With five races remaining in the regular season, not too much has changed from three weeks ago. John Hunter Nemechek, Ben Rhodes, Sheldon Creed and Todd Gilliland are still the only drivers to have secured spots in the Playoffs by virtue of wins. That currently leaves six spots to be filled by points, guaranteeing at least one will be transferring to the Playoffs on points.
Five-time Texas winner Johnny Sauter still holds the 10th and final spot based on points, now just two points ahead of Austin Wayne Self, who is the first driver on the outside looking in.
Another previous Texas winner, Matt Crafton, dropped to seventh on the Playoff grid, but is still comfortably in position to advance to the postseason.
The remainder of the field currently in the Playoff picture (Austin Hill – moved up to third in points, Zane Smith – sixth, Stewart Friesen – eighth, Carson Hocevar – ninth on the Playoff grid) are all looking for their first win at Texas Motor Speedway.
Although Grant Enfinger is currently ninth overall in points, he’s not eligible for the Playoffs after missing the race at the Daytona Road Course early in the season.
Hill has nine starts at Texas with a pair of top-five finishes, including a runner-up result last year. Smith has two starts, both last season, and finished third in his second race. Friesen has a trio of top-five and four top-10 results, including a best of second in the first race there in 2018. Sunoco Rookie points leader Hocevar will be making his track debut this weekend.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Etc.
Brennan Poole making 2021 NASCAR national series debut – On Point Motorsports has tapped Brennan Poole to drive the No. 30 Toyota for the team this weekend at Texas, marking the 2021 season debut. Poole, who grew up near Houston, Texas, spent the beginning of the year recovering from an injury that was a result of a snowboarding accident. Poole’s best finish in a Camping World Truck was a runner-up result at Charlotte in 2019.
Sunoco Rookie Update – Coming out of his second-place showing Charlotte, Carson Hocevar continued to extend his lead over Chandler Smith to stay atop the Sunoco Rookie standings, now holding a 53-point advantage (264 to 211). Smith had a very respectable showing himself, finishing sixth – but only Hocevar scored stage points between the two. Hailie Deegan is in third with 179 points after finishing 13th in Charlotte, while Chase Purdy has 106 points in fourth (he finished 34th at COTA) and Kris Wright is in fifth with 58 points. Wright has only competed in six of the 10 races this season, most recently at Charlotte where he was 23rd at the conclusion of the race.