NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Is Truckin’ in the Great State of Texas

The NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series just wrapped up race number three at Atlanta Motor Speedway and now heads to Austin, Texas for the fourth race of the season, the XPEL 225 on Saturday, March 25 at 1:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio at Circuit of The Americas (COTA). The race will be the first of a double-header Saturday that features the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at 5 p.m. ET.

The No. 38 Ford seems to be a lucky truck at the 3.41-mile road course as Todd Gilliland drove No. 38 to Victory Lane in the inaugural COTA race in 2021 and Zane Smith accomplished the same feat in 2022 once he got behind the wheel.

Smith will now have the chance to go back-to-back at the Texas road course and once again bring the No. 38 Ford to Victory Lane. The 2022 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series champ already has one win under his belt this season (Daytona), two top fives and two top 10s.


Next Race: XPEL 225

The Place: Circuit of The Americas

The Date: Saturday, March 25

The Time: 1:30 p.m. ET

The Purse: $740,517

TV: FS1, 12:30 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 143.22 miles (42 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 12),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 26), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 42)

Stats and figures: Texas edition

The NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series is heading to Circuit of The Americas for the third time in its history. The previous two races have produced a different race winner and different pole winner each time.

In the inaugural race in 2021, Tyler Ankrum won the pole with a speed of 75.041 mph, while Todd Gilliland went on to win the race.

In last season’s COTA Truck race, Sheldon Creed had the fastest truck in qualifying with a speed of 90.985 mph and Zane Smith ultimately took the checkered flag.

This year’s XPEL 225 winner will look to take the COTA race record from Todd Gilliland, a record he secured with a speed of 70.79 mph.

The NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series will kick off the triple-header weekend with practice on Friday, March 24 at 4:30 p.m. ET followed by qualifying at 5 p.m. ET.

Several competitors pulling double duty action this weekend 

Circuit of The Americas seems to be a popular track amongst drivers as many will be pulling double duty this weekend. Cup series regulars Kyle Busch, Ross Chastain and Alex Bowman, and Xfinity Series driver Kaz Grala will kick off their COTA weekends with the XPEL 225.

This weekend’s Truck race will be Busch’s second start of the season. He made his first 2023 CRAFTSMAN Truck series start at Las Vegas Motor Speedway where he won the race from the pole position. This will be Busch’s second time behind the wheel of his No. 51 KBM Chevrolet at the 3.41-mile Austin road course. In last year’s race, he posted a third-place finish.

Like Busch, Chastain has also made one Truck Series start this season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but this will be his first NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series start at COTA. He will be driving the No. 41 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet. Although he hasn’t ran COTA in a truck, he did get behind the wheel of a truck at Sonoma’s 1.99-mile road course last season and finished fourth. Plus, he won the NASCAR Cup Series race at COTA last season.

Bowman will be piloting the No. 7 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet and posting his first CRAFTSMAN Truck Series start of the season this weekend. Last season, he made a Truck Series start at COTA and ultimately finished in the 25th position.

Grala will be behind the wheel of the No. 1 TRICON Garage Toyota this weekend. He has made one Truck Series start this season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He enters this weekend’s XPEL 225 having made two Truck Series starts at COTA. In the 2021 inaugural race, he posted a runner-up finish and last season, he finished 14th.

Top performers on road courses in the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series

The NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series has competed on road courses throughout its history, including the inaugural season in 1995. This season, the series will take on two road courses – this weekend’s Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on July 8. But before the trucks take to the track this weekend, here is a look at some of the top road course performers in the series.

In total, the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series has run 30 road course races all-time (1995-Present) producing 24 different winners, led by Joe Ruttman and NASCAR Hall of Famer Ron Hornaday Jr. with three road course wins each. Four road course winners in the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series are active this weekend – Ben Rhodes (Daytona RC, 2021), Zane Smith (COTA, 2022), Parker Kligerman (Mid-Ohio, 2022) and Kyle Busch (Sonoma, 2022).

Last season, a total of five different drivers had an average finish of 10th or better in the three CRAFTSMAN Truck Series road course races – Zane Smith (1.7), Chandler Smith (5.3), Carson Hocevar (5.7), Parker Kligerman (9.0) and Grant Enfinger (10.6).


“Tyler Ankrum Day” in Austin, Texas – Tyler Ankrum, who won the inaugural pole at COTA in 2021 and went on to finish third in the race, will have the honor of saying that March 25, 2023 is officially “Tyler Ankrum Day” in the city of Austin, Texas.

The mayor of Austin, Kirk Watson, will officially proclaim “Tyler Ankrum Day” on March 25 at 9:50 a.m. CT at the No. 16 hauler in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series garage.

“This is really special,” Ankrum said. “To have my very own day in Austin for the second consecutive year, is crazy, but it’s truly an honor to be recognized and represent not only the city of Austin, but the more than 500,000 LiUNA! members and all the NASCAR fans out there.”

Truck Series drivers run a tire test at North Wilkesboro – Truck Series drivers Zane Smith, Corey Heim and Carson Hocevar spent some time at North Wilkesboro Speedway on Monday ahead of the much-anticipated race in May.

Monday’s test ran seven-plus hours as a prelude to three NASCAR Cup Series teams scheduled for their own Goodyear session Tuesday.

“Rarely do you have a test where you are smiling the whole time you are out there going around the track,” Hocevar said. “It was a lot of fun to be out there today slipping and sliding around on this historic track. It sounds silly, but this is our ‘Field of Dreams.’ I’m not a baseball fan, but it was super cool to see that. This is just like that. This is our deal. Everyone has high expectations and hopefully we meet (them). It felt like I was walking into a track where we weren’t supposed to be. I’m just really glad that NASCAR, Dale (Earnhardt) Jr. and the CARS Tour kept picking at it.”

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