Here’s the Lowdown on the Showdown

Nashville Superspeedway Photo

NASCAR Cup Series

NASCAR is all tuned-up for Nashville Superspeedway

Crank-up the amplifiers and tune the steel-guitars because NASCAR is rumbling to Tennessee’s Music City this weekend for Sunday’s Ally 400 at 2:30 p.m. CT on NBC and PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90) at Nashville Superspeedway. The unique D-shaped, concrete oval that stretches 1.33-miles, is the longest concrete surface track on the 2024 schedule and will have drivers and teams two-stepping to find the perfect set-up for their cars this weekend.

Following a historic New Hampshire Motor Speedway race that concluded the last 86 laps on the damp surface tires, Hendrick Motorsports’ teammates Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott are tied atop the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings with 620 points each, but Larson currently holds the tiebreaker of more wins (3 to 1). Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin (third, minus-40 points) and Martin Truex Jr. (fourth, minus-48 points) are right in the tire tracks of the Hendrick duo in the points.

Last season, Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain, who is currently ninth in the driver standings looking for his first win of 2024, joined Larson (2021) and Elliott (2022) as the third different winner at Nashville Superspeedway.

And it will be interesting to see if another original equipment manufacturer can break through the dominance of Chevrolet at Nashville, as they have won all three of the NASCAR Cup Series events at the 1.33-mile track (2021-22).

Historical Rundown: Nashville Superspeedway

Construction of Nashville Superspeedway was completed in 2001 and the 1.33-mile concrete facility was originally owned by Dover Motorsports.

The first NASCAR national series race held at Nashville Superspeedway was a NASCAR Xfinity Series event on April 14, 2001. The first Xfinity race at Nashville was won by Greg Biffle driving a Ford for RFK Racing.

Next to follow at Nashville Superspeedway was the first NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series race on Aug. 10, 2001. Veteran Scott Riggs, driving a Dodge for truck owner Jim Smith, grabbed the first Truck Series win at Nashville.

Nashville Superspeedway was purchased from Dover Motorsports in 2021 and is currently owned and operated by Speedway Motorsports.

The first NASCAR Cup Series race at Nashville Superspeedway was on June 20, 2021. The first Cup event was won by Hendrick Motorsport’s driver Kyle Larson in a Chevrolet.

Nashville Superspeedway has hosted 43 NASCAR national series races – the third-most in the state of Tennessee, behind Bristol Motor Speedway (231 races) and Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville (56 races).

Good starting spots are the only ones that win at Nashville

Nashville Superspeedway’s three NASCAR Cup Series events have produced three different race winners and all three started inside the top-five, making this weekend’s Busch Light Pole Qualifying on June 29 just a wee bit important.

Aric Almirola, driving for Stewart-Haas Racing, won the pole for the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series Nashville Superspeedway race in 2021, setting the track qualifying record at 161.992 MPH.

Then Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin won the pole for the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Nashville Superspeedway race and Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain won the pole for the 2023 race.

Almirola would go on to finish fourth in 2021 and Hamlin finished sixth in 2022.

But the three winners of the NASCAR Cup Series races have all started up front. The 2021 race winner Kyle Larson started in the fifth position, the 2022 winner Chase Elliott started in fourth position and Chastain started from the pole.

This weekend the on-track NASCAR Cup Series action begins with practice and Busch Light Pole Qualifying on Saturday from 1–3 p.m. CT on the USA Network, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Race Rewind: Nashville Superspeedway edition

With only three NASCAR Cup Series races in the books, here is a look back at the results of each event.

– In 2021, Nashville Superspeedway hosted the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race at the 1.33-mile track, and the event was won by Hendrick Motorsport’s driver and 2021 series champion Kyle Larson. The California native took the win with a Margin of Victory of 4.335 seconds over Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain in second. The race produced 14 lead changes among seven different drivers. Larson led the most laps of the race, spending 264 of the scheduled 300 laps out front (88%).

– In 2022, Larson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott took home the checkered flag at Nashville Superspeedway. The Dawsonville, Georgia, native and 2020 series champion, held off 23XI Racing’s Kurt Busch by a scant .551-second to win. The 2022 Nashville Cup race had 18 lead changes among seven different leaders. Polesitter Denny Hamlin led the most laps of the 2022 Nashville race with 114 circuits out front.

– In 2023, Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain grabbed the checkered flag at Nashville Superspeedway becoming the third different winner in as many races at the track. The Alva, Florida, native and generational watermelon farmer, held off Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. by a slight .789-second to win. The 2023 Nashville Cup race had 21 lead changes among 12 different leaders. Polesitter Ross Chastain led the most laps of the 2023 Nashville race with 99 laps out front enroute to the victory.

Chase for a regular season championship tightens

Just eight races to go and the battle for the top spot in the NASCAR Cup Series regular season standings is as tight as it gets — tied.

Hendrick Motorsports teammates Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott are currently tied atop the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings with 620 points each, but Larson has regained the points lead technically due to holding the tiebreaker – most wins (3 to 1).

Forcing Larson and Elliott to keep the pedal to the floor this season are Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin in third in the point standings (minus-40 back from the lead) and his JGR teammate Martin Truex Jr. (minus-48) in fourth.

Only one driver can take home the regular season championship trophy and bank the 15 playoff bonus points that come with it, and if it were to be either Larson, Elliott or Hamlin, they would become just the third different driver since the introduction of the regular season championship to win more than one; joining Martin Truex Jr. (2017, 2023) and Kyle Busch (2018, 2019).

Only five drivers have won the NASCAR Cup Series regular season championship – Martin Truex Jr. (2023, 2017), Kyle Busch (2019, 2018), Chase Elliott (2022), Kyle Larson (2021) and Kevin Harvick (2020).

Bells are ringing and Gibbs is singing

This season Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell has been riding a wave of success none like he has ever experienced in the NASCAR Cup Series regular season and with his big win last weekend he has officially put his competitors on notice.

So far this year, Bell has managed to win at the 1-mile Phoenix Raceway, the track that just so happens to play host to the Championship Race at the end of the season, he has won the season’s longest race and one of its ‘Crown Jewels’ the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, and then managed to bring home his third victory of the season last weekend winning the sport’s first ever race completed on the damp surface tires at New Hampshire.

“Christopher [Bell], I just think Christopher, he’s gifted, and the further he goes, we all just really appreciate it,” said Joe Gibbs. “I think he’s a real talented, young guy. To be truthful, with him not in here, I’ll tell you, he’s the All-American guy. Sponsors love him. He’s just a kid that everybody loves. So, it’s great to see him, too, get the success that I think he deserves. He’s worked hard.”

Don’t expect Bell to slow his roll anytime soon, the 29-year-old has run well at Nashville too. In three starts at the 1.33-mile track he has posted three top-10s.

Race to the Playoffs: Eight races left in the regular season

For the drivers and teams that have earned a spot in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs already, these next eight races are a great time to prepare for the postseason, pad Playoff points and set themselves up for the best possible position to finish the regular season. For the drivers and teams not locked into the Playoffs, these next eight races are the final eight chances they have to secure their spot in the coveted postseason.

Playoff Bound

With 10 drivers in 2024 with wins, only six spot are still up for grabs in the 16-driver Playoff field as the series heads to Nashville Superspeedway this weekend for the Ally 400.

The 10 drivers this season currently holding a spot in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs by virtue of their regular season wins are Kyle Larson (three wins), Denny Hamlin (three), Christopher Bell (three), William Byron (three), Chase Elliott (one), Tyler Reddick (one), Ryan Blaney (one), Brad Keselowski (one), Daniel Suarez (one) and Austin Cindric (one).

Interestingly, all 10 of the winners that have earned a spot in the Playoffs this season are former Playoff drivers in their careers.

In The Hot Seats

The six drivers currently in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff transfer spots on points are Martin Truex Jr. (+155 points up on postseason cutoff), Ross Chastain (+93), Ty Gibbs (+82), Alex Bowman (+59), Chris Buescher (+50) and two-time Cup Series champion Joey Logano (+13).

Team Penske’s Joey Logano is currently in the most precarious position of the six drivers inside the Playoff cutoff heading into Nashville this weekend, because he holds the 16th and final transfer position on points. If a driver below him in the standings wins over the next eight races, he could find himself bounced out of the Playoffs.

Logano currently has just a 13-point advantage on 23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace who is in 17th – the first spot outside the Playoffs’ cutoff.

Outside Looking In

There are currently 18 drivers still eligible to make the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs that are without a win and below the postseason cut line in points following New Hampshire.

23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace (minus-13 points), is one of seven drivers currently below the Playoff cutline that has made the Cup Series Playoffs previously, along with Chase Briscoe (minus-25 points), two-time Cup champion Kyle Busch (minus-45 points), Michael McDowell (minus-99), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (minus-132), Erik Jones (minus-151) and Austin Dillon (minus-197).

NASCAR Xfinity Series

NASCAR returns to Nashville Superspeedway

With a trip to New England in the rearview, the NASCAR Xfinity Series has its sights set on Music City this weekend for the Tennessee Lottery 250 on Saturday on USA Network, the NBC Sports App, PRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

The 1.33-mile concrete track will be hosting its 25th NASCAR Xfinity Series race since opening in 2001. Throughout that span, there have been 17 different race winners and 16 different pole winners. Only three drivers have won from the pole or the first starting position, most recently by Kyle Busch in 2021.

Recent NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee and 2007 NASCAR Xfinity Series Champion Carl Edwards holds multiple records at Nashville Superspeedway, including the most wins (five), most top fives (11), and most top 10s (12). Two-time NASCAR Cup Series champions Joey Logano and Kyle Busch are each tied for the most poles won at Nashville with three a piece.

Past guitar winners at Nashville Superspeedway’s Victory Lane

Only two drivers entered in the Tennessee Lottery 250 this weekend have had the privilege of holding the signature electric guitar trophy in Victory Lane – Justin Allgaier and AJ Allmendinger.

Saturday’s race will mark the 10th start for Allgaier at Nashville Superspeedway. In his nine previous starts, he’s garnered one win, five top fives, five top 10s, and one pole while leading 203 laps and completing 1,918 of the 1,923 total laps ran.

Allmendinger returns to Nashville as the reigning winner of last year’s race. In just three previous starts coinciding with NASCAR’s return to Nashville after a 10-year hiatus, he has accumulated a win, two top fives, and two top 10s while completing all but one lap.

Xfinity Series drivers to watch: Nashville edition

As Justin Allgaier and AJ Allmendinger look to repeat their success at Nashville, others will also be vying to earn their first victory in Music City.

Making his first Xfinity Series start of 2024 will be the 2018 and 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Tyler Reddick for Sam Hunt Racing. Reddick, driving the No. 26 car this weekend, made just two starts last season with a 36th-place finish at Fontana and a 13th-place outing at Las Vegas. Having never ran a Xfinity car at Nashville prior to Saturday’s event, Reddick will seek to become the third full-time Cup driver to steal a win in the Xfinity Series in the last four races (Kyle Busch; 2021 and AJ Allmendinger; 2023) while also looking to earn the first win in team history for Sam Hunt Racing.

While remaining atop the NASCAR Xfinity Series points standings, last year’s champion Cole Custer comes into Nashville still winless in 2024. However, the driver of the No. 00 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford has good reason to remain positive as his previous trip to the track involved a pole win and 32 laps led. Looking to build off of last year’s ninth-place result, expect Custer to be in the mix and try to earn Ford their first victory at Nashville since Carl Edwards in 2011.

Custer’s Stewart-Haas Racing teammate, Riley Herbst, finished runner-up in last year’s event and hopes to end one spot better at the conclusion of Saturday night. In his three starts at Nashville, the No. 98 pilot has two top fives and three top 10s with an average finish of fifth and a result no worse than 10th. Still looking to get into the win column in 2024, watch for Herbst to place together another strong run en route to a Playoff berth.

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

Noah Gragson to make second Xfinity start of the season – Noah Gragson will make his second NASCAR Xfinity Series start of 2024 this weekend at Nashville Superspeedway driving the No. 30 Ford Mustang for Rette Jones Racing.

A prominent program in the ARCA Menard’s Series, Rette Jones Racing recently expanded its motorsports platform this year to run a part-time Xfinity schedule with Gragson. Back in May, the team made their first start in the BetMGM 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, coming away with a 10th-place finish.

Currently, Gragson and the team are also slated to race at Michigan International Speedway on Aug. 17 and Darlington Raceway on Aug. 31.

Carson Kvapil earns his fifth Xfinity start of 2024 – Carson Kvapil will be making another run behind the wheel of the No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro at Nashville Superspeedway. It will mark the fifth start of the season for the 21-year-old second-generation driver after a fourth-place debut at Martinsville, a runner-up finish at Dover, a 19th-place outing at Darlington, and a fifth-place result last weekend at New Hampshire.

“It’s going to be cool to go to Nashville this weekend with this No. 88 Chevrolet team,” Kvapil said. “We’ve had some really good runs so far, been really competitive and had some opportunities to win races at Dover and New Hampshire, and I feel like we can do it again at Nashville.”

Earlier this week, it was also announced that Kvapil will be piloting the No. 88 for at least four more races this season. His remaining schedule includes trips to Indianapolis, Michigan, Darlington, and Talladega.

Ross Chastain to run for DGM Racing at Nashville – Last year’s Ally 400 winner Ross Chastain will be driving the No. 92 car for DGM Racing this weekend at Nashville Superspeedway. This will be his second start of the season after a ninth-place result at Iowa Speedway.

The Tennessee Lottery 250 will also be the first time Chastain has ever run an Xfinity car at Nashville Superspeedway, with three previous starts in the NASCAR Cup Series (including a win) and one start in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series in 2021.

Sunoco Rookie of the Year update – With 466 points, Jesse Love of Richard Childress Racing continues to hold strong as the leader of the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings for all of 2024. So far, he’s tallied one win, three top fives, and seven top 10s.

The only other rookie to reach Victory Lane this year, Shane Van Gisbergen, has done so twice and trails Love in the standings with 384 points.

Leland Honeyman has accumulated 228 points as of this weekend, while Hailee Deegan and Dawson Cram round out the rookie standings with 165 and 106 points to each other’s names, respectively.


CRAFTSMAN Truck Series jumps back into action at Nashville Superspeedway

The NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series returns to competition for the first time in three weeks at Nashville Superspeedway for the Rackley Roofing 200, the final race of the 2024 Triple Truck Challenge.

The 16 previous CRAFTSMAN Truck Series races at the 1.33-mile track have produced 13 different race winners and 12 different pole winners. Seven of the Truck Series races have been won from the pole or first starting position, most recently by Ryan Preece in 2022.

The Rackley Roofing 200 will be broken up into three stages. The first stage will be 45 laps, followed by 50 in the second stage, and the final stage will be 55 laps for a race total of 150 laps (199.5 miles).

Practice will begin Friday on FS2 followed by Cometic Gasket Pole Qualifying.

Show Me the Money! Final chance to win Triple Truck Challenge

Notably, the Triple Truck Challenge will close out in Music City this weekend with a new race winner receiving $50,000 or one of the two previous winners – Corey Heim or Nick Sanchez – pocketing an additional whopping $150,000.

Since its inception in 2019, no driver has been able to win all three Triple Truck Challenge races in one season to collect the $500,000 bonus. The streak continues this year after Corey Heim took home the $50,000 bonus at World Wide Technology, following Nick Sanchez’s win and $50,000 bonus at Charlotte.

Plenty of noteworthy drivers in motorsports entered this weekend

It’s no secret that Nashville Superspeedway has an electric atmosphere, which is why drivers from all over motorsports landscape want a chance to visit Victory Lane this weekend, but their work will be cut out for them with 39 competitors entered in the event.

Brenden Queen: CARS Tour late model stock car standout Brenden “Butterbean” Queen will once again be joining forces with TRICON Garage to pilot the No. 1 Toyota.

The Chesapeake, Virginia, driver had a breakout campaign in 2023 earning four victories, 13 top fives and 15 top 10s in CARS Tour competition en route to a second-place finish in the series points standings.

In his CRAFTSMAN Truck Series debut at North Wilkesboro this season, the 26-year-old finished fourth after starting 26th.

Clint Bowyer: Coming out of the booth and making his first NASCAR start since his NASCAR Cup Series retirement, Clint Bowyer will become the seventh different driver to get behind the wheel of the No. 7 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet this season.

The 44-year-old is a 10-time Cup Series winner and a three-time winner in the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series.

In 14 Truck Series races, the Emporia, Kansas, native has never made a start at Nashville Superspeedway.

Akinori Ogata: Racing-winner Motocross racer Akinori Ogata is set to pilot the No. 20 Young Motorsports Chevrolet this weekend.

In 2010, Ogata made the decision to leave his home in Kanagawa, Japan, and pursue his dream of racing in NASCAR. He began his journey into American racing in the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series racing late model stock cars at Hickory Motor Speedway, eventually getting the opportunity to make his debut in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series in 2014. Since then, the 50-year-old has made 14 previous starts in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series, but this will be his first at Nashville Superspeedway.

Frankie Muniz: Former “Malcom in the Middle” star-turned racer, Frankie Muniz, will make his NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series debut this weekend driving the No. 22 Reaume Brothers Racing Ford. After resuming his racing career following a hiatus, the 38-year-old made significant growth and earned a full-time ride in the 2023 ARCA Menards Series where he posted one top-five and 11 top 10 finishes as well as finished fourth in the point standings.

This year, Muniz has made one start at Talladega in the ARCA Menards Series and two NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Daytona and Phoenix.

Regular Season Title Watch: Eckes determined to hold point standings with four to go

McAnally-Hilgemann Racing’s Christian Eckes continues to have a breakout year as he holds onto the driver points lead in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series with four races left in the regular season. The 23-year-old is currently 31 points up on Corey Heim in second as the series takes three weeks off before returning at Nashville Superspeedway for the Rackley Roofing 200 on Friday.

If Eckes can hold on and win the regular season championship, he will get an additional 15 Playoff points to take with him into the postseason and will become the eighth different driver to win the regular season title; joining Christopher Bell (2017), Johnny Sauter (2018), Grant Enfinger (2019), Austin Hill (2020), John H. Nemechek (2021), Zane Smith (2022) and Corey Heim (2023).

Eckes’ points lead began after a strong showing at Darlington – earning himself a total of 50 points to jump over Heim. The Middletown, New York, native has accumulated two wins, six top-five, and 11 top-10 finishes this season. He also leads the series in laps led this season with 464.

The driver of the No. 19 Chevrolet cannot yet clinch the regular season championship since there are still four wins available.

Right in Eckes’ review mirror is last season’s regular season champion and TRICON Garage driver Corey Heim, who is coming off an impressive win at World Wide Technology Raceway. The 21-year-old driver of the No. 11 Toyota has collected four wins (the most of any driver this season), eight top fives, 10 top 10s, and has led 408 laps on the season.

Heim is hoping to catch Eckes within the next four races and become the first driver to win multiple Regular Season Championships in the series.

Cutting It Close: Six CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoff spots still up for grabs

Through 12 races this season, four drivers have earned their spot in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoffs by virtue of their wins – Christian Eckes, Corey Heim, Nick Sanchez and Rajah Caruth – leaving six spots in the 10-driver Playoff field still available heading into Nashville Superspeedway.

With only four races in the regular season remaining, the battle for the final postseason transfer spot is heating up and time is running out.

Following World Wide Technology Raceway, Stewart Friesen is ranked 11th in the Playoff outlook, 26 points back from Grant Enfinger in the 10th and final postseason transfer spot on points.

Since the introduction of the Playoffs in the series in 2016, Matt Crafton has not missed the Playoffs, and he leads the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series in postseason appearances with eight consecutive (2016-23).


“Heim Time” in the NASCAR Cup Series – Rising NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series star, Corey Heim will pull double duty in Nashville this weekend, piloting his No. 11 TRICON Garage Toyota in the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series on Friday night and the No. 50 23XI Racing Toyota in the NASCAR Cup Series on Sunday.

When Erik Jones, driver of the No. 43 Legacy Motor Club Toyota, was sidelined with a compression fracture of a lower vertebra following Talladega, Heim was tapped in as the fill-in driver while Jones recovered. The Marietta, Georgia, native made his Cup Series debut at Dover, finishing 25th, and then finished 22nd in Kansas.

“We are excited for Corey to join the 23XI team in Nashville as he helps us celebrate our partners at Mobil 1 and its 50th anniversary,” said Steve Lauletta, president of 23XI Racing. “Corey is undoubtedly an up-and-coming star, and we look forward to working with him as he prepares to race at Nashville. Mobil 1 has a history of working with some of the best young talent in racing, and I can’t think of a better person than Corey to drive the No. 50 Toyota at Nashville.”

NASCAR Cup Series • Ally 400

The Date: Sunday, June 30

The Time: 2:30 p.m. CT

The Purse: $8,915,372


Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 399 miles (300 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 90), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 185), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 300)

NASCAR Xfinity Series • Tennessee Lottery 250

The Date: Saturday, June 29

The Time: 4 p.m. CT

The Purse: $1,420,381


Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 250.04 miles (188 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 45), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 188)

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series • Rackley Roofing 200

The Date: Friday, June 28

The Time: 7 p.m. CT

The Purse: $897,631


Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 199.5 miles (150 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 45), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 95), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 150)

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