Following a thrilling race on the multi-elevational Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course two weeks ago, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series took last weekend off to prepare for the regular season finale this weekend at Pocono Raceway – the CRC Brakleen 150 on Saturday, July 23 at noon ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90) – and is ready to crown the Regular Season Champion and set the 10-driver Playoff field.
The following eight drivers have clinched a spot in the 10-driver postseason field: Zane Smith, John Hunter Nemechek, Chandler Smith, Stewart Friesen, Ben Rhodes, Ty Majeski, Christian Eckes and Carson Hocevar.
Can Clinch Via Points
If there is a repeat winner or a win by a driver who cannot advance to the Playoffs, the following drivers could clinch by being ahead of the sixth winless driver in the standings. The same point requirements listed below would hold true if a new win comes from among Ty Majeski, Christian Eckes, Carson Hocevar, Grant Enfinger or Matt Crafton.
- Grant Enfinger: Would clinch with 8 points
- Matt Crafton: Would clinch with 37 points
- Derek Kraus: Could only clinch with help
- Tyler Ankrum: Could only clinch with help
If there is a new winner from Derek Kraus or another winless driver lower in the standings but still eligible to advance to the Playoffs, the following drivers could clinch by being ahead of the fifth winless driver in the standings.
- Grant Enfinger: Would clinch with 27 points
- Matt Crafton: Could only clinch with help
- Derek Kraus: Could only clinch with help
Can Clinch Via Win
The following drivers would clinch on their win alone at Pocono Raceway: Grant Enfinger, Matt Crafton, Derek Kraus, Tyler Ankrum, Matt DiBenedetto, Tanner Gray, Chase Purdy, Colby Howard, Timmy Hill
The following drivers could clinch with a win:
- Lawless Alan: Would clinch with 60 points
- Hailie Deegan, Dean Thompson, Austin Wayne Self, Jack Wood, Spencer Boyd and Kris Wright: Could all only clinch with help.
Can Clinch Regular Season Championship
Additionally, the Regular Season Championship could be clinched by the following drivers:
- Zane Smith: Would clinch with 2 points
- John Hunter Nemechek: Could only clinch with help
- Chandler Smith: Could only clinch with help
The on-track activity for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Pocono Raceway will begin with practice on Friday, July 22 at 4:30 p.m. ET directly followed by Cometic Gaskets Pole Qualifying at 5 p.m. ET. Catch both events on FS1.
Zane Smith can almost taste the Camping World Truck Series Regular Season Championship
Front Row Motorsport’s Zane Smith was only two points away from clinching the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Regular Season Championship the last time on track at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course when he finished runner-up to Parker Kligerman. The driver of the No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford, Smith, would have sealed the regular season title had he placed one spot higher and won the race, but it wasn’t meant to be. Now, the California native in his third year running full-time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, has earned three wins, nine top fives, and 13 top 10s in just 15 races this season and can almost taste the series’ Regular Season Championship as he heads to Pocono Raceway this weekend for the regular season finale.
Smith can clinch the 2022 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Regular Season Championship with just two points this weekend at Pocono Raceway and claim the 15 bonus Playoff points that come with the prestigious award. Smith currently leads the Truck Series in Playoff points with 22.
If Smith wins the series’ Regular Season Championship, he will become the sixth different driver to secure the title joining Christopher Bell (2017), Johnny Sauter (2018), Grant Enfinger (2019), Austin Hill (2020) and John H. Nemechek (2021).
What Turn 4? Camping World Truck Series returns to Pocono Raceway
For the 12th-time in NASCAR Camping World Trucks Series history, the teams and drivers will head to Pocono Raceway for the CRC Brakleen 150 this Saturday, July 23rd at noon ET (FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), only this time it’s to conclude the regular season.
Located deep within the Pocono Mountains in Long Pond, Pennsylvania, the track famously dubbed as the “Tricky Triangle” has offered races throughout all of NASCAR’s three national series since 1974. Since the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series began racing there in 2010, part-time driver and Truck Series owner Kyle Busch has the been the only repeat winner (2015, 2018). As a result, no full-time Truck Series driver has ever returned to Victory Lane at Pocono after their initial win.
One driver hoping to break that trend is defending Pocono race winner and Kyle Busch Motorsport’s driver John Hunter Nemechek. The series veteran would love nothing more than to cap off his regular season by going back-to-back at Pocono Raceway and becoming the first driver in the series to win consecutive races at the 2.5-mile track. The driver of the No. 4 KBM Toyota has displayed another fantastic showing of talent this season, sitting second in the overall points standings. While challenging Zane Smith for the Regular Season Championship might be almost out of reach with one race left before the Playoffs, there is no telling what is going to happen on Saturday, Nemechek is still mathematically eligible to beat Smith.
Another driver from the Toyota camp to watch out for this weekend is Tyler Ankrum. In his three years of coming to Pocono in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Ankrum has never finished outside the top-10. Two of which were a fourth-place finish in 2021 and a second-place outing in 2019. Seeing as his runner-up came during his previous season behind a Toyota Tundra with David Gilliland Racing, Ankrum should look to carry the same kind of speed in his first time coming to the track with Hattori Racing Enterprises. Expect him to challenge for the win in a last-ditch effort to qualify for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs.
Along with Ankrum, ThorSport Racing teammates Ben Rhodes and Matt Crafton both carry two top fives a piece at Pocono Raceway. The two drivers come into this weekend with two completely different agendas. Already having a win this season. Ben Rhodes will look to have a good run while also affording to be a bit more aggressive in strategy having already secured a spot in the Playoffs. On the flip side, Crafton will most likely be vying for stage points throughout the race as he sits only one spot above the cut-off line for the postseason.
When it comes to winning experience at Pocono Raceway outside of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, a total of five drivers have taken the checkered at Pocono in the NASCAR ARCA Menards Series. This includes Christian Eckes, Ty Majeski, Zane Smith, Grant Enfinger, and Corey Heim. Eckes and Majeski, both drivers for ThorSport Racing, have just about locked themselves into the Playoffs this year on points. However, with neither having a win this year, the two drivers could view this weekend as an opportunity to add one to their stat column and earn some vital Playoff points in the process. Enfinger, sitting ninth in the Playoff standings, would love the reassurance of locking himself into the postseason with a win. And the part-time rookie Corey Heim, having only ran eight races this year and ineligible for the Playoffs, has his sights set on showcasing his talent and adding to his two wins on the season.
One race left to set the Camping World Truck Series 10-driver Playoff field
The CRC Brakleen 150 will officially mark the end of the 2022 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Regular Season. While five drivers are locked into the Playoffs with a win, a slew of others hovering around the cutoff-line will try to either sustain their top-10 points position or make a last-ditch effort to win their way in this weekend.
As it stands, ThorSport Racing teammates Ty Majeski (+124 points above the cutline) and Christian Eckes (+112) are the first drivers in on points and both will be making their first career appearances in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs. Both drivers have mirrored each other this season statistically with seven top fives and nine top 10s a piece.
Second-year Niece Motorsports prospect Carson Hocevar sits eighth in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoff outlook standings; the final driver with a spot already clinched in the Playoffs on points heading into this weekend at Pocono. Although he has yet to reach Victory Lane this year, the 19-year-old from Portage, Michigan has rallied two runner-up finishes to go with five top-five and eight top-10 finishes. Hocevar has regularly competed for wins throughout the season, so he will certainly be a name to look out for in the next few races as he embarks on his second career postseason appearance.
The last two drivers vying to get into the Playoffs on points on the right side of the cutline are GMS Racing’s Grant Enfinger (+47 above the cutline) and ThorSport Racing’s Matt Crafton (+19). Enfinger, in his first year back running full-time with GMS, has accumulated three top fives and seven top 10s on the year. With a repeat winner or another driver in the top-10 getting to Victory Lane this weekend, Enfinger can clinch his spot in the Playoffs with being just eight points ahead of the sixth winless driver in the standings. If there is a new winner from a driver below him in the standings that can make the Playoffs, he can clinch his spot being 27 points ahead of the fifth winless driver in the standings following Pocono.
Matt Crafton stands a little closer to the points standings edge heading into this weekend at Pocono, the veteran is 10th in the Playoff standings, the final transfer spot on points. The 21-year Truck Series veteran has raked in one top five and eight top 10s this season. But the pilot of the No. 88 Ford is at considerable risk of missing the Playoffs for the first time since 2006. If he cannot lock his way into the Playoffs with a win on Saturday, he could clinch a spot in the Playoffs if a repeat winner wins and he is 37 points ahead of the sixth winless driver in the standings. If a new winner gets the victory at Pocono this weekend, Crafton will need help to clinch his postseason spot.
Outside the Playoffs looking in with one race to go
It all comes down to this weekend for the drivers just outside the Playoff cutline as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series heads to Pocono Raceway for the regular season finale, the CRC Brakleen 150 this Saturday, July 23.
Derek Kraus of McAnally-Hilgemann Racing currently sits 11th in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver point standings, one spot out of the Playoffs cutline, 19 points back from ThorSport Racing’s Matt Crafton in the 10th and final Playoff transfer spot on points. The 20-year-old prospect, Kraus, has garnered five top-10 finishes on the year and is looking to make his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoff appearance. Kraus has a good amount of momentum going for him this weekend, with three of his top 10s coming in the last five races. Pair that with a 10th-place finish at last year’s Pocono date, the No. 19 team can afford to carry some confidence with one race left to make the Playoffs. Expect Kraus to swing big for stage points and try to stay at the front of the field all race long.
Sitting 12th in driver points standings and 43 points back of Crafton in the 10th and final Playoff transfer spot on points is Tyler Ankrum of Hattori Racing Enterprises. While the drivers ahead of him could lock their way in without taking the checkered, Ankrum is the first among a list of drivers behind him in standings that would need a win to secure a Playoff spot this weekend. A win this weekend for Ankrum is not entirely out of the question, as the driver of the No. 16 Toyota Tundra brought home a fourth-place result at Pocono in 2021 and a second-place finish in 2019.