Truck Series Playoffs Set To Begin In Indy On Friday

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, July 28 2022

The Truck Series will begin its playoffs at Raceway Park in Indianapolis this weekend. (File photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer

INDIANAPOLIS – Ten drivers representing six teams kick off the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series seven-race playoffs Friday night at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park and the title contenders admit they are glad the race to determine the championship four won’t be at Martinsville Speedway this year.

“Even though I love short tracks, I’m thankful Martinsville is not a cut off race for us in the Truck series,” said Grant Enfinger, who finished ninth in the regular season standings. “We are running through each other enough as it is, don’t give us more incentive to run over each other. I won one of them (at Martinsville), but the last couple of years, I think, it’s been a terrible race. People have just gotten too rough, especially with the package we’re in.”

Chandler Smith, who won the regular season finale at Pocono Raceway, agrees. 

“My background is short-track racing, but I don’t like Martinsville in the trucks,” Smith said. “There’s just not enough power to be short-track racing.”

In Smith’s opinion, short-track racing consists of a light vehicle, “a lot of horsepower, spinning tires like crazy, a lot of tire fall off.”

“There are just some short tracks, like Martinsville, where it’s just different,” Smith continued. “You can drive through people there and you can’t do that at a place like IRP or Richmond. You can, but at Martinsville you pay a huge penalty for that if you’re on the wrong end of the stick. Martinsville is just beating and banging, who can drive through who.” 

  This year’s race that will determine the championship four is scheduled for the 1.5-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway, a track that for nearly two decades hosted the season finale for all three of NASCAR’s national touring series. It also is one of two 1.5-mile tracks on this year’s Truck playoff schedule with the other being Kansas Speedway. 

“I think Kansas and Homestead are great cutoff races because we have room to pass without doing somebody wrong,” Enfinger said. “Not saying something can’t happen because it’s racing, but those two tracks have ample opportunity to race around people.”

The 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway is in the second segment, three weeks before the Oct. 22 Homestead-Miami event. However, there are three short-track races in the first two playoff segments – IRP, Richmond and Bristol – and the competitors seeking the 2022 title are pleased with the change in this year’s playoff schedule.

“There is definitely some variety in the (playoff) schedule this year,” said Stewart Friesen, who finished fourth in the regular season standings. “I like all the tracks in the playoffs. 

“We haven’t been that great at Richmond the last couple of years so hopefully we can improve. If we can run well at IRP and run well at Richmond, that will kind of play into what kind of package we bring for (the season finale at) Phoenix.”   

Ben Rhodes, the series 2021 champion, returns to defend his title, leading the four-driver ThorSport Racing contingent. Joining him from ThorSport are Christian Eckes, Ty Majeski and veteran Matt Crafton. Kyle Busch Motorsports has two drivers in this year’s title battle – Chandler Smith and John Hunter Nemechek, who finished second and third, respectively, in the regular season standings. Rounding out the playoff contingent are regular season champion Zane Smith, Front Row Motorsports; Friesen, Halmar Friesen Racing; Carson Hocevar, Niece Motorsports; and Enfinger, GMS Racing. 

The TSPORT 200 at IRP is scheduled to begin Friday at 9 p.m., ET, on FS1. 


| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, July 28 2022
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