NASCAR driver makes obvious decision before Atlanta race

Ryan Vargas, CHK Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Ryan Vargas, CHK Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

Ryan Vargas has switched his points eligibility from the NASCAR Xfinity Series to the Truck Series ahead of this weekend’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Ryan Vargas entered the 2023 NASCAR season with part-time deals to compete in both the Xfinity Series and the Truck Series.

In the Xfinity Series, where Vargas he competed part-time since 2019, he signed with CHK Racing, formerly Mike Hamon Racing, as a part-time driver of the No. 74 Chevrolet. He drove the team’s No. 47 Chevrolet in one race last year (and failed to qualify for another).

But it has been a rough start to the season for the 22-year-old La Mirada, California native. He was entered into the season’s first three races at Daytona International Speedway, Auto Club Speedway, and Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but he did not qualify for any.

Dawson Cram was in the No. 74 Chevrolet for this past Saturday’s race at Phoenix Raceway. He qualified in 29th place but was scored in 38th after failing to finish with a fuel pump issue.

CHK Racing have not confirmed who will drive the car in NASCAR Xfinity Series races moving forward.

Vargas, meanwhile, is set to make his first career Truck Series start — the first of a seven-race deal for 2023 — this Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway behind the wheel of the No. 30 Toyota for On Point Motorsports.

He initially set out to compete for Xfinity Series points this year, but he has officially switched to Truck Series points ahead of his series debut in Saturday’s 135-lap race around the four-turn, 1.54-mile (2.478-kilometer) high-banked Hampton, Georgia oval.

With an unconfirmed Xfinity Series schedule moving forward and no points to show for his efforts thus far, switching to Truck Series points was the obvious choice.

Additionally, when drivers switch their points declarations, none of the points they would have previously scored in the series to which they are switching count. We saw this with Ross Chastain in 2019.

But in Vargas’s case, he hasn’t scored any Truck Series points yet either, so it’s not like any have gone to waste.

In addition to Saturday’s race, Vargas is also set to compete at Darlington Raceway on Friday, May 12; Nashville Superspeedway on Friday, June 23; Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Saturday, July 8; Richmond Raceway on Saturday, July 29; Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday, September 30; and Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday, October 21.

Chris Hacker drove the No. 30 Toyota in its only other start so far in 2023, finishing in 25th place at Daytona International Speedway to open up the season. The truck was not entered into the season’s second race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

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Saturday afternoon’s Truck Series race, the Fr8Auctions 208, is set to be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1 from Atlanta Motor Speedway beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET. If you haven’t already done so, start a free trial of FuboTV now!