Sunday, September 19, 2021

CUP: Ryan Newman scores first Cup last-place finish for #6 at Bristol since 1965

ALL PHOTOS: @roushfenway

Ryan Newman picked up the 12th last-place finish of his NASCAR Cup Series career in Saturday’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at the Bristol Motor Speedway when his #6 Kohler Generators Ford was involved in a multi-car accident after 177 of 500 laps.

The finish, which came in Newman’s 718th series start, was his first of the season and first in the series since October 20, 2019 at Kansas, 69 races ago. In the Cup Series’ last-place rankings, it was the 1st by DVP, the 34th for the #6, and the 713th for Ford. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 3rd by DVP, the 67th for the #6, and the 981st for Ford.

Once again, one of the most experienced veterans in the Cup Series field faces a crossroads in his career. It was announced earlier this summer that Brad Keselowski will take over his ride at Roush-Fenway Racing in 2022, and also become part-owner of the team. This news comes just one year after the last lap of the 2020 Daytona 500, where Newman suffered the latest and most serious of a series of wrecks that also raised questions about the safety of superspeedway racing. This year, he’s scored his first top-five finishes since 2019 – a 5th on Bristol’s dirt race and a 3rd in the physical summer Daytona race last month. But these were the only highlights of a season that saw him sit a distant 25th in the point standings. 

At Bristol, where Newman held the track record for many years, he drew the 24th spot based on metric qualifying. Kohler Generators returned as sponsor or the first time since Road America. The scheme also ran in this year’s Daytona 500, one of only two DNFs Newman was handed in the year’s first 28 races.

Rolling off 38th in the shortest field for the Bristol Night Race since 1996 was David Starr, who was making his first Cup race at Bristol since 2011. Starr carried his familiar Whataburger colors on Motorsports Business Management’s #66 Toyota – a car that hadn’t been entered in the series since last month’s Playoff cutoff race in Daytona. Unlike both the Truck and XFINITY Series races that weekend, there were no reported concerns with a car smoking during the pace laps, though there was some delay with 20th-place starter Chase Briscoe, who had radio issues on his #14 Rush Truck Centers / Cummins Ford.

When the race started, Starr immediately pulled ahead of 37th-place starter James Davison, whose #15 Greatest Generations Chevrolet fielded by Rick Ware Racing ran a special paint scheme in honor of December’s upcoming 80th anniversary of the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. By Lap 4, Davison had already dropped a full 1.533 seconds back of Starr, an interval which grew to 3.7 seconds on Lap 12. By Lap 14, Davison pulled to the high side as he became the first driver to be lapped, lost a second on the 21st circuit, and nearly lost a third before the competition caution fell on Lap 40. Soon after, the team discussed they had sparks coming off the left-front of Davison’s splitter.

After the restart, Davison, Starr, and several other drivers found themselves multiple laps behind the leaders, each running the high lane to try and stay out of the way. On Lap 64, Davison was running a full corner ahead of Starr, but Davison remained in last as he was another lap behind the #66. The group was soon joined by Anthony Alfredo in the #38 Dude Wipes Ford and Justin Haley in the #77 Diamond Creek Water Chevrolet, each suddenly two laps down on the 79th go-round. Haley began to climb out of the Bottom Five by Lap 108, passing the RWR duo of Josh Bilicki in the #52 Insurance King Ford and Garrett Smithley in the #53 Boom Mobile Chevrolet, but Alfredo remained back in 36th.

Newman didn’t enter the last-place battle until Lap 169, when entering Turn 1 his #6 crossed the nose of Cole Custer’s #41 Autodesk / Ford and slammed the outside wall. Custer’s car ended up tangling with Newman’s slowing Ford, putting Newman into the fence a second time. The ensuing accordion effect caused contact between two of NASCAR’s newest teams as the right-front of Bubba Wallace’s #23 McDonald’s Toyota slammed the left-rear of Daniel Suarez in the #99 Coca-Cola Chevrolet. While Suarez, Wallace, and Custer all returned to the track, Newman had an extended stay on pit road as the crew worked on the right-front suspension. He made it back out to complete around seven more laps before his “Crash Clock” expired on Lap 188. By completing these laps, Newman was listed out under the “Damaged Vehicle Policy” or DVP instead of a crash. He’d just taken last from Davison when time expired.

The crew works to repair Newman's damaged

Haley and Alfredo would be eliminated in a similar wreck on Lap 221 when contact from Corey LaJoie’s #7 Schluter Systems Chevrolet sent Alfredo sideways into the Turn 1 wall. Alfredo’s car then bounced back into traffic directly into the path of B.J. McLeod’s #78 Honor and Remember Ford. McLeod’s camouflage-painted machine, decorated in honor of the 13 servicemen lost last month in Afghanistan, was trapped between Alfredo and a fast-closing Haley, destroying both corners of the #78. Alfredo and Haley made it to pit road with significant damage, but McLeod had to climb from his car, done for the night. Haley was done, too – the right-front fender shorn from his Chevrolet – while Alfredo completed nearly 100 more laps before he too dropped out.

Rounding out the Bottom Five was Quin Houff, who brought out two consecutive cautions on Laps 364 and 389. He’d suffered damage to the rear of his #00 Boss Hoss Cycles Chevrolet in the first caution, then struck the outside wall in the second, keeping both front wheels from moving. Like McLeod, Houff climbed from his car, done for the night. Davison ultimately finished 33rd, 26 laps down to race winner Kyle Larson, as only the Bottom Five failed to finish the event.

While the elimination race for the Round of 12 took center stage, two non-Playoff drivers enjoyed strong finishes – each in one of the sport’s two most iconic car numbers. Erik Jones showed speed all night and finished 8th in Richard Petty Motorsports’ #43 U.S. Air Force Tuskegee Airmen Chevrolet. Two spots behind him was Matt DiBenedetto, who ran blue-and-white colors on his #21 Reese / Draw-Tite Ford fielded by the Wood Brothers.

*This marked the first last-place finish for the #6 in a Cup Series race at Bristol since July 25, 1965, when “The Silver Fox,” David Pearson, picked up his first-ever Cup Series last-place finish following a crash 8 laps into the Volunteer 500. This race was run 12 years before Newman was even born.

38) #6-Ryan Newman / 177 laps / dvp
37) #78-B.J. McLeod / 215 laps / crash
36) #77-Justin Haley / 216 laps / crash
35) #38-Anthony Alfredo / 313 laps / crash
34) #00-Quin Houff / 375 laps / crash

1st) Rick Ware Racing (5)
2nd) JTG-Daugherty Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing (4)
3rd) Chip Ganassi Racing, Spire Motorsports (3)
4th) Front Row Motorsports, Motorsports Business Management, Roush-Fenway Racing (2)
5th) Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, StarCom Racing (1)

1st) Chevrolet (16)
2nd) Ford (10)
3rd) Toyota (3)


Friday, September 17, 2021

XFINITY: Brett Moffitt’s return from illness ends swiftly in Bristol

PHOTO: @OurMotorsports

Brett Moffitt picked up the 3rd last-place finish of his NASCAR XFINITY Series career in Friday’s Food City 300 at the Bristol Motor Speedway when his #02 Fr8 Auctions Chevrolet was involved in a single-car accident after 9 of 306 laps.

The finish, which came in Moffitt’s 57th series start, was his second of the season and first since the March 20 race in Atlanta, 20 races ago. In the XFINITY Series’ last-place rankings, it was the 7th for the #02, the 357th from a crash, and the 579th for Chevrolet. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 31st for the #02, the 1,273rd from a crash, and the, 1,805th for Chevrolet.

With Bristol as the site of the XFINITY Series’ regular season finale, Moffitt tweeted before the race, “One more shot. One more opportunity. We’re gonna fight to the finish! Let’s go!” Indeed, Moffitt’s team had been one of the series’ best to not yet reach victory lane, building on an equally impressive 2020. Two races after the last-place run in Atlanta, Moffitt was 8th in Darlington – the team’s fourth of eight Top Tens so far in 2021. But wen he was feeling ill headed into this month’s return to Darlington, Ty Dillon was called in as a last-minute replacement, and would fill in again the next week in Richmond. Bristol would be Moffitt’s first race back since, and he’d roll off in 20th.

Starting 40th and last on Friday was Bayley Currey, who returned to Mike Harmon Racing’s #74 Date Mining / JM Steel Chevrolet. He’d be joined at the back by two others for driver changes – Michael Annett had re-aggravated his leg injury, putting him out of the Playoffs and Josh Berry back into his #1 Pilot / Flying J “Thank A Trucker” Chevrolet. Carson Ware was also swapped into J.J. Yeley’s listed ride in Rick Ware Racing’s #17 Pounds Property Management Chevrolet. But during the pace laps, Currey’s team expressed concern with 39th-place starter Gray Gaulding, who they said was trailing smoke from his #52 Panini American / UFC Prizm Chevrolet. 

When the race started, Currey and Berry had moved up to the 38th and 37th spots, respectively, as two more drivers had dropped to the tail end of the field. B.J. McLeod was set to start 37th in JD Motorsports’ unsponsored #15 Chevrolet, but took the green in 39th, 4.359 seconds back of the lead. Jesse Little, running McLeod’s own #78 David’s Electric Chevrolet, surrendered 25th on the grid to take over last spot, 4.607 seconds back of the lead. 

It was Little who held last place on Lap 5 with McLeod up to 37th, Currey to 34th, and Gaulding’s no longer smoking #52 up to 33rd. By Lap 7, Little had dispensed with Carson Ware, whose #17 now sat 11.789 seconds back of the lead and a half-second back of Little. Moments later, Jeffrey Earnhardt cut a tire and came down pit road for an unscheduled stop, putting his #0 Forever Lawn Chevrolet off the lead lap. As he got back up to speed, the caution flag came out, earning him the Lucky Dog.

This caution was for Moffitt, who while running 19th would later report either the right-front tire had gone down or something happened to the lower control arm behind the wheel. Regardless of cause, the result was clear – the #02 cut straight across the track and pounded the outside wall in Turn 2. The car rolled to the garage trailing sparks, the first car out of the race. Moffitt was checked and released from the infield care center. Ty Dillon, Moffitt’s relief driver and now teammate at Our Motorsports, continued his strong summer run n the #23 Home Town Lenders Chevrolet. Dillon took 15th at the finish, the first car one lap down. Ironically, this was his worst finish in the five past starts with the team.

Taking 39th was Landon Cassill, whose #4 Voyager Chevrolet suffered electrical issues after 40 laps. Bayley Currey’s own run had vaulted him toward the Top 25 in the early laps, but brake issues put him out after 53 laps, leaving him a disappointing 38th. The same issue ended the night for Ryan Vargas, whose #6 JD Motorsports Chevrolet dropped off the pace and took 37th. Matt Mills rounded out the group after his #99 J.F. Electric Chevrolet was turned after contact from Spencer Boyd’s #90 Alloy / Beerpongtoss Chevrolet. This resulted in one of the night’s many memorable moments as Mills threw a water bottle at Boyd that instead ricocheted off an emergency vehicle.

After starting 39th with the reported smoking issue, Gray Gaulding stayed on the lead lap and in the Top 20 for most of the race. He took the green in overtime running 15th before contact from Ty Dillon ultimately dropped him to 18th at the finish, the fourth driver one lap down. While just one spot short of both driver and team’s season-best run of 17th at Mid-Ohio, this was arguably the best overall performance for each, and at a critical time. As of this writing, Jimmy Means Racing is still looking for sponsorship for the final five races of 2021.

Also of note was the surprising performance of open-wheel star Sage Karam, who chose to make his second-ever XFINITY Series start – and first not on a road course – at Bristol. Driving once again for Jordan Anderson in the #31 Montage Mountain Chevrolet, Karam had issues on pit road before the field rolled off to start their pace laps, then struggled outside the Top 30. Late in the event, when leaders Noah Gragson and Justin Allgaier both incurred tail-end penalties for speeding on pit road, Karam bounced between the two faster cars as they tried to claw their way through the field. By the end, Karam crossed the line in 16th – the Anderson team’s best run since Michigan.

*This marked the first last-place finish for the #02 in a XFINITY Series race at Bristol.

40) #02-Brett Moffitt / 9 laps / crash
39) #4-Landon Cassill / 40 laps / electrical
38) #74-Bayley Currey / 53 laps / brakes
37) #6-Ryan Vargas / 94 laps / brakes
36) #99-Matt Mills / 108 laps / crash

1st) B.J. McLeod Motorsports (5)
2nd) Mike Harmon Racing (3)
3rd) DGM Racing, JD Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, JR Motorsports, Motorsports Business Management, Our Motorsports, RSS Racing / Reaume Brothers Racing (2)
4th) Brandonbilt Motorsports, Jimmy Means Racing, Sam Hunt Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing (1)

1st) Chevrolet (18)
2nd) Toyota (7)
3rd) Ford (1)


TRUCKS: Josh Reaume finishes last after truck loses an important piece


Josh Reaume picked up the 4th last-place finish of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career in Thursday’s UNOH 200 Presented by Ohio Logistics at the Bristol Motor Speedway when his #34 DOF Simulator Motion Simulator Toyota was collected in a multi-truck accident after 3 of 200 laps.

The finish, which came in Reaume’s 57th series start, was his first of the season and first since the 2020 finale at Phoenix, 18 races ago. Curiously, this also makes Reaume the 18th different last-place finisher of the 2021 Truck Series season in as many races with just four rounds to go.

In the Truck Series’ last-place rankings, it was the 6th for the #34, the 41st for Toyota, and the 170th from a crash. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 51st for the #34, the 363rd for Toyota, and the 1,272nd from a crash.

On March 31st of this year, Reaume was reinstated by NASCAR following a suspension stemming from a social media post. He returned to action as a driver at Richmond in April, taking 33rd in his #34 truck. While Reaume Brothers Racing has attempted a few XFINITY Series races this year in collaboration with first RSS Racing, then Our Motorsports, before fielding a car of their own at Indianapolis, the team’s focus has remained with their Truck Series team and an ever-changing lineup of drivers. Among these drivers were Keith McGee, NASCAR’s first driver from Alaska, and Armani Williams, the sport’s first driver diagnosed with Autism. 

At Bristol, Reaume would again run the #34 with this time C.J. McLaughlin in the #33. There were some issues with the radios before the start as the team was unclear who was on which channel. It was soon discovered the radios had been switched, so each team had to use the other’s channel. Reaume rolled off 28th with McLaughlin back in 38th. McLaughlin would ultimately finish in 26th.

Rolling off 40th and last on Thursday was Ray Ciccarelli, who drove his own #49 Belimo Ford for the first time since Pocono. During the pace laps, NASCAR expressed concern over smoke coming from 22nd-place starter Danny Bohn in the #30 Rustoleum Toyota, concerns that delayed the initial start. When the race started, Ciccarelli remained in last place after 2 laps, 10.04 seconds back of the lead, and already 2.163 back of new 39th-place runner Jennifer Jo Cobb in the #10 Fastener Supply Company Ford.

By Lap 4, Reaume had slipped to 31st place when trouble broke out off Turn 2. Sam Mayer had rolled off 39th in his #32 Camping World Chevrolet, and while picking up several spots spun into the outside wall, damaging the right-front and right-rear of his truck. Howie DiSavino III was also involved, his #3 Kees Vacations / Bud’s Chevrolet sitting backwards on the apron. FS1’s cameras then showed the nose of a Toyota sitting face-down on the track surface. This belonged to Reaume, who was collected in the incident and came to pit road without the part. While Mayer’s crew dropped their truck on a hammer to bend the nose back in place, joining DiSavino on the track, Reaume was done for the night. Mayer salvaged a 22nd-place finish, six spots ahead of DiSavino.

On the restart, Tate Fogleman rear-ended another truck, rupturing the radiator on his #12 Solid Rock Carriers Chevrolet. He pulled behind the wall, but was not put under the “Crash Clock” and was thus able to return to the track. He completed 16 more laps, climbing from 39th to 37th before he was eliminated in the night’s biggest wreck on Lap 71. The two trucks he passed were Ray Ciccarelli, who cited rear gear issues after only 15 laps, and Tanner Gray, who slapped the Turn 2 wall with the driver’s side of his #15 Ford Performance Ford. Kris Wright rounded out the Bottom Five with a blown engine on the #02 Wright Chevy Chevrolet, putting two Young’s Motorsports entries in the final five spots.

One of the night’s most impressive runs belonged to Doug Coby, the multiple-time NASCAR Modified Series Champion, who made his Truck Series debut in GMS Racing’s #24 Mayhew Tools Chevrolet. Coby climbed from 30th on the grid to finish on the lead lap in 12th.

*This marked the first last-place finish for the #34 in a Truck Series race since June 13, 2020, when Bryant Barnhill had transmission issues after 1 lap of the Baptist Health 200 at Homestead. The number had never before finished last in a Truck Series race at Bristol.
*This marks only the second time a Toyota has finished last in a Truck Series race at Bristol, joining Matt Crafton’s first-ever last-place run on August 17, 2016.

40) #34-Josh Reaume / 3 laps / crash
39) #49-Ray Ciccarelli / 15 laps / rear gear
38) #15-Tanner Gray / 21 laps / crash
37) #12-Tate Fogleman / 30 laps / crash
36) #02-Kris Wright / 59 laps / engine

1st) Niece Motorsports (5)
2nd) GMS Racing, Rackley-W.A.R., Reaume Brothers Racing (2)
3rd) CMI Motorsports, Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing, Kyle Busch Motorsports, Norm Benning Racing, Roper Racing, Young’s Motorsports (1)

1st) Chevrolet (14)
2nd) Toyota (3)
2nd) Ford (2)


ARCA: Mason Diaz goes from championship contender to last place at Bristol

Mason Diaz' car at Southern National Motorsports Park in June

by William Soquet Staff Writer

Mason Diaz scored the 1st last-place finish of his ARCA Menards Series career in Thursday’s Bush’s Beans 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway when his #74 Solid Rock Carriers did not finish the race due to battery issues, completing 2 of 200 laps.

The finish came in Diaz’s fifth career series start.

Mason Diaz has been an interesting case in the “backwards is forwards” train of thought. He climbed the traditional ranks of go-karts, Bandoleros and Legends cars before moving on to full-bodied cars. Conveniently, his father, Michael Diaz, co-owns a track, Southern National Motorsports Park. The North Carolina venue was a natural proving ground for a young Diaz, and as early in 2015, Mason was making starts in regional touring series. In 2017, Diaz teamed up with Brandonbilt Motorsports to make his Truck Series debut at Martinsville. The pairing was a good fit, as Brandonbilt team principal Jerry Brown was the other co-owner of Southern National. After qualifying an impressive ninth, Diaz scored stage points in the first stage before a cut tire plagued the rest of his race.

In 2018 and 2019, Diaz made sporadic XFINITY starts for Brandonbilt, scoring a 19th-place finish in his series debut at Richmond. That same year, the Diaz family made a go of running for the then-NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship, making it four races in to the twelve-race schedule before halting the effort. In 2020, Diaz signed with Venturini Motorsports to contest a now shorter East schedule and secured fifth place in the point standings. With that season done, he also ran the final two XFINITY races of the season with Sam Hunt Racing, again finding success at Martinsville. In advance of 2021, Diaz chose to run another year in the East series, focusing on driver development rather than jumping to a higher series. He signed with Visconti Motorsports, a team that did not make it through the year with driver Giovanni Bromante. The pairing yielded considerable success - heading into the season finale for the East Series at Bristol (which happened to be a combination race with the national series), Diaz was still within mathematical contention for the championship, albeit a long shot.

Mason Diaz on the grid at Bristol.
PHOTO: Bill Goffin, thanks @nascarcatholic

As a combination race with both the East and national series and as one of the best-paying races on the schedule, a stout field of 32 cars populated the initial entry list. With the withdrawal of Eric Caudell, the list was brought down to 31. The East contingent included Rev Racing’s Rajah Caruth, slated for a part-time XFINITY Series schedule with Alpha Prime Racing next year; New Smyrna winner Max Gutierrez; Conner Jones with Cook Racing Technologies; David Gilliland Racing driver Joey Iest; and the eventual champion, Sammy Smith of Joe Gibbs Racing. On the national side, several part-time teams put their best foot forward for Bristol: Don Thompson, Sam Mayer, Kyle Sieg, Greg Van Alst, Andy Jankowiak, Chuck Buchanan Jr., Jason Kitzmiller and Justin Carroll highlighted that group. Jack Wood returned to GMS Racing for a one-off, and Zachary Tinkle began his stint as driver of the Richmond-Clubb Motorsports entry. Venturini Motorsports entered Parker Chase and Jesse Love alongside regular hot shoe Corey Heim, and Fast Track Racing entrants included XFINITY regular Jade Buford, Mason Mingus, D.L. Wilson and Stephanie Moyer.

All 31 cars took a time in practice. Ty Gibbs was the only driver to break the 15-second barrier, and on the other end of the speed charts, Don Thompson’s Wayne Peterson Racing entry was the only car in the 19-second bracket. Qualifying was much of the same, with Gibbs and Sammy Smith securing a Joe Gibbs Racing lockout of the front row and Thompson alone in Row 16. Diaz was solidly mid-pack, clocking in at 15th-quickest in practice and qualifying 12th.

While Thompson recorded the slowest lap in qualifying, ARCA’s provisional system awarded him the 29th starting spot; Buchanan drew the final starting spot.

The race had barely started when a caution flag flew on Lap 2. Diaz ducked on to pit road during the caution and never emerged, done for the evening. Don Thompson’s race was done after a black flag for a lack of speed was shown early in the race. Sam Mayer, already in a backup Bret Holmes Racing entry from earlier in the day, found contact with Jason Kitzmiller and retired less than a quarter of the way in to the race. D.L. Wilson and Stephanie Moyer rounded out the Bottom Five.

31) #74-Mason Diaz / 2 laps / battery
30) #06-Don Thompson / 14 laps / brakes
29) #23-Sam Mayer / 47 laps / radiator
28) #12-D.L. Wilson / 70 laps / engine
27) #44-Stephanie Moyer / 76 laps / electrical

1st) Chevrolet (7)
2nd) Ford (6)
3rd) Toyota (5)

1st) Fast Track Racing (8)
2nd) Young’s Motorsports (2)
3rd) Bull Racing, Greg Van Alst Motorsports, Kimmel Racing, Kovski Racing, Rette Jones Racing, Smith Brothers Racing, Visconti Motorsports, Wayne Peterson Racing (1)


Thursday, September 16, 2021

PREVIEW: Bristol the next challenge for resurgent Ty Dillon at Our Motorsports, among others

IMAGE: Spencer Davis Motorsports, Graphics Effects render

Thursday, September 16, 2021 (9:00 P.M. ET, FS1)
TRUCKS Race 18 of 22
Round of 10 – Race 3 of 3
UNOH 200 Presented by Ohio Logistics at Bristol
2020 Last-Place Finisher: Trevor Bayne

Tonight’s return of the Truck Series sees 41 entries for 40 spots with Norm Benning on the outside looking in (see below).

DRIVER CHANGE: #3-Jordan Anderson Racing
Howie DiSavino III returns for his fourth Truck Series start of the season and first since Pocono, where he ran a season-best 22nd. Kees Vacations and Bud’s Plumbing return as sponsors as he takes the place of Jordan Anderson, who was 26th in Darlington.

DID NOT QUALIFY: #6-Norm Benning Racing
Norm Benning will not qualify as the 41st-ranked team among this week’s entrants. This marks Benning’s first DNQ since the season opener in Daytona, although he also withdrew from both COTA and Gateway.

RETURNING: #11-Spencer Davis Motorsports
MISSING: #68-Clay Greenfield Racing
Two owner-driver operations collaborate this week in Bristol as Clay Greenfield parks his #68, which ran 19th in its season debut at Darlington, and drives for the team that finished three spots behind him. Greenfield takes the place of Spencer Davis in the #11, and brings backing from both Rackley Roofing and Greenfield Pavement Coatings.

RETURNING: #17-David Gilliland Racing
Taylor Gray returns for his third career Truck Series start, looking to improve on his season-best 12th-place performance at Gateway despite a late-race incident. Following starts on Watkins Glen’s fast road course and the flat Gateway track, the banked Bristol short track will be another new challenge.

After two decades of racing NASCAR modifieds to 31 wins and six championships, Doug Coby III will finally make his NASCAR national touring series debut tonight. Coby takes the place of Jack Wood in the GMS #24 and carries sponsorship from Mayhew Tools. Wood, who ran 30th last time out in Gateway, will miss his first race since Texas in June.

RETURNING: #32-Sam Mayer Racing
Sam Mayer makes his fifth Truck Series start of the year and his first since Watkins Glen, where he scored his third-straight top-ten finish in as many starts with a 9th-place showing. Camping World is the listed sponsor of his Chevrolet.

DRIVER CHANGE: #33-Reaume Brothers Racing
After a frustrating afternoon in last week’s XFINITY Series race at Richmond, C.J. McLaughlin returns to the Truck Series, taking the place of 37th-place Ryan Ellis in the #33 Reaume entry. This will be only the fourth start of McLaughlin’s Truck Series career and his first green flag this year since Charlotte, where he ran 27th for the same team.

PAINT SCHEME: #42-Niece Motorsports
Carson Hocevar throws back to mentor Johnny Benson, Jr. and his Exide ride with Bill Davis Racing as he seeks not only his first Truck Series win, but also a chance at making the next round of the Playoffs.

RETURNING: #49-CMI Motorsports
Ray Ciccarelli is back in the field for the first time since Pocono in his own #49.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Kyle Busch Motorsports
Drew Dollar is back in KBM’s #51 for the first time since Nashville, where he only managed a 24th-place finish – his third-straight run of 20th or worse. Dollar looks to rebound as he takes the place of Dylan Lupton, who ran 31st at Darlington.

DRIVER CHANGE: #56-Hill Motorsports
Timmy Hill trades off for brother Tyler Hill in an unsponsored black #56 Chevrolet. This will be Timmy’s 9th Truck Series start of the year and first since Watkins Glen, where he ran 24th. He’s run 17th and 20th in this race the last two years,

RETURNING: #04-Roper Racing
Cory Roper returns for the first time since Gateway and, unlike that night, looks to have a sponsor with a returning Carquest Auto Parts.


Friday, September 17, 2021 (7:30 P.M. ET, NBCSN)
XFINITY Race 26 of 33
Regular Season Finale
Food City 300 at Bristol
2020 Last-Place Finisher: Stephen Leicht

There are 41 drivers entered for 40 spots on the XFINITY side as well, where again MBM's #13 team will not make the cut (see below).

DRIVER CHANGE: #5-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
DRIVER SWAP: #8-JR Motorsports
DRIVER SWAP: #99-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Stefan Parsons returns for his 9th XFINITY Series start of the year and first since a crash at Nashville left him last in the 36-car field. After running both the #99 and #76 for B.J. McLeod Motorsports, Parsons will this time run the #5 in place of 21st-place Richmond finisher Matt Mills, who this week runs the #99. Sam Mayer, who ran the #99 to a 12th-place showing last week, returns to his #8 at JR Motorsports after Dale Earnhardt, Jr. finished 14th in his one-off start at Richmond.

DID NOT QUALIFY: #13-Motorsports Business Management
Timmy Hill did not qualify for the XFINITY Series race under metric qualifying, and will instead focus on today’s Truck Series event.

DRIVER CHANGE: #15-JD Motorsports
DRIVER SWAP: #74-Mike Harmon Racing
With C.J. McLaughlin out of the #74 following his last-place run in Richmond, Bayley Currey is back aboard the #74. Currey last week ran 27th in JD Motorsports’ #15, which this week goes to B.J. McLeod in a double-duty bid with the Cup Series. McLeod finished 22nd in his most recent XFINITY start at Darlington, driving for DGM Racing.

DRIVER CHANGE: #17-Rick Ware Racing / SS-Green Light Racing
Carson Ware is back again for the first time since Darlington, this time in the #17, taking the place of J.J. Yeley, who ran 29th last week in Richmond. Yeley will instead run Saturday’s Cup race (see below). Pounds Property Management is the listed sponsor for Ware this week. 

DRIVER SWAP: #23-Our Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #02-Our Motorsports
Brett Moffitt expected to return from illness from Darlington, replacing Ty Dillon, who moves to Our's #23 in place of Patrick Emerling. After struggling through this season’s first few rounds with Joe Gibbs Racing, Ty has finished no worse than 13th in his latest four starts for Chris Our, highlighted by a 5th in Atlanta. Bristol also happens to be the site of one of Ty's only stage wins in Cup. Home Town Lenders backs the #23 this week.

DRIVER CHANGE: #26-Sam Hunt Racing
Give a call to Sam Hunt Racing, which notched their first top-five finish last Saturday at the hands of 3rd-place finisher John Hunter Nemechek. With JHN focusing on the Truck Series, it will be Brandon Gdovic back in the #26 Toyota. Gdovic also surprised in his most recent start at Loudon, finishing 16th – his second-best of 2021 behind an 8th in the Daytona opener.

DRIVER CHANGE: #31-Jordan Anderson Racing
Sage Karam will be far outside his normal comfort zone at Bristol. Following a 26th-place debut on the Indianapolis Grand Prix Circuit, the open-wheel star will take the place of 24th-place Josh Berry on Bristol’s concrete high-banks. 

DRIVER CHANGE: #52-Jimmy Means Racing
Gray Gaulding returns in place of 34th-place Richmond finisher Akinori Ogata. Under the lights, the #52 will run a return of their special "UFC Prizm" paint scheme for sponsor Panini America.

DRIVER CHANGE: #61-Motorsports Business Management
Chad Finchum steps in for Stephen Leicht with sponsorship from Black Oak Contracting on his Toyota. This will be Finchum’s sixth XFINITY start of the year and first since Charlotte, where he ran a season-best 15th on the lead lap in MBM’s #13.

DRIVER CHANGE: #78-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Another shuffle of the lineup at B.J. McLeod’s team is the return of Jesse Little after a one-week hiatus, back in the #78 for the first time since Darlington. Little and sponsor David’s Electric take the place of Mason Massey, who charged from 34th on the Richmond grid to earn a solid 17th at the finish.


Saturday, September 18, 2021 (7:30 P.M. ET, NBCSN)
CUP Race 29 of 36
Round of 16 – Race 3 of 3
Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol
2020 Last-Place Finisher: Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.

There are 38 drivers entered for 40 spots in the iconic “Night Race at Bristol,” marking the fewest starters in this event since August 24, 1996, when 39 took the green flag. This is the third-straight short field of the 2021 season and the 22nd in 29 races this year.

DRIVER CHANGE: #15-Rick Ware Racing
James Davison looks to improve on his Bristol debut of a year ago when he ran 35th in Rick Ware Racing’s #53. This time around, he replaces 33rd-place Richmond finisher Joey Gase in the #15 with Greatest Generations as the listed sponsor.

DRIVER SWAP: #51-Rick Ware Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #53-Rick Ware Racing
J.J. Yeley will run for RWR in Cup instead of XFINITY this week, and this time takes the place of Garrett Smithley in relieving a recovering Cody Ware. Smithley will take Yeley’s ride from last week – the #53 – with Boom Mobile as the listed sponsor of his Chevrolet.

RETURNING: #66-Motorsports Business Management
Rejoining the Cup garage again is Carl Long’s Cup team, which brings David Starr on as driver and The Naked Market as sponsor. On the XFINITY Series side, Starr has not made himself many friends this season, and will be one to watch in his first Cup start at Bristol since 2011, when he ran 27th for the now-defunct Leavine Family Racing team.

PAINT SCHEME: #78-Live Fast Motorsports
B.J. McLeod is running a camouflage paint scheme in honor of the 13 fallen servicemen in Afghanistan. This will be McLeod’s first Cup start at Bristol since the delayed “spring” race last year, when he was looking for a Top 25 before a late wreck not of his doing left him 28th.

TODAY IN LASTCAR HISTORY (September 16, 1984): Jimmy Ingalls picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR Winston Cup Series career in the Delaware 500 at Dover when his #6 U.S. Racing Chevrolet crashed after 32 laps. Ingalls, who brought out the race’s third caution on Lap 33, was making his fourth of five career Cup starts. The last of these came at Rockingham, four races later, where he finished 22nd.