After a two-week break, the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series jumps back into action under the lights this weekend at Kansas Speedway for the Heart of America 200 (Saturday, May 6, at 8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Kansas Speedway has hosted 25 CRAFTSMAN Truck Series races with the inaugural event coming in 2001, a race won by Ricky Hendrick. It was his only career win in the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series.
There have been 21 different Truck Series winners at the 1.5-mile track. Kyle Busch and Matt Crafton are tied for the series lead with three wins apiece.
Toyota Tundras lead the pack with the most wins in the Sunflower state, coming in with 11; including last season’s winner John Hunter Nemechek.
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Practice and qualifying for the Heart of America 200 will be Saturday, May 6 at 11:05 a.m. ET on FS1.
NASCAR Ladder: Tony Breidinger to make CRAFTSMAN Truck Series debut for TRICON Garage
The next of many drivers this season climbing the NASCAR ladder system is ARCA Menard Series star and driver for Venturini Motorsports, Toni Breidinger, who will join the TRICON Garage team this weekend at Kansas Speedway as she pilots the No. 1 Victoria’s Secret Toyota Tundra TRD Pro. The 23-year-old will attempt to make her series debut, breaking ground as the first Arab American woman to compete in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series.
Last September, Breidinger was featured in Victoria’s Secret’s 2022 Fall Collection Campaign, and this season the fashion icon company is sponsoring her at Kansas Speedway.
Breidinger has nine top-10 finishes in 35 career ARCA Menards Series career starts. Prior to transitioning to stock cars, she had 19 victories in her United States Auto Club (USAC) open-wheel midget career.
The San Francisco Bay area native will run double-duty this weekend, competing in the ARCA Menard Series Dawn 150 before her CRAFTSMAN Truck Series debut later that evening.
Though this will be her first start in the Truck Series at Kansas, she does have four ARCA Menards Series starts at 1.5-mile track, having posted two top-10 finishes.
CRAFTSMAN Truck Series drivers to watch: Sunflower state edition
Through 25 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series races at Kansas Speedway, there are several drivers who have consistently been at the front of the pack.
ThorSport Racing’s Matt Crafton holds several Kansas Speedway records – most top fives (7), most top 10’s (14), starts (25), and laps completed (3,889). He finished ninth in last year’s spring race.
Kyle Busch, who earned Kyle Busch Motorsports’ first CRAFTSMAN Truck Series victory in April 2010, will be looking to collect his organization’s 100th NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series win on Saturday. Through six starts at Kansas Speedway, Busch is tied with Crafton for series-most wins with three and has only finished outside of the top-10 once.
Defending Kansas race winner, Zane Smith, has finished in the top-10 five times in six career starts. Since the beginning of the 2022 season, the driver of the No. 38 Ford has done exceptionally well at 1.5-mile tracks with six top-five finishes. He finished second at Las Vegas Motor Speedway earlier this season.
Niece Motorsports’ Ross Chastain has experienced both ups and downs at Kansas Speedway. The driver of the No. 41 Chevrolet has two DNF’s (2012, engine and 2020, brakes) but finished first (2019) and second (2021) in his only other starts.
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series, Etc.
Daniel Dye to drive #RaceToStopSuicide No. 43 Chevrolet – In honor of Mental Health Awareness month, GMS Racing announced Daniel Dye will run a special #RaceToStopSuicide paint scheme this weekend at Kansas Speedway.
Off the track, the driver of the No. 43 Chevrolet showcases his philanthropic character by working closely with Race to Stop Suicide, an initiative that is driven to normalize the conversation and stigma surrounding mental health, as well as provide resources and education to professionals across the country.
Blake Bainbridge joins GMS Racing as Crew Chief of the No. 43 – GMS Racing announced this week a shift in leadership for the No. 43 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series team, as Blake Bainbridge will assume the role of Crew Chief for Daniel Dye, replacing Travis Sharpe, who has amicably parted ways with the organization. Bainbridge joins the team from Halmar-Friesen Racing, where he most recently served as Crew Chief on the No. 52 entry driven by Stewart Friesen.
“You know, I’m really looking forward to taking on a new challenge with all the talented people at GMS Racing,” said Bainbridge a Hueytown, Alabama native. “I haven’t really known Daniel all that well, but from looking at how well he was able to run in ARCA last year, I can tell that he is hungry to prove himself. Having the chance to guide a rookie is something that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed during my career, so working Daniel is going to be fun. I’m thankful for the opportunity and am ready to make the most out of this season with our No. 43 team.”