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Off Holiday Weekend For NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series

Taking the lead with 40 laps remaining at Nashville Superspeedway, Niece Motorsports’ Carson Hocevar managed to fend off every challenge necessary to secure his second career victory – including holding off reigning CRAFTSMAN Truck Series champion, Front Row Motorsports’ Zane Smith and Friday’s pole sitter, Nick Sanchez of Rev Racing.

During a late restart with three laps remaining, there was a tightly contested final push towards the finish line among the trio, but ultimately Hocevar prevailed by a 0.271-second margin. Smith finished second, while Sanchez finished third.

The victory for the 20-year-old driver of the No. 42 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet makes him the fourth multi-race winner of the season. On top of that, the Michigan native continues his impressive streak of five consecutive top-five finishes – the longest of his career.

Hocevar not only went home with a one-of-a-kind Gibson Les Paul guitar, but he also earned $50,000 as part of the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series’ Triple Truck Challenge – a three-race program that gives drivers an opportunity to win up to $500,000 in bonus money.

The young driver joins Ben Rhodes (Charlotte) and Grant Enfinger (WWTR) as the three recipients of the bonus money this season, continuing the four-year streak in which no driver has been able to win all three Triple Truck Challenge races in one season.

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series prepares to race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

For the second time in series history, the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series will get ready for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 150 at Mid-Ohio next week (Saturday, July 8 at 1:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, and SiriusXM Radio).

The Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course had hosted eight NASCAR Xfinity Series events up until last year when the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series took their place. This 2.26-mile, 13-turn layout will act as the last road course race on the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series schedule this season.

Opened in 1962 inside the limits of Lexington, the track is set directly between Cleveland and Columbus. The facility hosts a road course with two different configurations: a 2.4-mile, 15-turn circuit or a 2.26-mile, 13-turn layout with the latter being what the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series will run on.

Sitting on 380 acres of land, the track is often touted as the “Most Competitive in the U.S.” and currently plays host to IMSA, the NTT IndyCar Series, and now the ARCA Menard’s Series and NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series events.

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series

Next Race: O’Reilly Auto Parts 150 at Mid-Ohio

The Place: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

The Date: Saturday, July 8

The Time: 1:30 p.m. ET

The Purse: $650,589

TV: FS1, 1 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 151.28 miles (67 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 20),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 40), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 67)

Regular Season Title Watch: Corey Heim leads point standings with three to go

TRICON Garage’s Corey Heim continues to have a strong year as he continues to hold the driver points lead in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series with just three races left in the regular season. The 20-year-old is currently 16 points up on reigning CRAFTSMAN Truck Series champion, Zane Smith.

Heim’s points lead began after a strong finish at North Wilkesboro – winning Stage 1 and finishing sixth overall – gaining him a total of 48 points to jump from third in the standings over Ty Majeski and Zane Smith. The Georgia native has accumulated one win (Martinsville), five top-five and 10 top-10 finishes.

The driver of the No. 11 Toyota cannot yet clinch the Regular Season Championship since there are still 180 points and 3 wins available.

Front Row Motorsports’ Zane Smith (-16 point back from the points leader) continues to stay close to the top spot. Although Smith had a tough stretch from Darlington to Gateway, he managed to bounce back in Nashville and finish second.

The 24-year-old, who swept the Regular Season and Post-Season Championship in 2022, has accumulated two wins, five top-five and five top-10 finishes this season.

Six competitors locked into NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoffs

With four races to go in the regular season, here’s a look at the current CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoff standings:

Locked In:

Six drivers have locked themselves into the 2023 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoffs by virtue of win this season – Zane Smith (Daytona, COTA), Christian Eckes (Atlanta, Darlington), Carson Hocevar (Texas, Nashville), Corey Heim (Martinsville), Grant Enfinger (Kansas, WWTR), and Ben Rhodes (Charlotte).

Currently in on Points:

Two drivers have built up a points cushion of 14 points or more over the Playoff cutoff following Nashville – ThorSport Racing’s Ty Majeski (86 points above the Playoff cutoff) and Matt DiBenedetto (+14) of Rackley W.A.R.

With 10 points above the cutoff and ranked ninth in the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoff outlook is ThorSport Racing’s Matt Crafton. Following behind the driver of the No. 88 Ford is Rev Racing’s Nick Sanchez, 6 points above the cutoff.

On the Outside Looking In:

Another 10 drivers sit outside the Playoff position but still have three races to earn their way into the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoffs.

Halmar Friesen’s Stewart Friesen is 11th in Playoff standings, six points behind Nick Sanchez. TRICON Garage’s Tanner Gray also sits six points off the final Playoff position.

Following Gray and Sanchez is Chase Purdy (-39 points back from Playoff cutoff), Jake Garcia (-63), Tyler Ankrum (-72), Rajah Caruth (-123), Daniel Dye (-126), Hailie Deegan, (-130), Taylor Gray (-134), and Colby Howard (-135).

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series, Etc.

Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Nick Sanchez continues to stand out – Although he is still seeking his first career CRAFTSMAN Truck Series win, the driver of the No. 2 Rev Racing Chevrolet Nick Sanchez has earned three poles this season – the most in the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series.

The Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate has led 224 laps so far, following behind leader Corey Heim (342 laps). With six top-10 finishes, two of those within the top-five, Sanchez looks to continue the momentum and race his way into the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoffs.

“I’ve always tried to put points aside and treat every race like its own season,” the 22-year-old from Miami, Florida said.

“Race aggressive, race hard and the goal is to win. Just got to keep that mindset.”

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