Taking a turn at Circuit of The Americas
After a week off, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will be back in action this Saturday, May 22, for the Toyota Tundra 225 (1 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at Circuit of The Americas (COTA). The race will be the first in a double-header that features the NASCAR Xfinity Series later in the afternoon.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Next Race: Toyota Tundra 225
The Place: Circuit of The Americas
The Date: Saturday, May 22
The Time: 1 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, 12 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 139.81 miles (41 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 12),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 26), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 41)
This will mark the first time NASCAR has raced at COTA, which is a 3.41-mile road course located just outside Austin, Texas. The multi-elevational track has 20 scenic turns for the trucks to navigate.
This weekend will also feature qualifying and practice for the Camping World Truck Series. Qualifying will be comprised of two rounds – the first round will be 25 minutes and will determine the 36 trucks that will make up the field for Saturday’s race. (There are 44 trucks entered this weekend.)
The lap times from that round will determine the starting positions for 13th through 36th on the grid.
Following a five-minute break after the opening round, the 12 trucks that posted the fastest lap times during that opening round will move on to contend for the Cometic Gaskets Pole Award in the final round. That round will be 10 minutes in length and will determine positions first through 12th on the grid.
Ben Rhodes (2021 – Daytona Road Course), Brett Moffitt (2019 – Canadian Tire), John Hunter Nemechek (2016 – Canadian Tire), and Sheldon Creed (2020 – Daytona Road Course) are the only active regular drivers in the Camping World Truck Series who have wins on road courses.
Matt Crafton, Nemechek and Creed each have a runner-up finish on a road course and Crafton leads all regulars with four top-five finishes on a road course. Nemechek and Creed each have three top fives.
Paul Menard returns to take on COTA
This weekend’s Toyota Tundra 225 (1 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at Circuit of The Americas (COTA) will mark the return of veteran racer Paul Menard to the NASCAR track as he has been tapped to pilot the No. 66 Toyota for ThorSport Racing.
Menard last competed in a NASCAR national series race in 2019. And although he only has six NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races to his credit, his most recent NASCAR win came in 2015 with the NASCAR Xfinity Series on the long and sweeping Road America circuit in his native Wisconsin.
In his six previous Camping World Truck Series starts (five in 2003 and one in 2007), Menard had one top 10 at Kansas. None of those starts were on a road course.
In 471 NASCAR Cup Series starts, Menard recorded 20 top-five and 69 top-10 results.
Creed and Chevrolet end Toyota’s 2020 dominance
Leading into Darlington Raceway two weeks ago, Toyota had dominated Victory Lane thus far in the 2020 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season – winning all seven races to date.
That all changed last Friday night when Sheldon Creed piloted his No. 2 GMS Racing Chevrolet to the win over ThorSport Racing’s No. 99 Toyota driven by Ben Rhodes.
The win also ended a five-race win streak by Kyle Busch Motorsports that saw John Hunter Nemechek and Kyle Busch each win a pair of races while Martin Truex Jr. won on the Bristol dirt.
Darlington marked Creed’s first win of the season – and first since he won the season finale at Phoenix in November to win the season championship. He is just one race off the pace from when he earned his first victory of the title season – in the seventh race of the year at Kentucky.
Overall, Creed won five races last year.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Etc.
Jack Wood to make series debut at COTA: ARCA Menards Series driver Jack Wood will make his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut next weekend at COTA, driving the No. 24 GMS Racing Chevrolet, the team announced last week. Wood has one top-five and two top-10 finishes in four ARCA Menards Series starts this season.
Austin, Texas, native Logan Bearden to make debut at COTA: Logan Bearden, a native of Austin, Texas, will be looking to make his NASCAR national series debut with Niece Motorsports this weekend. The 25-year-old is a Super Late Model racer on the West Coast and will be driving the No. 44 Chevrolet this weekend. Niece will also field a truck with Bayley Currey in the No. 45.
Triple Truck Challenge Presented by Womply: Sheldon Creed won the opening round of the Triple Truck Challenge this season at Darlington Raceway, netting a $50,000 bonus. This marked Creed’s third Triple Truck Challenge victory after winning the bonus last year at Daytona and World Wide Technology Raceway. This weekend’s race at COTA will be the second leg of the 2021 edition of the Triple Truck Challenge, which will wrap up at Charlotte.
Sunoco Rookie Update: Coming out of Darlington, Carson Hocevar has a 19-point lead over Chandler Smith in the standings (195 to 176). Hailie Deegan is in third with 131 points, while Chase Purdy has 93 points in fourth and Kris Wright is in fifth with 44 points.