Tuesday, September 6, 2016

CUP: Open Team Roundup - Darlington

SOURCE: Jeff Curry, Getty Images

#21 Wood Brothers Racing
Driver: Ryan Blaney
Throwback: 1976 David Pearson Mercury
Started 20th, Finished 13th

Through the middle stages of Sunday’s Southern 500, it appeared that Blaney was headed toward another frustrating evening at “The Lady In Black.”  Unscheduled stops dropped him back in the order, and it seemed unlikely he would get many of them back.  Still, against all odds, Blaney earned two of the last four Lucky Dogs, allowing his mirrored gold numbers to flash across the stripe in the 13th spot, his third top-15 finish in the last four races.  Blaney now returns to Richmond this Saturday, where he finished 28th in the spring.

#30 The Motorsports Group
Driver: Josh Wise
Throwback: 1976 Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet
Started 40th, Finished 29th

Thanks to a new two-race sponsor from Incredible Bank, The Motorsports Group was able to afford both tires and a throwback paint scheme for driver Josh Wise.  The cancelled qualifying session left Wise at the back of the field Sunday afternoon, and he lost the first of six laps on the 18th circuit, but he still managed to rank second among Open teams for the first time since Watkins Glen, which was also the last time he finished better than 30th.  He also only briefly held the 40th spot - on the grid and from Laps 62-64.  This weekend, he’ll look to carry this momentum into Richmond, where driver and team came home 39th.

#55 Premium Motorsports
Driver: Reed Sorenson
Throwback: None
Started 39th, Finished 31st

Along with Brian Scott, Reed Sorenson did not run a throwback scheme of any kind, and instead ran Premium’s white-and-purple Vydox Plus Chevrolet.  Sorenson went down a lap on the 17th circuit, seemed content to stay out of everyone’s way, and ended up nine laps behind.  He returns to Richmond this Saturday, scene of his second last-place finish of 2016.

#98 Premium Motorsports
Driver: Cole Whitt
Throwback: 1969 LeeRoy Yarbrough Ford
Started 36th, Finished 37th

Sorenson’s teammate Cole Whitt ran a last-minute throwback scheme, inverting the colors on his Carolina Skiff Chevrolet with new red numbers on the doors and roof.  The Yarbrough scheme went its first lap down on the 19th circuit, completing a rapid three-lap tear through the Open teams by race leader Kevin Harvick.  Then, during the caution for Jeffrey Earnhardt’s crash on Lap 251, Whitt pulled behind the wall, the electrical issues from 2015 coming back once again.  The finish was Whitt’s worst since Kansas in May and his first DNF since Pocono in June.  This Saturday, he’ll look for greener pastures in Richmond, where he failed to qualify in April.  He and the other Open teams will have to concern themselves with the #93 BK Racing Toyota, which will make its return to Sprint Cup for the first time since Ryan Ellis’ run at Indianapolis.




#26 BK Racing
#35 Front Row Motorsports
#40 Hillman Racing
#59 Leavine Family / Circle Sport Racing
#93 BK Racing

None of the other part-time Open teams attempted the race in Darlington.  However, this Saturday at Richmond, Dylan Lupton will return to Sprint Cup for the first time at Sonoma, looking for another start in BK Racing’s #93 Toyota.

UPDATE (Sept. 7): Dylan Lupton will run the #83 and be guaranteed a starting spot.  Matt DiBenedetto will run the #93 for the first time since the Daytona 500 and will have to qualify on time.


Roman Nodonyet said...

Both BK's press release and the entry list have DiBenedetto in the 93 to facilitate a guaranteed start for Lupton.

Brock Beard said...

You are correct - did not have that info on hand when this was written.