Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.

Pickup Throwdown Truck Series Preview: What You Need to Know for COTA Weekend

Article Contents

Article Contents

Let us know what you think

Join the conversation on socials

Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

All Posts

What’s Happening?

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series heads to Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas this weekend for the first road course race of the season. Road course specialists are in the field alongside the stars of the Craftsman Truck Series. Here is everything you need to know.

  • Circuit of the Americas is the youngest permanent race track in NASCAR’s 3 National Touring Series. Built in 2012, the track hosts the Formula One United States Grand Prix each October. COTA features 20 turns and is the longest track on the NASCAR calendar at 3.4 miles.
  • The Craftsman Truck Series has made an annual visit to COTA since 2021. Since that first visit, every race has been won by Front Row Motorsports with Todd Gilliland winning in 2021 and Zane Smith triumphing in 2022 and 2023.
  • Fans are very excited for COTA this weekend. It’s quickly becoming one of the most iconic road courses in the United States, and NASCAR’s annual visit there is always a success.

Listen to the Most Recent Episode of Pickup Throwdown Here:

The Favorites

With only 2 road courses on the 2024 schedule and the defending COTA winner not on the entry list, this race is wide open. However, road course success in 2023 puts a few drivers in a good position.

ThorSport had a great 2023 season on road courses, including leading a combined 37 of 67 laps at Mid-Ohio last July. Ty Majeski was the best-finishing ThorSport driver at COTA in 2023 with a 3rd place result before finishing 7th after a front-row start at Mid-Ohio. Ben Rhodes finished 10th and 5th on road courses in 2023, and Matt Crafton nabbed a top-10 at Mid-Ohio.

Christian Eckes led 3 laps and won stage 1 at COTA in 2023 before a mechanical failure ended his day early. He has more momentum than anyone in the series following his win at Bristol in last weekend.

Who Needs a Boost

Ty Majeski is happy to be heading to one of his best tracks after an abysmal weekend at Bristol. After two 4th place finishes in stage 1 and 2, an engine failure cut a top-5 run short. Majeski is out for redemption this weekend, and he should be in a position to get some.

Chase Purdy continues to be the straggler at Spire Motorsports this season. He went behind the wall suddenly at Bristol late in stage three before coming back out. He ended up 33rd, 22 laps down.

Stewart Friesen was hot under the collar after a run-in with Nick Sanchez at Bristol. Friesen is not known for his road course prowess, but, a road course is the perfect place for some revenge. Could he take his frustration out on Nick Sanchez this weekend?

Rookie Watch

Layne Riggs took over the rookie points lead after a solid top-10 run at Bristol. It was much-needed for a driver who struggled mightily early in 2023. Riggs is not super experienced on road courses, but, Front Row Motorsports is currently undefeated at COTA.

Thad Moffitt is more well-versed in road course racing than people may assume. He spent 2023 racing in Trans-Am on road and street courses across the country. Faction46 showed some speed at Daytona with a top-10 qualifying run, so, Moffitt may be an interesting dark horse pick.

Connor Jones is not entered at COTA this weekend as he is only on a part-time schedule with ThorSport. This is the first race he has missed this season.

Defending Winner

No past Truck Series COTA winner is entered this weekend, but, Corey Heim, the defending road course winner in the series, is entered. He started on the pole and led 30 laps en route to a win over Zane Smith. Heim also had to overcome adverse conditions with a wet race track early in the race.

Heim has yet to win this season, but, his average finish is an absurd 3.5. He will win at some point, and COTA just may be the race he does it.

Cup Series/Ringer Watch

The entry list at COTA features some very interesting names. From “Road Course Ringers” to one young gun to a Cup Series star. There’s a little something for everyone this weekend.

Ross Chastain is the only Cup Series driver on the entry list this weekend, racing for Niece Motorsports in the #45 truck. Chastain won at COTA in the Cup Series in 2022. He won the pole at COTA for Niece in 2023, and he finished 5th after leading 10 laps.

Former IndyCar drivers Jack Hawksworth and Marco Andretti will take on the Truckers this weekend as well. Hawksworth’s career has primarily been made on road courses in IMSA including a GTD Pro Class win at the 2019 12 Hours of Sebring. Andretti makes his first Truck Series start of the season, but, he has one career start at COTA in IndyCar in 2019 where he finished 6th.

Connor Zilisch has made a name for himself already this season. He has class wins in IMSA in the prestigious Rolex 24 at Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring. This is his first Truck Series start for Spire Motorsports, and he is currently on a development contract with Trackhouse Racing.

Watch out for all of these storylines and more in the Craftsman Truck Series this weekend!

Army Air Force Exchange Veterans Desktop

Let us know what you think

Join the conversation on socials

Share this:

Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

All Posts