Thursday, October 18, 2018

PREVIEW: New associate sponsors for StarCom and MBM among entry list stories at Kansas

PHOTO: @ChaseBriscoe5
Saturday, October 20, 2018
XFINITY Race 30 of 33
Round of 8, Race 1 of 3
Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas
2017 Last-Place Finisher: Jeff Green

ENTRY LIST
There are 42 drivers entered for 40 spots in Saturday’s XFINITY Series race, meaning two drivers will miss the show. UPDATE: Make that 43 cars with the addition of a fourth RSS Racing car.

DRIVER CHANGE: #15-JD Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #01-JD Motorsports
B.J. McLeod runs double-duty once again this weekend, but this time moves from Johnny Davis’ #15 Chevrolet to the #01, taking the place of Landon Cassill, who will only run Cup this weekend (see below). Taking McLeod’s place in the #15 is a returning Quin Houff, who we last saw run 31st last month at Richmond driving Davis’ #4.

DRIVER CHANGE: #8-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Jairo Avila, Jr. rejoins the McLeod team for his first XFINITY start since his series debut at Bristol, where he ran 20th in the #78. Avila takes the place of Matt Mills, who ran 28th at Dover.

DRIVER CHANGE: #13-Motorsports Business Management
DRIVER CHANGE: #66-Motorsports Business Management
Timmy Hill drives in place of Carl Long in the #13 as part of his double-duty sweep at Kansas (see below). Hill’s spot in the #66 goes to Bobby Dale Earnhardt in a Chevrolet. According to Long’s Facebook page, Earnhardt has been working for MBM since 2014, though he’s scaled back to part-time this year. No less than four sponsors will be backing the #66 – HABCO Material, CIA Insurance, WT Contracting, and Lucky D’s Barbecue.

RETURNING: #26-Tullman-Walker Racing
Kansas marks the third attempt of the season for Max Tullman and the #26 Ford Mustang following a 30th-place run in Iowa and a 23rd at Las Vegas. The car will be sponsored by Eskata and Zoomi.

NEW TEAM: #37-RSS Racing
Added as a late entry Thursday is a fourth car from Ryan Sieg's team for J.J. Yeley, moved from the #38 (see below). Whether or not this car will run the full race is to be announced. Car #37 hasn't made an XFINITY start since September 14, 2013, when Tanner Berryhill drove his family's Dodge at Chicagoland.

DRIVER CHANGE: #38-RSS Racing
Angela Ruch, one of Derrike Cope’s nieces, looks to make her second XFINITY start of the season and first since a 30th-place showing at Loudon. Unlike at “The Magic Mile,” where she ran for B.J. McLeod Motorsports, Ruch will drive for RSS Racing, taking J.J. Yeley’s place in the #38. It marks the first XFINITY race without Yeley in the field since Road America, where Brian Henderson ran in his place. UPDATE: Yeley has since been entered in the #37 (see above).

TEAM UPDATE: #55-JP Motorsports
Although the preliminary entry list did not show a driver for the #55 Prevagen Toyota, Bayley Currey tweeted that he will once again be driving the car on Saturday, his ninth XFINITY start of the season and seventh in a row. The same tweet indicated the team’s new associate sponsors from Dover - Rollin’ Smoke Barbecue and Touched By Pros – will once again run on the car.

DRIVER CHANGE: #60-Roush-Fenway Racing
RETURNING: #98-Stewart-Haas Racing with Biagi DenBeste
Chase Briscoe returns to the #98 team for the first time since his victory on the Roval, this time with Nutri Chomps as sponsor. Briscoe makes the move from the #60, which this week goes to Ty Majeski, his tenth XFINITY start of the season and first since his 34th-place run on the Roval. Majeski looks for a turnaround with his 7th at Iowa standing as his only finish better than 22nd and four DNFs all due to crashes.

DRIVER CHANGE: #90-DGM Racing
Josh Williams regains the #90 Chevrolet for the first time since his 20th-place run in Las Vegas, taking the place of Brandon Brown, 22nd at Dover. It will be Williams’ first start at Kansas.

Sunday, October 21, 2018
CUP Race 32 of 36
Round of 12, Race 3 of 3
Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas
2017 Last-Place Finisher: Derrike Cope

ENTRY LIST
There are 40 drivers for 40 spots, the second-straight full field in 2018 and the ninth in the last ten races. It is the 14th full field in 2018, meaning that 40-car lists in the remaining four rounds will match the current total of 18 short fields this season.

DRIVER CHANGE: #7-Premium Motorsports
Reed Sorenson returns to the second Jay Robinson entry, taking the place of D.J. Kennington, who struggled to a 34th-place showing at Talladega. As in many Kansas races, Harrah’s North Kansas City is the listed sponsor for the Chevrolet.

MANUFACTURER CHANGE: #23-Front Row Motorsports
One week after driving a Ford for the first time since Bob Jenkins acquired BK Racing, J.J. Yeley is once again listed in a Toyota, and this time without a listed sponsor.

DRIVER AND MANUFACTURER CHANGE: #51-Rick Ware Racing
One week after Cody Ware finished under power for the first time in eight career Cup starts, B.J. McLeod returns to the #51, which also swaps from a Chevrolet back to a Ford.

MISSING: #62-Beard Motorsports
Brendan Gaughan closed out his 2018 “restrictor-plate only” campaign with a 12th-place finish at Talladega. The team closes out 2018 with a 28th and 12th at Daytona and a 22nd and 12th at Talladega. If past history is any indication, expect their next attempt to be the 2019 Daytona 500.

RETURNING: #66-Motorsports Business Management
Timmy Hill and the blue Ternio Toyota rejoin the circuit for the first time since their last-place run at Dover. Most significantly, according to the team’s Facebook, it will be the first time MBM has run with their own engine program after employing PME Engines these last two years. The team is also looking ahead to 2019, when they plan to enter a second car at Daytona in addition to “at least” two of their current three XFINITY cars.

MISSING: #97-Obaika Racing
Victor Obaika’s team isn’t entered this week, one week after David Starr was the only driver sent home in qualifying. While Starr remains with Jimmy Means Racing in Saturday’s XFINITY race, the next start for Obaika’s Cup effort is to be announced.

DRIVER CHANGE: #99-StarCom Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #00-StarCom Racing
Landon Cassill moves from the #99 to the #00 to take place of Joey Gase, who isn’t entered this week. Gase finished 18th at Talladega, matching Cassill’s season-best run for the #00 last month in Las Vegas. Kyle Weatherman takes the seat of the #99, his own first start since Vegas, and brings with him at least two new associate sponsors – Superior Essex on the TV Panel and Smokin’ Guns Barbecue on the lower quarter-panels. Sunday will mark the one-year anniversary of StarCom's first Cup start, which yielded a last-place run for Derrike Cope.

Saturday, October 27, 2018
TRUCKS Race 20 of 23
Round of 6, Race 1 of 3
Texas Roadhouse 200 at Martinsville
2017 Last-Place Finisher: Chris Windom

The Truck Series takes the week off and returns the following Saturday on the short track at Martinsville.

LASTCAR STAT OF THE WEEK
Aric Almirola’s win last Sunday in Talladega marked the first series victory for car #10 since November 3, 2002, when Johnny Benson, Jr. earned his first and only Cup win at Rockingham. Over those nearly 16 years, car #10 finished last in Cup just four times, including the first career last-place runs for Scott Riggs (March 18, 2007 at Atlanta), Patrick Carpentier (May 3, 2008 at Richmond), and Danica Patrick (October 6, 2013 at Kansas). Patrick authored the number’s most recent last-place run in the series last June at Michigan.

Monday, October 15, 2018

K&N WEST: David Hibbard’s second K&N race not one at all

Hibbard's car at the Las Vegas dirt track earlier this year.
PHOTO: NBC Sports via FansChoice.tv
by William Soquet
LASTCAR.info Guest Contributor

David Hibbard scored the first last-place finish of his NASCAR K&N Pro Series West career in Saturday night’s Toyota / NAPA Auto Care 200 at All American Speedway when his #64 Dave’s Flooring / Ames Rubber Chevrolet fell out with transmission issues without completing a lap. The finish came in Hibbard’s second career series start.

David Hibbard is a name known to few, if any, stock car racing fans. Hibbard’s wheelhouse is sprint car racing, as the Oregon native has gained notoriety in the Pacific Northwest for his acumen in that discipline. The 38-year-old has been racing sprints in Oregon for some time, running the inaugural Southern Oregon Sprint Series season in 2013 and finished seventh in points. He then went on a tear this summer, winning five races. Hibbard also has a son, Bailey, who is also a sprint car racer. Bailey is proving to be a chip off the old block, scoring top-fives in sprint car A-mains this summer. David made his debut in a second entry from the Rich DeLong stable, starting last in the field but working his way up to fifteenth, finishing three laps down.

Last week's entry list showed sixteen cars, which is quickly becoming average to above-average. Former series champion Chris Eggleston headlined the cast of part-timers, driving a one-off for Bill McAnally Racing. Taylor Canfield returned with a new car number and a new paint scheme after a less-than-great debut at Idaho. Travis Milburn returned for another ride in the 08 car, and Nick Joanides returned with his part-time schedule in the 77 car. Rich DeLong returned in his familiar #84, and Rudy Vanderwal was entered again in the #34.

Eggleston led the first practice session, wheeling his #50 to a lap of 13.951 seconds around the one-third-mile track. Hibbard ran the most laps of anybody in the field with 56 but could only manage a lap eight-and-a-half tenths slower than Eggleston, slowest of anyone in the field. Second practice was much the same story as the first – Eggleston led, and Hibbard was slowest. In qualifying, Hibbard still trailed the field, a second behind polesitter Cole Rouse.

Hibbard’s effort came to an end early Saturday night. His #64 machine went down during pace laps with transmission issue, with vague “mechanical” issues as the originally listed culprit. The race’s 15th finisher, Derek Kraus, completed less than half of the laps but finished running. An early spin with Thorn derailed what was already a below-average night for the Wisconsin native, and he logged laps from there on out, completing 92. Rudy Vanderwal was the next retiree from the race, with brakes at fault for his first DNF of 2018. His son Kody fell out with drive train issues after 117 laps. Eggleston rounded out the Bottom Five, his Toyota careening hard into the Turn 3 wall on a restart near the three-quarters mark of the race.

With one race to go, all three LASTCAR championships have been clinched. Chevrolet has outscored all other manufacturers combined, and Patriot Motorsports Group has outscored all other teams combined. Jesse Iwuji has three last-place finishes, while no other driver has more than one.

THE BOTTOM FIVE
16) #64-David Hibbard / 0 laps / mechanical
15) #16-Derek Kraus / 92 laps / running
14) #34-Rudy Vanderwal / 102 laps / brakes
13) #43-Kody Vanderwal / 117 laps / drive line
12) #50-Chris Eggleston / 149 laps / crash / led 18 laps

2018 LASTCAR K&N WEST MANUFACTURERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Chevrolet (9)
2nd) Toyota, Ford (2)

2018 LASTCAR K&N WEST OWNERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Patriot Motorsports Group (7)
2nd) B&B Motorsports, Bill McAnally Racing, Flyin Dutchman Racing, Hollis Thackeray, Norman Levin Racing, Rich DeLong Jr. (1)

2018 LASTCAR K&N WEST DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP

Sunday, October 14, 2018

CUP: Not all Fords had it easy at Talladega – Front Row Motorsports struggled with mechanical woes

McDowell's crew attends to the right-front hub at Talladega.
PHOTO: @Team_FRM
Michael McDowell picked up the 30th last-place finish of his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career in Sunday’s 1000Bulbs.com 500 at the Talladega Superspeedway when his #34 Speedco / Rotella Ford finished under power, completing 155 of the race’s 193 laps.

The finish, which came in McDowell’s 280th series start, was his second of the season and first since the spring race at Las Vegas, 28 races ago. In the Cup Series last-place rankings, it was the 31st for the #34, the 34th where the driver finished running, and the 686th for Ford. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 43rd for the #34, the 44th where the car was running, and the 945th for Ford.

In doing so, McDowell broke a tie with the late J.D. McDuffie for the fifth-most last-place finishes across all three of NASCAR's top divisions.

Ever since Las Vegas, McDowell has enjoyed a handful of mid-pack performances in his first year for Front Row Motorsports, not to mention a brilliant run at Daytona in July. After a 9th-place finish in this year’s Daytona 500, McDowell qualified 8th for the 400 and led 20 laps, pacing the field as early as Lap 89 and as late as Lap 113 before he was collected in a pile-up with just five laps to go in regulation. It was the third of five DNFs the Phoenix native had collected since Las Vegas, all of them due to crashes. With five top-twenty finishes in the last ten races headed to Talladega, McDowell looked to turn things around on the plate tracks.

McDowell was one of 41 drivers competing for spots in the 40-car field, and one of the 36 locked-in by virtue of his Charter. He ran 27th in the lone practice session and came just two-hundredths of a second short of making Round 2 with the 14th-best lap of 192.509mph (49.743 seconds). Further back, two-tenths of a second sent home Obaika Racing, which late in the week hired David Starr to attempt their first Cup Series race. Using both a hauler and car acquired from BK Racing, Starr’s #97 Vroom! Brands / Brand South Africa Toyota ran faster than two Chartered cars, but was sent home for not catching 38th-place Landon Cassill in StarCom Racing’s #99 Chevrolet.

The 40th and final starting spot was to go to Cody Ware, the second Chartered car Starr beat in qualifying. Ware’s turn in the #51 Jacob Companies Chevrolet yielded the slowest lap of the session, a lap of 183.136mph (52.289 seconds). However, 39th-place qualifier Corey LaJoie failed his first go-round in post-qualifying inspection, sending the #72 Winn-Dixie Chevrolet to the back of the grid for Sunday. LaJoie, whose car passed inspection on the second go-round, would incur a redundant tail-end penalty on Sunday for unapproved adjustments, soon to be followed by 37th-place starter Joey Gase (#00 PFK Foundation Chevrolet) and 34th-place Kyle Larson (#42 Credit One Bank Chevrolet).

On Sunday’s pace laps, LaJoie held the 40th spot on the high side of Row 20 with Ware to his inside. Both dropped to the back a second time after Larson joined them. Falling back voluntarily were Premium Motorsports teammates D.J. Kennington (starting 33rd in the #7 Wilride Transport Ltd. Chevrolet) and Ross Chastain (36th in the #15 Xchange of America / Solomon Plumbing Chevrolet). After sorting themselves out, Kennington pulled to the inside of LaJoie in the final row with Ware to the inside of Chastain in Row 19.

When the green flag dropped, Kennington trailed in the high lane, but caught Ware to his inside, putting the #51 back to last as the field crossed the stripe. Moments later, however, the group screamed past 16th-place qualifier David Ragan, who was carrying sponsorship from the race’s title sponsor 1000Bulbs.com. Ragan had been running among the leaders on Lap 1 when his car lost oil pressure in the outside lane, forcing him to jump to the third lane and out of danger. The #38 then fell to the back of the field, losing a lap as he made it down to the apron. The crew looked under the hood, noticing just 13 pounds of oil pressure, then managed to get him back on track on Lap 6, five laps back of the leaders. Ragan then lost oil pressure just past pit exit, forcing him to the garage on Lap 9, just seconds before Jeffrey Earnhardt drew the first caution for spinning the Gaunt Brothers’ #96 Xtreme Concepts / iK9 Toyota. By Lap 29, the Ragan crew managed to get the #38 out on track a second time, 20 laps down in last, but at full speed.

Front Row Motorsports’ day went from bad to worse around Lap 77, when McDowell first encountered trouble. As with Ragan, McDowell pulled behind the wall under green, citing a problem with the right-front wheel. The crew discovered a problem with the right-front hub, and though NASCAR.com’s RaceView pulled the #34 off the screen on Lap 87, the team continued to work on their repairs. McDowell took last from his teammate on Lap 98, then on Lap 114 was rolling again in the garage area, just in time for the caution that ended Stage 2. The Ford rejoined the race 37 laps down, then lost a 38th on the ensuing restart as he pulled high to let the leaders pass. At the time, all 40 entrants were still running with much of the Final Stage left to run.

For the rest of the afternoon, McDowell and Ragan didn’t lose another lap, but neither were able to climb past the handful of drivers having trouble further up the running order. On top of Earnhardt’s early spin, single-car incidents involving Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Larson, and Jamie McMurray did not eliminate all three drivers from competition – in fact, both Johnson and Larson finished on the lead lap in 7th and 11th, respectively. Thus, on Lap 150, all lead-lap cars were eliminated from last-place contention, and with the same 18-lap gap between McDowell and Ragan, McDowell all but secured last place on Lap 170, pending a green-white-checkered finish. While the race did end up going into overtime due to late accidents, no driver in the Bottom Five wrecked out, keeping the final five positions largely unchanged.

McDowell secured the 40th spot by his 18-lap margin over Ragan. Ware took 38th in a three-way tie with two other drivers eight laps down to the leaders. First was Earnhardt, who lost five laps after his spin, then another three by the finish. Rounding out the group was J.J. Yeley, the day’s only DNF, after his Ford rear-ended a sliding Alex Bowman with two laps to go in regulation. Yeley, whose #23 Steakhouse Elite Ford made the switch from Toyota for the first time since Front Row Motorsports owner Bob Jenkins acquired the team in August, ended up the third FRM car in the Bottom Five.

Despite a comparatively lackluster battle for the lead, a few underdogs did prevail with strong runs:

Still searching for a ride in 2019, A.J. Allmendinger led a lap in his #47 Kroger ClickList Chevrolet and finished 6th, his second top-ten finish in the last three races.

Regan Smith lost his drafting partner on the final lap, but managed to steer the Leavine Family Racing team’s #95 Procore Chevrolet to a 10th-place finish, Smith’s best finish since relieving Kasey Kahne, and the team’s best run since Kahne’s 4th at Daytona in July.

Just on the outside of the Top 10 came Brendan Gaughan, 12th in his second-straight plate race for Beard Motorsports in the #62 Beard Oil / South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet.

Joey Gase managed to rebound from his DNQ in the Truck Series race to finish 18th, his own season-best, improving even on his 25th in the crash-marred Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona.

LASTCAR STATISTICS
*This marked the first time car #34 finished last in a Cup Series race at Talladega.
*It was McDowell’s second last-place finish in a Cup race at Talladega, and his first since May 6, 2012, when his #98 Curb Records Ford fell out with a vibration after 2 laps of the Aaron’s 499.
*The 155 laps McDowell completed were the second-most of any Cup Series last-place finisher at Talladega. The lead remains with the late Marty Robbins, who was disqualified for a restrictor plate violation after he turned 179 laps on May 7, 1972.
*This was also just the second time that a Cup Series driver finished last at Talladega while still under power at the checkered flag. The only other instance was on May 1, 2005, when Kyle Petty’s #45 Georgia-Pacific / Brawny Dodge finished 88 laps down in the Aaron’s 499.

THE BOTTOM FIVE
40) #34-Michael McDowell / 155 laps / running
39) #38-David Ragan / 173 laps / running
38) #51-Cody Ware / 185 laps / running
37) #96-Jeffrey Earnhardt / 185 laps / running
36) #23-J.J. Yeley / 185 laps / crash

2018 LASTCAR CUP SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) StarCom Racing, TriStar Motorsports (4)
2nd) Rick Ware Racing (3)
3rd) BK Racing, Front Row Motorsports, Furniture Row Racing, Motorsports Business Management, Penske Racing, Premium Motorsports (2)
4th) Chip Ganassi Racing, Germain Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, JTG-Daugherty Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports, Roush-Fenway Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing (1)

2018 LASTCAR CUP SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Chevrolet (16)
2nd) Ford (8)
3rd) Toyota (7)

2018 LASTCAR CUP SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP

TRUCKS: A rare last-place run for Greenfield on a day where underdogs delight at Talladega

PHOTO: Christian Koelle
Clay Greenfield picked up the 3rd last-place finish of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career in Saturday’s Fr8Auctions 250 at the Talladega Superspeedway when his #68 AMVETS Please Stand Chevrolet fell out with suspension issues after he completed 47 of 94 laps.

The finish, which occurred in Greenfield’s 42nd series start, was his first of the season and his first in the series in over six years, dating back to September 28, 2012 at Las Vegas, 137 races ago. In the Truck Series last-place rankings, it was the 3rd for the #68, the 14th for suspension issues, and the 362nd for Chevrolet. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 26th for the #68, the 38th for the suspension, and the 1,630th for Chevrolet.

Talladega marked just the sixth attempt of the season for Greenfield and his family’s #68 team. The year began with a career-best 3rd-place starting spot at Daytona, a night that ended with a late-race crash in Turn 4 that left him a disappointing 22nd. Following a 28th-place run for TJL Racing, Greenfield was supposed to bring his team back to Charlotte, but they withdrew. He finished 20th the next time out at Texas, 21st at Kentucky, then ran 20th in the Bristol night race, only to be incurred a penalty for dropping ballast on the race track.

Through it all, the AMVETS veterans’ organization continued its support of Greenfield’s #68 team, and invited him to the group’s national convention in August, where he was awarded a lifetime membership. Greenfield’s patriotic-themed Chevrolet carried the message “Please Stand,” referencing the group’s stance on the ongoing “Take A Knee” protests. Greenfield’s own tie with the NFL is his wife Tandra, a former cheerleader for the Tennessee Titans who he married in 2015.

This newest backing from AMVETS came after several small businesses supported his team, including Clutch Defense, Titan Paint Sprayers, and 1-800-Pavement, the latter tied to Greenfield’s part-time work in the paving industry. The black pavement scheme gained its most attention in the final laps of the 2013 Last Chance Qualifier at Eldora, where his RAM raced door-to-door with Norm Benning’s Chevrolet for the final transfer spot. Greenfield looked to do much better at Talladega, where he’d earned a career-best 8th just last fall.

Greenfield was one of 36 drivers entered to attempt Saturday’s 32-truck field. After not running a lap in opening practice, he ranked 17th of 26 drivers in Happy Hour, then ran 18th in qualifying with a lap of 178.271mph (53.716 seconds). Fastest of the four drivers to miss the show was defending last-placer Norm Benning in the #6 H&H Transport Chevrolet. Joining him were Joey Gase in the #83 PFK Foundation / Sparks Energy, Inc. Chevrolet, Ray Ciccarelli in the #0 CMI Installations Chevrolet, and Jamie Mosley, slowest overall in Premium Motorsports’ #15 VIP Racing Experience Chevrolet.

Starting 32nd and last on Saturday was Wendell Chavous, who announced on Monday that Talladega would be his 50th and final series start so he could spend more time with his family and his business. Following the DNQ of his teammate Mosley in the #15, Chavous’ #49 SobrietyNation Chevrolet put up a time of just 173.507mph (55.191 seconds), ranking him last of the five drivers needing Owner Points to make the show.

Prior to the green, Chavous would be joined by no less than seven drivers sent to the rear for pre-race penalties. Five were sent there due to unapproved adjustments: 5th-place Johnny Sauter (#21 ISM Connect Chevrolet), 10th-place Austin Hill (#02 Young’s Building Systems / Randco Chevrolet), 11th-place Stewart Friesen (#52 We Build America Chevrolet), 20th-place Parker Kligerman (#75 Food Country USA Chevrolet), and 31st-place John Hunter Nemechek (#8 Fleetwing Corporation Chevrolet). In addition, 25th-place Scott Lagasse, Jr. (#30 Strutmasters.com Toyota) was sent to the back for an engine change, 28th-place Myatt Snider (#13 RideTV Ford) for a tire change, and FS1 reported 16th-place Justin Haley went to the back because NASCAR didn’t like where the cooling devices were located on his #24 Fraternal Order of Eagles Chevrolet.

Greenfield, meanwhile, dropped back in the early laps, and appeared to be among the six trucks who fell back of the lead pack in a single-file group by Lap 3. On Lap 11, he had completely lost touch with the trucks around him, and went a lap down as the field roared by to his high side in Turn 1. By the time the race restarted after Stage 2, Greenfield was behind the wall, done for the day with suspension issues. Chris Knight tweeted that he had come down pit road with smoke trailing from his Chevrolet.

Intense, but surprisingly clean racing kept the Bottom Five open for much of the race. 31st ended up with Las Vegas last-placer Tanner Thorson, who also suffered suspension issues on the #12 K&L Ready Mix / Nyloxin Chevrolet following a flat left-rear tire that sent him spinning down the backstretch. Joe Nemechek qualified a strong 7th in the #87 Fleetwing Corporation Chevrolet and led his first two laps of the season before a vibration eliminated him at the 50-lap mark. Rounding out the group were two of the drivers eliminated in the day’s biggest accident on Lap 59. After he was collected in the Turn 4 pileup, Parker Kligerman’s #75 careened down the banking and crossed the nose of Bo LeMastus’ #54 Fred’s / Crosley Brands Toyota. Kligerman then struck the inside wall nearly head-on. After crews came to the scene, Kligerman climbed out and lay on his back for a moment before he walked away, apparently without serious injury.

The wreck that collected Kligerman and LeMastus was triggered by one of a number of intriguing underdog storylines. Plate-race specialist Chris Fontaine fielded a chassis called “Freak,” a truck built for Bobby Hamilton Motorsports’ Dodge effort in 1998. The full pedigree of the truck is discussed in this article by racing-reference.info writer NASCARMAN at this link. On Saturday, Fontaine had worked his way up to 2nd, pushing Grant Enfinger to lthe lead with 38 laps to go. Moments later, Fontaine crossed the nose of a closing Justin Haley, sending him spinning down, then back up the track. While the driver was uninjured, there was little left of “Freak” as the #47 Glenden Enterprises Toyota was towed to the infield, 24th at the finish.

When we last heard of Jim Rosenblum’s team FDNY Racing, the team had reportedly shut down permanently after driver Bryan Duzat failed to qualify for this year’s season opener at Daytona. But when the preliminary entry list for Talladega was posted, Dauzat and the #28 FDNY / O.B. Builders Chevrolet were right there. This time around, the driver made the cut, squeezing his way into the 27th and final spot set on speed by a half-second over Norm Benning. In the race, Dauzat flirted with the 20th spot, then jumped to 6th after the big wreck and 5th with 20 laps to go. After slipping back to 13th in the final laps, Dauzat climbed back up to 8th by the finish – the first-ever top-ten finish for team owner Rosenblum after 35 years in NASCAR.

After starting 22nd, owner-driver Jennifer Jo Cobb ran up to the 6th spot on Lap 29, firmly defending her spot in a single-file draft. Her #10 Osage Contractors / Driven2Honor.org Chevrolet then climbed up to the front row to start the final stage, only to be moved to the middle lane and out of the lead draft. She then worked her way up to the 11th spot at the finish, closing out the day with three laps led during the yellow for the big wreck. These were the first laps Cobb led since Chicagoland, and the first time she’d ever led multiple laps in a Truck Series race.

Austin Hill came to Talladega with a career-best 8th two months ago in Mosport and six top-ten finishes, and though he’d finished 10th three times before Saturday, Talladega’s was a career run. Hill led two laps early, then found himself out front for the start of Stage 2, where he led another six circuits. Third on the restart for the final stage, Hill was black flagged for passing Cobb below the yellow line, and lost a lap with 18 to go. He then earned the Lucky Dog when Todd Gilliland wrecked off Turn 4 with six laps to go, and just like that, the #02 was back battling into the Top 5 – only to be ensnared in the last-lap tangle after race winner Timothy Peters dumped Noah Gragson. Teammate Max Tullman in the #20 YurPal.com Chevrolet finished one spot in front of Hill, his first top-ten finish in just his third series start, and his first run better than 23rd.

Driving through the smoke in a #3 Rusty’s Off Road Toyota without the manufacturer’s crest on the dislodged grille of his machine, fan favorite Jordan Anderson was all smiles with a 7th-place finish, backing up his 9th-place run in this year’s Daytona opener with a new career-best. Anderson had made just one Talladega start in the series before – three years ago, when he ran 19th for Mike Harmon, who dropped charges brought against Anderson earlier this month relating to one of his race trucks.

Robby Lyons earned a ride in Josh Reaume's #33 Sunwest Construction Chevrolet and worked his way into contention in the final laps. Making his first Truck Series start since his release from Premium Motorsports, Lyons made a bid for a top-ten finish before he ended up 14th, his best run since a 13th in this year's Daytona race and the best-ever for Reaume's young team.

To cap it off, Wendell Chavous closed out his Truck Series career in style. Running 7th just moments before Gragson wrecked, he climbed into the 5th position at the moment of caution, then pulled alongside race winner Timothy Peters as both took the checkered flag. NASCAR.com’s leaderboard even showed Chavous across the stripe first, though the official results would later be set by the scoring loops. Prior to Saturday, Chavous’ best finish had been 12th, which came both at Daytona and Texas earlier this year. It was also the first top-five finish for Jay Robinson’s Truck Series team in 112 combined starts dating back to 2015.

LASTCAR STATISTICS
*This marked the first last-place run for the #68 in Truck Series competition since Greenfield’s first last-place run at Charlotte on May 18, 2012, when his #68 @ClayGreenfield RAM fell out with power steering issues after 6 laps of the North Carolina Education Lottery 200. The number had never trailed a Truck race at Talladega.

THE BOTTOM FIVE
32) #68-Clay Greenfield / 47 laps / suspension
31) #12-Tanner Thorson / 48 laps / suspension
30) #87-Joe Nemechek / 50 laps / vibration / led 2 laps
29) #54-Bo LeMastus / 58 laps / crash / led 1 lap
28) #75-Parker Kligerman / 58 laps / crash

2018 LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) MB Motorsports (6)
2nd) Beaver Motorsports, Copp Motorsports (3)
3rd) NEMCO Motorsports (2)
4th) Clay Greenfield Motorsports, Mike Harmon Racing, Norm Benning Racing, TJL Racing, Young’s Motorsports (1)

2018 LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Chevrolet (19)

2018 LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP

Thursday, October 11, 2018

PREVIEW: The departure of Kahne and three Truck Series drivers among Talladega entry list storylines

PHOTO: Parker Kligerman's Instagram (pkligerman)
Saturday, October 13, 2018
TRUCKS Race 19 of 23
Round of 8, Race 3 of 3
Fr8Auctions 250 at Talladega
2017 Last-Place Finisher: Norm Benning

ENTRY LIST
The Truck Series returns to action this Saturday for their first race since Las Vegas. The preliminary entry list sees 36 drivers for 32 spots, meaning that four will miss the show. Two drivers will be eliminated from Playoff contention, pruning the field to six at Martinsville.

DRIVER CHANGE: #0-Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing
Ray Ciccarelli steps in for Camden Murphy, who was withdrawn at Las Vegas. Ciccarelli looks to make his third start of the season, his first since Mosport, and will attempt to qualify Cobb’s second truck for the first time since his DNQ at Eldora. CMI Installation is the listed sponsor.

DRIVER CHANGE: #2-GMS Racing
On September 24, GMS Racing parted ways with Cody Coughlin “due to unforeseen issues with additional sponsorship needed.” Coughlin, 11th in the points after Las Vegas, will be replaced this week by Spencer Gallagher and his family’s Allegiant Airlines sponsorship.

DRIVER CHANGE: #12-Young’s Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #20-Young’s Motorsports
Randy Young shuffles his driver lineup once again, moving Tanner Thorson from the #20 to the #12, taking the place of Tate Fogleman, who isn’t entered this week. Taking Thorson’s place in the #12 is Max Tullman, back on the circuit for the first time since a 30th-place showing at Mosport.

DRIVER CHANGE: #15-Premium Motorsports
Five months after making his return to the Truck Series at Kansas, Jamie Mosley is entered in Jay Robinson’s #15 this week, taking the place of Ross Chastain. Mosley ran 28th at Kansas for Beaver Motorsports, which isn’t entered this week (see below).

RETURNING: #28-FDNY Racing
After reportedly shutting down after Daytona, Jim Rosenblum’s team FDNY Racing is back for at least one more start, bringing back short tracker Bryan Dauzat in the #28 FDNY Chevrolet. Dauzat faces a tall order in qualifying as his entry has the fewest Owner Points of any on the list.

DRIVER CHANGE: #30-On Point Motorsports
Following a short night in Bristol, Scott Lagasse, Jr. returns to On Point Motorsports. He takes the place of Austin Theirault, whose return to Las Vegas yielded a strong 8th-place finish. Strustmasters.com is the listed sponsor for Talladega, and the truck will run a white scheme instead of black as at Bristol and Vegas.

DRIVER CHANGE: #33-Reaume Brothers Racing
Welcome back Robby Lyons, who we haven’t seen in the Truck Series since his most recent start for Jay Robinson at Kentucky. Lyons’ sponsor, Sunwest Construction, follows him this week to the Reaume Brothers Racing team. Lyons takes the place of Reaume himself, who the preliminary entry list showed as this week’s driver, taking the place of J.J. Yeley at Las Vegas. The truck will be white in place of the black scheme used for much of this season.

MISSING: #38-Niece Motorsports
TEAM UPDATE: #45-Niece Motorsports
Al Niece enters just one of his two trucks this week, leaving the #38 at the shop and T.J. Bell without a ride. Since Las Vegas, there has also been an update as to primary driver Justin Fontaine in the #45. On September 19, Fontaine said he would step away from NASCAR at season’s end, citing his family’s stress and a lack of sponsorship. Fontaine will close out the schedule, and is still entered Saturday in the #45 ProMATIC Automation / Superior Essex Chevrolet.

MISSING: #46-Kyle Busch Motorsports
KBM leaves the #46 out of the chaos of Talladega, one month after Riley Herbst ended up 29th in Las Vegas after a mid-race crash.

RETURNING: #47-Chris Fontaine, Inc.
The plate race sees Chris Fontaine return to action with his own #47 Glenden Enterprises Chevrolet. Fontaine last ran in the series in this year’s Daytona opener, where electrical issues left him 29th. Crashes have eliminated him from his last two starts at Talladega, though he finished 8th the year before that.

DRIVER CHANGE: #49-Premium Motorsports
On Monday, Wendell Chavous announced he would be leaving the sport, citing his desire to spend more time with his family and develop his own business. Saturday's turn in the #49 SobrietyNation Chevrolet will be his 50th and final series start.

MISSING: #50-Beaver Motorsports
Mark Beaver has not entered the #50 Chevrolet, which was withdrawn along with Travis Kvapil last time out at Las Vegas.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Kyle Busch Motorsports
Two of the three KBM trucks will go to the Gilliland family as Cup veteran David drives the #51 Pedigree Toyota against his son Todd in the #4. David takes the place of Brandon Jones, whose 26th-place showing in Las Vegas was his first finish worse than 9th this season.

DRIVER CHANGE: #54-DGR-Crosley
Following Chris Eggleston’s 10th-place run in Las Vegas, Bo LeMastus – 30th that same night - seeks his 11th Truck Series start of the year. LeMastus also drove this truck in this year’s Daytona opener, where a crash left him 30th.

RETURNING: #63-MB Motorsports
Mike Mittler’s single-truck team rejoins the circuit for the first time since they withdrew from the night race in Bristol, nearly two months ago. As in their recent plate race showings, ARCA veteran Bobby Gerhart will drive with his Lucas Oil sponsor on the hood. Gerhart missed the field in this year’s Daytona opener, but ran 11th in this race last year.

RETURNING: #68-Clay Greenfield Motorsports
Clay Greenfield and the AMVETS Please Stand movement return to the Truck Series for the first time since the night race at Bristol, where they matched a season-best 20th. Greenfield looks to regain some of the magic he left at Daytona, where he qualified a strong 3rd only to be eliminated in a late-race crash.

MISSING: #74-Mike Harmon Racing
Mike Harmon takes the week off along with his XFINITY Series program, one month after the team withdrew at Las Vegas.

RETURNING: #75-Henderson Motorsports
Two-time and defending Talladega winner Parker Kligerman looks to take the checkers again as he and the #75 team rejoin also rejoin the circuit for the first time since Bristol, where they ran a season-best 4th.

DRIVER CHANGE: #83-Copp Motorsports
As of this writing, Joey Gase is the only driver who will pull double-duty this weekend at Talladega. On the Truck side, he takes Bayley Currey’s place in D.J. Copp’s #83 Chevrolet and brings with him sponsorship from Sparks Energy, Inc.

MISSING: #97-JJL Racing
Jesse Little isn’t entered in this week’s race, nor is his family’s #97, following a 15th-place finish in Las Vegas. The team also didn’t enter this year’s opener in Daytona.

MISSING: #04-Roper Racing
Also not making the trip south is Cory Roper and the #04 Roper Racing entry, which finished 25th in Vegas.

CUP INVADERS: None.

Sunday, October 14, 2018
CUP Race 31 of 36
Round of 12, Race 2 of 3
1000Bulbs.com 500 at Talladega
2017 Last-Place Finisher: Justin Marks

ENTRY LIST
After last Sunday saw the Cup Series’ first short field since Watkins Glen, 41 drivers are entered in this week’s final plate race of the season, meaning that one “open” driver will miss the cut. The race stands as the “wild card” of the Round of 12, which concludes next week in Kansas.

DRIVER CHANGE: #6-Roush-Fenway Racing
In place of Matt Kenseth, who after Ryan Newman’s addition to the team announced he has no plans to drive in 2019, comes Trevor Bayne and sponsor AdvoCare Rehydrate.

RETURNING: #7-Premium Motorsports
Jay Robinson’s second Cup car rejoins the circuit for the first time since the Roval, this time with D.J. Kennington driving a black-and-blue Chevrolet sponsored by WILRIDE Transport Ltd.

MANUFACTURER CHANGE: #23-Front Row Motorsports
For the first time since Bob Jenkins acquired BK Racing in August, the #23 will run a Ford like the other Front Row Motorsports cars and not a Toyota. J.J. Yeley will once again drive with Steakhouse Elite as sponsor.

TEAM UPDATE: #48-Hendrick Motorsports
Following a disastrous afternoon in Dover for Jimmie Johnson, it was announced late Wednesday that Chad Knaus will move to the #24 team with William Byron in 2019. It will be the first different team Knaus has crewed for since 2001, when he led Stacy Compton's team at Melling Racing. Kevin Meendering will lead the 48 crew next year.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Rick Ware Racing
MISSING: #52-Rick Ware Racing
For the second time in four races, Rick Ware Racing leaves the #52 at the shop and brings the #51 Jacob Companies Ford to the track. Driving this week is Cody Ware, announced Tuesday in place of B.J. McLeod. It will be Ware's first Cup start since Sonoma, when he debuted the #52.

RETURNING: #62-Beard Motorsports
Brendan Gaughan and Mark Beard close out their 2018 restrictor-plate campaign with the #62 Beard Oil Distributing / South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet. The team arrives in Talladega as the lowest-ranked entrant in Owner Points, meaning they must beat at least one “open” car in qualifying, and will miss the show if qualifying is rained out.

MISSING: #66-Motorsports Business Management
Carl Long's Cup team will sit out the final plate rae of 2018 along with Timmy Hill, who trailed his third fall Dover race last Sunday.

TEAM UPDATE: #95-Leavine Family Racing
On Tuesday came the announcement that Kasey Kahne was not medically cleared for the rest of this season, putting an abrupt end to his NASCAR career with 18 wins in 529 Cup starts. At the time of the news, a press conference had already been set for Wednesday, where Matt DiBenedetto was annoinced as the car's driver in 2019 along with a switch from Chevrolet to Toyota. The manufacturer swap comes with a technical alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing, who DiBenedetto once drove for as a development driver in 2009. Regan Smith is the listed driver for this Sunday, a decade following his controversial loss in the same race, and will drice the car the rest of this season.

NEW TEAM: #97-Obaika Racing
After months of speculation, Victor Obaika is going Cup racing this weekend, entering a Toyota purchased from the shuttered BK Racing. Incidentally, the team also acquired two race-used car hoods from BK and are auctioning them off. The #97 Vroom Brands / Space Grill Toyota will have Dan Stillman as crew chief and a driver to be announced. UPDATE: On Thursday came the reveal that David Starr will drive on this off-weekend for the XFINITY Series, where he drives for Jimmy Means.

RETURNING: #99-StarCom Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #00-StarCom Racing
Derrike Cope’s team reprises their lineup from Daytona in July, bringing back their second “open” car #99 for Landon Cassill to drive the StarCom Fiber Chevrolet. In Cassill’s place in the #00 comes Joey Gase with sponsorship from the PFK Foundation.

Saturday, October 20, 2018
XFINITY Race 30 of 33
Round of 8, Race 1 of 3
Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas
2017 Last-Place Finisher: Jeff Green

This time, the XFINITY Series takes two weeks off and will start their Round of 8 in Kansas.

LASTCAR STAT OF THE WEEK
The largest number to finish last in a NASCAR national touring series race was car #791. The date was April 26, 1959, in the 11th round of the season at the Reading (Pennsylvania) Fairgrounds. In a race that saw Bobby Johns run the #72A, John Findlay in the #100, and Ray Fanning in the #200, Reading native Dave Marburger lined up in a 1957 Ford with the #791 as his identifier. Marburger, a competitor in the Reading Stock Car Association, was a competitor in so-called “jalopy races,” taking at least on 25-lap victory at the Hilltop Speedway in 1958 according to the Lebanon Daily News. The Reading track also hosted “jalopy” races, giving Marburger a chance to compete in NASCAR at his home track. Unfortunately, he turned just 22 laps that day before he crashed and finished 25th, perhaps from oil left by the #7 of 24th-place finisher Jim Reed. It was to be Marburger’s only Cup start.