NASCAR Camping World Truck Series News & Notes – Off Weekend

Following the weather-shortened regular season finale last weekend at Watkins Glen International that set the 10-driver Playoff field and saw Hattori Racing Enterprises’ Austin Hill claim his second victory of the season, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is off this weekend to prepare for the Playoff-opener, the Toyota 200 presented by CK Power at World Wide Technology Raceway on August 20 at 9 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Next Race: Toyota 200 presented by CK Power

The Place: World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway

The Date: Friday, August 20

The Time: 9 p.m. ET

TV: FS1, 8 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR (Channel 90)

Distance: 200 miles (160 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 55),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 110), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 160)


The 2021 season will be the sixth running of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs (2016-2021). The previous five Playoff Era seasons have produced five different champions – 2016: Johnny Sauter; 2017: Christopher Bell; 2018: Brett Moffitt; 2019: Matt Crafton and 2020: Sheldon Creed.

Once again, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 2021 season will feature a seven-race, three-round Playoff format. All three national series will conclude the Playoffs with a Championship 4 race at Phoenix Raceway to crown a champion.

Characteristics of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoff format include:

  • A victory in the first 15 races all but guarantees a berth in the Playoffs.

  • The number of championship drivers in contention for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship will decrease after every three Playoff races, from 10 to start in the Playoffs; eight after race No. 3; and four after race No. 6.

  • The first three races of the Playoffs (16-18) will be known as the Round of 10; races 19-21 will be known as the Round of 8; and race No. 22 will be the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship (Championship 4 Round).

  • A win by a championship-eligible driver in any Playoff race automatically clinches the winning driver a spot in the next round.

  • Four drivers will enter the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship race with a chance at the title, with the highest finisher among those four capturing the championship.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoff Structure:

  • Round of 10: The first round (races 16-18), called the Round of 10, consists of the races at Gateway, Darlington and Bristol. If a driver in the Playoffs wins a race in this round, the driver automatically advances to the next round (Round of 8). The remaining available positions (1-8) that have not been filled by wins will be filled on points. Each will then have their points reset to 3,000, plus any Playoff points awarded to that point are added.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoff Outlook – Round of 10 (Gateway, Darlington, Bristol)
Rank Playoff Drivers Points Pts From Cutoff
1 John H. Nemechek 2049 48
2 Austin Hill 2021 20
3 Ben Rhodes 2019 18
4 Todd Gilliland 2015 14
5 Sheldon Creed 2011 10
6 Zane Smith 2009 8
7 Matt Crafton 2004 3
8 Carson Hocevar # 2002 1
9 Chandler Smith # 2001 -1
10 Stewart Friesen 2001 -1

  • Round of 8: The second round (races 19-21) is the Round of 8 (Las Vegas, Talladega and Martinsville). Likewise, if a driver in the top eight in points wins a race in this round, the driver automatically advances to the next round (Championship 4). The remaining available positions (1-4) that have not been filled by wins will be filled on points. Each will then have their points reset to 4,000.

  • Each eliminated driver will return to the Playoff-start base of 2,000 (plus any awarded Playoff points), with their accumulated points starting with race No. 17 added. This will allow all drivers not in contention for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title to continue to race for the best possible season-long standing, with final positions fifth-through-10th still up for grabs.

Championship Race:

  • The 22nd and final race of the season will be the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship finale. Simply stated, the highest finisher in that race among the remaining four eligible drivers will win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title.

  • Stage Playoff points will not apply in the season finale, so the official finishing position alone will decide the champion.

  • Note:  All rules outlined above also apply to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series owner championship structure.

Scouting the 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoff field

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 2021 Playoff 10-driver field is stacked with contenders ready for their shot at the title. Seven different organizations are represented in this year’s postseason driver field. Below is a quick look at the challengers in this season’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs:

Kyle Busch Motorsport’s John Hunter Nemechek (No. 4 Toyota) enters the 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs as the No. 1 seed with 2,049 points; up 28 points on his nearest competitor. Nemechek enters the postseason as the 2021 Regular Season Champion – the first time in his career he has won the title. This season is his third NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs appearance (2016, ’17, ’21). Nemechek’s previous best finish in the series Playoff standings is eighth – twice (2016, ‘17).

Nemechek’s 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season statistics:

Starts Race Wins Stage Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs
15 5 9 9 12 1
Driver Rating Avg. Running Position Lap Led
117.0 5.886 487

Hattori Racing Enterprises’ Austin Hill (No. 16 Toyota) enters the 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs as the No. 2 seed with 2,021 points; just 28 points back from standings leader John Hunter Nemechek with 2,049. This season marks Hill’s third consecutive appearance in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs (2019-’21). Hill’s previous best finish in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs is fifth in 2019.

Hill’s 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season statistics:

Starts Race Wins Stage Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs
15 2 1 7 12 0
Driver Rating Avg. Running Position Lap Led
103.5 8.738 48

ThorSport Racing’s Ben Rhodes (No. 99 Toyota) enters the 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs as the No. 3 seed with 2,019 points; 30 markers back from Nemechek in the standings lead and just two points behind Hill in second. The 2021 season marks the fourth time he has competed in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs. His previous best finish in the Truck Series Playoffs is fifth in 2017.

Rhodes’ 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season statistics:

Starts Race Wins Stage Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs
15 2 1 5 11 0
Driver Rating Avg. Running Position Lap Led
98.2 9.805 68

Front Row Motorsport’s Todd Gilliland (No. 38 Ford) enters the 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs as the No. 4 seed with 2,015 points; 34 points behind standings leader John Hunter Nemechek and just four points back from Rhodes in third. This is Gilliland’s first appearance in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs; his previous best finish in the championship standings was 10th – twice (2018, ’20).

Gilliland’s 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season statistics:

Starts Race Wins Stage Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs
15 1 3 7 11 1
Driver Rating Avg. Running Position Lap Led
102.3 9.988 52

2020 series champion and GMS Racing driver Sheldon Creed (No. 2 Chevrolet) enters the 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs as the No. 5 seed with 2,011 points; 38 markers back from Nemechek in the standings lead and just four points behind Gilliland in fourth. Creed in his first appearance in the series Playoffs last season rallied off two wins (Texas and season finale at Phoenix), made the Championship 4 Round and won the title. This year marks his second go at the postseason.

Creed’s 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season statistics:

Starts Race Wins Stage Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs
15 1 1 6 7 3
Driver Rating Avg. Running Position Lap Led
98.4 11.936 109

GMS Racing’s Zane Smith (No. 21 Chevrolet) enters the 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs as the No. 6 seed with 2,009 points; 40 points down from the standings lead but just two points back from his GMS Racing teammate Sheldon Creed in fifth. Smith is coming off an impressive rookie season (2020) that saw him make the Playoffs and earn a spot in the Championship 4 Round ultimately finishing the season runner-up in the championship and the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award winner. This season, Smith returns for his second career appearance in the postseason.

  1. Smith’s 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season statistics:
Starts Race Wins Stage Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs
15 0 3 1 10 1
Driver Rating Avg. Running Position Lap Led
96.3 10.111 47

Three-time series champion (2013, ’14, ’19) and ThorSport Racing driver Matt Crafton (No. 88 Toyota) enters the 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs as the No. 7 seed with 2,004 points; 45 markers behind Nemechek in the series standings lead. The 2021 season marks the sixth-time Crafton has competed in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs. Crafton is the only driver in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series history to compete in all six Playoffs (2016-2021). A three-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion (2013, 2014 and 2019) and the only driver in series history to win titles in both the Playoff Era (2016-Present) and the prior points format (1995-2015). Crafton has appeared in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship 4 Round three times (2016, ’17, ’19) – tied with Brett Moffitt and Johnny Sauter for the series-most Championship 4 Round appearances with three each. Crafton finished fifth in last season’s Playoffs.

Crafton’s 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season statistics:

Starts Race Wins Stage Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs
15 0 0 2 7 1
Driver Rating Avg. Running Position Lap Led
90.4 12.623 14

Niece Motorsport’s Carson Hocevar (No. 42 Chevrolet) enters the 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs as the No. 8 seed with 2,002 points; 47 points back from John Hunter Nemechek in the standings lead. Hocevar and Chandler Smith are the only two Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidates from the 2021 class to make it to the postseason. Hocevar joins Chandler Smith this season as the ninth and 10th different Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidates to make the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs all-time; joining Christopher Bell (2016), William Bryon (2016), Austin Cindric (2017), Chase Briscoe (2017), Kaz Grala (2017), Tyler Ankrum (2019), Zane Smith (2020) and Christian Eckes (2020).

Hocevar’s 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season statistics:

Starts Race Wins Stage Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs
15 0 0 3 5 0
Driver Rating Avg. Running Position Lap Led
82.8 15.263 7

Kyle Busch Motorsport’s Chandler Smith (No. 18 Toyota) enters the 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs as the No. 9 seed with 2,001 points; 48 points behind the standings lead. Smith and Carson Hocevar are the only two Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidates from the 2021 class to make it to the postseason. Smith joins Hocevar this season as the ninth and 10th different Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidates to make the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs all-time; joining Christopher Bell (2016), William Bryon (2016), Austin Cindric (2017), Chase Briscoe (2017), Kaz Grala (2017), Tyler Ankrum (2019), Zane Smith (2020) and Christian Eckes (2020).

  1. Smith’s 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season statistics:
Starts Race Wins Stage Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs
15 0 1 3 5 2
Driver Rating Avg. Running Position Lap Led
85.0 14.608 94

Halmar Friesen Racing’s Stewart Friesen (No. 52 Toyota) enters the 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs as the No. 10 seed with 2,001 points; 48 points back from John Hunter Nemechek in the No. 1 seed.  The 2021 season marks the third time he has competed in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs. Friesen finished a career-best fourth in the 2019 Playoffs after posting a win in the penultimate race at Phoenix to earn a spot in the Championship 4 Round. He failed to make the postseason last year ultimately finishing the season 15th in points.

Friesen’s 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season statistics:

Starts Race Wins Stage Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs
15 0 0 3 4 3
Driver Rating Avg. Running Position Lap Led
85.2 12.791 13
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