NASCAR Xfinity Series News & Notes – Darlington Raceway

After a weekend off, the NASCAR Xfinity Series will be back in action at Darlington Raceway for the Shriners Children’s 200 this Saturday, May 13 at 1:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR radio, the 11th race of the 2023 season.

There have been 65 Xfinity Series races held at Darlington Raceway, producing 35 different race winners and 31 different pole winners. Fifteen races have been won from the pole or first starting position, most recently by Denny Hamlin in 2017, who sits as the Darlington race record holder with his 2015 speed of 141.355 mph.

NASCAR Hall of Famer Mark Martin holds quite a few records at the historic 1.366-mile track as well – most wins (eight), most poles (eight), most top fives (14), most top 10s (18) and most laps led (972).

The Xfinity Series drivers will kick off their weekend on Friday, March 12 with practice at 5:05 p.m. followed by qualifying at 5:35 p.m. on FS1.

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Next Race: Shriners Children’s 200

The Place: Darlington Raceway

The Date: Saturday, May 13

The Time: 1:30 p.m. ET

The Purse: $1,399,187

TV: FOX, 1 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 200.8 miles (147 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 45),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 147)

Conquering ‘The Lady in Black’

It’s NASCAR’s Throwback weekend at Darlington Raceway so let’s take a trip down memory lane.

Three drivers entered in this weekend’s Shriners Children’s 200 have conquered ‘The Lady in Black’ – Cole Custer (2019), Brandon Jones (2020) and Justin Allgaier (2021 and 2022).

Stewart-Haas Racing’s Cole Custer snagged his win in 2019 in his No. 00 Ford. He has made three starts at Darlington Raceway, posting one win, two top fives and three top 10s.

JR Motorsport’s Brandon Jones posted his Darlington Raceway Xfinity Series win in 2020 after leading just the last two laps and beating the competition by 3.363 seconds. He’s no stranger to the 1.366-mile track, having made 10 starts posting one win (2020), two top fives and five top 10s. In last season’s fall race, he started from the pole position.

Allgaier is the only driver in the field this weekend with multiple wins at ‘The Track Too Tough To Tame’ (2021, 2022). In fact, JR Motorsports has won the last four straight Darlington races – Justin Allgaier (May 2021 and May 2022), Noah Gragson (Sept. 2021 and Sept, 2022). The veteran driver from Illinois has made 15 starts at the 1.366-mile egg-shaped track posting two wins, six top fives, 11 top 10s and has led 157 laps.

Going big on the throwback paint schemes at Darlington

This weekend is NASCAR’s official throwback weekend, and the NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers are excited to show off their paint schemes at the track. Take a look at the paint schemes that have been announced so far:

  • Cole Custer’s No. 00 SHR Ford will honor Jason Leffler’s 2004 paint scheme.
  • Riley Herbst’s No. 98 SHR Ford is inspired by Ken Block’s 2010 Fiesta Rally car.
  • Sheldon Creed’s No. 2 RCR Chevrolet will pay tribute to Kevin Harvick’s 2001 championship winning ACDelco car.
  • Austin Hill’s No. 21 RCR Chevrolet will resemble Kevin Harvick’s 2006 championship winning car.
  • Justin Allgaier’s No. 7 JRM Chevrolet will pay homage to BRANDT’s 70th anniversary.
  • Sam Mayer will be throwing it back to Kurt Busch’s 2001 black and blue Sharpie scheme in his No. 1 JRM Chevrolet.
  • Josh Berry’s No. 8 JRM Chevrolet will resemble Hut Stricklin’s 1996 Circuit City car.
  • Sammy Smith’s No. 18 JGR Toyota will honor Pilot Flying J’s 65th anniversary.
  • Brett Moffitt’s No. 25 Ford with AM Racing will throw it back to Tim Richmond’s 1986-1987 Folgers car.
  • Kaz Grala’s No. 26 SHR Toyota will honor NASCAR’s fire and safety workers, as well as first responders.
  • Jeffrey Earnhardt’s No. 45 Alpha Prime Racing Chevrolet will honor his grandfather’s (Dale Earnhardt) 1997 All-Star race paint scheme.
  • Sage Karam’s No. 44 Alpha Prime Racing Chevrolet will pay tribute to Richard Childress’ original CRCAuto paint scheme.
  • Ryan Ellis’ No. 43 Alpha Prime Racing Chevrolet will throw it back to Kevin Harvick’s 2005 Quicksilver design.
  • Jeremy Clements’ No. 51 Chevrolet will resemble Geoff Bodine’s paint scheme from the 1980s.

For additional paint schemes and other Throwback Weekend information please visit this link to

Double duty drivers at Darlington

Some drivers can’t get enough of all the throwback fun, so they’ll be pulling double duty in this weekend’s Shriners Children’s 200 NASCAR Xfinity Series race – Kyle Larson, Ross Chastain, Ty Dillon, Corey Heim, Carson Hocevar and Matt Mills – will all be strapping in on Saturday.

Larson will be teaming up with Kaulig Racing to get behind the wheel of the No. 10 Chevrolet. This will be his first Xfinity Series start of the 2023 season. But the California phenom is familiar with Darlington Raceway, he has made five Xfinity Series starts at 1.366-mile track, posting two top fives and five top 10s.

Current NASCAR Cup Series point standings leader and Trackhouse Racing driver, Ross Chastain, will be pulling triple duty this weekend at Darlington Raceway. For the Shriners Children’s 200, he will be getting behind the wheel of the No. 91 DGM Racing Chevrolet for his second Xfinity Series start of the season. He has made seven starts at the historic Darlington track in the Xfinity Series, posting one top five, three top 10s and has led a total of 134 laps. Chastain will also be in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series race on Friday in the No. 41 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet. This will be Chastain’s fifth Truck Series start of the 2023 season.

Spire Motorsports’ driver Ty Dillon will be rejoining Richard Childress Racing to pilot the No. 3 Chevrolet this weekend at Darlington in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Dillon will be making his first Xfinity Series start of the season this weekend. The North Carolina native, has made eight Xfinity Series starts at Darlington, posting three top 10s.

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series competitor and TRICON Garage driver Corey Heim will be driving the No. 24 Toyota for Sam Hunt Racing this Saturday at Darlington. Heim made his Xfinity Series career debut earlier this season at Dover Motor Speedway and will be making his series track debut at Darlington this weekend.

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series driver and Niece Motorsport’s rising star, Carson Hocevar, will be teaming up with Spire Motorsports to pilot the No. 77 Chevrolet this weekend. Hocevar made his Xfinity Series debut earlier this season at COTA and will be making his series track debut at Darlington this weekend.

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

Sunoco Rookie of the Year battle: Chandler Smith holds the lead – The 2023 Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders have 10 races under their belts as they head into this weekend’s Shriners Children’s 200 at Darlington Raceway.

Currently leading the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings is Chandler Smith. The Kaulig Racing driver has secured his spot in the Playoffs with his one win (Richmond), four top fives and five top 10s. He sits in third in the overall standings with 339 points.

Sliding in next is Joe Gibbs Racing’s Sammy Smith, who also secured his spot in the Playoffs with his first Xfinity Series career win at Phoenix Raceway earlier this season. Smith has racked up 296 points with his one win, three top fives and four top 10s. He currently 43 points behind Chandler Smith.

“I’m hoping we can continue our good short track finishes this weekend at Darlington,” said Sammy Smith. “I’ve never raced here so getting some practice in on Friday will be important. The guys at the shop have prepped a great No. 18 Pilot Flying J Toyota GR Supra for the track. Our paint scheme this weekend is awesome and would look great in Victory Lane!”

Jordan Anderson Racing’s Parker Retzlaff is third in the rookie standings with 199 points. He has posted one top five and two top 10s in his 10 starts this season.

Closing out the competition is Blaine Perkins with 64 points.

JGR’s Ryan Truex is looking to go back-to-back – After finally getting the first win of his career a couple of weeks ago at Dover, Joe Gibbs Racing driver Ryan Truex is back this weekend at Darlington Raceway looking to make two-in-a-row. If Truex accomplishes the feat he will become the eighth different Xfinity Series driver to get their first two wins in back-to-back races; joining Rick Mast (1987), Steve Grissom (1990), Chad Little (1995), Jamie McMurray (2002), Chase Elliott (2014), William Byron (2017) and Austin Cindric (2019).

“The goal is still to win. It always will be,” said Ryan Truex. “That said, there is an immense amount of pressure off my back. I’m not sure how much the mindset will really change between last week and this week in terms of approach. If anything, now that I know what it feels like to win, I’m even more motivated to get back to Victory Lane. I had a great time celebrating the win and all, but our focus is on coming back and competing for some more hardware at Darlington.”

Ryan Truex has made three series starts at Darlington posting a best finish of 15th in 2018.

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