NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Takes On “The Paperclip” Under the Lights

This weekend’s Long John Silver’s 200 at Martinsville Speedway (Friday, April 14 at 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) marks the 45th NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series race hosted by the half-mile short track. The inaugural event dates back to September 25, 1995, where Joe Ruttman led the final two laps to take the win.

The 45 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series races at Martinsville Speedway have produced 29 different pole winners and 32 different race winners. Nine races have been won from the pole or first starting position with the last victor being Chase Elliott (2017).

Four of the 32 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Martinsville Speedway race winners are entered in this weekend’s Truck Series race – Kyle Busch (2016, 2019), Matt Crafton (2014, 2015), Grant Enfinger (2020), and Zane Smith (2021).

ThorSport Racing’s Matt Crafton has raced 39 of the 45 Truck Series races at the paperclip-shaped track – the most of any driver. Crafton leads the series at Martinsville with 11 top fives, 23 top 10s, 34 lead lap finishes, and 8,612 laps completed.

The NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series will get the weekend jump started with practice and qualifying on Friday, April 14 at 3:05 p.m. ET on FS1.


Next Race: Long John Silver’s 200

The Place: Martinsville Speedway

The Date: Friday, April 14

The Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

The Purse: $693,842

TV: FS1, 6:30 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 105.2 miles (200 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 50),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 100), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 200)

Hot streak: Nine different winners in last nine races at Martinsville

Martinsville Speedway continues to uphold its race winner streak with nine different NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series winners that dates back to 2017. The streak is currently tied with Phoenix Raceway (11/7/2014 – 11/4/22) and Bristol Motor Speedway (8/21/2014 – 9/15/2022) for the longest active streaks in the Truck Series.

The different winners streak started in 2017 when Chase Elliott took the checkered flag in the spring race, followed by Noah Gragson in the fall, then John Hunter Nemechek (2018 spring), Johnny Sauter (2018 fall), Kyle Busch (2019 spring), Todd Gilliland (2019 fall), Grant Enfinger (2020), Zane Smith (2021), and William Byron (2022).

As the series returns to the half-mile track with four previous winners entered, will we see a previous winner in Victory Lane, or will the streak stay alive?

Ben Rhodes is familiar with “The Paperclip.” The driver of the No. 99 ThorSport Racing Ford has had back-to-back impressive finishes at the track, cracking both the top five (2022) and the top 10 (2021).

William Sawalich, Jonathan Shafer, and Memphis Villarreal attempt to make Truck Series debut

Of the 38 entries for 36 spots in this weekend’s Long John Silver’s 200, three drivers will attempt to make their NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series track debut.

William Sawalich will be getting behind the wheel of the No. 1 TRICON Garage Toyota. Sawalich is a first-generation racecar driver from Eden Prairie, Minnesota. He started racing at the mere age of nine with the goal of becoming the first person from Minnesota to win a NASCAR Truck, Xfinity, and Cup Series race. His racing resume includes the ARCA Menards Series, Late Model Stock Series, and the Super Late Model Series.

Jonathan Shafer, a winner in the CARS Late Model Stock Tour last season, will make his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut piloting the On Point Motorsports No. 30 Toyota. Shafer has competed in several different racing divisions throughout his career, starting at four and a half years old racing USAC quarter midgets.

Memphis Villarreal will attempt his series debut in the No. 46 G2G Racing Toyota. Although primarily a dirt track racer, the Texas native will finally live his dream of racing at Martinsville Speedway.


Brad Perez looks to make first-career oval start  In the No. 20 Young’s Motorsports Chevrolet is first-generation racer, Brad Perez. All six of Perez’s NASCAR starts since his debut in 2022 have come on road courses, and he has finished every race within the top-25.

With the change of pace, Perez quipped he is “excited to turn left finally.”

Sanchez maintains Sunoco Rookie of the Year lead – As the 2023 CRAFTSMAN Sunoco rookies head to Martinsville Speedway, Rev Racing’s Nick Sanchez continues to dominate the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings, 20 points ahead of McAnally Hilgemann Racing’s Jake Garcia who is closing the gap in second.

Sanchez has been the leader of the rookie standings most of the season. In six starts he has put up two poles, one top five and two top 10s. He has also led 187 laps this season.

Garcia, who is only 20 points back from Sanchez in the rookie standings, has earned the most Sunoco Rookie of the Race Award for his sixth-place finish at Bristol Dirt. This season, Garcia has put up one top five and three top 10s.

NCTS Sunoco Rookie of the Year Standings
Rookies Points Awards
Nick Sanchez 148 3
Jake Garcia 128 3
Rajah Caruth 106 0
Daniel Dye 92 0
Bret Holmes 79 0
Taylor Gray 44 0
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