Live Truck Series updates from Phoenix driven by Zane Smith
Drivers, stories to watch in Phoenix
An important detail to note is that none of these four championship-eligible drivers have to win Friday’s race. They just have to finish before others. And that’s something Ben Rhodes did in 2021.
Rhodes has never won a season finale at Phoenix in a championship season. He finished third behind race winner Chandler Smith and runner-up Stuart Friesen. None of the drivers were in the Championship 4. Zane Smith, John Hunter Nemechek, and Matt Crafton all finished behind Rhodes and fell just short of their championship goals.
None of this year’s Championship 4 drivers at Phoenix won in the Truck Series. Rhodes’ best finish was second place last season. Heim’s best finish was seventh place last season. Enfinger’s best team is fourth in 2018. Hocevar’s best is ninth in 2021.
Additional stories to watch
–Friday marks the end of an era in NASCAR. GMS Racing will conclude its time in the Truck Series that began in 2013 and saw 45 wins and two championships. The team’s goal is to come out at a high level.
GMS Racing’s Grant Enfinger is one of the remaining drivers eligible for the championship. He will have a chance to win his second championship with GMS, his first in the Truck Series. Enfinger won the 2015 ARCA Championship with GMS.
Enfinger has three wins this season, tied for second in the series. He has led 232 laps this season, the second-most of his career. If he can add to these stats, he will have the opportunity to provide one last celebration for his team.
–Rhodes has seen the highs and lows of the Championship 4. He won the title in 2021 and then lost it the following season after Zane Smith passed him with less than five laps to go. This is something he does not want to experience again in his third appearance in Championship 4.
“We won one, then we lost one,” Rhodes said during the tournament’s fourth-round media day. “I knew what I felt at the end – so terrible. I don’t want to feel like this again. You better believe we’re going to give everything we can in this race.
“The frustration you feel stays with you for a long time, especially when the restart is late. Three laps. You’re looking at less than a minute and a half between knowing whether you’re the champion or not. It’s unbelievable. It’s hard to put into words what this really is.” And the range of emotions you feel when the final green flag drops.