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August 10, 2023

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Playoffs begin on historic short track

Ty Majeski pulls away after a pit stop at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park
Justin Casterline
Getty Images

While the NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Series try to clarify their playoff scenarios on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course, 10 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers will start their quest for a title in the first of seven postseason races – Friday’s TSport 200 at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park (9 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

After the playoff reset, Regular-Season Champion Corey Heim tops the standings with 2,030 points entering the Round of 10. Second-place Zane Smith, the defending series champion, has 2,022.

MORE: Meet the playoff field | Indy schedule

Two drivers face elimination in the opening round, and Heim is thankful for the extra 15 points he earned as Regular Season Champion.

“I think from a logistical viewpoint, as far as the amount of playoff points that put us ahead, it definitely means a lot – just being able to have that buffer going into the playoffs, and not have that close counter with the playoff cutline right from the start,” Heim said during Truck Series Media Day on Tuesday.

“I feel like it is nice to start the playoffs off with a little less stress and being able to go from there. I feel like, at the same time, if you have one bad race, one DNF and you are kind of back to earth again. I feel like that there’s positives and negatives to it. I think that kind of stems from the playoff format as it is, but it’s certainly not a bad thing to be the Regular-Season Champion.”

Fifth-place Grant Enfinger (2,017 points) is the defending winner of the race at the historic 0.686-mile short track. Another victory there would give him a ticket to the Round of 8.

“I’m excited to get the playoffs started, and I feel good about starting it out at IRP,” Enfinger said. “Our GMS Racing guys are working hard to bring us just as good of a Chevy as we had last year.

“I think that IRP is a great track for the Truck Series. It has multiple grooves we can choose, but it’s still a tough short track with a lot of character.”