The green flag waves Saturday night for the second race in the 2022 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs with the Worldwide Express 250 for Carrier Appreciation at Richmond Raceway (8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Veteran Grant Enfinger has already secured his second-round berth with a victory in the series‘ playoff opener at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park on July 29. And he shows up in Richmond looking to make it two playoff wins in a row at a venue where he‘s proven to be especially capable. He hoisted a trophy at Richmond in 2020 and was eighth in the race last year.
Three-race winner Zane Smith won the Regular Season Championship and now the driver of the No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford is hoping his third championship run is the charm after finishing runner-up in both the 2020 and 2021 final standings.
The 23-year-old Californian will take a 14-point lead over defending series champion Ben Rhodes into the second race of the seven-race, elimination-style playoff run. Rhodes, a one-race winner this season in the No. 99 ThorSport Toyota, has been strong at the 0.75-mile Richmond oval with top-10 finishes in both previous races there — his average finish of 5.0 in those two starts is best among all the playoff drivers except Enfinger.
Stewart Friesen sits only 22 points behind Smith in the standings. His best showing at Richmond is 10th in 2020.
Last year‘s Regular Season Champion John Hunter Nemechek and his Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate, two-race winner Chandler Smith, are tied at 26 points off Zane Smith‘s pace. Nemechek, driver of the No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota, is the defending Richmond race winner having led a dominant 114 of the 250 laps in last year‘s victory over his team owner Kyle Busch.
The driver of the No. 66 ThorSport Racing Toyota, Ty Majeski, is in the midst of his playoff debut — and goes into the race 31 points behind Zane Smith. He is the first of four winless drivers to complete the 10-driver playoff lineup.
Also still vying for their first wins of the season are Carson Hocevar, who is 43 points behind Smith in the championship, followed by three-time series champion Matt Crafton and Christian Eckes — ThorSport Racing teammates who are tied at a mere seven points from the cutoff heading to Richmond.
Only eight of the 10 drivers advance into the second round of the playoff races, so Crafton and Eckes will need to make a move in the standings at Richmond.
Crafton was runner-up to Enfinger in the 2020 race. Eckes is looking for his first top-10 finish at the track.