By AMANDA VINCENT
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 2022 regular-series champion Zane Smith leads a group of 10 drivers into the seven-race playoffs, starting Friday night at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park. Smith secured the regular-season title in the regular-season finale at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., on July 23.
Smith struggled late in the 60-lap Pocono race, including time spent on pit road for repairs related to a stuck throttle during a lap-42 caution. But he began the race needing only to collect two points to clinch the regular-season championship. Smith completed that task when the first stage completed on lap 15 with a sixth-place stage finish.
“I knew I only had to get a couple of points,” to clinch, Smith said. “Long day. Fought a really tough truck. I’m glad we’re on to the playoffs and ready to get this (post) season started.”
The regular-season title came with the reward of 15 bonus points with which to begin the playoffs.
Smith claimed a Truck Series-leading three wins in the 16-race regular season at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway; Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas; and Kansas Speedway. He also notched seven stage wins for a total of 37 playoff points added to a 2000-point base with which playoff drivers begin the postseason. His points tally gives him a 15-point cushion over second-place driver Chandler Smith, who won the race at Pocono.
Frday night’s playoff-opening race at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park will be the first for the Truck Series at the track since 2011. As a result, only two current series drivers have experience racing a truck there — Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter.
Crafton was the 10th and final driver to make the playoffs with a 15th-place finish at Pocono. As a part-time driver in 2022, Sauter was not eligible for post-season consideration.
Here, are the points standings heading into Friday night’s race at Indianapolis.