Truck chief Chris Showalter to work 700th series race at Charlotte

Truck chief Chris Showalter to work 700th series race at Charlotte

CONCORD, N.C. — The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series celebrated a milestone Friday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway to kick off a full Memorial Day weekend of action. The series will take the green flag for the 700th time in its history, and with that, one individual will also complete the same milestone.

Chris Showalter serves as the truck chief for the No. 2 Chevrolet piloted by Nick Sanchez at Rev Racing and has been working in the Truck Series since its inaugural race at Phoenix Raceway in 1995. On Friday night, Sanchez delivered the best possible anniversary present: A victory. In a career full of winning, there’s a new favorite win for Showalter.

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“(This race) just probably popped to No. 1,” an emotional Showalter told FOX Sports. “It’s a long battle, you know? It’s about people, and I love this group of people. I’ll do anything for this group of people.”

The milestone was heavy on Showalter’s mind even before the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 began.

“If I could‘ve told you 30 years ago that I would still be doing this, I would‘ve called you crazy,” Showalter told “It‘s just a testament to all of the great race teams that I have been with and all of the people that I have surrounded myself with that keep me coming back every week. The Truck Series has always been a big family to me.”

This race is special for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that Friday happened to be Showalter’s birthday.

“I sat outside last night as it was raining, thinking about how I was going to be able to handle today, and I‘ve done pretty well so far because I‘m a pretty emotional person,” Showalter said. “The family, I believe, is going to show up; they haven‘t said a word, so that means they‘re coming. The (No. 2) guys haven‘t said a whole lot, too, so I‘m sure there‘s a big surprise coming. I‘m sure I‘ll be in tears here in a little bit.”

That premonition proved accurate. Even more impressive than a career spanning almost three decades is that Showalter — nicknamed “Showie” by his peers —- has never missed a race in the series.

Sanchez immediately dedicated his win to Showalter upon exiting his truck, and was eager to explain how critical a role he plays.

“I mean he’s the backbone of the team,” Sanchez said. “And I think everyone on the team would agree. I was with him last year, and it’s like having two or three crew chiefs, and Showie would be one of them, right? He’s someone that he knows what he wants in a truck and sometimes he calls his shot setup-wise. He’s so important and he’s being doing this so long.

“Today was his birthday, it was his 700th race and it all worked out perfect.”

Showalter began his career with Liberty Racing with driver Butch Miller during the inaugural Truck season in 1995 and quickly excelled in his role. He then made the move to ThorSport Racing for one year before moving to Joe Gibbs Racing with drivers J.D. Gibbs and Coy Gibbs.

Joining Rev Racing for Sanchez is the latest step in a career full of milestones for Showalter, becoming the truck chief for the No. 2 during Sanchez’s rookie campaign. Throughout the past two years, the team has now shared eight top fives and 20 top 10s with seven pole awards. The team also celebrated a win in the season-opening race at Daytona to start the 2024 season.

“It was great starting off the season with a win,” Sanchez said. “More importantly, it was a testament to how hard the team works to bring the best truck each week to the track. I am extremely lucky to work with and rely on Showie and the guys. His knowledge is vast, and his experience is extremely beneficial to our race success. Cheers to 700 on a day that also happens to be his birthday. We are hopeful to celebrate in Victory Lane.”

Mission accomplished.

Contributing: Staff reports