Thursday, August 6, 2020

PREVIEW: Several series debuts, road ringers, and a movie car fill Michigan and Road America entry lists

SCREENSHOT: @Spire77
Friday, August 7, 2020
TRUCKS Race 11 of 23
Henry Ford Health System 200 at Michigan
2019 Last-Place Finisher: Norm Benning

ENTRY LIST
There were 41 drivers entered for 40 spots in Friday’s return of the Truck Series, which has unfortunately again left a single team out of the field without a single practice or qualifying lap. Once again, it is the DGR-Crosley #17 Select Blinds Ford which was entered for Cup regular David Ragan (see below).

MISSING: #7-All Out Motorsports
Korbin Forrister is not entered after he wrecked in the first Kansas double-header and withdrew from the second.

RETURNING: #8-NEMCO Motorsports
John Hunter Nemechek is running double duty with the Cup Series and runs his first Truck Series race since Atlanta, again driving his father’s #8 Ford with Fire Alarm Services, Inc. as sponsor. Nemechek’s most recent Truck Series start at Michigan came in 2018, when he won the pole and finished third.

RETURNING: #14-Hutchens Motorsports
Trey Hutchens returns in his 2019 Chevrolet, looking to make his second start of the season and first since Kentucky, where a crash left him 36th in the field of 40. It was in this race last year that Hutchens matched his career-best 16th-place finish earned in his series debut at Iowa in 2017.

RETURNING (DNQ): #17-DGR-Crosley
David Ragan did not make the cut after his DGR-Crosley truck was entered with the expectation of a short field, as was the case in Kansas. Unfortunately, Ragan proved to be the 41st entry, and his Select Blinds-sponsored machine will not run this week.

DRIVER CHANGE: #24-GMS Racing
It was in January that news broke David Gravel would make his Truck Series debut at Eldora, starting a five-race schedule. With the Eldora race scrubbed for 2020, Gravel will instead make his debut at Michigan, taking Chase Purdy’s place in the #24 Chevrolet. Chevygoods.com is the listed sponsor.

MISSING: #28-FDNY Racing
Bryan Dauzat and the Jim Rosenblum team are not among the entrants this week following their tangle with Jordan Anderson in the previous round at Kansas.

DRIVER CHANGE: #33-Reaume Brothers Racing
The only driver to attempt both the Truck Series race at Michigan and the XFINITY Series race at Road America is military veteran Jesse Iwuji. Iwuji’s double-header begins on the oval, where he returns to the Reaume Brothers team for the first time since Pocono. Then as now, he drives the #33 Toyota, and this time takes the place of Kevin Donahue.

DRIVER CHANGE: #40-Niece Motorsports
Ryan Truex and his Marquis Hot Tubs sponsorship return to the Truck Series for just the fourth time in 2020 and the first time since Texas. He takes the place of Travis Pastrana, who ran 22nd in his series return at Kansas.

DRIVER CHANGE: #44-Niece Motorsports
Jeb Burton will also go Truck Series racing this Friday, making just his second start of the year and first since Atlanta. He takes the place of Natalie Decker, 35th at Kansas, and brings sponsorship from 12 Hours Auctions.

DRIVER SWAP: #49-CMI Motorsports
RETURNING / DRIVER SWAP: #83-CMI Motorsports
Ray Ciccarelli brings back his second truck, the #83, and will run that truck this weekend. He moves over from the #49, which goes back to Tim Viens this week. Springrates Automotive Suspension Parts is the listed sponsor for Viens, whose 2017 Chevrolet is the oldest truck entered. Ciccarelli’s Chevrolet is listed as from 2018.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Kyle Busch Motorsports
Chandler Smith makes his second Truck Series start of the season and first since Kentucky, where he ran 22nd after starting 10th. He takes the place of Brandon Jones, who ran 8th in Kansas. JBL is again the sponsor for the lead KBM truck.

RETURNING: #55-Long Motorsports
After a one-off start for the Reaume Brothers at Kansas, where he ran a season-best 25th, Dawson Cram returns to Boyd Long’s team, which last took the green flag in Kentucky. Cram will be sponsored by American Mask Company.

RETURNING: #75-Henderson Motorsports
For the third time this year and first time since Kentucky, Parker Kligerman will run in the Truck Series, again driving Charlie Henderson’s #75 Food Country USA Chevrolet. This will be Kligerman’s third series start at Michigan and first since 2012, when he ran a strong 4th for the now-shuttered Red Horse Racing.

MISSING: #97-Diversified Motorsports Enterprises
Robby Lyons is not entered along with the Logan Puckett team after the pair finished 21st in Kansas.

DRIVER CHANGE: #00-Reaume Brothers Racing
Josh Reaume resumes driving duties in the #00, taking the place of Ryan Huff, who took over the truck in the second Kansas double-header following Dawson Cram’s run in the first round. Colonial Countertops is the listed sponsor.

CUP INVADERS: None

Saturday, August 8, 2020 (12:00 P.M. Eastern)
XFINITY Race 18 of 33
Henry 180 at Road America
2019 Last-Place Finisher: J.J. Yeley

ENTRY LIST
There are 37 drivers entered for 40 spots at Road America, the third-straight race with that many starters. The series has still yet to host a 40-car field since NASCAR’s temporary field increase in May.

DRIVER CHANGE: #0-JD Motorsports
DRIVER SWAP: #15-JD Motorsports
Johnny Davis brings back a part of his lineup from the Indianapolis Grand Prix Circuit as Mike Wallace will once again drive the #0 Chevrolet, this time sponsored by Unkers Therapeutic in addition to Indy sponsor Market Scan. This will once more move Jeffrey Earnhardt back to the #15 with which he finished last at Indy, taking the place of Ryan Vargas, who isn’t entered after a 25th in Kansas.

DRIVER CHANGE: #6-JD Motorsports
Also joining the JD Motorsports contingent is Jade Buford, who excelled with a 14th-place finish on the Indy road course in his series debut with SS-Green Light Racing. This time, he takes the place of B.J. McLeod, who isn’t entered after a 31st in Kansas, and brings the same sponsorship from Big Machine Hand Sanitizer.

DRIVER CHANGE: #13-Motorsports Business Management
DRIVER SWAP: #61-Motorsports Business Management
DRIVER SWAP: #66-Motorsports Business Management
Jesse Iwuji’s double-header continues in Road America, where he takes the place of Chad Finchum in the #13 Toyota. This moves Finchum to the #66 in place of Stephen Liecht, and moves Liecht to the #61 in place of Timmy Hill, who isn’t entered as he focuses on both driving and team ownership at Michigan. This will be Iwuji’s first XFINITY Series start.

RETURNING: #16-Kaulig Racing
A.J. Allmendinger once again has a fast Matthew Kaulig entry on the road course with returning sponsorship from Ellsworth Advisors. Allmendinger has not finished worse than 10th in all five of his XFINITY starts this year, capped by his victory in Atlanta.

MISSING: #26-Sam Hunt Racing
Noticeably absent from the entry list is the Sam Hunt effort, which earned a strong 12th-place finish at the Indianapolis Grand Prix Circuit with Brandon Gdovic behind the wheel. Colin Garrett ran the car in the most recent round at Kansas, taking an equally respectable 16th.

DRIVER CHANGE: #36-DGM Racing
Fresh off posting some uncovered tapes of his father Dan Pardus’ Goody’s Dash Series season in 1995, Preston Pardus rejoins the Mario Gosselin effort for the first time since his first career top-ten finish, a 10th on the Indy road course. Chinchor Electric and Danus Controls are again his sponsors.  

NEW SPONSOR: #44-Martins Motorsports
Tommy Joe Martins’ #44 has a fresh new look this week as the pastel-hued Chevrolet welcomes new backing from Skyview Partners. After a difficult season, Martins enters Road America off back-to-back top-twenty finishes: a 15th in Texas and 18th in Kansas.

DRIVER CHANGE: #78-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Road course racing means Scott Heckert is back as well, taking the place of Vinnie Miller in B.J. McLeod’s #78 JW Transport Toyota. All but two of Heckert’s nine XFINITY starts have come on road courses, most recently at Mid-Ohio just last summer. His best series finish was a 13th at Watkins Glen.

TEAM UPDATE: #90-DGM Racing
As of Tuesday, the DGM team is in the process of appealing NASCAR's 75 driver and owner point penalty and $50,000 fine for an alleged violation of testing policy on the Daytona infield road course. The driver point penalty was for Alex Labbe, who will again run the #90 this week.

DRIVER CHANGE: #99-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Taking the controls of the third McLeod entry is Josh Bilicki, who brings with him sponsorship from Ariens on the #99 Toyota. This will be only the fourth XFINITY start of the season for Bilicki, his first since running 23rd at the Indy road course. He takes the place of Jairo Avila, Jr., who ran 32nd in Kansas. 

DRIVER CHANGE: #02-Our Motorsports
Andy Lally will certainly be one to watch as he runs Chris Our’s #02 Chevrolet, and brings with him new sponsorship from Cape Cod Aggregates Corporation. Our did not make an XFINITY Series start last year, and most recently took the green in the first Charlotte “Roval” race in 2018, where he ran 37th for Mario Gosselin. He has finished no worse than 15th at Road America with a best of 7th for SS-Green Light Racing back in 2014. He takes the place of Brett Moffitt, who suffered an oil leak in Kansas and finished 34th. Lally also revealed on Wednesday that he will run a "throwback" paint scheme to Mark Martin's Apache Stove car from his early Cup days, a car which also ran the #02.

DRIVER CHANGE: #07-SS-Green Light Racing
Making his first-ever NASCAR start is open-wheel newcomer R.C. Enerson, who most recently finished 17th in a one-off IndyCar Series start at Mid-Ohio driving for Carlin Racing. The Lucas Oil School of Racing, which backed his Mid-Ohio effort, will again sponsor his ride on Saturday, joined by Peninsula Pipeline. He drives for Bobby Dotter, the same team which Jade Buford ran so strong in his own NASCAR debut last month.

CUP INVADERS: None

Saturday, August 8, 2020 (4:00 P.M. Eastern)
CUP Race 21 of 36
FireKeepers Casino 312 at Michigan
2019 Last-Place Finisher (June, 400 miles): Kyle Weatherman

ENTRY LIST
There are 39 drivers entered for the first of two 312-mile Cup races at Michigan this weekend (156 laps instead of 200), up one entry from the previous round in New Hampshire.

RETURNING: #7-Tommy Baldwin Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #51-Rick Ware Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #53-Rick Ware Racing
DRIVER SWAP / NUMBER CHANGE: #74-Spire Motorsports
Tommy Baldwin’s team returns after skipping the race in Loudon, and most of the Rick Ware Racing lineup has changed as a result. Joey Gase moves from his typical #51 to drive the #7 with Ziegler Auto as sponsor. James Davison takes Gase’s place in the #51, moving from the #53. Garrett Smithley moves from Spire’s #77 to Davison’s place in the #53. Driving the #77 this week is a returning Reed Sorenson. On Tuesday, the Spire team posted a curious update where the car was renumbered #74 with an all-new paint scheme by Harris Lue. The car will carry branding from “Fake Steak,” apparently in conjunction with an upcoming Netflix series starring comedian Kevin James. J.J. Yeley will remain in the Ware #27.

TEAM UPDATE: #95-Leavine Family Racing
On Tuesday, just days after Christopher Bell ran strong for the first half of the Loudon race, Leavine Family Racing announced they would be shutting down at the end of the year, having sold their shop and charter to a yet-undisclosed buyer. The cars will return to Joe Gibbs Racing at season’s end. The team, formerly known as Leavine Fenton Racing, has been active in the Cup Series since 2011. Matt DiBenedetto’s runner-up at Bristol last August remains the team’s best finish.

Sunday, August 9, 2020
CUP Race 22 of 36
Consumers Energy 312 at Michigan
2019 Last-Place Finisher (August, 400 miles): Spencer Boyd

ENTRY LIST
The same 39 teams will contest Sunday’s second round of the Michigan double-header. While there is just one driver change, the following teams will change primary sponsors on Sunday: #3-Austin Dillon (Dow Mobility Science – Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Off Road), #6-Ryan Newman (Castrol – Coca-Cola), #7-Tommy Baldwin Racing (Ziegler Auto – Wisconsin Lighting Lab), #9-Chase Elliott (NAPA Auto Parts – Mountain Dew), and #32-Corey LaJoie (Schluter Systems – Trump 2020).

DRIVER CHANGE: #7-Tommy Baldwin Racing
On Wednesday came news that Josh Bilicki will run both Saturday's XFINITY race, then take the place of Joey Gase in Sunday's Cup event. There will also be a sponsor change as the Wisconsin Lighting Lab will sponsor Bilicki's run Sunday.

TODAY IN LASTCAR HISTORY (August 6, 1978): James Hylton picked up the 2nd last-place finish of his NASCAR Winston Cup Series career in the Talladega 500 at the Talladega Superspeedway when his #12 Al Rudd Auto Parts Buick fell out with transmission woes after just 1 lap. Hylton, who was most often driving his own #48, was making his lone start for team owner Al Rudd, father of eventual series veteran Ricky Rudd. Ricky was Hylton’s teammate that day in the #22 sponsored by 1st National City Travelers Checks. Unfortunately, Ricky didn’t run much further, losing the engine on his Chevrolet after 22 laps and finishing just two spots ahead of Hylton. This race marked Hylton’s first last-place finish in nearly seven years, dating back to May 21, 1971. He would not finish last in another Cup race until September 3, 1989.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

CUP: Rough season for Kyle Busch ends JTG-Daugherty’s last-place streak in Loudon

PHOTO: Justin Melillo, The Racing Experts

Kyle Busch picked up the 7th last-place finish of his NASCAR Cup Series career in Sunday’s Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway when his #18 Pedigree Toyota fell out in a single-car accident after 15 of 301 laps.

The finish, which came in Busch’s 554th series start, was his first of the year and first since June 12, 2016 at Michigan, 149 races ago. In the Cup Series last-place rankings, it was the 34th for the #18, the 163rd for Toyota, and the 600th from a crash. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 47th for the #18, the 340th for Toyota, and the 1,216th from a crash.

It’s been no secret that the defending series champion has not had the best of luck this season. His year began with a frustrating Daytona, where his championship-themed #18 was destroyed in the Busch Clash, then he lost an engine late in the Daytona 500, extending his winless streak in “The Great American Race.” While his only other DNF in a points race came in the second round of the Pocono double-header, where contact from Ryan Blaney while lapping Garrett Smithley sent him spinning into the inside wall, he’s been noticeably inconsistent. He’s finished runner-up three times at Fontana, Darlington, and Atlanta, and failed to win a stage until just last week in Kansas. With still eight Top Fives on the season, Busch remained inside the Top 16, but still trailed a resurgent Aric Almirola as the highest-ranked winless driver.

Busch drew the 5th starting spot for Sunday’s race.

Rolling off 38th and last was Timmy Hill in the #66 RoofClaim.com Toyota. Hill picked up a bit of extra exposure at the Loudon track, where he was demonstrating the speedway’s mask protocol for the fans in attendance. Around an hour before the start, two teams incurred penalties for improperly mounted ballast: 15th-place Bubba Wallace in the #43 Cash App Chevrolet and 33rd-place Corey LaJoie in the #32 Trump 2020 Ford. Both would lose 10 driver and owner points on top of their tail-end penalty. Also sent to the rear was 23rd-place Austin Dillon for unapproved adjustments on the #3 Freightliner Chevrolet.

With one lap to green, Garrett Smithley also dropped to the rear in the #77 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet, a car backed by Brackett’s Market, who sponsored the lower rear quarter panels. While the penalized LaJoie had the largest interval back of the leader when the race started, it was Smithley who ran in last place at the end of Lap 1.

On Lap 4, Smithley pulled ahead of Joey Gase in the #51 Page Construction Ford. Smithley began to pull away as Gase struggled to find the best line around the track, saying his car had “plenty of forward drive, it just won’t turn in the center.” The team responded, asking Gase to make sure he had all his brake fans on. Around Lap 13, meanwhile, Kyle Busch slid wide off Turn 2 and made light contact with the right-rear of his car. NASCAR Officials watched the #18 for smoke as on Lap 14, the leaders caught Gase to put him one lap down.

Then on Lap 16, Busch’s right-front tire went down and his car went straight into the outside wall, destroying his Toyota. Busch was uninjured and able to drive back to pit road under caution, saying the car “went straight.” He pulled into the garage area without stopping in his pit stall, immediately eliminating him under the Damaged Vehicle Policy. Someone on the crew demanded angrily to see someone from Goodyear about the tire that went down. Busch dropped behind Gase after Lap 17, and Gase earned the Lucky Dog under the Busch caution.

Busch turned out to be the only driver to pull into the garage area for the race’s first half. NASCAR confirmed him out on Lap 37. Around Lap 152, Corey LaJoie pulled behind the wall with an apparent fuel cell issue on his #32. The team ended up spending more than 30 laps on repairs, during which time they also changed tires and filled the car with fuel. During this time, Matt Kenseth spun the #42 Clover Chevrolet off Turn 2 after a tight race with teammate Kurt Busch. When Stage 3 started, Kenseth was then involved in two back-to-back cautions when his right-front tire went down entering Turn 3, putting him into the wall. While the damage still didn’t seem so severe, Kenseth pulled behind the wall after the second misadventure on Lap 204. By then, LaJoie returned to the track on Lap 187 and would ultimately climb to 35th.

The other driver LaJoie passed was John Hunter Nemechek, whose own encounter with the Turn 3 wall was at least as serious as Busch’s. Nemechek’s #38 Citgard Ford locked-up entering the turn on Lap 213 and pounded the wall, destroying his car. He managed to drive back to pit road, but needed a tow behind the wall. All driver involved were apparently uninjured. Joey Gase rounded out the Bottom Five, seven laps down in the #51.

JTG-Daugherty Racing, which last week in Kansas had tied PRISM Motorsports’ 2010 record as the only team to score four consecutive last-place finishes, never threatened in the last-place battle. After starting 30th and 31st, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. climbed to 14th in his #47 Kroger Chevrolet with Ryan Preece’s #37 Louisiana Hot Sauce Chevrolet in 16th.

THE BOTTOM FIVE
38) #18-Kyle Busch / 15 laps / crash
37) #42-Matt Kenseth / 203 laps / crash
36) #38-John Hunter Nemechek / 212 laps / crash
35) #32-Corey LaJoie / 262 laps / running
34) #51-Joey Gase / 293 laps / running

LASTCAR STATISTICS
*This marked the first time that both Kyle Busch and the #18 have finished last in a Cup Series race at New Hampshire.

2020 LASTCAR CUP SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) JTG-Daugherty Racing (6)
2nd) Motorsports Business Management (3)
3rd) Hendrick Motorsports, Rick Ware Racing (2)
4th) B.J. McLeod Motorsports, Chip Ganassi Racing, Front Row Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Leavine Family Racing, Penske Racing, StarCom Racing (1)

2020 LASTCAR CUP SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Chevrolet (13)
2nd) Toyota (5)
3rd) Ford (2)

2020 LASTCAR CUP SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP

ARCA: Owen Smith sweeps last-place finishes in Toledo doubleheader

PHOTO: @owen_smith36 on Instagram

by William Soquet
LASTCAR.info Guest Correspondent

Owen Smith recorded the 2nd last-place finish of his ARCA Menards Series career in Sunday’s rain-delayed Menards 200 presented by Crosley Brands when his #11 Double H Ranch Chevrolet fell out with suspension problems after 14 of 127 laps.

The finish was Smith’s second consecutive, and came in his second series start.

The second race of the Toledo doubleheader weekend was scheduled for Saturday. It was mostly the same field, with the sole exception of a driver change in the Visconti Motorsports #74 car. After Giovanni Bromante ran the car on Friday night, Austin Green, son of Busch Series champion Mark Green, was scheduled to take over the car on Saturday. The team did not give a reason for this driver change.

Qualifying for the second race on Saturday was run on Friday evening; Smith secured the last starting spot with a lap of 20.089 seconds, nearly two seconds slower than the 15th-place car of Brad Smith.
Not long after the field took the green, Taylor Gray spun in turn three after Michael Self made it three wide with Gray and Hailie Deegan. A caution ensued for that incident, but it soon began to rain, and the yellow flag turned into a red flag with six laps complete.

After an ensuing seven-plus hour rain delay, the race was moved to Sunday at noon Eastern time. Unfortunately, there would be no live coverage on MAVTV or on the NBC Sports Gold TrackPass app. That meant that all live updates were routed through the ARCARacing.com live leaderboard. When the leaderboard restarted, it not only showed Gray a lap down, but also showed Tim Richmond a lap down in last place. The leaderboard was lagging under green flag conditions, and the exact last-place changes cannot be pinpointed. What is confirmed is that after running eight laps on Sunday, Owen Smith retired, citing suspension problems.

Mike Basham and Brad Smith were the only other cars to retire. Both cited mechanical problems. Rick Clifton and Tim Richmond, the last two cars running, rounded out the Bottom Five.

The second Toledo race marked the halfway point of the 2020 ARCA Menards Series season. All three championships are still wide open. Owen Smith is the only driver to record two last-place finishes so far this year. Chevrolet has a one-race lead on Toyota, 5-4,  and Fast Track Racing sits atop the team standings with four last place finishes, two ahead of second-place Wayne Peterson Racing.

THE BOTTOM FIVE
16) #11-Owen Smith / 14 laps / suspension
15) #48-Brad Smith / 28 laps / brakes
14) #10-Mike Basham / 64 laps / wheel bearing
13) #12-Rick Clifton / 119 laps / running
12) #06-Tim Richmond / 121 laps / running

2020 LASTCAR ARCA MENARDS SERIES MANUFACTURERS CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Chevrolet (5)
2nd) Toyota (4)
3rd) Ford (1)

2020 LASTCAR ARCA MENARDS SERIES OWNERS CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Fast Track Racing (4)
2nd) Wayne Peterson Racing (2)
3rd) DGR-Crosley, Kimmel Racing, Reeves Racing, Russ Lane Racing (1)

2020 LASTCAR ARCA MENARDS SERIES DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIP

Friday, July 31, 2020

ARCA: Owen Smith’s series debut cut short in first race of Toledo doubleheader

PHOTO: @owen_smith36 on Instagram

by William Soquet
LASTCAR.info Guest Contributor

Owen Smith finished last for the 1st time in his ARCA Menards Series career in Friday’s Menards.com 200 presented by SPxE at Toledo Speedway when his #11 Double H Ranch Chevrolet retired with electrical problems after 5 of 200 laps.

The finish came in Smith’s series debut.

While the Toledo entry list was a little lean and mostly expected, one name popped out – Owen Smith. Smith was the only driver on the entry list set to make his series debut in Friday’s race, the first of two this weekend at Toledo Speedway. Smith’s entry blank was filed by Fast Track Racing, a team known for giving drivers their first opportunities in the series. Smith comes to the ARCA Menards Series from Virginia, where he was a 2018 graduate of Louisa County High School, and was a shophand for Virginia team Brandonbilt Motorsports in between his junior and senior years in high school. In 2016, Smith started competing in what was then the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, moving up from local divisions at Shenandoah Speedway in Shenandoah, Virginia. He earned a Top 500 national ranking during his rookie season, and carried that into the 2017, 2018 and 2019 seasons, linking up with CTD Racing and making an attempt at last year’s ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway. 

At the beginning of 2019, Smith went down to Daytona as a crew member for Fast Track Racing for the preseason test, and later pitted Tommy Vigh Jr.’s car at Five Flags Speedway. With NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Racing Series action on hold at Dominion Raceway in 2020, Smith continued his involvement with Fast Track, pitting for Ryan Huff at Pocono. When the preliminary entry list for Friday and Saturday were released, Smith was on both of them, entered in the #11.

Fifteen other cars populated the entry list, with not too many surprise entrants. Fifteen-year-old Taylor Gray returned to the #17 DGR-Crosley car, and Tim Richmond resumed driving duties of the Wayne Peterson #06 entry. Derek Griffith added this weekend to his schedule with Chad Bryant Racing, and Giovanni Bromante made his national ARCA series debut after running both East races so far this year. Rick Clifton and Mike Basham filled out Fast Track’s three-car lineup for the weekend.

As it was not a companion weekend with NASCAR or IndyCar, there was a full slate of practice and qualifying. Eventual race winner Sam Mayer paced practice, and Basham was at the bottom of the charts. As an interesting note, Con Nicolopoulos practiced the 06 car, as Tim Richmond was finishing out his work week in Illinois before driving to Toledo for the races. The #10 car’s fastest lap of 18.904 seconds was about 2.7 seconds off of Mayer’s pace. In qualifying, Chandler Smith broke the 16-second barrier with a lap of 15.999 seconds. Anchoring the field was Smith, who ran a lap of 19.062 seconds. Basham picked up nine-tenths of a second to secure the thirteenth spot on the starting grid. 

As the field took pace laps, one car did not join the field – Thad Moffitt. The eleventh car on the grid had a starter wire catch on fire; the car was sidelined in the pits with that and potentially other issues, as there were reports of a battery switch issue as well for the #46 car. When taking the green, Rick Clifton was the last car on track, but attrition was quick to take a sizeable portion of the field out. Smith pulled off track after five laps, citing electrical issues. Bromante went to the infield after seven laps, victim of an oil leak. Basham retired after fifteen laps with a vibration. Brad Smith’s race ended after 52 laps with brake problems, seemingly capping the Bottom Five for the night only about a quarter of the way through the race.

Prior to the race resuming from the first race break, Moffitt was able to get the car fired and joined the field. He went on to complete 55 laps and rose to the top of the Bottom Five before retiring for the night. It is unclear whether further issues forced Moffitt out or whether he parked, unable to gain any more positions before the race’s end.

Clifton, an Ohio native, completed the race and finished tenth, the first of his career in his 40th career start. Tim Richmond finished ninth, the first of his career in his 23rd career start.

THE BOTTOM FIVE
16) #11-Owen Smith / 5 laps / electrical
15) #74-Giovanni Bromante / 7 laps / oil leak
14) #10-Mike Basham / 15 laps / overheating
13) #48-Brad Smith / 52 laps / brakes
12) #46-Thad Moffitt / 55 laps / electrical

2020 LASTCAR ARCA MENARDS SERIES MANUFACTURERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Chevrolet, Toyota (4)
2nd) Ford (1)

2020 LASTCAR ARCA MENARDS SERIES OWNERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Fast Track Racing (3)
2nd) Wayne Peterson Racing (2)
3rd) DGR-Crosley, Kimmel Racing, Reeves Racing, Russ Lane Racing (1)

2020 LASTCAR ARCA MENARDS SERIES DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP

Thursday, July 30, 2020

PREVIEW: Just days after the passing of Bob Bahre, Cup Series takes center stage at Loudon

Michael McDowell with new sponsorship from Chicago Pneumatic Compressors
IMAGE: @Team_FRM, scheme by @ksykes_designs
Sunday, August 2, 2020
CUP Race 20 of 36
Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire
2019 Last-Place Finisher: Daniel Hemric

ENTRY LIST
There are 38 drivers entered for 40 spots, meaning all will qualify for Sunday’s lone event of the weekend. This marks the eighth short field in 20 races this season and the first since Kentucky, three races ago.

MISSING: #7-Tommy Baldwin Racing
Reed Sorenson is not entered this week following a 31st-place finish at Kansas following late-race electrical issues on the Tommy Baldwin’s Wilkerson Crane & Rental Chevrolet.

LASTCAR STORYLINE: #37-JTG-Daugherty Racing
LASTCAR STORYLINE: #47-JTG-Daugherty Racing
While Ryan Preece’s record-tying streak of three consecutive last-place finishes ended last Thursday in Kansas, teammate Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.’s issues put the #47 in last instead. This means JTG-Daugherty Racing is now in position to break PRISM Motorsports’ Cup Series record of four consecutive last-place finishes in 2010.

DRIVER CHANGE: #53-Rick Ware Racing
James Davison returns to the Cup Series for the first time since his debut in both rounds of the Pocono double-header. This time, he drives Rick Ware’s #53, taking the place of Josh Bilicki, who isn’t entered after a 25th-place finish in Kansas. Bilicki’s run matched his career-best at Indianapolis earlier that month.

MISSING: #78-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Also not running this week is B.J. McLeod, who had serious handling issues during the opening stages of the Kansas race and ultimately finished 39th in the field of 40 with rear gear trouble.

Friday, August 7, 2020
TRUCKS Race 11 of 23
Michigan 200 at Michigan
2019 Last-Place Finisher: Norm Benning

Saturday, August 8, 2020
XFINITY Race 18 of 33
Henry 180 at Road America
2019 Last-Place Finisher: J.J. Yeley

Both the XFINITY Series and the Truck Series take the week off and will return for another packed weekend in both Road America and Michigan. The Cup Series will also run double-duty that weekend on Saturday and Sunday.

TODAY IN LASTCAR HISTORY (July 30, 1963): On this day at the Greenville-Pickens Speedway, the late J.D. McDuffie scored the first last-place finish of his Cup Series career. Driving the #76 in place of his familiar #70 on his 1961 Ford, McDuffie started last in the 21-car field and crashed after he completed just one lap of the Pickens 200.