Friday, May 11, 2018

PREVIEW: Kenseth returns to take part in Kansas Speedway's smallest Cup field

PHOTO: @WyndhamRewards
Friday, May 11, 2018
TRUCKS Race 6 of 23
37 Kind Days 250 at Kansas
2017 Last-Place Finisher: Stewart Friesen

The preliminary entry list stood at 30 trucks entered for 32 spots, threatening the first short field of the 2018 Truck Series season, and the first in the series since 31 took the green last fall at Talladega, ten races ago. However, by Tuesday, three late entries were added, bringing the total to 33. One truck will miss the race.

RETURNING: #0-Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing
The #0 team, which withdrew Joey Gase’s entry last Friday, is again entered this week. The preliminary list showed Jennifer Jo Cobb herself as the driver to both trucks, but she is already committed to the #10 (see below). Gase is again entered this week with on board.

The first of three late entries added to the preliminary Kansas list, TJL Racing returns to action after their withdrawal of Ray Ciccarelli’s entry at Dover. Driving this week is to be announced. UPDATE: Camden Murphy makes the move from MB Motorsports' #63, and shares the Crossbar E-Cigarettes sponsor with Beaver Motorsports' #50 (see below).

TEAM UPDATE: #3-Jordan Anderson Racing
Following a costly Turn 2 accident at Dover, Jordan Anderson’s team worked many sleepless nights to prepare one of their few remaining trucks for this Friday’s race. The Bommarito Automotive Group Chevrolet entered this week had no decals on it Sunday, but was finished and loaded by Wednesday evening.

DRIVER CHANGE: #4-Kyle Busch Motorsports
Cup Series regular Kyle Busch returns to the Truck Series for the first time since his win in Las Vegas for his third start of 2018. He takes the place of Todd Gilliland, who isn’t entered this week, and carries sponsorship from Cessna.

MISSING: #7-All Out Motorsports
Korbin Forrister finished 21st for All Out last week in Dover, but driver and team aren’t entered this week.

With the XFINITY Series off, John Hunter Nemechek returns to his father’s #8 for the fourth time this year, and the first time since his victory at Martinsville. His father Joe, who ran 7th last week in Dover, moves over to the team’s second truck, the returning #87 (see below).

SPONSOR UPDATE: #10-Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing
On Monday, Jennifer Jo Cobb unveiled a new paint scheme for her #10 truck, swapping the team’s traditional black scheme for a white one. In addition to Mark One Electric, which has sponsored eight previous of her Truck efforts at Kansas dating back to 2010, the hood and rear decklid carry multi-colored logos for Think Realty, which sponsored the #10 at Atlanta and Las Vegas. Among the other backers shown in the artist’s rendering are Community America,, Cornell, and IBC.

DRIVER CHANGE: #15-Premium Motorsports
After Reed Sorenson turned just 15 laps at Dover in an apparent “start-and-park,” Robby Lyons returns to make his fourth start of the season in five Truck Series races. The truck, unsponsored last week, will carry sponsorship from Finke Brothers, Inc. Lyons’ best finish of the season remains his 13th-place showing at Daytona.

SPONSOR UPDATE: #16-Hattori Racing Enterprises
Brett Moffitt debuts a new look on his #16 Toyota with sponsorship from Central Plains Cement Company.

DRIVER CHANGE: #20-Young’s Motorsports
While the preliminary entry list showed Tyler Young as the driver of the #20 Chevrolet, on Tuesday it was announced that Darrell Wallace, Jr. would make his first Truck Series start since his encumbered win at Michigan last summer. Wallace takes the place of Tanner Thorson, who finished 16th at Dover. Go Share returns as an associate sponsor with Andy’s Frozen Custard as the primary.

SPONSOR UPDATE: #33-Reaume Brothers Racing
Josh Reaume welcomes a new primary sponsor this week, Colonial Countertops. Reaume arrives woth three consecutive 25th-place finishes, his season-best.

LATE ENTRY: #36-MB Motorsports
The second late entry is the second truck from Mike Mittler’s team, the first appearance for the entry since last fall at Homestead. Driving it will be Bayley Currey, who last week finished 26th for D.J. Copp in the #83. Past performance by this second team indicates this will be a likely “start-and-park” entry.

LATE ENTRY & DRIVER CHANGE: #50-Beaver Motorsports
The third late entry was Beaver Motorsports, which for some reason wasn’t on the preliminary list following Todd Peck’s last-place finish last week in Dover. Peck is not entered this week. In his place is Jamie Mosley, set to make his first Truck Series start since July 18, 2009, when he finished 29th for Joey Sonntag. Sponsorship comes from Crossbar E-Cigarettes.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Kyle Busch Motorsports
Welcome back last week’s XFINITY Series polesitter Brandon Jones, who this Friday makes his first Truck Series start since a 10th-place showing for MDM Motorsports at Bristol last summer. It will be Jones’ first Truck Series start at Kansas since 2015, when he finished 30th for GMS Racing after starting 3rd. This time around, he takes the place of Harrison Burton, who isn’t entered. Sponsorship comes from Lyons Industries and Menards.

Following David Gilliland’s 4th-place run at Dover, Bo LeMastus is back in the Truck Series for the first time since Atlanta, where he scored a season-best 17th. The Kentucky native has a pair of Kansas starts in the ARCA Racing Series, where he finished 13th in 2014 and 18th in 2015.

DRIVER CHANGE: #63-MB Motorsports
Kevin Donahue is set to make his second Truck Series start of the year, following a 30th-place showing with the same team at Martinsville. Taking the place of Camden Murphy, 29th at Dover, Donahue finished 21st in this race last year.

TEAM UPDATE: #74-Mike Harmon Racing
Mike Harmon will drive his Chevrolet for the second-straight race after his entry did not have a driver entered on the preliminary list.

DRIVER CHANGE: #83-Copp Motorsports
Kyle Donahue, Kevin’s younger brother, is listed in place of Bayley Currey, who made the move to the #36. Kyle finished 23rd in his most recent start at Martinsville, and this week makes his first start on a 1.5-mile oval. First Responder Racing sponsors the effort.

RETURNING: #87-NEMCO Motorsports
Joe Nemechek brings back his second truck for the first time since the team withdrew at Martinsville. With his son back behind the wheel of the #8, it’s possible it could be another short race for Joe, as it was in the #87’s most recent start at Las Vegas.

MISSING: #97-JJL Racing
Jesse Little had the best run of his young career at Dover, leading two laps before late trouble left him 9th at the finish. Regardless, driver and team aren’t entered this week as JJL Racing continues to build on its part-time schedule.

CUP INVADERS: #4-Kyle Busch

Saturday, May 12, 2018
CUP Race 12 of 36
KC Masterpiece 400 at Kansas
2017 Last-Place Finisher: Ryan Newman

There are 38 drivers for 40 spots, the tenth short field of 2018 and the first short Cup field in the history of Kansas Speedway.

DRIVER & SPONSOR CHANGE: #6-Roush-Fenway Racing
For the first time since last fall at Homestead, Matt Kenseth is behind the wheel of a Cup Series car. The announcement, which came on April 25 at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, revealed that Kenseth would make his season debut this weekend with Wyndham Rewards as sponsors. Kenseth is a two-time winner at Kansas, though his last race here in 2017 ended with an infamous “Crash Clock” penalty that eliminated him from the Playoffs. On Friday, it was announced Kenseth will drove the car in 6 more races after Saturday, starting with the 600 in two weeks.

TEAM UPDATE: #23-BK Racing
The preliminary entry list showed Gray Gaulding once again in the #23, but this time with no sponsor listed. The entry comes amidst more news on BK Racing’s bankruptcy, and team owner Ron Devine’s efforts to remain involved. On Tuesday, Judge J. Craig Whitley reminded Devine that a court-appointed trustee – not Devine himself – has a management role with the team. The trustee’s plans for the team going forward remain to be known.

SPONSOR UPDATE: #43-Richard Petty Motorsports
As RPM continues to fill in sponsors for Darrell Wallace, Jr. this year, Saturday will see the season debut of World Wide Technology as the primary backer. The scheme, which will once again be in Petty blue-and-red, was revealed at the NASCAR Hall of Fame on May 1.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Rick Ware Racing
Welcome back XFINITY Series regular B.J. McLeod, who made his first eight Cup races for Rick Ware Racing last year. Taking the place of Cody Ware, who wrecked out at Dover, McLeod’s most recent Cup start came at this track last fall, where he finished 30th.

SPONSOR UPDATE: #55-Premium Motorsports
Reed Sorenson has picked up backing from local hotel Harrah’s North Kansas City, the third time driver and team have been sponsored by the hotel at Kansas since the fall of 2016. Sorenson’s best of 16 Cup starts at Kansas remains his 7th-place run in 2007. He finished 25th in both races last year.

RETURNING: #66-Motorsports Business Management
The only addition from last week’s Dover entry list is the return of Motorsports Business Management, back in Cup for the first time since Chad Finchum’s debut at Bristol. While Carl Long was originally listed as driver, Timmy Hill tweeted that he will drive the #66. The car has no sponsor and is flat black, not the green-and-yellow scheme from last year. It will be Hill’s fourth Cup start of the season, the other three coming with Rick Ware at Phoenix, Fontana, and Talladega with a best of 33rd.

SPONSOR UPDATE: #72-TriStar Motorsports
The preliminary list has Schluter Systems back as primary sponsor for the #72 for the first time since Phoenix, where driver Corey LaJoie scored his second of three engine-related last-place finishes. Following the third last Sunday in Dover, LaJoie looks for a better run after finishing 27th in both Kansas races last year. The car will carry a new inverted version of the Phoenix paint scheme with orange over black instead of black over orange.

WITHDREW: #99-StarCom Racing
Last week in Dover, Derrike Cope debuted his new second team, but was involved in a hard crash, leaving him 37th of 38 drivers. This same car was entered at Kansas, where the team made its debut last fall, but was withdrawn on Tuesday. Landon Cassill will fly the flag for StarCom in the chartered #00. On May 9, it was announced Cassill will have another new sponsor, Dairi-O Restaurants, for both next week’s All-Star Race and the Coca-Cola 600.

Saturday, May 26, 2018
XFINITY Race 11 of 33
Alsco 300 at Charlotte
2017 Last-Place Finisher: Stephen Leicht

This time, it’s the XFINITY Series which takes a couple weeks off. After four-straight thrillers without Cup regulars in the field, it will be interesting to see what, if anything, will be done when the circuit returns to Charlotte.

The lone last-place finish caused by a busted “time gear” occurred on May 20, 1967, during the Tidewater 250 at the Langley Speedway in Hampton, Virginia. On that day, Dick Johnson (not to be confused with the Australian road racer of the same name) started 14th in the 16-car field driving his #18 1966 Ford. He made it just one lap before the issue arose. It was Johnson’s second last-place finish. Johnson, born in Elverta, California, made 56 career Cup starts from 1967 through 1969. His best finish was a 7th in the Cracker 200 at the Augusta (Georgia) Speedway on March 16, 1969. He passed away in 1997.

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