NASCAR National Series News & Notes – Richmond Raceway: Camping World Truck Series News

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Next Race: ToyotaCare 250

The Place: Richmond Raceway

The Date: Saturday, April 17

The Time: 1:30 p.m. ET

TV: FS1, 12:30 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)

Richmond Rumble: Camping World Trucks Series returns

Short tracks have always played an integral part in defining the competition landscape in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. In the inaugural 1995 season, majority of the tracks on the schedule were less than a mile in length; including Richmond Raceway, the destination for this weekend’s ToyotaCare 250, this Saturday at 1:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Richmond Raceway has hosted 12 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races since the inception of the series in 1995. The first Camping World Trucks race at Richmond was held on September 7, 1995 and the event was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Terry Labonte driving the No. 5 truck for Henrick Motorsports.

In total, the 12 Truck races at Richmond have produced nine different poles winners and nine different race winners. NASCAR Hall of Famer Tony Stewart (2002, 2003), Jack Sprague (1998, 2001) and Mike Skinner (1996, 2005) are tied for the series-most Truck wins at Richmond Raceway with two each.  

This weekend at Richmond Raceway, ThorSport Racing’s Grant Enfinger is the only former series winner in the field. Enfinger grabbed his victory at 0.75-mile track last season leading three times for 18 laps. Enfinger is looking for his first win of the 2021 season this weekend, he has made four starts this year on a part-time schedule posting two top 10s.

Saturday’s ToyotaCare 250 (1:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) is scheduled to be 250 laps (187.5 miles) and broken up into three stages. The first two stages will be 70 laps each and the final stage will be 110 laps.

The starting lineup for this weekend’s event at Richmond was decided by Metric Qualifying, ThorSport Racing’s Ben Rhodes will start on the pole with Hattori Racing Enterprises’ Austin Hill will be starting second.  

Short Track Truckin’

Looking at the field for this weekend, expect the competition to be fierce as there are 10 former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series short track winners entered.

The best to ever race short tracks in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series was NASCAR Hall of Famer Ron Hornaday Jr. Though he never took home the checkered flag at Richmond Raceway, of his 51 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series wins, 22 were on short tracks (43.1%). Hornaday’s 22 short track Truck wins were spread across 12 different tracks.

And it should be no surprise the winningest driver in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Kyle Busch with 60 career Truck wins, also leads all active drivers in short track victories with seven wins.

Of the 10 short track Truck winners entered this weekend at Richmond Raceway, eight are still looking for their first win of the 2021 season. The two Kyle Busch Motorsports drivers, Kyle Busch (Atlanta) and John Hunter Nemechek (Las Vegas) have already visited Victory Lane this season.

In last season’s return to Richmond Raceway, four of the 10 short track Truck winners finished inside the top-10 of the event – Grant Enfinger won, Matt Crafton finished runner-up, Brett Moffitt finished fourth and Stewart Friesen finished 10th.

Kyle Busch Motorsports can’t be stopped

Kyle Busch Motorsports have literally been unstoppable the last three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races taking the wins with three different drivers – John Hunter Nemechek (Las Vegas), Kyle Busch (Atlanta) and Martin Truex Jr. (Bristol Dirt). Now the powerhouse organization has tapped their namesake owner, Kyle Busch, to strap into the No. 51 and join series standings leader John Hunter Nemechek and rookie Chandler Smith in the quest to get their fourth straight victory of the year this weekend at Richmond Raceway.

Kyle Busch has amassed 60 career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series wins across 19 different tracks. In total, Busch has competed on 23 different tracks in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series leaving just four he has yet to win at, including this weekend’s destination, Richmond Raceway. The other three are currently not on the schedule – South Boston Speedway, Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis and Chicago Motor Speedway in Cicero, Illinois.

Of Busch’s 60 career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series wins seven have been on short tracks – five at Bristol and two at Martinsville.

This weekend’s starting lineup was decided by Metric Qualifying and Kyle Busch Motorsports drivers will start 12th (Busch), 18th (Nemechek) and 23rd (Smith).

ThorSport Racing dominated Richmond last season

Last season’s return to Richmond Raceway resulted in a dominating performance by ThorSport Racing with three of their four trucks finishing 1-2-3. Led by Grant Enfinger taking the victory, teammates Matt Crafton finished in second and Ben Rhodes in third. The three ThorSport drivers all spent time out front and led a combined total of 109 of the 250 laps putting on a show for their fans.

This weekend could be more of the same as last season, because same four ThorSport Racing drivers are entered this weekend. And last season’s winner, Grant Enfinger, is especially hungry for a victory this season as he is only running a limited schedule in 2021. Enfinger’s last win came on the Martinsville Speedway short track at the end of last season.

Enfinger’s teammate, Matt Crafton is currently on a 21-race winless streak dating back to last season at Kansas Speedway (7/25). But Crafton knows his way around the short tracks. He has four victories on short tracks at three different tracks – Martinsville, Iowa and Eldora.

The one ThorSport Racing driver with wins already this season is Ben Rhodes. The Kentucky native kicked the season off with back-to-back wins at Daytona and the Daytona Road Course. And though Rhodes has yet to win on a short track in the series, he did finish runner-up last weekend on the Bristol Dirt.

Though he has five short track wins in his Truck Series career, tied with Timothy Peters for second-most among active drivers, Johnny Sauter struggled at Richmond Raceway last season. He started 20th and finished 27th; three laps down.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Etc.

Sunoco Rookie Update – After taking a one-point lead in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year points standings following Atlanta, Carson Hocevar finished 21st on the Bristol dirt to up his advantage to 14 points over Chandler Smith coming out of Thunder Valley. Smith finished 34th after being caught in a multi-truck incident.

The remainder of the standings stayed the same following Bristol, too. Chase Purdy was the highest-finishing rookie at Bristol, finishing 18th. Hailie Deegan was 19th.

Hocevar and Smith both raced the Camping World Truck Series race at Richmond last year, with Smith finishing 12th and Hocevar was 22nd.

Last season’s Bristol Motor Speedway winner and fellow 2021 rookie, Sam Mayer, will be making his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season debut this weekend for Bret Holmes Racing in the No. 32 truck.

Sunoco Rookie of the Year

Rookies Points Awards

Carson Hocevar 109 2

Chandler Smith 95 2

Chase Purdy 71 1

Hailie Deecar 69 0

Kris Wright 37 0

Tim Viens 0 0

Just the second time its happened – This weekend’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race will be just the second event of the 12 run at Richmond Raceway that multiple female drivers will be competing. In total, five female drivers have competed in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Richmond Raceway. The first female driver to compete in the series at Richmond was Tammy Jo Kirk in 1997. David Gilliland Racing’s Hailee Deegan and Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing’s Jennifer Jo Cobb are entered in this weekend’s Truck race at Richmond.

The best finish by a female competitor in the Camping World Truck Series is fifth by Natalie Decker at Daytona International Speedway in 2020. The best finish by a female competitor on a short track in the Truck Series is 13th by Tammy Jo Kirk at Bristol Motor Speedway in 1998. The best finish by a female at Richmond in the series is 26th by Tina Gordon in 2003.