Camping World Truck Series prepares to race Mid-Ohio for first-time
For the first-time in series history, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will get ready for the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and the O’Reilly Auto Parts 150 at Mid-Ohio (July 9 at 1:30 P.M. ET on FS1, MRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Since 2013, the track has hosted eight NASCAR Xfinity Series events. This season, however, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will be racing in their place as the venue will be the site of the penultimate race of the regular season. It will also act as the last road course race on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 2022 schedule.
The track was opened in 1962 inside the limits of Lexington, Ohio. Built right outside of Mansfield, Ohio which 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 (the latter being what the Trucks will run on). The track sits on 380 acres of land and is often touted as the “Most Competitive in the U.S.” It currently plays host to IMSA, the NTT IndyCar Series, and now NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and ARCA Menard’s Series events.
Only nine drivers entered this weekend in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race have prior experience at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, all making starts in the Xfinity Series.
Last year’s Truck Series Champion Ben Rhodes ran at the track in 2015 for JR Motorsports, finishing 10th in one of 10 races he ran for the No. 88 team.
John Hunter Nemechek of Kyle Busch Motorsports ended his run at Mid-Ohio finishing 31st in 2019 for GMS Racing’s Xfinity program.
Spencer Boyd and Kaz Grala both made their lone Xfinity Series Mid-Ohio starts in 2018 finishing 25th and 27th, respectively.
Parker Kligerman made his solo Xfinity start at Mid-Ohio in 2013 driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports; he started ninth and finished 13th. The two drivers with the most recent Xfinity Series starts at Mid-Ohio are Colby Howard and Kris Wright, who both competed at Mid-Ohio in the Xfinity Series in 2021, they finished 22nd and 32nd, respectively.
Matt DiBenedetto of Rackley W.A.R. finished 13th in 2014 while running most of the season for The Motorsports Group. In addition,
Of the group with previous experience at Mid-Ohio, Timmy Hill has the most starts at the road course with three Xfinity starts; he finished 27th (2019), 29th (2018) and 37th (2014).
Last chance for the Triple Truck Challenge in 2022
This weekend’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, the O’Reilly Auto Parts 150 at Mid-Ohio Sports Course will mark the last race of the Triple Truck Challenge for the 2022 season and the last chance for the competitors to bank an additional $50,000 for the win.
Beginning in 2019, the challenge stands as an added incentive to the winners of the three selected races: Gateway, Nashville, and Mid-Ohio. The winner of each individual race is awarded $50,000 for that event. If a driver wins two out of the three races, they will earn a total of $150,000. And if a driver manages to win all three of the selected races, they will rack in a total of $500,000.
The past two winners of the previous Triple Truck Challenge events were Corey Heim at Gateway and Ryan Preece at Nashville. With Preece not set to run this weekend, all eyes will be on the part-time rookie from Marietta, Georgia as he hopes to wheel his No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Tundra to Victory Lane for $150,000. It will not be easy, however, as the rest of the field will be vying for their chance at winning $50,000 to take home after the race.
This season, though on a part-time schedule, Corey Heim has been impressive when in the Kyle Busch Motorsports machine. In seven starts this season, he has collected two wins (Atlanta and Gateway), two top fives and three top 10s.
Regular Season Title Watch: Zane Smith takes points standings lead with two to go
Front Row Motorsports’ Zane Smith continues to have a standout year as he claims the driver points lead in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with just two races to go in the regular season. The California native is currently 21 points up on John Hunter Nemechek in second in the series driver standings.
Smith’s ascension to the standing lead comes after a strong second-place finish at Nashville, where he narrowly edged out Carson Hocevar in the closing laps. Smith, in his first year driving the No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford, has accumulated three wins, eight top-fives and 12 top-10s.
Having a week off before competing in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 150 at Mid-Ohio, Smith anything can happen with two races left in the regular season.
“This regular season championship battle is far from over,” said Smith. “We have a 21-point lead on second place, but we’ve also seen how drastically the points can swing if you have a bad day. Winning this weekend at Mid-Ohio would be great, but realistically we need to focus on a great finish and holding the points lead so we have a chance at the 15 Playoff points that come with a Regular Season Championship.”
Mathematically, Smith could clinch the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Regular Season Championship at Mid-Ohio, but he would need help. Smith currently has the season-best average finish at road courses, with a win at Circuit of The Americas and a runner-up effort at Sonoma Raceway.
Clinch Scenarios: Time is running out for those not locked in
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has turned into a pressure cooker with five spots left up for grabs in the Playoffs and just two races remaining for drivers to win their way into the postseason. And with five spots left and only two races to go, that means at least three spots this season will be taken by drivers who transfer in on points.
The following five drivers have clinched a spot in the 10-driver postseason field: Zane Smith, John Hunter Nemechek, Ben Rhodes, Chandler Smith and Stewart Friesen.
Can Clinch Playoff Spot Via Points
If there is a repeat winner or a win by a driver who cannot advance to the Playoffs, the following drivers could clinch by being 56 points above the fifth winless driver in the standings. The same point requirements listed below would hold true if a new win comes from either Ty Majeski, Christian Eckes, Carson Hocevar or Grant Enfinger.
- Ty Majeski: Would clinch with 13 points
- Christian Eckes: Would clinch with 43 points
- Carson Hocevar: Could only clinch with help
- Grant Enfinger: Could only clinch with help
If there is a new winner from Matt Crafton or another winless driver lower in the standings but still eligible to advance to the Playoffs, the following drivers could clinch by being 56 points above the fourth winless driver in the standings.
- Ty Majeski: Would clinch with 23 points
- Christian Eckes: Would clinch with 53 points
- Carson Hocevar: Could only clinch with help
Can Clinch Playoff Spot Via Win
The following drivers would clinch on their win alone:
- Ty Majeski, Christian Eckes, Carson Hocevar, Grant Enfinger, Matt Crafton, Derek Kraus, Tyler Ankrum, Matt DiBenedetto, Tanner Gray
The following drivers could clinch with a win:
- Timmy Hill: Could only clinch with help
- Colby Howard: Could only clinch with help
- Lawless Alan: Could only clinch with help
Road Course Ringers Heading into Mid-Ohio
As the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series prepares to run at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, a handful of drivers look to capitalize off their road course prowess and expertise. Most recently, points leader Zane Smith has outclassed the field each time the trucks have visited a road course this season. The driver of the No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford F-150 stole a win at Circuit of the Americas earlier this year and followed it up with a runner-up effort at Sonoma Raceway. These results have earned him a 1.5 average finish at road courses this season, the best in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Smith will look to continue this streak of good races and cement his place atop the driver standings as the regular season nears its close.
Another driver to keep an eye on at Mid-Ohio is Parker Kligerman of Henderson Motorsports. The part-time driver of the No. 75 Toyota has shown speed in his last few road course starts, earning top-10 finishes at the Daytona Road Course in 2020 and Sonoma Raceway in 2022 along with a top-five at Watkins Glen in 2021. Kligerman is also coming fresh off a start in the Mazda MX-5 Cup Series at Road America, priming his road course skills for this upcoming weekend. The veteran driver would want nothing more than to see his recent efforts pay dividends this weekend with a good run at Mid-Ohio.
Jumping back into the driver’s seat after holding ownership duties for the past two years is Trackhouse Racing owner Justin Marks. He will be piloting the No. 41 Chevy Silverado this weekend for Niece Motorsports. Marks carries a major leg-up on the competition this weekend, as his last and only win in any of NASCAR’s three national series came in 2016 when he won at Mid-Ohio for Chip Ganassi Racing in the Xfinity Series. The victory was met with a top-10 outing the following year along with top-fives at Road America in 2017 and the Charlotte Roval in 2018. In addition, Marks has had massive success in sports cars. He has tallied eight wins across his career in IMSA, two of which also coming at Mid-Ohio. He will aim to add on two his impressive road course resume on Saturday.
Reaume Brothers Racing has also tapped Kenko Miura to drive the No. 33 Chevrolet Silverado this weekend. Miura is a Japanese-born driver who has made starts in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series and the Asian Formula 3 Series. This will be Miura’s first start in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and his first start at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Lawless Alan maintains rookie point Lead into Mid-Ohio
The NASCAR Camping Word Truck Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year race has only gotten tighter with the top four drivers separated by just 20 points with just two races left in the regular season. As it stands, Lawless Alan of Niece Motorsports maintains the top spot on the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings as the series heads to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 150 at Mid-Ohio (July 9 at 1:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
|Sunoco Rookie of the Year|
|Rookies||Points||Awards||Pts. Back From Leader|
Alan, driver of the No. 45 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet, was able to hold on to the rookie points lead by eight points over Kyle Busch Motorsport’s Corey Heim after a 24th-place finish at Nashville Superspeedway. With no experience at Mid-Ohio prior to this Saturday’ event, a good run would certainly turn heads as he hopes to cement his name on the Rookie of the Year Award at season’s end. On the previous road courses this season, he has finished 11th at Austin (COTA) and 25th at Sonoma.
Sitting in Alan’s rearview mirror is Corey Heim of Kyle Busch Motorsports, only eight points back in second in the 2022 Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings. His second place standing on the rookie leaderboard is a true testament to how well he has run on a part-time schedule in the No. 51 KBM Toyota this season. He is still the only rookie to win a race this year and joins Zane Smith as the only other multiple-time winner in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for 2022. After a wreck at the end of the Nashville race that relegated him to a 33rd-place finish, Heim has his sights set on leaving Mid-Ohio with the rookie points lead and a good finish this weekend, but he will have his work cut out for him as it will be his series track debut and first event on a road course this year.
Sitting just two points back of Heim is Niece Motorsport’s Dean Thompson, from Anaheim, California. The 20-year-old driver of the No. 40 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet was the best placing rookie in the field at Nashville, ending the night at 14th. The solid finish was the main benefactor in his jump from fourth in rookie standings to third heading into this weekend at Mid-Ohio. On road courses this season, he has finished 29th at Circuit of The Americas and 24th at Sonoma. Thompson will look to continue moving up the rookie leaderboard with another solid run at Mid-Ohio this weekend.
Someone who did not have the same sort of fortune as Thompson was GMS Racing’s Jack Wood. The No. 24 Chevrolet team did not have the race they had hoped for at Nashville, completing just six laps before crashing into Turn 4 and ending their night early. Wood moves from second in the standings down to fourth. However, he is still only 10 points back from Thompson in third and 20 points back from Alan in first. This goes to show just how tight the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings are at this point in the season. With just two races left before the Payoffs, Wood will need to lock in at Mid-Ohio and Pocono to give himself a shot at the rookie title.
Blaine Perkins of CR7 Motorsports stands at fifth on the rookie leaderboard with a decent margin between him and Wood. Perkins scored his first top-20 finish of the year at Nashville, finishing 18th in the race and second among rookies. As the regular season nears its final stretch of races, the No. 9 Chevrolet team will look to finish out with strong finishes to hopefully propel them further up in the rookie standings.