Thursday, October 17, 2019

PREVIEW: A series of driver swaps shake up both grids for Kansas

PHOTO: @RickWareRacing
Saturday, October 19, 2019
XFINITY Race 30 of 33
Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas
Round of 8 – Race 1 of 3
2018 Last-Place Finisher: Michael Annett

There 39 drivers entered for 38 spots in Saturday’s return of the XFINITY Series, including the late addition of Mike Harmon Racing (see below).

DRIVER SWAP: #4-JD Motorsports
RETURNING: #10-Kaulig Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #15-JD Motorsports
Tyler Matthews is back in action for the seventh time this year and the first since a one-off for Mike Harmon at Richmond. He drives the #15, bumping B.J. McLeod to the #4 in place of Ross Chastain, who on Saturday drives for the returning Kaulig Racing #10. It was leaked Monday and confirmed Tuesday that Chastain will drive the #10 full-time in 2020. As of Thursday, however, both the team's hauler drivers are recovering in the hospital following an accident on the I-40 that left the trailer on its side off an embankment. Both drivers were alert after the wreck, and both Kaulig cars are still slated to run Saturday.

DRIVER CHANGE: #8-JR Motorsports
Ryan Truex prepares for his sixth XFINITY start of the season and first since the Charlotte Roval, where he finished 10th. Marquis returns as sponsor. He takes the place of Zane Smith, who ran 9th in Dover.

DRIVER SWAP: #13-Motorsports Business Management
DRIVER CHANGE: #66-Motorsports Business Management
Welcome back Bobby Dale Earnhardt, who we haven’t seen in the series since last November at Texas. Then as now, he drives for Carl Long in the #66, bumping Timmy Hill to the #13 in place of Long himself. Long isn’t entered as a driver this week and will oversee both his XFINITY effort and Joey Gase’s double-duty in Sunday’s Cup race.

DRIVER SWAP: #17-Rick Ware Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #74-Mike Harmon Racing
Mike Harmon’s #74 team wasn’t on the preliminary entry list but was confirmed by the team’s PR to be running at Kansas. It was then shown that Harmon himself would be driving the team car, the #17 fielded under Rick Ware Racing, bumping Joe Nemechek to Harmon’s #74. This marks the first time Harmon has driven the #17 since he shook it down at Bristol in August following Bayley Currey’s brief suspension.

C.J. McLaughlin is back for the first time since Richmond. This time, he drives Rod Sieg’s #93, bumping J.J. Yeley to the #38 in place of Bayley Currey, who isn’t entered. McLaughlin’s season-best 23rd-place finish at Bristol this August was his only start in 2019 for a team other than RSS, that one coming for B.J. McLeod in the #99.

Alex Labbe steps in for Dillon Bassett, who will move to the returning #92 team. The #92 hasn’t entered or started a race since Charlotte in May, when Ronnie Bassett, Jr., originally listed to drive in place of his brother this Saturday, finished 25th. Down Syndrome Awareness and Bassett Gutters and More return as sponsors.

DRIVER CHANGE: #99-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Josh Bilicki pulls double-duty this weekend in Kansas, and starts by replacing Stefan Parsons in B.J. McLeod’s #99 Toyota. Furniture Mall of Kansas will back the effort.

Sunday, October 20, 2019
CUP Race 32 of 36
Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas
Round of 12 – Race 3 of 3
2018 Last-Place Finisher: Timmy Hill

There are 40 drivers entered for as many spots in this Sunday’s Cup race, marking the first back-to-back 40-car fields this year since May, during the spring race at Kansas and the Coca-Cola 600.

DRIVER SWAP: #27-Premium Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #77-Spire Motorsports
The preliminary entry list had no driver listed in the #27 to take the place of Reed Sorenson, who was slotted into the #77 in place of Blake Jones. By Wednesday, however, Sorenson was moved back to the #27 once more and Timmy Hill, for the first time in 2019, will drive for Spire Motorsports. Hill had himself been listed as this week’s driver of Motorsports Business Management’s #66, but that also changed Wednesday as Joey Gase was set to drive for a second-straight week, moving Hill to the open #77.

TEAM UPDATE: #37-JTG-Daugherty Racing
On Wednesday came news that Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., fresh off his strong performance in Talladega, will take over Chris Buescher's ride in 2020. Though Buescher had previously been announced as Stenhouse's replacement next year, this was not intended to be a trade as each decision was made separately. Reports indicate it is likely this team will also carry a new number next season, though using the 2019 Owner Points.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Rick Ware Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #52-Rick Ware Racing
J.J. Yeley returns to the #51 after he wasn’t entered in Talladega, bumping Austin Theriault to the #52 in place of Spencer Boyd, who isn’t entered after his last-place run on Monday. Bangor Bank rejoins Theriault as sponsor of the #52, and the bank looks to promote the Travis Mills Foundation in the upcoming season finale at Homestead. UPDATE: On Thursday, Theriault tweeted he has not been cleared to race Sunday following his wreck in Tallafega, but still intends to return at Homestead. Garrett Smithley will run in his place at Kansas.

RETURNING: #53-Rick Ware Racing
Joining Yeley and Theriault will be Josh Bilicki, who brings back Rick Ware’s third team for the first time since the Charlotte Roval. Insurance King continues their developing partnership with Bilicki and has a new paint scheme on the #53 this week. It will be Bilicki’s first Cup start at Kansas.

Saturday, October 26, 2019
TRUCKS Race 21 of 23
Hall of Fame 200 at Martinsville
Round of 6 – Race 2 of 3
2018 Last-Place Finisher: Chad Finley

The Truck Series takes the week off and returns to action for the short track in Martinsville.

Today in LASTCAR history (October 17, 1998): Curtis Markham picks up the 2nd last-place finish of his NASCAR Busch Series career in the Carquest Auto Parts 250 at Gateway when his #64 Schneider National Chevrolet overheated after 78 laps. Markham shared the Dennis Shoemaker-owned Chevrolet with Cup Series veteran Dick Trickle, who took that year’s LASTCAR championship.

Monday, October 14, 2019

CUP: Truck Series winner Spencer Boyd unable to overcome a sluggish engine in Cup

PHOTO: @SpencerBoyd
Spencer Boyd picked up the 2nd last-place finish of his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career in Sunday and Monday’s 500 at the Talladega Superspeedway when his #52 Manscaped / Factor One Source Chevrolet fell out with a blown engine after 53 of 188 laps.

The finish, which came in Boyd’s third series start, was his second of the year and first since Michigan, eight races ago. In the Cup Series last-place rankings, it was the 29th for the #52, the 690th from engine trouble, and the 774th for Chevrolet. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 56th for the #52, the 1,077th from engine failure, and the 1,691st for Chevrolet.

Boyd’s weekend in Talladega couldn’t have gotten off to a better start. In the Truck Series race on Saturday, Boyd worked the high lane on the final lap to cross the stripe a close second to Johnny Sauter. Then, while debriefing with his crew on pit road, Boyd was alerted that Sauter had been penalized for blocking Riley Herbst below the yellow line in the tri-oval, handing Boyd the victory. The driver celebrated in victory lane, a first-time winner in NASCAR’s top three series in just his 23rd Truck Series start, and the first for team owner Randy Young. Boyd then politely declined to drink the Sugarlands Shine-brand moonshine that sponsored the race, as he still had work to do.

Boyd was slated to run double-duty at Talladega, rejoining Rick Ware Racing for the third time in 2019 and his first since Richmond just last month. He would drive the #52 Chevrolet, originally listed with Medicine Shoppe as sponsor but later listed with Manscaped and Factor One Source on board. Boyd hurried to pit road on Saturday as his car was lined up first to qualify. While the car was originally pulled out of line, Boyd jumped on board and put up his lap of 167.016mph (54.404 seconds). It was the slowest lap turned in the session, but there was still celebrating to do as Boyd finished his media obligations.

It had been a challenging weekend on the Cup side. In opening practice, Boyd started the weekend slowest in practice and didn’t participate in Happy Hour. To make matters worse, after the end of track activities on Saturday, things almost turned disastrous for the #52 team as the fire department had to be called to extinguish a small fire in the team hauler.

Boyd still secured 39th on the starting grid for Sunday’s race, thanks to the misfortune of Playoff contender Denny Hamlin. This year’s Daytona 500 winner blew the engine on his timed lap, and he aborted his run, leaving with no time. The team then changed engines, incurring a redundant tail-end penalty prior to the start of the race.

Coming off pit road, Boyd stopped at the exit of pit road before joining the pack. The next time by, 38th-place Reed Sorenson fell to the rear in the unsponsored #27 Premium Motorsports Chevrolet and fell behind Boyd. Hamlin, who had been running a ceremonial lap with the other Playoff contenders, then dropped back. When he did, Sorenson and Boyd throttled back along with 37th-place qualifier Austin Theriault, Boyd’s teammate in the #51 Jacob Companies Chevrolet. Also falling back was 14th-place Paul Menard in the #21 Menards / Tarkett Ford. Menard was struggling with neck pain, and was already making preparations for Truck Series veteran Matt Crafton to drive in his relief. This moved Hamlin up another row to 36th, and he now started to the outside of Blake Jones, making his return to Cup competition in Spire Motorsports’ #77 Tennessee Shine Co. / XXX Distillery Chevrolet.

When the green flag dropped, Sorenson and Boyd were side by side all the way until Turn 3, when the #27 got a run on the inside lane. From there, Sorenson and the rest of the field pulled away, leaving Boyd suddenly by himself. After four laps, he was already 12.5 seconds back, and the next time by Theriault and Sorenson were also running alone in the far distance. “You gotta do all you can to get me more speed outta that thing,” the crew told Boyd, who insisted his foot was all the way to the floor.

On Lap 11, the leaders caught Boyd in Turns 3 and 4, and he moved high to let them by. He tried to go to the low lane in Turn 2, but the pack left him behind once more. Seven laps later, Boyd was still alone, and running just 178mph into the third corner. The field continued to reel him in at the same rate, and on Lap 22, Boyd again stuck to the high lane as he lost a second lap. This time, he caught the draft of Joey Gase, who smelled something burning in his #66 Fan Memories at Richmond Raceway Toyota. Right on schedule, after another 11 laps, the leaders passed Gase and Boyd, putting the #52 a third lap down. This time, Gase slotted into line, but Boyd could not, and he was still by himself.

On Lap 35, Boyd lost fuel pressure and pulled to the apron down the backstretch. Two circuits later, his car was just about stopped at the exit of Turn 4, but NASCAR didn’t throw the yellow until Lap 38. A push truck brought Boyd back to pit road, and while there was word he was going to the garage, they moved him past the opening. The next time by, Boyd drove into the garage himself, now six laps back of the leaders. The crew looked over the car and found nothing was dragging, then sent him back out on Lap 46. Now 14 laps back, Boyd was still told to pick up the pace, and that he might be parked for not meeting minimum speed. He managed to reach the end of Stage 1, now 15 laps down, then joined the field on pit road when the race was stopped for rain.

Storms pushed the race to Monday morning, and Boyd lined up with five cars behind him. He fired the engine on Lap 58, and was in the middle of traffic for the Lap 63 restart. Just three laps later, he was running by himself yet again, still well off the pace. Finally, on the 71st time by, Boyd pulled down pit road complaining of a fluctuating fuel pressure, then straight into the garage. Radio communications captured by Max Neuwirth reported the team had the same issues in the shop because of the ECU. “Hate it, man,” said the crew. “I know you were doing all you could out there.” The crew downloaded the data from their car and were officially listed out on Lap 79, then pulled from RaceView on Lap 80.

The rest of the Bottom Five was filled by accidents. Playoff contender Alex Bowman took the biggest hit on Lap 107. While leading into Turn 3, Bowman got in front of a fast-closing Joey Logano. The two made contact, and Bowman spun to the apron, then back into traffic, collecting ten other cars. Among them were Kyle Larson, who ended up 39th in the #42 McDonald’s Spicy Chicken Chevrolet, and 38th-placce Jimmie Johnson in the #48 Ally Bank Chevrolet. Gase ended up 36th when he plowed into Theriault’s Chevrolet during another wreck heading into the same spot on Lap 163.

These same wrecks cut short several promising runs from drivers and teams in desperate need for them. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. had arguably the best car in the field in his final plate race for Roush-Fenway, leading 32 laps in the #17 Sunny D Ford before he was shaken out in the run to the checkers. Matt DiBenedetto, in his second race with sponsorship from Barstool Sports, once again nearly got Leavine Family Racing its first checkered flag until he was collected on Lap 181. His damaged car was spun into the path of David Ragan, who ran as high as 2nd in the final plate race before his impending retirement at the end of this season.

But the biggest letdown had to be Brendan Gaughan, whose #62 Beard Oil / South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet was leading by a fender going into Turn 3 with just six laps to go. Fifteen years after his career-best Cup finish in this same race in 2004, Gaughan and his Beard Motorsports entry were set to shock the field before he was turned in a wreck started by the Busch brothers, sending his #62 somersaulting in the air before landing in Chris Buescher’s path. Gaughan, 27th after the wreck, walked away uninjured and shook off the disappointment, looking ahead to next year’s Daytona 500.

Meanwhile, the battle for the 2019 LASTCAR Cup Series Championship remains extremely tight. B.J. McLeod leads a bottom-five tiebreaker over Erik Jones and Michael McDowell with Jones and McDowell tied in both Bottom Fives and Bottom Tens. Cody Ware and Reed Sorenson could also make a push with comparable amounts of Bottom Fives and Tens. With just five races to go, a single last-place finish by anyone could change the standings completely.

*This marked the first Cup Series last-place finish for the #52 in a Cup race at Talladega since May 7, 1989, when Jimmy Means’ Alka-Seltzer Pontiac lost the engine after 5 laps of the Winston 500. Means qualified 24th for the race, which saw 13 other drivers fail to qualify.

40) #52-Spencer Boyd / 53 laps / engine
39) #42-Kyle Larson / 106 laps / crash
38) #48-Jimmie Johnson / 106 laps / crash
37) #88-Alex Bowman / 106 laps / crash
36) #66-Joey Gase / 161 laps / crash

1st) Rick Ware Racing (9)
2nd) Stewart-Haas Racing (4)
3rd) Chip Ganassi Racing, Front Row Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing (3)
4th) Hendrick Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing, Spire Motorsports (2)
5th) Germain Racing, Motorsports Business Management, StarCom Racing (1)

1st) Chevrolet (18)
2nd) Ford (9)
3rd) Toyota (4)


Sunday, October 13, 2019

TRUCKS: Mason Massey’s fluid leak leads to a frustrating race for Cobb; Boyd breaks through with upset win at Talladega

ALL PHOTOS: @chris_lightnin
Mason Massey picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series career in Saturday’s Sugarlands Shine 250 at the Talladega Superspeedway when his #33 Anderson Power / Generac Chevrolet fell out with a blown engine after 8 of 98 laps.

The finish came in Massey’s 7th series start. In the Truck Series last-place rankings, it was the 5th for the #33, the 130th from engine trouble, and the 381st for Chevrolet. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 48th for the #33, the 1,076th from engine trouble, and the 1,690th for Chevrolet.

Massey, a 22-year-old from Douglassville, Georgia has been racing for most of his life, competing on both dirt and asphalt. He drove Late Models for Bill Elliott, winning the Alabama 200 at Montgomery Motor Speedway in 2012. He’s also a former U.S. Legends Pro National Champion, and has branched out into Dirt Late Models. This past June, Massey made his Truck Series debut with Josh Reaume’s team, finishing 21st at Iowa. He’s since made at least one start in each of Reaume’s three trucks with a best finish of 17th at Pocono.

Saturday marked Massey’s first Talladega start, and in opening practice ran 30th of 31 trucks ahead of teammate Jesse Iwuji in the #34. He was again second-slowest in Happy Hour, but improved to 29th of the 32 drivers in qualifying with a lap of 172.771mph (55.426 seconds). Following Ray Ciccarelli’s withdrawal of his CMI Motorsports team, no drivers failed to qualify.

Iwuji’s #34 John’s 360 Coatings Toyota started 32nd and last on Saturday, and was joined by owner-driver Jordan Anderson, who missed the driver’s meeting after timing in 30th in the #3 / Albiero Energy Chevrolet. What unfolded was a chaotic sequence of events at the back of the field.

On the break, Iwuji took over last place from Anderson, 3.068 seconds back of the lead. By the end of the first lap, Massey was back in 31st, just a fraction of a second ahead of his teammate. That same time by, Angela Ruch made an unscheduled stop when her #44 The Ruch Life Chevrolet kept jumping out of gear. The team brought out a bungee cord to hold the truck in gear, but lost two laps in the process.

On Lap 6, Codie Rohrbaugh broke loose in Turn 1, dropping him out of 19th. As he continued along the apron, NASCAR didn’t throw a caution. Moments later, Jennifer Jo Cobb in her #10 Chevrolet spun down the backstretch, but again the yellow didn’t come out. The driver was livid over the radio, saying that someone on track was leaking fluid, causing her to spin, and coating her windshield in a layer of film. This same fluid may have also caused Rohrbaugh’s incident, but this wasn’t confirmed. The caution did not fall until Lap 9, and only when Harrison Burton’s #18 Safelite Auto Glass Toyota spun out on the frontstretch while in the lead draft. By then, Cobb was off the lead lap and in last place.
Cobb's truck sits on pit road as the crew searches for tires.

Under caution on Lap 10, a frustrated Cobb made it to pit road. Despite avoiding damage to her truck, a sponsor falling through meant the team didn’t have another set of tires ready to replace the ones flat-spotted by the spin. The team sent a runner up pit road to see if they could get a set of scuffs from another team. “We don’t have any fucking tires to put on it, so I guess we'll just sit here,” said Cobb. “Take that windshield and you go take that to a NASCAR official, please. The most ridiculous shit I've ever heard of.”

It was then revealed that Massey’s #33 was the truck leaking fluid, and on Lap 11 the truck was seen pushed behind the wall with the white TV panel smeared with brown liquid, believed to be gear oil. Fluid had, in fact, been left from Turn 4 all the way past Turns 1 and 2, but it was not until Lap 12 that NASCAR threw a red flag to clean it up.

While the field was stopped, Cobb’s #10 remained on pit road as the crew continued to search for tires. They first looked to Stewart Friesen’s crew for a pair of scuffs, then to Ross Chastain’s crew to get the set of tires they’d just changed. Both proved to be dead ends, and Chastain’s crew said they would be re-using the ones they’d changed. Cobb then told her crew to buy another set of tires from the Goodyear shop, but her crew didn’t have the required credit card on hand at pit road. According to Chris Knight, two fans on Talladega Blvd. stepped in and bought her another set of tires. Radio communications indicate these tires weren’t mounted until the red flag was lifted, at which point Cobb had now lost more than five laps. Back under caution, Cobb’s truck was pushed behind the wall, where they awaited new tires near one of the track’s big screens. Two tires were changed on Lap 22, and the other two were added with an impact wrench soon after. On Lap 29, Cobb re-fired her engine and returned to action a full 19 laps down. Massey didn’t return to the race, and with just one lap separating him from Cobb, dropped to last on Lap 30.

Cobb goes behind the wall for her tire change.
Cobb ultimately climbed to 27th, just outside of the Bottom Five, and the last truck to finish under power. The first truck she passed was Tyler Dippel, whose #02 Lobas Productions Chevrolet wrecked on the backstretch. Finishing 30th was John Hunter Nemechek, who pushed in the nose of his #8 Plan B Sales Chevrolet, knocking him out with radiator issues. Austin Wayne Self’s #22 Go Texan Chevrolet fell out with overheating issues. Rounding out the group was Anglea Ruch, whose earlier issues with the truck jumping out of gear were compounded when she lost the engine.

Saturday’s race ended with just as much controversy. In the sprint to the finish line, race leader Johnny Sauter threw a block on Riley Herbst, causing both trucks to cross below the yellow line in the tri-oval. As both returned to the track surface, Sauter blocked the approaching high lane and took the checkered flag in first. After Sauter did donuts on the frontstretch, NASCAR officials intervened, stating that Sauter violated the “yellow-line rule” with his block. The penalty handed the victory to second-place Spencer Boyd, who was leading the high lane up to Sauter at the finish. Boyd, who was on pit road at the time, celebrated with his crew – both his first Truck Series victory in his 23rd start and the first in the eight-year history of Young’s Motorsports. Boyd ultimately had to hustle back from victory lane as his Cup ride for Sunday, the #52 Medicine Shoppe Chevrolet, was lined up first to qualify. After a delay, Boyd hopped in the car and qualified it 39th. He finished XXTH.

*This marked the first last-place finish for the #33 in a Truck Series race at Talladega.

32) #33-Mason Massey / 8 laps / engine
31) #02-Tyler Dippel / 29 laps / crash
30) #8-John Hunter Nemechek / 30 laps / radiator
29) #22-Austin Wayne Self / 69 laps / overheating
28) #44-Angela Ruch / 72 laps / engine

1st) NEMCO Motorsports (4)
2nd) Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing (3)
3rd) Norm Benning Racing, Reaume Brothers Racing, Young’s Motorsports (2)
4th) Copp Motorsports, DGR-Crosley, Halmar Friesen Racing, Hattori Racing Enterprises, JJL Motorsports, Niece Motorsports, ThorSport Racing (1)

1st) Chevrolet (16)
2nd) Ford, Toyota (2)


Thursday, October 10, 2019

PREVIEW: "White-knuckle weekend" in Talladega sees many drivers return

Ty Dillon honoring Richard Chilress' first Cup start at Talladega in 1969.
PHOTO: @GermainRacing
Saturday, October 12, 2019
TRUCKS Race 20 of 23
Sugarlands Shine 250 at Talladega
Round of 6 – Race 1 of 3
2018 Last-Place Finisher: Clay Greenfield

There are 33 drivers entered for 32 spots in Saturday’s return of the Truck Series after nearly a full month off, meaning one team will miss the show.

MISSING: #0-Jennifer Jo Cobb
Jennifer Jo Cobb will not enter her second truck, which was withdrawn along with Daniel Sasnett as driver in Las Vegas. The Cobb team will still field the #10 with the only superspeedway truck they have in their stables.

MISSING: #5-DGM-Crosley
Dylan Lupton is not entered after another strong run in Las Vegas, where he ran 10th.

RETURNING: #7-All Out Motorsports
Korbin Forrister is back in action for the first time since May, along with his All Out Motorsports team that is still looking for sponsorship. Forrister has four Truck Series starts at Talladega with a best of 15th both last year and in 2015.

DRIVER SWAP: #87-NEMCO Motorsports
Pending the outcome of qualifying, father and son will race against each other this Saturday as Joe Nemechek moves from the #87 to the #8, leaving John Hunter to drive the #87. The younger Nemechek, who finished last with fuel pressure issues in Las Vegas, takes the place of Tony Mrakovich, who ran a strong 13th that night. UPDATE: Reportedly on Monday, Timothy Peters was slated to take the place of Joe Nemechek in the #8.

MISSING: #11-Rette Jones Racing
Spencer Davis is not entered after he ran 18th in Las Vegas.

MISSING: #19-Bill McAnally Racing
Derek Kraus and the California-based McAnally team are also not headed to Alabama following a 27th-place finish due to transmission issues in Vegas.

Bryan Dauzat and Jim Rosenblum are back in action this week, the first attempt for both driver and team since their season-best 24th-place run in Pocono. Dauzat didn’t get a chance to put the #28 through its paces at Daytona, where he was eliminated with crash damage after only two laps, leaving him 31st.

DRIVER CHANGE: #34-Reaume Brothers Racing
Team owner Josh Reaume takes the place of Jesse Iwuji, who was swapped out of the Las Vegas field following his scary qualifying crash in the #34 Chevrolet. No sponsor is yet listed for the #34, but Anderson Power Services will again back teammate Mason Massey in the #33.

MISSING: #38-Niece Motorsports
Colin Garrett is not entered after his 21st-place finish at Las Vegas, bringing the Al Niece contingent down to two between Angela Ruch (#44) and Playoff contender Ross Chastain (#45).

WITHDREW: #49-CMI Motorsports
Ray Cicarelli returns to Truck Series competition for the first time since his brief run at Mosport, and drives his own equipment for the first time since his career-best 9th-place finish at Michigan. Should he qualify, it will be Cicarelli’s first-ever start at Talladega. UPDATE: The team withdrew prior to the weekend.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Kyle Busch Motorsports
Riley Herbst makes only his third Truck Series start of the season, this time taking the place of Christian Eckes, who ran 3rd after starting on pole in Las Vegas. Herbst’s best finish of the year came at Kansas, where he ran 9th in the KBM #46.

MISSING: #56-Hill Motorsports
Tyler Hill and brother Timmy are not competing in Saturday’s race after they failed to qualify following a qualifying incident in Las Vegas.

RETURNING: #68-Clay Greenfield Racing
Clay Greenfield, the defending last-place finisher of this race, is back with his family’s #68 Rackley Roofing Toyota. Greenfield’s last attempt came at Bristol two months ago, when he ran 26th after steering issues.

MISSING: #04-Roper Racing
Cory Roper is not entered in Saturday’s race after he, too, failed to qualify in Las Vegas.

MISSING: #08-Kart Idaho Racing
Justin Johnson is not entered after they took Jesse Iwuji’s place at Las Vegas following a DNQ, ending the night in 23rd place.


Sunday, October 13, 2019
CUP Race 31 of 36 500 at Talladega
Round of 12 – Race 2 of 3
2018 Last-Place Finisher: Michael McDowell

There are exactly 40 drivers entered for as many spots in Sunday’s Cup Series race at Talladega, the first since the Roval, two races ago, and just the eighth in 31 races this year.

PAINT SCHEME: #13-Germain Racing
Announced on Tuesday was a “throwback” paint scheme for Ty Dillon. In honor of Richard Childress Racing’s 50th anniversary, dating back to the inaugural Talladega race in September 1969, Dillon’s car will carry a flat green paint scheme reminiscent of grandfather Richard Childress’ first Cup car, which also happened to be #13. Childress’ 1968 Chevrolet was among the entrants from the lower division series who were called upon to fill out the Sunday field after a driver’s strike.

TEAM UPDATE: #21-Wood Brothers Racing
Matt Crafton is on standby to relieve Paul Menard, who is struggling with neck pain.

DRIVER SWAP: #27-Premium Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #77-Spire Motorsports
Reed Sorenson moves from the #77 to the #27 this week, taking the place of Joe Nemechek, who after running 30th at Dover isn’t entered and will instead focus on Saturday’s Truck Series race. Sorenson looks to rebound from an axle failure that came after Joey Logano’s on Lap 1. In the #77 this week is Blake Jones – not Daytona winner Justin Haley – who proudly announced his return to the series by posting pictures of his 2019 NASCAR license on social media. We last saw Jones at Bristol last year, when he drove BK Racing’s final race before their Charter officially changed hands. This will be Jones’ first Cup start on a track over two miles in length.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Rick Ware Racing
Rick Ware Racing returns to their lineup from Richmond as Austin Theriault will make his first Cup start at Talladega. He takes the place of B.J. McLeod, who ran 29th at Dover. Theriault drives a special paint scheme in honor of Roger Haynes, who passed away in May. It was Haynes who drove his big rig around the Talladega track carrying the American flag. The #51 will bear a similar scheme to that truck.

DRIVER CHANGE: #52-Rick Ware Racing
Spencer Boyd joins Theriault in making his own first start since Richmond, where he ran 34th in the #53. This time, he drives the #52 in place of J.J. Yeley, who ran 32nd at Dover. It will be Boyd’s third series start, and comes with sponsorship from the Medicine Shoppe.

MISSING: #54-Rick Ware Racing
The Ware team has only entered their two Chartered cars this week and have not fielded the #54 which Garrett Smithley drove to a 33rd-place finish on “The Monster Mile.”

RETURNING: #62-Beard Motorsports
Plate racing means the return of Mark Beard’s team with driver Brendan Gaughan, who again look to turn heads in the #62 Beard Oil Distributing / South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet, which ran a strong 8th here in the spring. Gaughan’s career-best Cup Series finish came in this very race 15 years ago, when he ran 4th in Doug Bawel’s #77 Dodge.

RETURNING: #66-Motorsports Business Management
Joey Gase and the #66 MBM Cup team are back in action for the first time since Las Vegas, interestingly carrying sponsorship recognizing sponsor Eternal Fan’s fan promotions at the Richmond Raceway. Gase has four Talladega starts in the series with a best finish of 18th in this race last year, driving for StarCom Racing.

SPONSOR UPDATE: #95-Leavine Family Racing
Talladega marks the second race of Barstool Sports’ sponsorship of Matt DiBenedetto. This time, the red paint scheme reflects the website’s “One Bite” pizza taste test series.

RETURNING: #96-Gaunt Brothers Racing
Parker Kligerman rejoins the circuit following a week off in Dover, looking to improve on their 27th-place finish at Talladega this past spring.

Saturday, October 19, 2019
XFINITY Race 30 of 33
Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas
Round of 8 – Race 1 of 3
2018 Last-Place Finisher: Michael Annett

The XFINITY Series takes a week off this time and returns next Saturday in Kansas.

Today in LASTCAR history (October 10, 1993): Todd Bodine picked up the first last-place finish of his NASCAR Winston Cup career in the Mello Yello 500 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway when his #75 Factory Stores Ford was involved in a crash after 140 laps. Bodine’s crash was one of just two cautions that day – the other from oil on the track – resulting in an average race speed of 154.537mph.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

ARCA: Benjamin Peterson never takes the green in rain-shortened farewell to steel bodies

PHOTO: Mark Kristl, @MarkKristl
by William Soquet Guest Contributor

Benjamin Peterson finished last for the second time in his ARCA Menards Series career in Saturday’s Herr’s Potato Chips 200 at Lucas Oil Raceway when his #0 Peterson Racing Ford did not start.

The finish was his second consecutive and came in his second attempt at an ARCA race.

The Herr’s Potato Chips 200 was the last race that ARCA teams could use steel-bodied “old style” cars. They were outlawed on restrictor plate tracks prior to 2018, then on tracks 1 mile and over before this season. Despite the restrictions, a small contingent of teams, most notably Wayne Peterson Racing, Brad Smith Motorsports and Fast Track Racing, still used the old cars. While it is unknown exactly how many teams ran steel-bodied cars on Saturday night, it is a fair guess to say that there were a good amount in the field, including the last-place finisher.

Lucas Oil Raceway brought out a good entry list for the series, topping at 22 cars, or approximately 1.5 times the size of the NASCAR K&N East field for Dover on Friday night. Darrell Basham returned for potentially his final ARCA start, driving the #1 for Fast Track Racing. LASTCAR drivers’ championship contender Dick Doheny ran the #11 car for the team. Win-Tron Racing, after announcing that part-time driver Cole Glasson had left the team, entered Howie DiSavino III for his second start of the season. Eric Caudell brought his #7 to the track, and the Darrell Basham Racing team brought a steel-bodied #34 with Mike Basham driving. Besides that, the usual short-track crew entered, including Bobby Gerhart, Scott Melton, Ty Gibbs, Sam Mayer, Corey Heim, Chandler Smith and Carson Hocevar. Hailie Deegan also made her fifth of six scheduled starts in the Venturini Motorsports #55 machine.

In practice, Peterson anchored the charts, turning a lap of around 26.4 seconds, around 4 seconds slower than leader Chandler Smith’s lap. In qualifying, Peterson was one of three cars that didn’t take a time, along with Bret Holmes and Brad Smith, who was running a steel-bodied chassis nicknamed “Harry”.

Peterson’s car, unfortunately, never saw the track after practice, as the car did not take the green flag and was classified last in the results. Darrell Basham pulled off after a lap due to a vibration, and Caudell retired after three laps with radiator problems. Brad Smith bowed out of the race after 60 laps, citing clutch issues. Rounding out the Bottom Five was Dick Doheny, who spun and damaged both ends of his #11 machine in the process, forcing him behind the wall after 89 laps.

Give a call, however, to the #34 Basham Racing team, who ran the whole race in a steel-bodied car. Driver Mike Basham finished 13th, tying his last finish at Salem for his best run of the year.
And while the ARCA points lead may have changed after Christian Eckes benefited from rain to move past Michael Self in the points, the only LASTCAR championship that has not been decided – the drivers’ championship – continues to hang in the balance heading into the season finale in two weeks at Kansas. Brad Smith could become a LASTCAR champion with a last-place finish, as he, Dick Doheny or Wayne Peterson all win with a last-place finish.

22) #0-Benjamin Peterson / 0 laps / did not start
21) #1-Darrell Basham / 1 lap / vibration
20) #7-Eric Caudell / 3 laps / radiator
19) #48-Brad Smith / 60 laps / clutch
18) #11-Dick Doheny / 89 laps / accident

1st) Ford (11)
2nd) Toyota (4)
3rd) Chevrolet (3)
4th) Dodge (1)

1st) Wayne Peterson Racing (7)
2nd) Fast Track Racing (3)
3rd) Brad Smith Motorsports, Kimmel Racing, Venturini Motorsports (2)
4th) KBR Development, Mullins Racing, Our Motorsports (1)