What to Watch: 2022 Nashville Superspeedway race



Everything you need to know for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Nashville Superspeedway, the 17th regular-season event of the 2022 campaign.
NOTE: This race kicks off the NBC portion of broadcast coverage, lasting through the championship race in Phoenix.

Race-day info 📝

Where: Lebanon, Tennessee
Approximate start time: 5 p.m. ET  | Full weekend schedule
TV/Radio: NBC, NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, TSN; coverage continues on USA Network at 10 p.m. ET | Full TV schedule
Forecast: A 50% chance of showers and thunderstorms after 1 p.m. ET. Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 97 degrees, according to NOAA.gov | Weather tracker
Race distance: 300 laps | 399 miles
Stages: 90 | 185 | 300
Pit-road speed: 45 mph
Caution car speed: 55 mph
Nashville 101: Get the full lowdown
Starting lineup: Where drivers will start

Pit stalls:
Where drivers will pit

Key things to watch 🔑

Big story line

Can Trackhouse Racing, specifically previous race winner Daniel Suárez, continue momentum heading into the rugged summer stretch? After showing speed early in the season, Suárez broke through at Sonoma Raceway and made NASCAR history as the first Mexican-born driver to win at the sport’s top level. The historic achievement also came on the brink of the Cup Series’ off weekend, allowing the 30-year-old driver to travel back to Mexico and soak in the victory with family and friends. For Suárez, the win was something he could feel coming for a long time, and he expects to build on it this weekend at Nashville Superspeedway — not just be a one-and-done.

“If I had to write it down, how I wanted to win and how I wanted things to happen, I feel like it was gonna be just like that,” Suárez told NASCAR.com. “I felt very fortunate to have had an opportunity to celebrate, not just with my team and with the people who helped me to get to that point, but also with my friends and family in Mexico. There is a difference between knowing you’re a winner, knowing you can win and actually being a winner. Right now, I feel like the entire team has a huge boost of confidence.”

Last season’s seventh-place run was the second-best finish of the entire season for Suárez and the No. 99 team. With a playoff berth secured, for now, expect the team to push even harder through the final 10 races to improve its standing, beginning Sunday.

Who’s hot? Who’s not? 

Still in search of his first win of 2022, Ryan Blaney has picked up the pace in recent weeks, reeling off back-to-back finishes inside the top six. Based on raw speed, the No. 12 Team Penske Ford has been among the best this season, leading the fourth-most laps at 385 and earning a series-high three Busch Light Pole Awards. But can Blaney put it all together and extend his streak of consecutive seasons with a win to six? With the way the series is trending, his playoff chances might depend on it. Look for the No. 12 to keep the positive momentum rolling in Tennessee.

Across the aisle, Harrison Burton and Team Penske-affiliate Wood Brothers Racing have had a rocky start to the season. Burton has yet to finish inside the top 10 this season, including three DNFs, and is struggling to tame the tide in his rookie season. His three laps led in the Daytona 500 are one of the few highlights this year. However, his best finish of the season came at the last mile-plus oval in Charlotte Motor Speedway. This could bode well for Nashville. Plus, the Rookie of the Year battle is far from over — and in regards to playoff hopes, a win could change everything.

Driving under the radar

Have the wins come yet? No. But has the speed and performance improved? Yes. This comes as a shining light for Kevin Harvick fans as the veteran is beginning to round into more consistent form. Harvick has five top 10s in the last seven races and was contending for the win at Sonoma Raceway — a strong track for the Stewart-Haas Racing driver in recent history. Though the team has had its struggles, and heavily voiced concerns (to put it kindly), the team is trending upward somewhat consistently for the first time in a while. Look for the revamped No. 4 crew to buckle down and make a bold statement sooner rather than later. | Here is why Harvick will be the next winless driver in 2022 to reach Victory Lane

Practice and qualifying

Friday brought a 50-minute practice session to snap out of off-week mode, and Toyota came to play. Bubba Wallace was fastest in the session at 161.708 mph followed by Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch. In fact, all six Toyotas posted practice laps inside the top 11 on the leaderboard. Ford struggled Friday though with Ryan Blaney posting the manufacturer’s only lap inside the top 15 on speed. Denny Hamlin carried Toyota’s momentum into qualifying Saturday afternoon and stormed to the pole at 160.413 mph, earning the top spot after rain washed out the second round of qualifying. Ford rebounded with Joey Logano posting the second-best qualifying lap ahead of the Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolets of Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott. Daniel Suárez, Ryan Blaney, Ross Chastain, Kevin Harvick, Christopher Bell and Martin Truex Jr. roll off from the top 10. | Starting lineup, qualifying results | Practice recap

Nashvillesuperspeedway Generalview 2021
Jared C. Tilton | Getty Images

Race-day staples ✅

Our biggest pieces of the week — get covered for race day from all angles.

• Paint Scheme Preview: Rockin’ schemes for Nashville | Pick a favorite
• Staff predictions:
Assessing the outlook for the rest of the regular season and Championship 4 | Read more
• Power Rankings:
Who’s the current No. 1? | Latest Cup Series driver rankings
• Fantasy Fastlane:
Home-field advantage for Trackhouse Racing at Nashville? | Top plays, sleepers
• NASCAR betting:
Odds, favorites for Sunday’s race | BetMGM betting odds
• Backseat Drivers:
Will Martin Truex Jr. retire after the 2022 season? | Watch the debate

Catch the pack 💨

Read up on the top headlines from the week leading up to Sunday’s race.

• Remembering Bruton Smith: Hall of Famer, visionary dies at 95 | Read more | Watch tribute
• Contract news:
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. agrees to contract extension with JTG Daugherty Racing | Read more
• Crew shakeup:
Kevin Harvick’s No. 4 team makes roster changes | More details
• Analysis:
Alex Bowman’s career summer stretch at Hendrick Motorsports | Read more
• Award nominee:
Bubba Wallace nominated for Sportsman of the Year | More details
• NBC Sports:
Network announces commentary team for 2022 slate of races | Full list
• Suspension:
Kevin Meendering stepping in for Cliff Daniels during time out | Read more
• Logano:
Team Penske wheelman chasing regular-season title amidst roller-coaster campaign | Read more
• eNASCAR: Ray Alfalla cruises to win at virtual Nashville Superspeedway | Full recap
• Dale Jr. design:
Earnhardt lends a hand in setting up Bowman’s scheme for Nashville | See it here
• Partnership extension:
Hendrick Motorsports, Valvoline reach agreement through 2027 | More details
• Seven-Time:
Jimmie Johnson eyes potential involvement with Garage 56 entry at Le Mans | Read more
• Playoff picture: Getting a look at how the Round of 16 is shaping up | Read more
• Future of practice:
Steve O’Donnell chimes in on current state, future outlook of session | Listen in
• Off-week superlatives:
Awards for 2022 standouts so far | See them here
• NASCAR films:
Emmy-Award winning short film ‘Beyond the Wheel’ returns to FOX Sports | Learn more
• Reality show:
Austin, Whitney Dillon set to star in new show | More details

Get in on the action 💰

Think you know NASCAR? Put your mettle to the test with gaming, fantasy.

• Backseat Bets: Teammate head-to-heads for Nashville | See experts’ picks
• BetMGM:
Will Kyle Larson repeat his dominance in Nashville? | Read more
• More fantasy:
Is Erik Jones a solid Hail Mary pick? | Experts debate
• The Action Network:
Identifying underdogs with betting upside at Nashville | Full analysis
• Featured Matchup:
How to bet the Daniel Suárez vs. Ross Chastain matchup| Learn more
• Play it LIVE:
Full guide to 2022 NASCAR Fantasy Live game | Get the FAQ
• Going all the way:
 2022 Cup Series championship odds | See them here

Music City memories 🎸

Before the NASCAR Cup Series returns to race at Nashville, look back at some track history and previous winners.

• Winner, winner: Active Cup Series drivers with wins at Nashville Superspeedway | See the list
• History lesson:
Take a look at NASCAR’s history in Nashville | Learn more
• Last year:
Kyle Larson pours it on, wins first Cup race at Nashville Superspeedway | Race recap
• Race Rewind:
Kyle Larson dominates the 2021 Ally 400 | Watch the highlights

Fast facts ⏩

Hard-hitting, race-relevant statistics, brought to you by the experts at Racing Insights.

At 1.33 miles, Nashville is the longest concrete oval on the NASCAR schedule.
Sunday’s race will be only the second Cup Series event held at Nashville Superspeedway.
The race winner took the lead within the final 10 laps in 12 of 16 races in 2022.
After winning at Kansas Speedway, Kurt Busch is the only driver to win Stage 2 and win the race this season.

Say what? 🎙

Notable quotes from the stars of the sport heading into Sunday’s race.

“Nashville is a great market for our sport. The support last year was unbelievable when you think about the fans in the stands and how packed the infield was. They did an incredible job updating the facility from not having a race for 10 years to being just an all-around great weekend for the sport.” — Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota and co-owner of 23XI Racing

“I had a lot of fun at Nashville last year. I think we were fastest in practice. We had a tech issue, so we didn’t get to qualify, but I finished second in the (Trucks) race. It seemed like we were pretty fast last year right off the bat, so I’m excited for it. I think the resin on the race track made it really fun. Watching stuff in the past it seemed like it was really on the bottom, just one lane, so I think NASCAR did a really good job with the race track.  Honestly, I’m super excited to go back.” — Todd Gilliland, driver of the No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford

• “We believe that we can win more races. We believe that the way we’ve been racing lately, the speed is there to be able to contend for more races. (Nashville) is gonna be fun. I think the Next Gen car is going to race very well here.” — Daniel Suárez, driver of the No. 99 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet


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