NASCAR Cup Series Goodyear 400
Darlington Raceway Distance: 400.2 miles (293 laps)
Sunday, May 9 3:30 p.m. ET TV: FS1, 2 p.m. ET Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 90), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 185), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 293)
NASCAR Xfinity Series Steakhouse Elite 200
Darlington Raceway Distance: 200.1 miles (147 Laps)
Saturday, May 8 1 p.m. ET TV: FS1, 12:30 p.m. ET Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 45), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 147)
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series LiftKits4Less.com 200
Darlington Raceway Distance: 200.1 miles (147 Laps)
Friday, May 7 7:30 p.m. ET TV: FS1, 6:30 p.m. ET Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 45), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 147)
NASCAR Cup Series
The Future Is Now: Next Gen car unveiled
The Next Gen car is a collaboration of the brightest engineering minds in racing, with contributions coming from all sides of the NASCAR and automotive industries. The design of the Next Gen car gives the drivers greater control while putting an emphasis back on race strategies, team personnel and vehicle setups. While wind tunnels and computer simulations play an important role in racing, we want the competition to remain focused on the racetrack.
Technology is at the forefront of the Next Gen car. The platform implements new technologies that are more relevant to what NASCAR manufacturers offer in their street cars, as well as technology that will bring fans closer to the sport than ever before. While the current car was designed to give Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota their unique identities on the track, the Next Gen car goes much further in returning the ‘stock car’ look to NASCAR.
The Next Gen car has given manufacturers greater latitude to incorporate features into the race car body that better replicate the look and feel of the street car. A sleek new design has lowered the greenhouse, shortened the deck lid and widened the track width of the car giving it more of a coupe look. The body is fully symmetrical which will reduce aerodynamic forces and put an emphasis back on race car setup and driver control. The new composite material is more durable and will allow more beating and banging without loss of performance. Plus, new 18″ forged aluminum wheels and wider Goodyear tires better replicate what is found on passenger cars and will allow for softer tire compounds.
But it’s not just the styling that been taken to the next level. Upgraded specs to match modern passenger vehicle technology including independent rear suspension, rack and pinion steering and larger brakes were also added. A new transaxle combines the transmission and rear gears into one package with an eye on the future – the ability to incorporate electrification. The bottom of the car is sealed with an underwing and rear diffuser which will help with handling in traffic and reduce “dirty air”. Hood louvers will allow teams to maximize engine performance independent of aerodynamics. And a redesigned chassis features new front and rear bumpers for increased safety. Both the front and rear clips bolt on to the center section for easier serviceability and damage repair. And to top it all off, upgraded car connectivity will allow for an in-car camera in every vehicle, with the ability to bring fans more real-time data in the future.
Throwback Weekend at the historic Darlington Raceway
Nothing better than honoring the past and paying tribute to the folks that paved the way for what we know as the NASCAR Cup Series today. This weekend at Darlington Raceway the NASCAR heroes of today and yesteryear will come together to celebrate Throwback Weekend at as the series competes in the 12th race of the season, the Goodyear 400 on Sunday, May 9 at 3:30 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 car participating select this link and visit NASCAR.com’s 2021 Throwback Weekend Photo Gallery.
Darlington Raceway is the perfect stage for Throwback Weekend. The historic 1.366-mile egg-shaped paved oval has hosted 119 NASCAR Cup Series races dating back to 1950. The raceway was 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 Sept. 4, 1950. A total of 75 cars competed in the inaugural event and Curtis Turner won the pole at 82.034 mph, and the race was won by Johnny Mantz (Plymouth, 75.250 mph). The race 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 119 NASCAR Cup Series races has produced 51 different pole winners and 51 different race winners. Six of the 51 NASCAR Cup Series pole winners at Darlington Raceway are active this weekend – Kevin Harvick (two poles), Kurt Busch (two), Brad Keselowski, Ryan Newman, Denny Hamlin and William Byron (each have one pole). NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson leads the series in poles at Darlington with 12 (1967, ’70, ’72, ’73 sweep, ’75 sweep, ’76 sweep, ’77, ’78 and ’82). Kurt Busch (2001, 2013) and Kevin Harvick (2014, 2017) lead all active drivers in poles at Darlington with two each.
NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson leads the series in victories at Darlington with 10 wins (1968, ’70, ’72, ’73, ’74, ’76 sweep, ’77, ’79, 80); followed by Dale Earnhardt with nine and Jeff Gordon with seven. Kevin Harvick (2020, 2020, 2014) and Denny Hamlin (2020, 2017, 2010) lead all active drivers in victories at Darlington with three wins each.
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.
The starting lineup for this weekend’s Goodyear 400 was determined by Metric Qualifying and as a result Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski will start from the pole and Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick, the defending winner of this race last season, will join Keselowski on the front row.
Mother’s Day rare extravaganza
This weekend’s Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway (May 9 at 3:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) will be just the eighth time in NASCAR Cup Series history the series has competed on Mother’s Day.
The most recent winner on Mother’s Day in the NASCAR Cup Series will be in the FOX Sports booth this weekend, NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon, who won the 2007 rain delayed Darlington Raceway race on May 13, 2007.
NASCAR Hall of Famer inductee Buck Baker holds the record for the most wins on Mother’s Day at two (1956, 1954).
Count ‘Em: Different winners almost every week
Through 11 races the NASCAR Cup Series has seen 10 different winners making 2021 just the third season in the Modern Era (1972-Present) to accomplish the feat; joining the 2000 and 2003 seasons (each with 10 winners). Will we see an 11th winner in 12 races this weekend?
The record in the Modern Era (1972-Present) for the most different NASCAR Cup Series winners in a single season in its entirety is 19 set back in 2001. The series has also seen a total of 18 different winners (second-most) in a single season twice – in 2002 and 2011. Last season the series produced 13 different winners. Since moving to the elimination-style format in the Playoffs in 2014, the most different winners the series has seen in a season is 15 in 2017.
If you anticipate the streak of different winners to keep growing this weekend, you may be right. Of the six former NASCAR Cup Series Darlington Raceway winners entered this weekend three are still looking for their first win of the season; including Denny Hamlin (2010, 2017, 2020), Kevin Harvick (two Darlington wins in 2020, 2014) and Erik Jones (2019). In addition, three other Cup drivers still looking for their first win of 2021 have grabbed wins in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at 1.366-mile track – Chase Briscoe (2020), Cole Custer (2019) and Chase Elliott (2014).
Of course, we could also possibly see a new first-time NASCAR Cup Series winner this weekend. It has happened before at Darlington. Six drivers have posted their first career NASCAR Cup Series win at Darlington Raceway: Johnny Mantz (1950), Nelson Stacy (1961), Larry Frank (1962), Terry Labonte (1980), Lake Speed (1988) and Regan Smith (2011).
Hamlin, Elliott, Harvick amongst the winless this season
Three of the biggest names in the NASCAR Cup Series and perennial championship contenders, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick and Chase Elliott, are still looking for their first win of 2021 season and their ticket to the Playoffs.
Last season, Harvick (nine), Hamlin (seven) and Elliott (five) were the three winningest drivers of the year; combining to visit Victory Lane in 21 of the 36 events (58.3%).
But this season, all three are still looking to capture a win 11 races into the year. All three have come close to winning, Elliott has finished runner-up twice (Daytona 500 and Martinsville), both Hamlin (Richmond) and Harvick (Kansas) have finished second once this season.
But looking to Throwback Weekend at Darlington on Sunday, all that longing for a victory could be vanquished for one of the three. Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick has made 26 starts at Darlington posting two poles, three wins – including two last season, 11 top fives and 15 top 10s. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin has also found success at Darlington, in 17 starts he has one pole, three wins, nine top-five and 13 top-10 finishes. Hamlin has also won five times in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Darlington. Hendrick Motorsport’s driver and 2020 series champion Chase Elliott has yet to win in the Cup Series at the ‘Lady in Black’ but does have 2014 win in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. In total, Elliott has made just eight NASCAR Cup Series starts at Darlington collecting two top fives and three top 10s.
Playoff Bubble: 15 races to go and just 12 points separate the drivers along the cutline
With 15 races left in the regular season in the NASCAR Cup Series and already 10 different winners banking their spots in the Playoffs with wins, position availability and time are conspiring against the competitors still looking for their ticket to the postseason. Plus, consider the driver standings’ points leader is guaranteed a spot in the Playoffs, that leaves just five positions left on the postseason grid up for grabs as the series heads to Darlington Raceway for Throwback Weekend and the Goodyear 400 on Sunday, May 9 (3:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin currently holds the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings lead with a comfortable 87 points up on second place Martin Truex Jr. Hamlin has three wins at Darlington including one last season, and most likely intends to add his name to this season’s wins list this weekend.
But if you look by the Playoff outlook cutline, from Austin Dillon in position 14th to Daniel Suárez in 22nd, just 95 points separate the nine positions with 15 races to go.
The points tighten up considerably between Wood Brothers Racing’s Matt DiBenedetto in 16th position – the final Playoff transfer spot – and Chip Ganassi Racing’s driver and 2004 series champion Kurt Busch in the 17th position – the first spot outside the postseason cutoff – with just 12 points separating them. DiBenedetto has been riding a hot streak, posting three consecutive top-10 finishes in his last three starts of the season heading into this weekend at Darlington, but the Grass Valley, California native will have his work cut out for him this weekend as Busch has a slightly better average finish (15.6) than DiBenedetto (21.0).
Six of the top 10 in average finishing position among active drivers at Darlington are looking for a win this season – Erik Jones (5.2), Denny Hamlin (7.5), Austin Dillon (12.0), Ryan Newman (12.8), Kevin Harvick (12.9) and Tyler Reddick (14.3).
South Carolina’s best in NASCAR
Over the years, a total of 140 different drivers have made at least one NASCAR national series start with their home state recorded as South Carolina.
James Hylton, from Inman, S.C., leads all NASCAR drivers from South Carolina with the most NASCAR national series starts at 607.
Three drivers from South Carolina have been inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame – David Pearson (Spartanburg), Cale Yarborough (Timmonsville), and Cotton Owens (Spartanburg).
In total, 11 drivers from South Carolina have won at least one race in NASCAR’s three national series totaling 239 victories; seven have won in the NASCAR Cup Series.
NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.
Sunoco Rookie Update – Well it has been ‘trial by fire’ type season for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year class with no practice or qualifying before the races, but Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe and Front Row Motorsport’s Anthony Alfredo have adapted quickly. Briscoe currently the rookie standings over Alfredo by 58 points. Both drivers have performed similarly this season, they posted their best finishes of the year so far at Talladega – Briscoe (11th) and Alfredo (12th). And both drivers will be making their NASCAR Cup Series debuts at Darlington Raceway this weekend. Briscoe does have a slight edge over Alfredo this weekend though, as he won the in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Darlington last season.
Potential Milestones – Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski will be making his 425th NASCAR Cup Series start this weekend at Darlington Raceway. Keselowski ranks 61st on the all-time Cup Series starts list and will become the eighth active driver with 425 or more starts in the series. … Richard Childress Racing’s Tyler Reddick will be making his 50th NASCAR Cup Series start this weekend at Darlington Raceway.
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Xfinity Series heads to Darlington Raceway
After another off week for the NASCAR Xfinity Series last weekend, the series is back in action this weekend for the Steakhouse Elite 200 at Darlington Raceway (1 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) on Saturday, May 8.
AJ Allmendinger will start from the pole with Austin Cindric joining him on the front row. Jeb Burton, Justin Haley and Noah Gragson will round out the top five starters on Saturday.
There have been 61 NASCAR Xfinity Series races held at Darlington Raceway producing 33 different race winners and 29 different pole winners.
The youngest pole winner is Kyle Busch in 2004 at age 18 years, 10 months, 18 days and the oldest pole winner was Harry Gant in 1991 at 51 years, 7 month, 21 days.
There have been 33 different race winners. The youngest winner is Chase Elliott in 2014 at age 18 years, 4 months, and 14 days. The oldest winner was Dick Trickle in 1998 at 56 years, 10 months, and 9 days.
A total of 15 of the 61 races have been won from the pole or first starting position. The last race won from the pole was in 2017 by Denny Hamlin.
NASCAR Hall of Famer Mark Martin holds a bunch of records for the Xfinity Series at Darlington. He has the most poles (eight), most wins (eight), most top fives (14), and most top 10s (18). He’s also led the most laps at 972.
Another First: Jeb Burton wins first career Xfinity Series race at Talladega
Time was of the essence on Saturday as a thunderstorm was barreling toward Talladega Superspeedway in the middle of the NASCAR Xfinity Series race. The competition was fierce but as the skies opened up, it was Kaulig Racing’s Jeb Burton that was able to hold onto the lead just before the final caution came out before the race was red-flagged and ultimately called because of weather securing his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series win.
Burton’s win marked the third straight win at Talladega Superspeedway for Kaulig Racing as Justin Haley swept both races at the Alabama track last season.
The first two stages had no incidents. Haley won the first stage and JR Motorsport’s driver Noah Gragson won the second stage.
Series standings leader and Team Penske driver Austin Cindric finished second at Talladega followed by AJ Allmendinger, Riley Herbst and Ryan Sieg rounding out the top five.
Not only did Gragson grab a stage win at Talladega, but he also pocketed another $100,000 Xfinity Dash 4 Cash bonus as the highest finisher among the four eligible drivers. He won the money at the previous Dash 4 Cash event at Martinsville Speedway as well bringing his 2021 Dash 4 Cash bonus total to $200,000.
Jeb Burton, Austin Cindric, AJ Allmendinger and Noah Gragson have all qualified for the next round of the Dash 4 Cash that will take place at Darlington Raceway on May 8 at 1 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Doubled Up: Gragson wins back-to-back Dash 4 Cash checks, Darlington is next
The NASCAR Xfinity Series Dash 4 Cash program was designed to add elements of unpredictability and drama leading up to and during four designated races, increase on-track competition, engage fans and reward and recognize NASCAR Xfinity Series regular competitors.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series Dash 4 Cash will take place at four tracks in 2021 – Martinsville Speedway (April 9), Talladega Superspeedway (April 24), Darlington Raceway (May 8) and Dover International Speedway (May 15).
JR Motorsport’s Noah Gragson took home both Dash 4 Cash prizes so far this season at Martinsville and Talladega bringing his Dash 4 Cash bonus total to $200,000.
Gragson and the next three highest finishing full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers (Allmendinger, J. Burton, and Cindric) have qualified for the next round of the Dash 4 Cash program at Darlington Raceway this weekend (May 8).
The format will then continue to Dover International Speedway as the finale, with the Dash 4 Cash winner and the highest three finishing NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers at Darlington qualifying for the final round.
Dash 4 Cash Qualifiers at Darlington:
Noah Gragson will make his fourth start at Darlington on May 8. He has finished in the top-10 in all three of his previous starts at the track and has a best finish of fifth in this race last season. He started on the pole, too. Gragson has led 46 laps at the track and has an average start of 7.7 and an average finish of 6.7.
Jeb Burton and AJ Allmendinger will make their Xfinity Series debuts at Darlington on May 8.
Austin Cindric will be making his fifth start at Darlington this season. He has one top five and two top 10s in those four previous starts at the track. He also, has an average start of 7.8 and an average finish of 16.5.
Xfinity Sunoco Rookie Update
The NASCAR Xfinity Series Sunoco rookie standings tighten up after Talladega Superspeedway.
Sunoco Rookie of the Year
Rookies Points Awards
Ty Gibbs 128 2
Josh Berry 126 2
Ryan Vargas 68 4
Jordan Anderson 0 0
Sam Mayer 0 0
Joe Gibbs Racing’s Ty Gibbs still leads the way in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings after only starting three of the eight races this season. He has 128 points and has scored two Sunoco Rookie of the Race awards in his three starts. He has also collected a win in his debut at the Daytona RC and hasn’t finished outside of the top-five in all three starts.
JR Motorsport’s Josh Berry is two points behind Gibbs in second in the rookie standings. Berry scored his first career Xfinity Series win at Martinsville Speedway a few weeks ago. Berry is also running a part-time schedule, having made seven starts this season posting a win and three top 10s.
JD Motorsport’s Ryan Vargas is still sitting in third in the rookie standings with 68 points. In eight starts so far this season for JD Motorsports, Vargas has a best finish of 18th from the season-opener at Daytona.
Jordan Anderson and Sam Mayer have still not made any starts this season, so they are fourth and fifth respectively with no points or awards, yet.
Xfinity Playoff Bubble: Who’s in, Who’s out?
With seven different race winners so far in 2021 and five drivers already locked in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs, there are a lot of shakeups each week in the Playoff picture.
Jeb Burton’s win in the rain-shortened race at Talladega Superspeedway put Burton and the No. 10 Kaulig Racing team in the Playoffs. He became the second Kaulig Racing driver to punch their Playoff ticket.
Daniel Hemric has stayed consistent and keeps the highest Playoff spot without a win. He’s 132 points above the cutline and has three stage wins and three Playoff points.
In terms of biggest surprises in the Playoff outlook so far, two drivers are standing out. Jeremy Clements has been in the top 12 for most of the season and has shown speed all year. Clements is currently 45 points above the Playoff cutline in ninth in the Playoff standings.
The biggest jump in the standings that is notable is Noah Gragson. Gragson, who won the Dash 4 Cash prize for back-to-back weeks has made his way up to 10th in the standings.
Brandon Brown jumped ahead of the cutline after his performance at Talladega, he was below the cutline but swapped places with Michael Annett heading into this weekend.
Of the drivers inside the Playoff outlook top 12 that are still looking for a win this season, Gragson has the best average finish at Darlington Raceway with a 3.7; followed by Harrison Burton (7.5), Riley Herbst (11.0), Justin Haley (11.3), Brandon Jones (12.0), Michael Annett (17.6), Daniel Hemric (18.0) and Josh Williams (18.3).
Throwback Weekend Paint Schemes
This weekend is the highly anticipated Throwback Weekend at Darlington Raceway and the Xfinity Series drivers are ready to show off their schemes on the track that’s “Too Tough To Tame.” Check out all of the throwback schemes that have been announced for this weekend so far:
Jeffrey Earnhardt, No. 0 JD Motorsports with Gary Keller Chevrolet is throwing back to Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s Olympics paint scheme.
Michael Annett, No. 1 JR Motorsports Chevrolet is running a Gatorade throwback scheme.
Ryan Vargas, No. 6 JD Motorsports with Gary Keller Chevrolet honoring Mark Martin with throwback scheme.
Justin Allgaier, No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet resembles Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s Tazmanian Devil look from the 2000 Daytona 500.
Josh Berry, No. 8 JR Motorsports Chevrolet honoring Dale Jr. with a throwback scheme.
Jeb Burton, No. 10 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet honoring his dad, Ward Burton, with throwback scheme.
Justin Haley, No. 11 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet honoring LeafFilter’s first ever paint scheme.
Matt Jaskol, No. 13 MBM Motorsports Toyota honoring early NASCAR diversity and paying tribute to the late Thee Dixon.
Harrison Burton, No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota honoring his dad, Jeff Burton, with throwback.
Brandon Gdovic, No. 26 Sam Hunt Racing Toyota honoring Kyle Petty’s 1997 Hot Wheels paint scheme.
Tommy Joe Martins, No. 44 Martins Motorsports Chevrolet paying tribute to Rick Bickle with throwback scheme.
Jade Buford, No. 48 Big Machine Racing Chevrolet honoring Dan Gurney.
Jeremy Clements, No. 51 Jeremy Clements Racing Chevrolet running Dale Jarrett tribute scheme.
Timmy Hill, No. 66 MBM Motorsports Toyota running Rusty Wallace throwback.
Bayley Currey, No. 74 Mike Harmon Racing Chevrolet running “Gray Ghost” tribute scheme.
Josh Williams, No. 92 DGM Racing Chevrolet honors late team member Rusty Crews, who died before the start of the 2021 season.
Riley Herbst, No. 98 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford throwing back to 1999 Tony Stewart rookie-year classic scheme.
Ryan Ellis, No. 99 BJ McLeod Motorsports Chevrolet honoring his grandfather at Darlington.
AJ Allmendinger, No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet throwing back to this 2014 NASCAR Cup Series win at Watkins Glen.
Colby Howard, No. 15 JD Motorsports with Gary Keller Chevrolet will honor his father, Rodney Howard, and his 1980’s styled late model.
Daniel Hemric, No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota will honor Red Farmer for Throwback Weekend.
Kyle Weatherman, No. 47 Mike Harmon Racing Chevrolet is teaming up with Pit Viper Sunglasses for a Richard Petty throwback scheme.
Brandon Brown, No. 68 Brandonbilt Motorsports Chevrolet will honor Dale Jarrett with a Darlington throwback paint scheme.
Myatt Snider, No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet will honor his grandfather at Darlington.
Tanner Berryhill joining Our Motorsports
Our Motorsports announced that Tanner Berryhill will join their 2021 driver lineup piloting the No. 23 Chevrolet for three races beginning with this weekend’s Steakhouse Elite 200 at Darlington Raceway.
Berryhill, who is a native of Bixby, Oklahoma, will have sponsorship from Realty Connect. Berryhill will also be behind the wheel of the No. 23 at Texas Motor Speedway in June and October.
This weekend will mark Berryhill’s 41st Xfinity Series start. His first was in 2012 and his most recent start was in 2018 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He has a series career best finish of 17th at Mid-Ohio in 2014.
This will be his third start at Darlington Raceway. The first was in 2013 and second was in 2014.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. back behind the wheel at Richmond in ‘21
NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced that his yearly NASCAR Xfinity Series start will take place at Richmond Raceway this season on September 11.
This year’s start will come on the 20th anniversary of the 2001 attacks on September 11 and he will drive a special United for America paint scheme to honor the 9/11 victims. His longtime partner Unilever will be on board the No. 8 JR Motorsports Chevrolet.
In the spirit of remembering the victims, his paint scheme will mirror that of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum’s Tribute in Light. The scheme will be blue and white and have four spotlights representing the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and the Flight 93 Memorial site in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The words “Never Forget” will also be displayed on the lower-rear quarter panel to honor those who lost their lives during the attacks.
“It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since that terrible day,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “The spirit of unity and togetherness our country felt on Sept. 11 is just as relevant now as it was then. I’m honored to be driving this car, and championing Unilever’s United for America program.”
“On the 20th anniversary of a day we will never forget, we are grateful to welcome Dale Earnhardt Jr. back to Richmond Raceway to recognize 9/11 victims and first responders,” said Richmond President Dennis Bickmeier. “As the Xfinity Series and Cup Series compete on one day in Richmond, we will unite and stand together to remember that fateful day.”
Earnhardt has won seven NASCAR national series races at Richmond Raceway in his career. He is a three-time Cup race winner at America’s Premier Short Track with victories in the Crown Royal 400 in 2006, Chevy American Revolution 400 in 2004 and Pontiac Excitement 400 in 2000. Earnhardt has also won four Xfinity Series races at Richmond with his last career victory coming in the 2016 ToyotaCare 250.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Triple Truck Challenge Presented by Womply kicks off at Darlington Raceway
The Triple Truck Challenge was introduced in 2019, as a three-race program that provides drivers in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series an opportunity to win up to $500,000 in bonus money.
The Triple Truck Challenge will award a $50,000 bonus to the race winner of any one of the three events; win two of the three races and the driver pockets an additional $150,000; win all three and collect a cool half a million dollars.
This season the Triple Truck Challenge will be held at Darlington Raceway (May 7), Circuit of The Americas (May 22) and Charlotte Motor Speedway (May 28).
Womply, a leading small business solutions provider and local commerce platform that helps small businesses access the PPP program, enters NASCAR as the presenting sponsor of the 2021 Triple Truck Challenge Presented by Womply.
“As the leader in helping small businesses access the PPP program, Womply has a timely mission to reach NASCAR’s audience,” said Jeff Wohlschlaeger, NASCAR Vice President and Chief Sales Officer. “With NASCAR’s brand-loyal fan base and the plethora of small and micro business involvement in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in particular, the Triple Truck Challenge is a perfect fit for Womply as presenting sponsor.”
During the 2021 Triple Truck Challenge Presented by Womply, the brand will be integrated throughout the program at-track, on broadcast and across digital and social media. Through this agreement, Womply will highlight its PPP Fast Lane product, which assists small businesses and self-employed workers with PPP loan applications.
“Womply believes that when small businesses win, we all win,” said Womply Founder and CEO Toby Scammell. “We identified a problem in that millions of self-employed Americans simply don’t know they qualify for PPP. We solved that with the simplicity of PPP Fast Lane and our partnership with NASCAR strategically enables us to reach a demographically and geographically diverse audience.”
Womply leads in helping small businesses and self-employed workers with their loan applications to secure PPP loans through the various lenders. The company is focused on ensuring access and prioritization of all loan sizes to all small business and self-employed workers. PPP Fast Lane is a simple, web-based data collection process aiming to simplify the PPP process by removing friction that only applies to larger businesses. PPP Fast Lane includes multiple layers of fraud prevention and identity verification, which is essential to serving PPP loans at scale in accordance with government rules.
Last season, GMS Racing’s Sheldon Creed banked two Triple Truck Challenge wins, the most by a driver in the series.
Hot Streaks: Toyota and Kyle Busch Motorsports seem unstoppable
Toyota drivers have won every race this season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and this weekend at Darlington Raceway for the LiftKits4Less.com 200 (May 7 at 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) they will look to keep the streak alive and bring the win total to eight straight.
Toyota already holds the record for the most wins consecutive wins to start a season with 10 straight in 2014.
This season, ThorSport Racing’s Ben Rhodes drove his Toyota Tundra to Victory Lane at the opening two races in Daytona (oval and road course), and ever since then, Kyle Busch Motorsport’s drivers Martin Truex Jr. (Bristol Dirt), Kyle Busch (Atlanta and Kansas) and series standings leader John Hunter Nemechek (Las Vegas and Richmond) have all grabbed victories (last five races) and this weekend the KBM crew are hunting for the series record and their sixth straight win.
With Kyle Busch’s victory last weekend at Kansas, gave Kyle Busch Motorsports its fifth straight win this season tying Kevin Harvick Inc. (2009) and Roush Fenway Racing (2000 and 1999) as just the third organization in series history to win five consecutive races.
This weekend at Darlington, Kyle Busch Motorsport’s drivers John Hunter Nemechek (No. 4), Chandler Smith (No. 18) and Corey Heim (No. 51) will have their chance at securing the record making the KBM the only organization in series history with six straight wins.
Nemechek and Heim will be making their series track debuts this weekend at Darlington Raceway for Kyle Busch Motorsports. Smith competed in last season’s event, he started 14th and finished 23rd.
Trucks brief history at Darlington Raceway
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has competed at Darlington Raceway just seven times (2001-2004, 2010, 2011, 2020) since the series inception in 1995.
The seven Camping World Truck races have produced five different pole winners and five different race winners.
Five different drivers are tied for the most poles at Darlington on the Truck Series with one each – Carl Edwards, Jason Leffler, Timothy Peters, Jack Sprague, and Cole Whitt.
Bobby Hamilton (2001 and 2003) and Kasey Kahne (2004 and 2011) lead the series wins at Darlington with two each. Hamilton won the inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Darlington Raceway on May 12, 2001 driving his own (Bobby Hamilton Racing) Dodge. He led all but 10 of the 135-lap event.
ThorSport Racing’s Matt Crafton is the only driver in the series to make all seven NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts at Darlington Raceway. In seven Darlington starts Crafton has posted an average finish of 9.286 and a best finish of fourth in 2011.
ThorSport Racing’s Ben Rhodes collected the win in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series return to Darlington Raceway last season.
This season, the LiftKits4Less.com 200 (May 7 at 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) will be 147 laps (200.1 miles) and broken up into three stages the first two stages will be 45 laps each and the final stage will be 57 laps.
This weekend’s starting lineup was decided by Metric Qualifying and as a result Kyle Busch Motorsport’s John H. Nemechek will start from the pole and Hattori Racing Enterprises’ Austin Hill will join Nemechek on the front row.
Rhodes back for a second dance with the ‘Lady In Black’ in Victory Lane
After firing out of cannon to start the season, winning the opening two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races at Daytona (oval and road course), ThorSport Racing’s Ben Rhodes hasn’t slowed and is looking to defend his last season win Darlington and go for a second dance with the ‘Lady In Black’ in Victory Lane this weekend.
Rhodes is currently second in the standings just 33 markers back from series standings leader John Hunter Nemechek. This season, Rhodes has been next level, in seven starts he has accumulated two wins, three top fives and six top 10s.
Last season, Rhodes started fifth and didn’t battle for the lead until late in the race but wrestled his way to the front with just two laps to go to take the checkered flag.
Rhodes will start fourth this weekend.
Deegan finding her footing in the Truck Series
David Gilliland Racing’s rookie driver, Hailie Deegan, is coming off her best finish of the season last weekend at Kansas Speedway (13th) and the rising star is starting to find her footing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Deegan is currently 15th in the NASCAR Camping World Truck driver Playoff outlook just 41 points back from the postseason cutline with eight races left in the regular season. Since the inception of the Truck Series Playoffs, no female competitors have qualified for the postseason.
In seven starts this season, Deegan has posted an average finish of 21.4
Deegan will be making her series track debut this weekend at Darlington Raceway. She will become the seventh different female competitor to compete at Darlington Raceway in the series; joining Jennifer Jo Cobb (2010, 2020), Johanna Long (2011), Deborah Renshaw (2004), Kelly Sutton (2004), Teri MacDonald (2003) and Tina Gordon (2003).
The best finish by a female competitor in the Truck Series at Darlington Raceway is 14th by Jennifer Jo Cobb on Aug. 14, 2010 – it was Cobb’s series track debut.
Graphics & Photos Courtesy of NASCAR