Christian Eckes wins Truck race at Las Vegas


LAS VEGAS – Christian Eckes, running a partial schedule this season, scored his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win Friday, leading ThorSport Racing to a 1-2-3-4 finish on a night when many of the playoff contenders had problems.

“This is big,” Eckes told FS1. “It’s been a tough year. Hopefully I proved I can still do this.”

Eckes has run nine of 19 races this season. He ran the full season last year for Kyle Busch Motorsports.

Eckes, 20, led teammate Ben Rhodes when the caution came out on the last lap at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Matt Crafton was third. Johnny Sauter placed fourth. Todd Gilliland finished fifth.

Rhodes took the points lead with his runner-up result.

MORE: Race results, driver points

It was a rough night for some of the playoff contenders. Four of the top five in points failed to finish or finished multiple laps down.

The biggest incident collected playoff drivers Sheldon Creed, who entered second in points, and Chandler Smith, who entered three points below the cutline.

Smith couldn’t avoid a spinning Tyler Ankrum and hit Ankrum’s truck on Lap 71 of the 134-lap race. That sent Smith down the track. Sheldon Creed slammed into Smith’s truck on the apron. Both playoff drivers were eliminated. Also involved in the crash were Hailie Deegan and Chase Purdy. Creed said he was trying to avoid Deegan’s truck and didn’t see Smith coming down the track.

Creed finished 36th. Smith finished 35th. Ankrum was 34th.

John Hunter Nemechek, who entered as the points leader, had ignition issues throughout the race that caused the power to cut in and out. He slowed on Lap 49 and lost eight positions to 13th. Power returned and he was back up to speed. A few laps later, he again had ignition issues and stopped on track. He fell two laps down. Nemechek lost power again on Lap 79 and stopped on track. He went to the garage for repairs. Nemechek placed 33rd.

Zane Smith, who entered the night on the cutline, suffered a cut left rear tire after running three-wide and getting hit by Nemechek’s truck on Lap 38. The left rear came apart and ripped out the battery, causing the truck to lose power. He lost 18 laps before returning to the track. Zane Smith placed 29th.

Carson Hocevar had a tire go down and spun to bring out the caution with less than 10 laps left. NASCAR held him a lap for causing the caution. He finished 22nd.

STAGE 1 WINNER: John Hunter Nemechek

STAGE 2 WINNER: Todd Gilliland

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Five of the eight playoff drivers finished outside the top 20: Carson Hocevar was 22nd, Zane Smith placed 29th, John Hunter Nemechek finished 33rd, Chandler Smith was 35th and Sheldon Creed finished 36th in the 37-car field.

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: ThorSport Racing took the four positions. … Johnny Sauter’s fourth-place finish marked his fourth consecutive top-10 result. … Austin Wayne Self finished a season-high eighth. … Ryan Truex was ninth, his best finish since placing fourth in the season-opening race at Daytona.

NOTABLE: Howie DiSavino III placed 26th less than a week after his mother lost her five-year battle with cancer. He had her name above the door of his truck.

NEXT: The Round of 8 continues Oct. 2 at Talladega Superspeedway (1 p.m. ET, FS1).

Talladega Xfinity starting lineup: Austin Hill wins pole


TALLADEGA, Ala. — Austin Hill will lead the field to the green flag Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway after scoring his first career Xfinity Series pole.

Hill won the pole Friday with a lap of 182.036 mph. He will be joined on the front row by fellow playoff contender Ty Gibbs (181.981 mph).

MORE: Talladega Xfinity starting lineup

Playoff drivers will start in seven of the top eight spots. The exception is Sheldon Creed, who will start third after a lap of 181.870 mph. Hill and Creed give Richard Childress Racing the first and third starting spots.

Justin Allgaier (181.529) qualified fourth and Brandon Jones (181.305) completed the top five. Noah Gragson, who has won four races in a row, starts sixth after a lap of 181.134 mph and is followed by playoff drivers Josh Berry (181.052) and AJ Allmendinger (180.932).

The Xfinity Series race is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET Saturday on USA Network.

Talladega Truck starting lineup: John Hunter Nemechek wins pole


TALLADEGA, Ala. — John Hunter Nemechek will start on the pole for Saturday’s Camping World Truck Series race.

Nemechek earned the pole with a lap of 178.767 mph.

Nemechek is one of four playoff drivers starting in the top six: Chandler Smith (second, 177.732 mph), Zane Smith (fourth, 177.061) and Ty Majeski (sixth, 176.744). Majeski clinched a spot in next month’s championship race at Phoenix with his Bristol win.

MORE: Talladega Truck starting lineup

Also qualifying in the top five were Carson Hocevar (177.068) in third and Matt Crafton (176.960) in fifth.

Failing to qualify are Tim Viens, Spencer Boyd, Jason White and Natalie Decker.

Saturday Talladega Xfinity race: Start time, TV info, weather


The second race of the opening round of the Xfinity playoffs takes drivers to Talladega Superspeedway.

Noah Gragson secured his spot in the next round by winning last weekend at Texas. Ryan Sieg holds the final transfer spot. Riley Herbst is the first driver below the cutline, one point behind Sieg. Also below the cutline are reigning series champion Daniel Hemric (-8 points), Brandon Jones (-12) and Jeremy Clements (-28).

Details for Saturday’s Xfinity race at Talladega Superspeedway

(All times Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given at 4:09 p.m. … Green flag is scheduled to wave at 4:21 p.m.

PRERACE: Xfinity garage opens at 1 p.m. … Driver introductions are at 3:30 p.m. … The invocation will be given at 4 p.m. … The Brookwood High School choir will perform the anthem at 4:02 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 113 laps (300.58 miles) on the 2.66-mile speedway.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 25. Stage 2 ends at Lap 50.

TV/RADIO: USA Network will broadcast the race at 4 p.m. Countdown to Green begins at 3:30 p.m. on USA Network. … Motor Racing Network coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. and also will stream at SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the MRN broadcast.


FORECAST: Weather Underground — Sunny with a high of 78 degrees and no chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Noah Gragson won and was followed by Jeffrey Earnhardt and AJ Allmendinger.


Could Talladega open door for a record 20th winner?


Talladega Superspeedway is known for fast speeds, huge drafting packs, sensational wrecks and tight finishes.

On Sunday (2 p.m. ET on NBC), it could be the site of an unexpected record.

Nineteen different drivers have won Cup races this season, tying a record. If a new winner shows up in Talladega victory lane Sunday, it will mark the first time in the sport’s history that 20 drivers have won races in a single season.

One of the remarkable things about that possibility is that the driver who has far and away the best record at Talladega among active drivers is among the group still looking for a win in 2022. That’s Brad Keselowski, who has won six times at NASCAR’s biggest track. No other active driver has more than three. (Keselowski is tied for second on the all-time Talladega win list with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon. Dale Earnhardt tops that list with 10).

Talladega and Daytona tend to reject repeat winners. The past nine races at the two tracks have been won by nine different drivers.

Other seasonal non-winners who could break through at Talladega:

Ryan BlaneyBlaney’s only win this year is in the All-Star Race, so he’s still looking for his first points win while continuing to chase the championship. He won at Talladega in 2019 and 2020.

Martin Truex Jr. — Superspeedways have been a pox on Truex’s career. In 70 races at Talladega and Daytona, he has failed to win.

Aric Almirola — In what has been a disappointing season, Almirola’s best finish is a fifth — twice. He won at Talladega in 2018 but hasn’t had a top 10 in his last four runs there.

Michael McDowell — McDowell’s best finish at Talladega is a third, but he is usually very competitive in the Talladega and Daytona drafts, winning the 2021 Daytona 500.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. — Stenhouse won at Talladega in 2017 and usually is a factor in the draft.

Harrison Burton — Burton has had a tough rookie season, but the peculiarities of the Talladega draft should play in his favor. The No. 21 team’s next win will be its 100th.

Justin Haley — Haley has no top-10 runs in five Talladega starts, but he showed potential last week with a third-place finish at Texas.

Corey LaJoie — LaJoie has started nine Cup races at Talladega and has led exactly one lap. His best finish is a seventh.

Noah Gragson — Gragson, the star of this Xfinity season, is in the No. 48 for Hendrick Motorsports with Alex Bowman out because of concussion-like symptoms. In the Talladega draft he could be a threat.