NASCAR viewer’s guide: All-Star Race at Texas

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The 2022 NASCAR All-Star Race is set to hit Texas Motor Speedway this weekend.

The 1.5-mile quad-oval plays host to the exhibition event for the second season in a row, falling between the 13th and 14th points races on the Cup Series schedule.

Twenty drivers are locked into Sunday’s big show (8 p.m. ET, FS1), while four others will advance from the All-Star Open (5:30 p.m. ET, FS1).

The Camping World Truck Series and the Xfinity Series also hit the track for their points events before the Cup stars fight for a $1 million prize.

Get set for the full All-Star weekend here:

The format

The full format for this year’s All-Star Race was unveiled in late April. Take a look at how the four-stage race will be broken down:

  • Stage 1 (25 laps): Stage 1 winner will start on the pole in the final stage as long as he finishes 15th or better in Stages 2 and 3.
  • Stage 2 (25 laps): Stage 2 winner starts second in final stage as long as he finishes 15th or better in Stage 3.
  • Special Stage Break (Pit Stop Competition): Each team must pit and perform a four-tire stop. The team with the shortest time on pit road (pit in/pit out) wins the pit crew award and the driver will start fourth in the final stage as long as he finishes 15th or better in Stage 3.
  • Stage 3 (25 laps): Stage 3 winner starts third in final stage.
  • Stage 4 (50 laps): Stage 1 winner starts first, Stage 2 winner second, Stage 3 winner third and pit stop competition winner starts fourth. If a “natural” caution occurs between laps 15-25 of the final stage, standard race procedures will be in effect. If no “natural” caution occurs during that time, NASCAR will call an “All-Star” competition caution. Winner of Stage 4 earns $1 million.

Preceding the All-Star Race will be the Open, in which the 16 drivers not yet entered in the main event will compete in three stages of 20-20-10 laps. The three stage winners will advance to the All-Star Race in addition to the fan vote winner.

Setting the grid

Qualifying for both the Open and the All-Star Race will take place Saturday evening.

The 16 drivers competing in the Open will go out for single-car, single-lap qualifying to set the lineup for their 50-lap race.

The All-Star Race competitors will then qualify in two rounds. The first round will feature typical single-car qualifying in reverse order of the owners points standings. The fastest eight drivers will then advance to the second round, utilizing a three-round, head-to-head elimination bracket.

Here’s the format for round two:

  • Elimination bracket will feature two cars staged in adjacent pit stalls near the end of pit road.
  • At the sound of an alert, each pit crew will perform a four-tire stop and, at the drop of the jack, drivers will exit their pit stalls (with no speed limit) onto the track.
  • First car back to the start/finish line advances to the next round.
  • Final pairing competes for the pole.

All eyes on the stars

Kyle Larson is the man to watch Sunday night at Texas Motor Speedway.

The defending Cup champion is also the defending All-Star Race winner and has won each of his last two All-Star starts, missing the 2020 event due to his 32-race suspension. No driver has won in three consecutive All-Star appearances. Larson could become the first on Sunday and won the track’s playoff race in October.

The last two seasons’ All-Star Races have also produced that year’s eventual champion. Chase Elliott went to Victory Lane in 2020 at Bristol Motor Speedway before claiming his first Cup title in November. Hendrick Motorsports is also chasing its third straight win in the event, a feat no other team has accomplished.

Entry lists

Sixteen drivers will fight in the Open for the four remaining spots in the All-Star Race. Among them are Tyler Reddick, Daniel Suarez, Austin Dillon and Erik Jones.

NASCAR Cup Series — All-Star Open Entry List

Twenty drivers are already qualified for Sunday’s All-Star Race. The drivers eligible are winners from the 2021 and 2022 seasons as well as full-time former All-Star winners and Cup champions.

Four multi-car teams have every driver entered in the 2022 All-Star Race: Hendrick (four), Joe Gibbs Racing (four), Team Penske (three) and 23XI Racing (two). Making the All-Star Race for the first time based on a points win are Daytona 500 champion Austin Cindric, Phoenix winner Chase Briscoe, COTA winner Ross Chastain (made last year’s All-Star Race after winning a stage in the Open) and last fall’s Talladega winner Bubba Wallace.

Kevin Harvick will make his 22nd consecutive All-Star start, while Kurt Busch makes his 21st. Mark Martin holds the record with 24 straight appearances.

AJ Allmendinger will drive the No. 16 Chevrolet for Kaulig Racing. He’s locked in thanks to his win at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course last summer.

NASCAR Cup Series — All-Star Race Entry List

In the Xfinity Series, 39 cars will compete for 38 spots, meaning one car will fail to qualify for Saturday’s race.

Tyler Reddick is back in the No. 48 Chevrolet for Big Machine Racing. Jeffery Earnhardt slides back to the No. 26 Toyota for Sam Hunt Racing, his fourth start of the year for that program. Driving the Nos. 44 and 45 Chevrolets for Alpha Prime Racing will be Ryan Ellis and Stefan Parsons, respectively.

NASCAR Xfinity Series Entry List — Texas Motor Speedway

The Truck Series entry list features 39 trucks competing for 36 spots, meaning three will fail to qualify.

Ross Chastain returns to the No. 41 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet. Ryan Preece will drive the No. 17 Ford for David Gilliland Racing. Garrett Smithley will pilot the No. 20 Young’s Motorsports Chevrolet.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Entry List — Texas Motor Speedway

This weekend’s schedule and forecast

(All times Eastern)

Friday, May 20

Forecast: Windy with PM thunderstorms, potentially severe, high near 95 degrees, winds south at 20-30 mph, 50% chance of rain

  • 4 – 4:30 p.m. — Truck practice (FS1)
  • 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. — Truck qualifying (single vehicle, one lap, FS1)
  • 6 – 6:30 p.m — Xfinity practice (FS1)
  • 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. — Xfinity qualifying (single vehicle, one lap, FS1)
  • 8:30 p.m. — Truck race (147 laps/220.5 miles; FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Saturday, May 21

ForecastPartly cloudy, chance of stray thunderstorm, high of 84 degrees, winds south to north at 15-25 mph, 23% chance of rain

  • 1:30 p.m. — Xfinity race (167 laps/250.5 miles, FS1, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 7 – 7:35 p.m. — Cup practice (two groups — one for Open entries, one for All-Star, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 7:35 – 7:55 p.m. — All-Star Open qualifying (single vehicle, one lap, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 7:55 – 8:25 p.m. — All-Star Race qualifying, first round (single vehicle, one lap, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 8:25 – 9 p.m. — All-Star Race qualifying, second round (pit battle, elimination bracket, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Sunday, May 22

ForecastPartly cloudy, high 77 degrees, winds northeast at 10-20 mph

  • 5:30 p.m. — All-Star Open (50 laps/75 miles, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 8 p.m. — All-Star Race (125 laps/187.5 miles, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Sammy Smith to run full Xfinity season for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2023

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Sammy Smith will run the full Xfinity schedule in the No. 18 car, Joe Gibbs Racing announced Monday.

The 18-year-old Smith, a Toyota development driver, won the ARCA Menards Series East title for a second consecutive year in 2022 and also made nine Xfinity starts with JGR.

Pilot Flying J, TMC Transportation and Allstate Peterbilt will be sponsors on Smith’s car throughout the 2023 season. Jeff Meendering will be Smith’s crew chief.

“This is an opportunity I have been working towards,” Smith said in a statement from the team. “I can’t wait to get behind the wheel full-time and am looking forward to a great season. I learned a lot in 2022 that will really help me to be competitive and run up front in the Xfinity Series. Thank you to Pilot Flying J, TMC Transportation, Allstate Peterbilt Group, and Toyota Racing Development for supporting me in my racing career. I am excited for next year and appreciate the opportunity.”

Said Steve DeSouza, JGR executive vice president of Xfinity Series and driver development, in a statement: “Sammy is a fantastic addition to our 2023 Xfinity lineup. He proved to have the passion and the talent to necessary to compete for wins in the races he ran for us in 2022,” .“We are excited to get him in the No. 18 full time and know he will be competitive from the jump.”

NASCAR Power Rankings: Racing through the numbers

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Some drivers carry one car number throughout their racing careers. The most famous racers in NASCAR’s 75-year history typically are associated with one number, although some have raced under several.

Victories, championships and driver personalities give life to something as generally mundane as a number. And the most popular produce even bigger numbers, as in sales of T-shirts, caps and other souvenirs.

Here’s a look at 10 of the most iconic NASCAR numbers:

NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings

1. 43 — Since Richard Petty’s emergence as a superstar in the 1960s, the number 43 has been NASCAR’s most iconic. Although Lee Petty, Richard’s father, usually drove No. 42, he actually scored the first win by the 43, in 1959. The Petty blue No. 43 carried Richard to a string of championships. He scored 192 of his 200 race wins with the number. It rolls on today with Erik Jones, who took the 43 to the Southern 500 victory lane this season.

2. 3 — The fiercely facing forward No. 3 became ultra-famous while driven by seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt (although Earnhardt won his first title driving the No. 2). Earnhardt’s black Chevrolet carried the number to new heights, but Fireball Roberts, David Pearson, Junior Johnson, Buck Baker, Buddy Baker and Ricky Rudd, among others, also won in the car.

MORE: Where are they now? Buddy Parrott

3. 21 — The list of drivers who have raced Wood Brothers Racing’s famous No. 21, with the familiar gold foil numbers, reads like a history of NASCAR. David Pearson brought the most fame to the number, but Tim Flock, Curtis Turner, team owner Glen Wood, Cale Yarborough, A.J. Foyt, Donnie Allison, Neil Bonnett and Dale Jarrett also have driven the 21.

4. 11 — This number is responsible for more race wins — 228 — than any other. It also has scored eight championships — three each by Darrell Waltrip and Cale Yarborough and two by Ned Jarrett. Other stars in the 11 over the years: Junior Johnson, Bobby Allison, A.J. Foyt, Terry Labonte, Geoffrey Bodine, Bill Elliott and Denny Hamlin. And some guy named Mario Andretti.

5. 48 — This number was largely ignored until the arrival of Jimmie Johnson, who carried it to seven championships, including five in a row.

6. 24 — The number 24 was a lonely number until 1994 when a kid named Jeff Gordon drove it to its first win, in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The brightly colored 24 became a regular visitor to victory lane from that point forward, carrying Gordon to four championships and becoming one of NASCAR’s most decorated numbers.

MORE: Will Kyle Busch follow footsteps of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning?

7. 18 — Although Dale Jarrett and Bobby Labonte won in the 18, Kyle Busch, draped in the bright colors of sponsor M&Ms, took it into new territory.

8. 22 — NASCAR’s first Cup champion (Red Byron) and its most recent (Joey Logano) rode with the 22. The number has produced 87 wins over the years, including victories by Fireball Roberts, Bobby Allison, Ward Burton, Kurt Busch, Byron and Logano.

9. 2 — Although the 2 carried Dale Earnhardt (1980) and Brad Keselowski (2012) to Cup championships, it is perhaps most identified with Rusty Wallace, whose menacing black No. 2 was powerful at Team Penske. Also successful in the 2: Bill Blair, Kurt Busch and Austin Cindric, this year’s Daytona 500 winner.

10. 9 — The 9 was basically nondescript until Bill Elliott roared out of the north Georgia mountains to turn it into a big winner in the mid-1980s. His son, Chase, continues the trend.

 

 

Truck Series: Rajah Caruth joins GMS Racing

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Rajah Caruth will drive the No. 24 truck full-time for GMS Racing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2023, the team announced Tuesday.

The 20-year-old Caruth ran a full season in the ARCA Menards Series last year, placing third in points. He also made seven Xfinity starts and four Truck starts last year. 

“I am extremely honored, and really excited to join GMS Racing and be in the fold of a professional race team with so much history,” Caruth said in a statement from the team. “I’ve been waiting for an opportunity like this throughout my whole career, and I’m going to do the best in my power to make the most of it.

“First and foremost, I can’t thank everybody at GMS enough for believing in me and believing that I have what it takes to drive one of their trucks. Same goes for everybody at Chevrolet for their support, we truly wouldn’t be able to make this happen without them. 

Caruth joins Grant Enfinger and Daniel Dye as GMS Racing’s full-time Craftsman Truck Series drivers. Chad Walter will be Caruth’s crew chief. Jeff Hensley will be Enfinger’s crew chief. Travis Sharpe will be Dye’s crew chief. 

The primary partner on Caruth’s truck will be the Wendell Scott Foundation. The foundation, named for the first Black driver to win a NASCAR Cup race, seeks to provide resources and services to underprivileged Black youth communities near Scott’s hometown of Danville, Virginia. Since the foundation’s formation in 2011, more than 25 students have been awarded more than $50,000 from the Wendell Scott Legacy Scholarship programs.

“We are excited for Rajah to compete full-time with GMS Racing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2023,” said Dayne Pierantoni, GM Racing Program Manager for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. “Through Chevrolet’s partnership with Rev Racing, we have been impressed with Rajah’s talent both on and off the track. He has proven his ability to compete at the NASCAR national level, and we look forward to seeing his continued success with a series championship winning team.”

The Truck season begins Feb. 17 at Daytona International Speedway. 

In other Truck Series news:

Dean Thompson will drive the No. 5 for TRICON Garage this coming season. The 21-year-old was a rookie in the series this past season. He had a season-best finish of 11th at Las Vegas.

“I am thrilled to start the next chapter of my career with TRICON Garage and Toyota Racing Development,” Thompson said in a statement from the team. “The team and manufacturer have quickly made a statement in the Truck Series as striving to be the best of the best. I’m ready to take on the challenge and live up to the expectations of being a driver for TRICON.”

McAnally Hilgemann Racing announced Tuesday that Christian Eckes and Jake Garcia will drive full-time in the Truck series for the team next season.

Eckes, who will drive the No. 19 truck, moves over from ThorSport Racing. Garcia will drive the No. 35 truck in pursuit of the series Rookie of the Year award.

NAPA AutoCare will continue as a team sponsor.

Garcia is 17 and is scheduled to make his first start March 3 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Because of NASCAR’s age restrictions, he will miss the season opener at Daytona International Speedway. The team’s Daytona driver has not been announced.

Sponsor adds more races in 2023 with Josh Berry

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Jarrett Companies will increase the number of races it will sponsor Josh Berry‘s No. 8 JR Motorsports ride in 2023, the Xfinity Series team announced Monday.

Jarrett Companies will sponsor Berry in six races after serving as the primary sponsor in three races in 2022. Those six races will be Phoenix (March 11), Richmond (April 1), Dover (April 29), Atlanta (July 8), Indianapolis (Aug. 12) and Texas (Sept. 23).

The deal gives Berry at least 26 races with sponsorship for next season. Bass Pro Shops will serve as the primary sponsor of Berry’s car in 11 races in 2023. Tire Pros is back with JRM and will sponsor Berry in nine races in the upcoming season.

Berry, who reached the Xfinity title race and finished fourth in the points, will have a new crew chief in 2023. Taylor Moyer will take over that role with Mike Bumgarner serving as JRM’s director of competition.

The 2023 Xfinity season begins Feb. 18 at Daytona International Speedway.