Camping World Truck Series prepares to race ‘under the lights’ at Kansas Speedway

Kansas Speedway

The 2022 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season has lifted off with a plethora of robust competition producing six different winners in the first seven races. Now the Truck competitors set their sights on Kansas Speedway for the Heart of Americas 200 the eighth race of the season this Saturday, May 14 at 8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

The 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway has hosted 23 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races, dating back to the inaugural event on July 7, 2001. The first Camping World Truck Series race at Kanas was won by Ricky Hendrick driving a Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports. 

The 23 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races at Kansas Speedway have produced 15 different pole winners and 19 different race winners. 

NASCAR Hall of Famer Ron Hornaday Jr. leads the series in poles at Kansas with three. ThorSport Racing’s Matt Crafton is the only active driver this weekend with a series pole at Kansas (2019). 

Kyle Busch (2014, 2017, 2021) and Matt Crafton (2013, 2015, 2020) are tied for the NASCAR Camping World Truck series-most wins at Kansas Speedway with three each. Crafton is the only active driver this weekend that has won at Kansas. 

Camping World Truck Series practice will run from 12 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. ET, directly followed by Cometic Gaskets Pole Qualifying at 1:30 p.m. ET – both events will be televised on FS1.     

John Hunter Nemechek gets first win of 2022; locks into Playoffs

Kyle Busch Motorsport’s driver John Hunter Nemechek grabbed his first win of the 2022 season last weekend at Darlington Raceway. The big victory helped him jump three spots in the championship driver standings – from fifth to second – and in the process joined his KBM teammate Chandler Smith by securing his spot in the Playoffs. 

Nemechek is the fourth different driver to secure his spot in the Playoffs by virtue of a win this season joining Zane Smith, Ben Rhodes and Chandler Smith. 

Currently, Nemechek sits runner-up in the series driver standings; 30 points back from Ben Rhodes in the lead. Nemechek’s season has started off slow in comparison to last year where at this time he had already won two of his five victories. This season, Nemechek had put up one win and four top fives in seven starts. He also has led the second-most laps with 154 laps out front (16.74%) just behind Rhodes with most at 166 laps in the lead (18.04%). 

Watch for Nemechek to try to make it back-to-back wins this weekend at Kansas now that he has kicked open the gate to Victory Lane this season. Nemechek has made four Truck Series starts at Kansas collecting three top-five finishes. He finished fifth in this race last season. 

Playoff Bubble: Kansas Speedway the halfway point of regular season

Kansas Speedway marks the eighth race on the 2022 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season and the halfway point of the 16-race regular season. This year has been a feverish pace with four different drivers locking themselves into the postseason by virtue of wins, leaving just six spots left up for grabs. 

Following Darlington, Zane Smith (Daytona, COTA), Ben Rhodes (Bristol), Chandler Smith (Las Vegas) and John Hunter Nemechek (Darlington) have all earned a spot in the Playoffs with their wins.

Heading into Kansas, Halmar Friesen Racing’s Stewart Friesen currently sits fifth in the Playoff outlook, the highest ranked driver without a win this season. Friesen is currently 53 points up on the post season cutline. Kansas has been a bit of a struggle for Friesen in the past. In six starts at Kansas he has just one top-five finish (2018). He finished 14th in this race last season. 

The other five drivers above the Playoff cutline are Carson Hocevar (+36 points above postseason cutline), Ty Majeski (+33), Christian Eckes (+31), Grant Enfinger (+15) and Matt Crafton (+14). 

Tanner Gray is the first driver outside the Playoff cutoff, 14 points behind Matt Crafton in the 10th and final postseason transfer position.  Ankrum is hoping to make some points up on his competitors this weekend at Kansas, his only career victory came at a similarly shaped 1.5-mile track – Kentucky Speedway. Ankrum has made five starts at Kansas posting a best finish of 11th in 2019.

Of the drivers below the Playoff cutline heading into this weekend at Kansas, keep an eye on Tyler Ankrum. The California native scored his only career victory at a similarly shaped 1.5-mile track – Kentucky Speedway. Ankrum has made five starts at Kansas posting a best finish of 11th in 2019.

First-time winners happen at Kansas Speedway

First-time winners are always fun to see, and Kansas Speedway has been producing them since the 1.5-mile track opened its gates to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2001 with Ricky Hendrick winning the inaugural event. 

Five of the 19 different NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kansas Speedway winners were first-time winners in the series (26.3%). The most recent was Niece Motorsport’s Ross Chastain who grabbed his first Camping World Truck Series win in 2019. 

First-Time WinnersDates
Ross ChastainFriday, May 10, 2019
William ByronFriday, May 6, 2016
James BuescherSaturday, April 21, 2012
Erik DarnellSaturday, April 28, 2007
Jon WoodSaturday, July 5, 2003
Ricky HendrickSaturday, July 7, 2001

Of the 35 driver entered this weekend at Kansas Speedway, 22 different drivers are looking for their first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory. 

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Etc. 

Jesse Iwuji returns to the Trucks – Reaume Brothers Racing has tapped Jesse Iwuji to pilot the No. 43 Toyota this weekend at Kansas Speedway. Iwuji will be paired with crew chief Gregory Rayl. Iwuji will be attempting to make series season debut this weekend. Iwuji last raced in the series on October 30, 2021 at Martinsville Speedway.  

Iwuji made his series track debut at Kansas in 2021; he started 38th and finished 38th.  

Deegan back to where it started in the Trucks – Hailie Deegan returns to Kansas Speedway, the track where she made her Camping World Truck Series debut back in 2020. Deegan busted on the scene of the Truck in 2020 at Kansas starting 34th and racing her way up to a 16th-place finish setting a new record for best finish by a female making her series debut. 

Fast forward to this season, Deegan is 28th in points having put up an average finish of 26.4 through seven races. 

Watch for Deegan to bounce back this weekend from her slow start to 2022. Kansas is one her better tracks. In two starts at the 1.5-mile facility she has put up an average finish of 14.5. And last season tied Jennifer Jo Cobb (2014) for the best finish by a female at Kansas Speedway in the Truck Series with her 13th-place finish.

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