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NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series News & Notes – Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt

Niece Motorsports’ Carson Hocevar wins big at Texas, earns spot in Playoffs

Last weekend, Niece Motorsports’ Carson Hocevar was in the right place at the right time to take the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series victory in overtime at Texas Motor Speedway, after the race leaders, Nick Sanchez and Zane Smith, wrecked coming to the checkered flag. The victory was Hocevar’s first in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series, and with the win the Michigan native has secured his spot in the Playoffs for the third time in his career (2021, 2022).

This season, Hocevar has put up one win (Texas), one top five and two top 10s in five starts. He has led 20 laps and his average finish this season is 17.0.

As the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series heads to Bristol, Tennessee this weekend for the Weather Guard Truck Race on Dirt at Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt (Saturday, April 8 at 8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the No. 42 Chevrolet will look to carry his momentum and secure another victory – a feat that doesn’t seem to be too far from his reach. Last season at Bristol Dirt, the 20-year-old posted a runner-up finish and led for 55 laps.

IF Hocevar were to win this weekend, he would become the sixth different driver in NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series history to win their first two races back-to-back; joining Rich Bickle (1997: Portland, Evergreen), Kurt Busch (2000: Milwaukee, New Hampshire), Ted Musgrave (2001: Homestead-Miami, Mesa Marin), Todd Bodine (2004: Fontana, Texas), Kasey Kahne (2004: Darlington, Homestead-Miami), Kyle Busch (2005: Charlotte, Dover) and Johnny Benson Jr. (2006: Michigan, Milwaukee).


NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series

Next Race: Weather Guard Truck Race on Dirt

The Place: Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt

The Date: Saturday, April 8

The Time: 8 p.m. ET

The Purse: $738,461

TV: FS1, 7 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 75 miles (150 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 40),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 150)


Playing’ in the dirt at Bristol

The NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series had some fun short track racing last weekend at Richmond Raceway and will be continuing with the short track action this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt with the Weather Guard Truck Race on Dirt on Saturday, April 8 at 8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

The CRAFTSMAN Truck Series has been heading to Bristol Motor Speedway since 1995 but it wasn’t until 2021 that they started running on dirt. There has been a different winner in both Bristol Dirt races – NASCAR Cup Series regular Martin Truex Jr. won the inaugural race in 2021 and former series champion Ben Rhodes won last season.

In total, the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series has run 11 races on dirt at three different tracks – Eldora Speedway (2013-2019, seven races), Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt (2021, 2022) and Knoxville Raceway (2021, 2022) producing 11 different winners – at Eldora Austin Dillon (2013), Bubba Wallace (2014), Christopher Bell (2015), Kyle Larson (2016), Matt Crafton (2017), Chase Briscoe (2018) and Stewart Friesen (2019); at Bristol Dirt Martin Truex Jr. (2021) and Ben Rhodes (2022); at Knoxville Raceway Austin Hill (2021) and Todd Gilliland (2022).

Three Cup Series regulars will be pulling double duty and joining in on the fun this weekend – Chase Briscoe (No. 22 AM Racing Ford), William Byron (No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Chevrolet) and Joey Logano (No. 66 ThorSport Racing Ford).

Drivers will head to their first practice on Friday, April 7 at 5:35 p.m. ET followed by final practice at 8:02 p.m., televised on FS1. The qualifying session will begin on Saturday, April 8 at 4:30 p.m. ET, televised on FS2.

CRAFTSMAN Truck Series drivers to watch: Bristol Dirt edition

Although the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series has only ran on Bristol Dirt twice (2021, 2022), there are a few drivers who have been consistently at the front of the pack in both races.

ThorSport Racing’s Ben Rhodes is no newbie to dirt racing at Bristol. After a second-place finish in 2021 and a first-place finish in 2023, the No. 99 Ford returns hoping to defend his victory at the 0.5-mile track. If the Kentucky driver takes the checkered flag again, he will become the first driver to win consecutive Truck Series races at the dirt track.

Front Row Motorsports’ Zane Smith has been on a hot streak this season finishing in the top-10 in three out of five races this season; including two victories at Daytona and COTA. The No. 38 Ford has also proved that a little bit of dirt can’t slow him down as he has posted top-10 finishes in both Truck Bristol Dirt races.

GMS Racing’s Grant Enfinger has also played well in the dirt, finishing sixth in the inaugural race in 2021 and eighth last season. This season, Enfinger has put up one top five and two top 10s in five starts.

Setting the field and race format for the CRAFTSMAN Trucks at Bristol

A total of 43 trucks are currently entered for Saturday night’s Weather Guard Truck Race on Dirt (8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) to vie for a spot in the field.

To set the field, Saturday afternoon will feature four qualifying races, starting at 4:30 p.m. ET. A random draw determines a driver’s qualifying race designation and starting position for the qualifying races, and the draw will be done in the order of current owner points.

Each qualifying race will be 15 laps, with only green flag laps counting and the overtime rule will not be in effect. Free pass and wave around procedures will be in use.

Drivers will accumulate points in the qualifying races based on finishing position and passing points. Then, positions 1-31 in the starting lineup for the feature race will be based on combined points of qualifying race finishing position points and passing points. For positions 32nd – 36th provisionals will be applied, ordered by points in the qualifying races.

Passing points are defined as the difference between the assigned starting position and the finishing position of the trucks. There will only be positive passing points awarded for moving forward – if a driver finishes in the same or a lower position, they will receive zero points.

Finishing points are awarded as such:

FinishPoints
110
29
38
47
56
65
74
83
92
101

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series, Etc.

Tanner Carrick to make Truck Series debut – Tanner Carrick will be getting behind the wheel of the No. 30 On Point Motorsports Toyota to make his NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series debut this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt.

Carrick has been running on dirt since he was six years old, starting his driving career in an Outlaw Kart. He has since moved into winged sprint cars and midgets and has racked up some impressive titles.

“Running on dirt is something that I’m really familiar with, so I am really excited for this opportunity and look forward to working with everyone associated with the team,” said Carrick.

CRAFTSMAN Sunoco rookie standings update – Following the fifth race of the 2023 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series season, Rev Racing’s Nick Sanchez has opened up a sizable lead in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings, 42 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 five starts he has put up two poles, one top five and two top 10s. He has also led 187 laps this season.

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NCTS Sunoco Rookie of the Year Standings
RookiesPointsAwards
Nick Sanchez1393
Jake Garcia972
Rajah Caruth800
Daniel Dye770
Bret Holmes610
Taylor Gray410
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