Sunday, October 30, 2016

CUP: Open Team Roundup - Martinsville (October)

SOURCE: Rubbin's Racin' Forums

#21 Wood Brothers Racing
Driver: Ryan Blaney
Started 15th, Finished 19th

For the 24th time this season and the third race in a row, Blaney finished highest among the Open teams, and by a significant margin.  Starting 15th, but sent to the rear for unapproved adjustments, the Virginia Tech colors picked their way through the field.  Blaney was one of a handful of drivers to stay out during the first caution for Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.’s accident, and the decision to improve track position proved a good one.  With just five cautions on the day, Blaney lost two laps, but held on to third-straight Top 20 finish.  Next week, he heads to Texas, where he finished 29th in the spring, but qualified a strong 7th.

#93 BK Racing
Driver: Matt DiBenedetto
Started 27th, Finished 32nd

When Dylan Lupton returned to make his third Cup start of the season, DiBenedetto moved from his chartered #83 to BK Racing’s part-time Open #93 team.  Both cars carried sponsorship from E.J. Wade Construction - Lupton’s car red over black, DiBenedetto’s black over red.  When Premium Motorsports withdrew Cole Whitt’s #98 car, leaving 40 drivers for 40 spots, both teams qualified with DiBenedetto ten spots ahead of Lupton.  In the end, DiBenedetto finished one spot and one lap behind Lupton, his car slowing and coming to pit road in the race’s final moments, narrowly avoiding a race-changing caution.  Lupton has never made a Cup start at Texas while DiBenedetto ran 34th in April.  Ryan Ellis is scheduled to bring the #93 back at Phoenix in two weeks with returning sponsor ScienceLogic.

UPDATE (Oct. 31): Ellis is also entered in the #93 at Texas with Dylan Lupton in the #83, leaving DiBenedetto without a Cup ride.

#55 Premium Motorsports
Driver: Reed Sorenson
Started 34th, Finished 38th

For the second-straight race, Reed Sorenson stood alone for Premium Motorsports, and once again was saddled by trips to the garage area.  This time, electrical issues including at least two battery changes forced him behind the wall around Lap 215, and he returned to the track on Lap 261, 55 circuits behind.  Sorenson made at least two more trips to the garage in the race’s second half, returning 75 down, then 93 down by Lap 459.  He did not lose another lap, and came home the final car under power.  Next week, Sorenson looks to improve on his 36th-place showing in the spring Texas race.

#30 The Motorsports Group
Driver: Gray Gaulding
Started 36th, Finished 39th

Gaulding made his Cup debut on Sunday, and The Motorsports Group (TMG)’s #30 made a rare start in a car that wasn’t flat black.  Fighting a tight-handling car, Gaulding managed to keep his nose clean.  Slowly losing laps to the leaders, he pulled behind the wall with around 170 laps to go, apparently due to a rear gear issue.  The problem apparently ended the driver’s day as Gaulding was photographed standing in the pits, his car falling to 38th on Lap 386.  But he managed to return to competition around Lap 430.  He almost made it to the finish, but with four laps to go was off the track once more trailing smoke, retired with rear gear issues.  Josh Wise, the team’s full-time driver, finished last at Texas in April and is expected to return next week.  Gaulding will wrap up the season with TMG at Phoenix and Homestead.




#98 Premium Motorsports
Driver: Cole Whitt
2016 Team Stats: 28 starts, 3 DNQs, 2 withdrawals

For the second-straight race, Premium Motorsports withdrew the #98 team on Friday, leaving Cole Whitt out of Sunday’s field.  If driver and team return next week at Texas, Whitt will look to defend his 30th-place finish from the spring.


#26 BK Racing
#35 Front Row Motorsports
#40 Hillman Racing
#59 Leavine Family / Circle Sport Racing
#99 Roush-Fenway Racing

None of the other part-time Open teams attempted the race in Martinsville.


Roman Nodonyet said...

The entry list on (and other sites) has DiBenedetto back in the 83 and Ellis in the 93 (as was announced earlier this year). The Dallas PD/ZAK Products scheme that was posted to BK's Twitter feed has Matty D's name in the windshield, too.

Roman Nodonyet said...

Also, Cole Whitt Tweeted this half an hour ago.