6.5 C
New York
Saturday, March 2, 2024

Power Rankings: The NASCAR drivers having the best Xfinity and Truck Series seasons

Power Rankings: The NASCAR drivers having the best Xfinity and Truck Series seasons


Homestead-Miami Speedway is the site of the penultimate NASCAR tripleheader weekend of 2023.

For the first time since Bristol in September, all three NASCAR Series are racing at the same track on the same weekend and all three series are in the thick of their playoff races. The final race of the third round of the Truck Series playoffs is Saturday while the second race of the third round of the Xfinity Series playoffs follows the conclusion of the truck race.

We’ll know Saturday afternoon which four Truck Series drivers will be competing for the title at Phoenix on Nov. 3 and we’ll be one step closer to knowing who the four Xfinity Series title contenders will be. In honor of the last tripleheader before championship weekend, here’s a look at which drivers are having the best seasons outside of NASCAR’s Cup Series.

1. John Hunter Nemechek (Xfinity)

Nemechek is in the midst of the best season of his NASCAR career and has been exceptional over the last six races. Nemechek has two wins and hasn’t finished lower than eighth in that span. He should be extremely fast at Homestead on Sunday and is the defending winner at Martinsville. It’ll take some incredibly bad luck for Nemechek to not advance to the title race at Phoenix and bad luck may be the only thing at Phoenix that stops him from winning the title.

FORT WORTH, TX - SEPTEMBER 23: John Hunter Nemechek (#20 Joe Gibbs Racing Romco Equipment Toyota) celebrates winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff Andy's Frozen Custard 300 race on September 23, 2023 at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

John Hunter Nemechek has a series-leading seven NASCAR Xfinity Series wins in 2023. (Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) (Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

2. Austin Hill (Xfinity)

Hill won three of the first five races of the season and unsurprisingly hasn’t kept up that torrid pace. He’s still having a great season and can be considered Nemechek’s strongest challenger for the title. He’s finished in the top 10 in three of four playoff races so far and will be looking to avoid another 16th-place run at Martinsville if he doesn’t win at Homestead on Saturday.

3. Corey Heim (Trucks)

Heim, 21, is having the best season of anyone in the Truck Series and should be considered the favorite for the title. He hasn’t finished outside the top 10 since he was 15th at Bristol in the second race of the season and had led laps in 13 consecutive races until he finished fifth at Talladega in the most recent race. Heim won twice in 16 starts in 2022 and will be back for another season in the Truck Series in 2024.

BRISTOL, TENNESSEE - SEPTEMBER 14: Corey Heim, driver of the #11 Safelite Toyota, looks on during practice for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series UNOH 200 presented by Ohio Logistics at Bristol Motor Speedway on September 14, 2023 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

Corey Heim hasn’t finished outside the top 10 since the sixth race of the NASCAR Truck Series season. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images) (Meg Oliphant via Getty Images)

4. Carson Hocevar (Trucks)

Hocevar got the first win of his career at Texas in the spring and added victories at Nashville and Richmond. A strong run at Homestead should keep him in the top four and give him a shot at the Truck Series title before he moves on to the Cup Series in 2024 with Spire Motorsports. Hocevar has been quick in limited Cup starts this year but has crashed out of his last two starts.

5. Justin Allgaier (Xfinity)

Allgaier has been the top driver at JR Motorsports this season and currently sits second in the Xfinity Series standings. A first title in 2023 would be a career-defining moment for the Xfinity-lifer. Allgaier has raced full-time in the series since 2009 and hasn’t finished lower than seventh in the points standings.

6. Cole Custer (Xfinity)

Custer is in the thick of the Xfinity title race in his first season back at NASCAR’s second level. He won two races over the summer and has seven top-six finishes in his last eight races. That’s a strong recipe for success over the final two races of the third round.

7. Christian Eckes (Trucks)

Eckes is currently third in the Truck Series standings and can be considered one of the favorites to win on Saturday. All three of his wins have come at intermediate tracks this season — Las Vegas, Darlington and Kansas. Don’t be surprised if he’s in the final four via either a win or a strong finish at Homestead.

8. Sam Mayer (Xfinity)

It’s been a breakout season of sorts for Mayer as he’s scored the first three wins of his Xfinity Series career and they’ve all come in the last 11 races on road courses. Mayer won at Road America and also grabbed victories at Watkins Glen and the Charlotte Roval. We’re not sure how much of a title threat he can be, however.

9. Grant Enfinger (Trucks)

Enfinger is three points out of the top four and has had a roller-coaster season. His three wins have come in the last 13 races but he’s finished outside the top 10 six times in that span. When Enfinger wins, he’s dominant. He’s led at least 65 laps in each of his three victories.

10. Zane Smith (Trucks)

It’s been a disappointing season for the 2022 Truck Series champion as he’s been plagued by inconsistent finishes. It’s not much of a stretch to say that Smith either finishes in the top five or has a bad race. He has seven finishes outside the top 20 in addition to those 10 top fives. He’s moving up to the Cup Series next year as a third driver for Trackhouse Racing in a car that will be operated by Spire Motorsports.



Source link

Latest stories