Tuesday, June 18, 2019

ARCA: Dale Shearer finishes last in 2019 debut

Mike Basham driving the #69 earlier this year at Nashville
PHOTO: The Pit Lane
by William Soquet
LASTCAR.info Guest Contributor, ARCA Menards Series

Dale Shearer finished last for the fourth time in his ARCA Menards Series career in Friday’s Shore Lunch 200 at Madison International Speedway when his #69 Shearer Racing Ford dropped out with clutch issues after 2 of 200 laps. The finish came in his 32nd career start, and was his first since Chicagoland in 2016, 32 races ago.

Shearer is a true independent racer who funds his career on his earnings off of his job as a computer programmer. He primarily runs his own #73 or #94, but occasionally runs his equipment with other teams, like Kimmel Racing at Daytona in 2016. A crash in his only start at Salem last year shelved his plans for the rest of the year, and he did not return until this weekend at Madison.

The Madison entry list included 18 cars, now a trendy number for ARCA events. The ARCA short-track ringers returned, including Sam Mayer, who was able to compete in his home state after the K&N East race at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park in Connecticut was cancelled. Eric Caudell returned, and another Wisconsin driver, Dick Karth, made his series debut on the season and made his first start since this race a year ago.

In practice, Shearer was last among the eighteen entrants, 4.1 seconds behind leader Christian Eckes and 1.7 seconds behind 17th-place running Dick Doheny. Shearer was nearly five seconds behind pole winner Chandler Smith. Per ARCA timing and scoring, Karth’s #11 machine dropped to the back for the green but then passed Shearer on the first lap, leaving the #69 to run last until it pulled behind the wall.

Looking ahead to the season-long LASTCAR tally, while it was Shearer’s first last-place finish, it furthered Ford’s lead to three races over Toyota, and it put Kimmel Racing into a four-way tie for first in the owner’s championship, which is still wide open. There is also a tie between Brad Smith and Richard Doheny with two last-place finishes on top of the driver’s tables, leaving that battle to be decided after this, the halfway mark of the season.

18) #69-Dale Shearer / 2 laps / clutch
17) #1-Richard Doheny / 10 laps / brakes
16) #11-Dick Karth / 15 laps / handling
15) #48-Brad Smith / 51 laps / engine
14) #06-Tim Richmond / 183 laps / running

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


Sunday, June 16, 2019

TRUCKS: Victory and adversity still hand-in-hand for Ross Chastain, the Truck Series’ first last-place finisher by disqualification

PHOTO: @ChicagolndSpdwy
Ross Chastain picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series career in Sunday’s M&M’s 200 at the Iowa Speedway when his #44 TruNorth / Paul Jr. Designs Chevrolet was disqualified after winning the race, completing all 200 laps.

The finish came in Chastain’s 69th series start. In the Truck Series last-place rankings, it was the 6th for the #44, the 374th for Chevrolet, and the very first series disqualification. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 60th for the #44, the 1,663rd for Chevrolet, and the 28th disqualification that classified the driver last.

Tyler Ankrum picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series career in Sunday’s M&M’s 200 at the Iowa Speedway when his #87 NEMCO Chevrolet fell out with brake issues after 17 of 200 laps.

The finish came in Ankrum’s ninth series start. In the Truck Series last-place rankings, it was the 10th for the #87, the 26th from brake issues, and the 374th for Chevrolet. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 53rd for the #87, the 162nd from brake issues, and the 1,663rd for Chevrolet.

Sunday’s disqualification was far from Chastain’s first serious obstacle in his racing career. Last fall, after years of strong runs with Johnny Davis’ JD Motorsports in the XFINITY Series, Chastain turned in breakout performances in Chip Ganassi Racing’s #42 DC Solar Chevrolet. He nearly won his first time out at Darlington before Kevin Harvick wrecked him out of the lead, then bounced back to win in Las Vegas. Ganassi signed Chastain to run the full XFINITY season for him in 2019, but all that came crashing down when sponsor DC Solar collapsed during the FBI’s investigation into allegations of fraud.

Undaunted, the affable watermelon farmer from Florida reunited with JD Motorsports, continued his Cup schedule in Jay Robinson’s underfunded #15 Chevrolet, and also went from part-time to full-time at Al Niece’s Truck Series team. This distinguished Chastain as the only driver to run every race in Cup, XFINITY, and Trucks from the Truck opener at Daytona through the XFINITY race at Michigan. He started the year with his first Top Ten in Cup, finishing 10th in the Daytona 500, then ran a season-best 7th in the XFINITY Series race at Las Vegas.

But while solid in the upper two series, Chastain has been exceptional in Al Niece’s truck. In his first full-time Truck Series campaign since 2012, Chastain opened the year with a 3rd-place finish in the #45 Chevrolet. Then he finished 6th at Atlanta, 10th at Las Vegas, and took a stage victory on his way to a 4th in Martinsville. While 13th in the XFINITY Series points, where he’d declared for the championship, Chastain’s top-ten streak continued on – 7th in Texas, 10th in Dover, and then his first series win at Kansas, where he held off Ben Rhodes.

With another 10th the next race in Charlotte, the decision was made – Chastain would stop running for the XFINITY title and instead go for the championship in Trucks. There were two big problems – the Kansas win wouldn’t lock him into the Playoffs, and he’d have to start from zero points. He would have to win one of the next eight races, and earn enough points by the cutoff round to take 20th in the standings. His next time out at Texas, Chastain did nearly that, finishing Top 10 in all three stages, including a 10th at the checkered flag. The next race was Iowa.

Chastain’s story ended up having much in common with Tyler Ankrum, the original subject of this article after he finished last in Iowa prior to the disqualification. Ankrum, a 19-year-old late model driver from Southern California, has been a quick study in stock cars. Just last year, he joined DGR-Crosley’s effort in the K&N Pro Series East and rolled to the title, taking four wins in fourteen starts and only twice finishing worse than 7th. That same year, he joined DGR’s Truck Series team in the #17, finishing 18th in his debut at Martinsville and then 6th at the ISM Raceway, completing all 350 laps. He returned as the team’s full-time driver in this year’s Martinsville race, and in the six rounds since finished outside the Top 20 only once. This was capped last week in Texas, where he survived a spin off Turn 4 that sent him sliding down pit road. He managed to not hit anything and recovered to finish third – a career-best finish, and his first Top Five. Everything seemed to be headed the right direction.

But on Tuesday, just four days after the Texas race, Ankrum tweeted a video saying he would no longer be running the Truck Series full-time. The reason was sadly familiar – at least one sponsorship deal had fallen through. In his previous starts, May’s Hawaii and the Modern Meat Company had sponsored Ankrum’s efforts. Modern Meat had been backing him since his late model days. Neither would be the sponsor of the #17 at Iowa, where Kyle Busch Motorsports driver Raphael Lessard would drive in Ankrum’s place. Ankrum stated he is still working closely with the DGR-Crosley team on the possibility of running future races. Railblaza, his backer from Texas, has already agreed to run a handful of races later this season.

Tyler Ankrum exits Joe Nemechek's #87 at Iowa
Two days after that came another opportunity. Joe Nemechek’s two-truck effort NEMCO Motorsports had originally entered Iowa with Nemechek himself in the #87. However, as son John Hunter mentioned Sunday, Joe was out of the country for Iowa weekend, leaving an open space in his “start-and-park” Chevrolet. The truck first went to Josh Reaume, who had climbed out of his own #33 to bring on ARCA Menards Series driver C.J. McLaughlin. But by late afternoon, Ankrum took Reaume’s place. Teamed with Ankrum in the NEMCO #8 was Trey Hutchens, swapped in for Camden Murphy after Hutchens wrecked his own #14 truck at Texas.

Ankrum’s Iowa weekend began with just four laps turned in opening practice – fewest of any of the 32 remaining entries – but still managed to rank 25th. He again turned the fewest in Happy Hour, turning only three circuits, but ranked 26th out of the same 32. Only a rained-out qualifying session was the reason he started 31st. Chastain, meanwhile, ran 11th and 12th in the two practices, then lined up 19th. As part of the championship declaration, Chastain was moved from the #45 he’d driven up to that point to Niece’s #38 at Charlotte, then the team’s third #44 truck at Iowa. All three would carry his familiar black-and-white paint scheme with green door numbers.

Exactly 32 drivers took practice times because of two late withdrawals. On top of bringing on C.J. McLaughlin, Josh Reaume had planned on debuting a new third team and bringing Daniel Sasnett aboard to run the new #32 Chevrolet. The team ended up withdrawing, joining another truck that had shown up at the track but wasn’t quite race-ready. This was the #74 Kramer Service Group / A&A Haulers Chevrolet, the former Mike Harmon Racing entry purchased in January by Green Bay native Lou Goss. Goss’ truck was not only missing decals on the front valence, but according to LASTCAR reader Colby Evans who was trackside, the truck didn’t have a fuel cell, and the engine was still missing a few parts. This forced the team to withdraw.

Starting 32nd on Sunday’s rain-postponed race was Jennifer Jo Cobb, who drove her own #0 Driven2Honor.org Chevrolet. Cobb drove this truck instead of her more familiar #10 as she, too, had stepped out for another newcomer, Juan Manuel Gonzalez, who would make his series debut after a DNQ in Martinsville earlier this year. The only truck joining Cobb at the back was Tyler Hill, whose second turn in Hill Motorsports’ #56 Southern Freight Services Chevrolet saw him penalized for unapproved adjustments. The penalty only dropped the #56 two spots from their scheduled 30th place on the grid.

When the race started, Hill drove past Cobb, who held last place on the first lap. In that same first circuit, Tyler Ankrum had already jumped to 28th, and he was out of the Bottom Five by Lap 5. By then, Cobb was 17.066 seconds back of the lead, and nearly two seconds back of new 31st-place runner McLaughlin in the Reaume #33. On Lap 10, Cobb was the first to be lapped by polesitter Chandler Smith in Kyle Busch Motorsports’ #51 Safelite Auto Glass Toyota.

Gonzalez’s run in the #10 didn’t go much better. He fell to last on Lap 17, by which point he was three circuits back of the leaders. He went down a fourth lap on the 19th time by. MRN reported that Gonzalez made one unscheduled stop for a flat right-front tire. It’s unclear whether this stop caused him to lose the four laps around Lap 19, or if the stop occurred on Lap 31, when the Penalty Report showed he was snagged by NASCAR for speeding exiting pit road.

What is known is that by Lap 20, Ankrum had pulled the #87 behind the wall, and had dropped to 29th. Colby Evans reported Ankrum looked visibly frustrated as he climbed from the truck, which took last from Gonzalez on Lap 24. It appeared he would finish there, scoring the first last-place finish in just his ninth series start. It was also going to be the first last-place finish for the #87 at Iowa.

On Lap 60, Ross Chastain took the lead by snatching away the Stage 1 victory from Johnny Sauter. He would go on to lead the rest of the way, sweeping both stages and taking the victory by 2.717 seconds over runner-up Brett Moffitt. In just his second start since declaring Truck Series points, Chastain had apparently accomplished his first of two steps needed to make the Playoffs.

Then the inspection results came back.

Chastain’s truck was found to be “extremely low” in the front, according to NASCAR officials. Under the new Disqualification Procedure for 2019, this results in an immediate disqualification that strips the win and classifies him in the last spot. Under existing LASTCAR rules, this means that Chastain and not Ankrum will be the officially-credited last-place finisher of the race. As of this writing, an appeal is being pursued by team owner Al Niece, and the result of this could change the result once more. In the meantime, rather than extending Chastain’s top-ten streak through all ten of the season’s first races, it ends at nine.

The last-place finish also had the consequence of saving Johnny Sauter from his first Bottom Five of 2019. Sauter was listed 28th in the results when his #13 Tenda Heal Ford was parked by NASCAR for wrecking Austin Hill under caution. The remainder of the Bottom Five stayed the same. Following 31st-place Ankrum was Juan Manuel Gonzalez, who blew a second right-front tire and slammed the Turn 4 wall, drawing the first caution of the race. Trey Hutchens, Ankrum’s teammate, exited after 61 laps with brake issues on the #8. Chad Finley finished 29th with rear end issues on the #42 Auto Value / Strutmasters / Air Life Chevrolet.

Chastain, Ankrum, Gonzalez, and Hutchens all earned their first Bottom Fives of 2019.

*This is the first time a driver was classified last due to disqualification in any of NASCAR’s top three series since April 16, 2005, when Johnny Sauter’s #1 Fleet Pride / Yellow Dodge was docked in the O’Reilly 300, an XFINITY Series race at Texas. It’s the first time it’s happened to the race winner in any of the top three series since August 19, 1995, when Dale Jarrett’s #32 Mac Tools Ford was DQ’d from the Detroit Gasket 200, an XFINITY race at Michigan, where he won the pole and led 89 of the 100 laps. Both Jarrett and Sauter were docked for illegal carburetors.
*The 141 laps led are the most by a driver classified last in any of NASCAR’s top three series. The previous record for the Truck Series was 24 (Rich Bickle at Colorado on June 1, 1998), the XFINITY Series is 89 (Dale Jarrett in the aforementioned Michigan race on August 19, 1995), and in Cup is 95 (Greg Biffle at Darlington on May 10, 2008).
*This marked the first Truck Series last-place finish since May 6, 2016, when Tommy Joe Martins’ suspension failed on his #44 Diamond Gusset Jeans Chevrolet after 26 laps of the Toyota Tundra 250 at Kansas.

32) #44-Ross Chastain / 200 laps / disqualified / led 141 laps
31) #87-Tyler Ankrum / 17 laps / brakes
30) #10-Juan Manuel Gonzalez / 40 laps / crash
29) #8-Trey Hutchens / 61 laps / brakes
28) #42-Chad Finley / 68 laps / rear end

1st) NEMCO Motorsports, Young’s Motorsports (2)
2nd) Copp Motorsports, DGR-Crosley, Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing, Niece Motorsports, Norm Benning Racing, Reaume Brothers Racing (1)

1st) Chevrolet (9)
2nd) Toyota (1)


XFINITY: Rough afternoon for RSS Racing sees Josh Bilicki jump to second in 2019 LASTCAR standings

PHOTO: @joshbilicki
Josh Bilicki picked up the 4th last-place finish of his NASCAR XFINITY Series career in Sunday’s CircuitCity.com 250 at the Iowa Speedway when his unsponsored #93 RSS Racing Chevrolet fell out with electrical problems after 10 of 250 laps.

The finish, which came in Bilicki’s 51st series start, was his second of the year and first since Dover, four races ago. In the XFINITY Series last-place rankings, it was the 43rd for the #93, the 51st from electrical issues, and the 527th for Chevrolet. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 93rd for the #93, the 123rd from electrical issues, and the 1,664th for Chevrolet.

The finish also jumped Bilicki into second in the 2019 LASTCAR XFINITY Series Championship, where he still trails teammate Jeff Green on a bottom-five tiebreaker of 12-8.

The Wisconsin-born Bilicki has continued to make the most of the opportunities presented him, even when driving for lesser-funded teams. Just last week at Michigan, he welcomed new sponsorship from the Zeigler Auto Group, and picked up a season-best 21st-place finish. It was the first time Bilicki had finished an XFINITY Series race under power since Texas, where he ran 30th. He’s also branched out into NASCAR’s other two top series. The Ziegler Auto Group also backed his first Cup start of the year, also at Michigan, where he ran 33rd for Rick Ware. His lone Truck start of 2019 at Kansas saw him run 18th in Josh Reaume’s #34 Chevrolet. That night, Bilicki beat Reaume himself by two positions.

Bilicki began the weekend 31st of 36 drivers in opening practice, then on Sunday qualified 36th with a speed of 124.985mph (25.203 seconds). As in the Truck Series race, no drivers were sent home following a late withdrawal. On the XFINITY side, it was Rick Ware Racing’s #17, which didn’t have a driver listed. Reports indicated the car was withdrawn to ensure Shane Lee could qualify for brand-new team H2 Motorsports. Lee’s #28 Toyota Supra, the paint scheme designed by David Marrero, carried the race’s sponsor Circuit City. Lee qualified 17th.

Starting 38th and last was Timmy Hill, who this week took the controls of Carl Long’s #13 CrashClaimsR.us Toyota for Motorsports Business Management. The only driver penalized to join him was Justin Haley, whose #11 Leaf Filter Gutter Protection Chevrolet had a new engine. Voluntarily falling to the rear was Morgan Shepherd, whose #89 Visone RV Chevrolet rolled off behind Hill when the race started. During that first lap, Shepherd drove past Hill’s teammate Stan Mullis in the #66 LasVegas.net Toyota. Mullis fell 10.948 seconds back of the lead after three laps, but was then passed for last by another driver diving onto pit road.

Making his first XFINITY Series start of the season, 28th-place starter Ryan Ellis incurred a penalty for jumping the start that forced him to come down pit road on Lap 5. The stop caused Ellis’ #99 Wes Cook Band Toyota to lose two laps. After ten laps, Bilicki came down pit road, then pulled into the garage. The #93 crew was having radio issues at the time, someone saying “rainbows and unicorns” between the interference. Bilicki took last from Ellis on Lap 13.

While Jeff Green has traditionally pulled in his #38 just as early – and did join Bilicki six laps later - Green was beat for the 37th spot by Ryan Sieg in the RSS team’s flagship #39. The team had fuel pressure issues, and the crew spent more than 22 laps trying to diagnose the issue. During this time, all three RSS Racing entries occupied the final three spots. Finally, on Lap 35, Sieg returned to the track under caution and proceeded to use the rest of the race as a test session. By Lap 62, Sieg had climbed out of the Bottom Five, but the impromptu test session was plagued by more fuel pressure issues. Sieg finished 30th, completing 78 laps before the fuel pressure issue ended his day.

Jeff Green finished 37th, just days after it was announced he would sit out the rest of the season after Kentucky due to rotator cuff surgery. Last-place starter Hill took 36th followed two circuits later by Shepherd in 35th. Rounding out the Bottom Five was David Starr, whose #52 Franklin Signs & Graphics Chevrolet erupted in smoke after 30 laps. The incident handed Starr his first Bottom Five of 2019.

*This marked the fifth last-place finish at Iowa for the #93 and comes with its fourth different driver.

38) #93-Josh Bilicki / 10 laps / electrical
37) #38-Jeff Green / 16 laps / electrical
36) #13-Timmy Hill / 21 laps / electrical
35) #89-Morgan Shepherd / 23 laps / brakes
34) #52-David Starr / 30 laps / engine

1st) Motorsports Business Management (5)
2nd) RSS Racing (4)
3rd) DGM Racing (2)
4th) JD Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Rick Ware Racing (1)

1st) Chevrolet (8)
2nd) Toyota (6)


Thursday, June 13, 2019

PREVIEW: A new team - and a new team owner - among the many stories at Iowa

PHOTO: @Ryan_Repko14
Saturday, June 15, 2019
TRUCKS Race 10 of 23
M&M’s 200 at Iowa
2018 Last-Place Finisher: J.J. Yeley

There are 34 trucks on the preliminary entry list for Saturday’s Truck Series race, meaning two teams will miss the show. UPDATE: Make that 33 for 32 after Josh Reaume's new #32 team was withdrawn (see below).

RETURNING: #0-Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #10-Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing
For just the second time this year, Jennifer Jo Cobb will field two trucks, bringing back the #0 for the first time since Kansas. Unlike at Kansas, where Cobb switched into the truck after a qualifying wreck in her #10, Cobb is entered in the #0, leaving the #10 open for two-time NASCAR FedEx Challenge Series race winner Juan Manuel Gonzalez. Gonzalez looks to make his series debut after a DNQ during his first attempt at Martinsville earlier this year. Illux returns as sponsor for his #10.

MISSING: #14-Trey Hutchens Racing
Last week, Tony Mrakovich got to make his 2019 debut driving for Joe Nemechek, but finished just 26th after brake issues on the #8 Street Stores Chevrolet. Camden Murphy was originally listed to run the #8 this week, but as of Tuesday that changed to Trey Hutchins. Hutchins made his own season debut in his #14 last week, but collided with Spencer Boyd on the backstretch. With the #14 not entered, Hutchins will slide into the #8.

MISSING: #9-CR7 Motorsports
Codie Rohrbaugh was another driver eliminated in a hard crash at Texas, and his #9 is not entered this week.

MISSING: #15-DGR-Crosley
Anthony Alfredo will also not be making the trip to Iowa, nor will DGR-Crosley’s third truck – unfortunate given Alfredo’s 12th-place finish in Texas after leading his first three laps.

Saturday sees the third series start of Raphael Lessard, who finished 14th at Martinsville and 11th at Dover driving Kyle Busch Motorsports’ #46. This time around, Lessard drives DGR-Crosley’s #17, taking the place of Tyler Ankrum, Texas’ 3rd-place finisher (UPDATE: Ankrum to the #87, see below). Sponsorship will come from Rseau dynamique and FRL Express.

MISSING: #25-Ted Minor Motorsports
Ted Minor is not entered this week following his DNQ in Texas. The team’s next attempt is still to be announced.

NEW TEAM / WITHDREW: #32-Reaume Brothers Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #33-Reaume Brothers Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #34-Reaume Brothers Racing
Josh Reaume expands his team from two to three trucks for the first time, debuting the #32 Surface Prep Supply Chevrolet with returning driver Daniel Sasnett. UPDATE (June 13): The #32 has withdrawn. Reaume himself is not entered in either of his other two trucks. Taking the wheel of his flagship #33 is C.J. McLaughlin, who’s run the superspeedway portion of this year’s ARCA Menards Series season. McLaughlin, who earned a series-best 10th last week in Michigan, will bring his ARCA sponsor Sci Aps. Rounding out the trio is Mason Massey, who has just two K&N Pro Series East starts back in 2014. Massey takes the place of Scott Stenzel in the #34, and carries sponsorship from Anderson Power Services.

MISSING: #38-Niece Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #44-Niece Motorsports
Al Niece is not fielding the #38 that Ross Chastain steered to a 10th-place finish last week in Texas. The second race of Chastain’s go-for-broke season will move to the #44, driven last week by Angela Ruch before an accident after 33 laps left her 29th. Kyle Benjamin remains the driver of the #45 after an accident of his own left him 31st.

RETURNING: #42-Chad Finley Racing, Inc.
Welcome back Chad Finley and his #42, back on the track for the first time since their 18th-place showing in Charlotte. Finley eyes his first green flag at Iowa since July 11, 2009, when he finished 9th in his only ARCA start here.

RETURNING: #46-Kyle Busch Motorsports
Riley Herbst looks to put a miserable XFINITY weekend in Michigan behind him as he climbs aboard KBM’s returning #46, last run in the series when Herbst finished 9th in Kansas. Monster Energy and Advance Auto Parts join him as sponsors.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Kyle Busch Motorsports
Greg Biffle will not be running this weekend’s race, following his impressive win in Texas. The flagship #51 goes this week to Chandler Smith, a three-time winner in the ARCA Menards Series, most recently at Toledo earlier this year. Smith looks to make his NASCAR national touring series debut with sponsorship from Safelite Auto Glass.

RETURNING: #56-Hill Motorsports
Iowa is the next race on Timmy and Tyler Hill’s single-truck team, and this week Tyler takes the controls while Timmy runs in the XFINITY Series for Motorsports Business Management. Tyler, who ran 20th in his series debut at Dover, will be sponsored by Southern Freight Services.

RETURNING: #74-Mike Harmon Racing / Lou Goss Racing
Also making its return is Mike Harmon’s Truck Series team, which hasn’t been seen trackside since their 31st-place finish last summer at Mosport. This time around, the driver is Green Bay, Wisconsin native Lou Goss, who has a fascinating story of his own. According to this article, found by our own ARCA Guest Contributor William Soquet, Goss purchased Harmon’s truck in January to help Harmon fund his XFINITY car at Daytona. The truck came without an engine or transmission, and Goss has had to sell his short track equipment to lease both. Harmon has since helped Goss prepare the truck, which will make its debut at the track. The team is listed with Kramer Service Group and A&A Haulers. Goss’ team website is also coming together at this link.

On Thursday, Josh Reaume was swapped into Joe Nemechek's #87. UPDATE: And later that same day it became Tyler Ankrum, bumped from the #17, who will this be able to keep up on race attempts.

Jesse Little rejoins the Truck circuit for the sixth time this year and first time since a 14th-place showing in Charlotte. Little has finished inside the Top 10 in both his Iowa starts, running 9th in 2017 and a track-best 6th just last year. Skuttle Tight rejoins the team as sponsor.

MISSING: #04-Roper Racing
Noticeably absent from this week’s list is Cory Roper, who survived at Texas to etch his career-best 9th-place finish.


Sunday, June 16, 2019
XFINITY Race 14 of 33
CircuitCity.com 250 at Iowa
2018 Last-Place Finisher: J.J. Yeley

While 39 were on the original entry list, the withdrawal of Rick Ware Racing's #17 (see below) made it exactly 38 entries for as many spots. No drivers will miss the show.

DRIVER CHANGE: #4-JD Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #15-JD Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #01-JD Motorsports
Denver, North Carolina native Ryan Repko, a late model driver with two ARCA starts with a best finish of 8th at Madison, will make his first start in NASCAR’s top three series. Repko, who has sponsorship from The McLain Group, will drive Johnny Davis’ #01 in place of Stephen Leicht, who moves to the #4 vacated by Ross Chastain. Chastain will not run Sunday and will instead focus on Saturday’s Truck race, ending a streak of 146 consecutive XFINITY Series starts which began November 15, 2014 at Homestead. Also swapping into the JD Motorsports lineup is Tyler Matthews, who we last saw run 24th for the team in Richmond. Then as now, the sponsor is LineTec Services. Matthews takes the place of B.J. McLeod, 19th at Michigan and not entered in Iowa. Garrett Smithley remains in the JD team’s #0.

DRIVER CHANGE: #8-JR Motorsports
Iowa is the next race on Zane Smith’s schedule as he makes his fifth start of 2019 and first since a 9th-place run in Dover. He takes the place of Jeb Burton, 9th last week in Michigan. Sponsorship comes from LaPaz Margarita Mix.

MISSING: #12-Penske Racing
Roger Penske has not entered the #12 car this week, and Cup regular Paul Menard, 4th at Michigan, is also not on the list.

MISSING: #17-Rick Ware Racing
Rick Ware’s #17 was originally on the preliminary entry list for Iowa on Monday, but by Tuesday had been pulled. At the time, there was no driver listed. Bayley Currey drove the car last week in Michigan, yielding a 33rd-place finish. The team had attempted all 13 races this season with just one DNQ at Texas. UPDATE (June 13): Racing-reference.info, which left out the #17, has re-added it, but without a driver. UPDATE (June 14): The #17 has now been withdrawn there as well, still without a driver.

DRIVER CHANGE: #18-Joe Gibbs Racing
With Riley Herbst running the Truck Series after his 37th-place finish in Michigan, Harrison Burton will jump from Trucks to XFINITY this week along with sponsor Dex Imaging. It will be Burton’s second career start in the series and first since Bristol, where he finished 10th.

NEW TEAM: #28-H2 Motorsports
As announced earlier this year, Shane Lee will now drive for a brand-new team, H2 Motorsports. The car carries on it sponsorship from Circuit City, which also took the opportunity to sponsor Sunday’s race. Lee, previously a development driver with Richard Childress Racing, now runs a Toyota and seeks his 14th start. He finished 16th and 13th in last year’s Iowa races. Without Owner Points, Lee was in position to have to qualify on speed for Sunday, but that changed following the early withdrawal of Rick Ware’s #17. Thus, car #28 will make its first XFINITY start since last summer at Pocono, when JGL Racing last fielded the number for Dylan Lupton.

On Tuesday came news that Jeff Green will climb out of the #38 this July for rotator cuff surgery, and will not be racing the rest of this season. Green will run on Sunday as well as the next three races in Chicagoland, Daytona, and his home track in Kentucky before he steps aside. Still leading a three-way tie for the 2019 LASTCAR XFINITY Series championship with John Jackson and Joey Gase, this may end his bid for a third-straight title. This is not the end, however - plans are already in motion for a return in 2020, depending on sponsorship. By far the most prolific driver on this website - and a good guy to boot - we here at LASTCAR.info wish him the best and hope for a speedy recovery.

DRIVER CHANGE: #66-Motorsports Business Management
With Tyler Hill running the aforementioned Truck Series race, the #66 falls to a returning Stan Mullis, Carl Long’s go-to driver for several stand-alone races since 2017. Mullis has three Iowa starts on his record with a best of 32nd in his series debut.

DRIVER CHANGE: #74-Mike Harmon Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #89-Shepherd Racing Ventures
As of this writing, both Mike Harmon and Morgan Shepherd will qualify and race their respective cars this week, Harmon replacing Kyle Weatherman in the #74 and Shepherd in for Landon Cassill in the #89. Cassill finished two spots ahead of Weatherman last week, running 32nd to Weatherman’s 34th.

Alex Labbe seeks his fourth XFINITY start of the season and first since Talladega, where he ran 25th. He takes the place of Dillon Bassett, who ended up with his first last-place finish at Michigan.

DRIVER CHANGE: #99-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Ryan Ellis will make his first XFINITY start of the season and first in the series since a 17th-place showing for B.J. McLeod last summer at Road America. It will be Ellis’ third series start at Iowa and first since 2015, when he finished 35th for JGL Racing. He takes the place of Tommy Joe Martins, a solid 18th in Michigan, and brings with him sponsorship from The Wes Cook Band.


Sunday, June 23, 2019
CUP Race 16 of 36
Toyota / Save Mart 350 at Sears Point
2018 Last-Place Finisher: A.J. Allmendinger

Yes, the official name is the Sonoma Raceway, but the original 2.52-mile Sears Point International Raceway configuration makes its return in two weeks’ time, and I will be there to cover the action of the first road course race of 2019. Included in our coverage will be a second BSGN Starting Grid video, to be posted late Saturday, June 22.

Today in LASTCAR history (June 13, 1997): Kevin Grubb picks up the first last-place finish of his NASCAR Busch Series career in the Winston Motorsports 300 at South Boston Speedway when his #82 Virginia is for Lovers Chevrolet is collected in a six-car pileup after 60 laps. Grubb started 6th, but was collected when Stacy Puryear and Elliott Sadler spun in front of him. The finish came in Grubb’s second series start and was his first of five last-place runs in his career.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

ARCA: Richard Doheny first back-to-back last-placer of 2019

One of Doheny's steel-bodied #1 cars from earlier this season.
by William Soquet
LASTCAR.info Guest Contributor

Richard Doheny finished last for the fourth time in his ARCA Menards Series career during Friday’s VizCom 200 at Michigan International Speedway when his #1 Doheny Racing Ford parked after seven of 100 laps with ignition problems.

The finish came in his 29th series start and his second consecutive in ARCA competition. Doheny became the first driver to record consecutive ARCA last-place finishes since Wayne Peterson had three straight last summer.

At Michigan, Doheny flipped back to his familiar #1 entry, the first of several driver and team changes. Another tenured Fast Track Racing driver, Morgen Baird, took Dohney's place in the #11 entry with local sponsorship from Founders Brewing Company. Tim Richmond continued his drive in the #06 for Wayne Peterson Racing, and C.J. McLaughlin made it to the track after withdrawing from Pocono. Connor Hall ran a #7 Ford in the race as a third Chad Bryant Racing entry, using the owner points of Codie Rohrbaugh. Whelen Euro Series driver Myatt Snider returned to his old stomping grounds, but this time with a new team in Venturini Motorsports, driving the #20 machine. Speedway racers Scott Melton, Brandon McReynolds, Riley Herbst and Ty Majeski were all entered, and former NHRA champion Tanner Gray continued his partial slate with DGR-Crosley to round out the 18-car field. Thad Moffitt was once again entered and withdrawn, making it two in a row for the young Empire Racing pilot.

Snider led practice, which was anchored by Doheny, eight and a half seconds off the pace. There were swaps at both ends of the field for qualifying, with Venturini teammate Michael Self taking the pole and Brad Smith running what his team called a “conservative” lap to secure the last starting spot, this time only seven and three-quarters seconds off the hot lap.

By the end of the first lap, however, Smith was up to sixteenth, passing the cars of Doheny and Richmond. Richmond, in turn, would remain in last place for the first four laps until he would pass Doheny for seventeenth position. Doheny then spent three laps running in last place before he turned in. Tommy Vigh and Connor Hall pulled in after twelve laps, both citing vibrations as their reasons for exit. Electrical issues sidelined Richmond after 16 laps, and Brandon McReynolds rounded out the Bottom Five after a crash just before the midway point of the event.

18) #1-Richard Doheny / 7 laps / ignition
17) #10-Tommy Vigh, Jr. / 12 laps / vibration
16) #7-Connor Hall / 12 laps / vibration
15) #06-Tim Richmond / 16 laps / electrical
14) #28-Brandon McReynolds / 43 laps / crash

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

1st) Brad Smith Motorsports, Fast Track Racing, Venturini Motorsports (2)
2nd) Kimmel Racing, Mullins Racing, Our Motorsports (1)