugural event in May 2001, a race won by Bobby Hamilton. ThorSport Racing’s Matt Crafton is the only driver in the series to make all 10 previous starts at the 1.366-mile track.
The 10 CRAFTSMAN Truck Series races have produced six different pole winners and seven different race winners. Five drivers are tied for the series-most poles at Darlington with one each – Jack Sprague (2001), Jason Leffler (2002), Carl Edwards (2004), Timothy Peters (2010), Cole Whitt (2011). Three drivers are tied for the series-most wins with two each – Bobby Hamilton (2001, 2003), Kasey Kahne (2004, 2011), and Sheldon Creed (2021 sweep).
CRAFTSMAN Truck Series drivers to watch at ‘Too Tough to Tame’ track
Matt Crafton, the only driver in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series to make all 10 previous Darlington starts, knows the ‘Lady in Black’ all too well. In 10 starts, Crafton has finished in the top-10 seven times – his best finish being fourth-place (2011 and 2021). Last year, the driver of the No. 88 Ford finished fifth.
Niece Motorsports’ Carson Hocevar finished with a hard-fought runner-up effort in overtime last year. It was the third time he’s achieved that career-best mark without winning and was the second time in a row. In three starts at the track ‘Too Tough to Tame,’ Hocevar has two top-five finishes and has led 10 laps. In his 2021 debut, the driver of the No. 42 Chevrolet finished third.
GMS Racing’s Grant Enfinger heads into Darlington after triumphing in Kansas. The Alabama native has three top fives and four top-10 finishes in four starts at the 1.366-mile track. Last year, he recorded his best finish at the track (third).
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series, Etc.
Nick Sanchez to honor Mario Andretti with throwback paint scheme – Nick Sanchez will honor Mario Andretti at Darlington Raceway, paying homage to Mario Andretti’s 1967 Daytona 500 Victory. With primary sponsorship from Gainbridge, the No. 2 Chevrolet will bear the powder blue, gold and red that Andretti wheeled to Victory Lane in the 1967 Daytona 500, his only NASCAR triumph in his monumental career.
“You don’t really get pressure as a race car driver a lot,” Sanchez said. “But driving his paint scheme that he won the ’67 Daytona 500 in at a place like Darlington on throwback weekend? That’s pressure – a good kind of pressure, though.”
Andretti will be on site in Darlington to see his cherished paint scheme, while celebrating NASCAR’s 75th anniversary.
Andretti and Sanchez will hold a media availability on Friday, May 12 at 5:45 p.m. ET in the Darlington media center.
Four NASCAR Cup Series drivers attempt to CRAFTSMAN Truck race at Darlington – Of the 38 entries in this weekend’s Buckle Up South Carolina 200, four NASCAR Cup Series drivers will attempt to pull double and triple duty.
William Byron, Bubba Wallace, and Corey LaJoie will look to make their Darlington Raceway CRAFTSMAN Truck Series debuts, while Ross Chastain will visit the Lady in Black for a second time.
Six-time NASCAR Cup Series winner William Byron will attempt his 28th CRAFTSMAN Truck Series start, getting behind the wheel of the No. 51 Chevrolet for Kyle Busch Motorsports this weekend at Darlington.
23XI Racing driver Bubba Wallace will attempt to make his 50th CRAFTSMAN Truck Series start in the No. 1 TRICON Garage Toyota Tundra. In 49 starts, he has six career Truck Series wins.
Attempting to make his fourth career CRAFTSMAN Truck Series start, Corey LaJoie will pilot the No. 7 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet.
Ross Chastain has made one previous start at Darlington Raceway in the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series. In 2022, he finished 26th. Joining Niece Motorsports, Chastain will attempt his 105th Truck Series career start behind the wheel of the No. 41 Chevrolet.
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