Friday, June 15, 2018

PREVIEW: Iowa sees returning drivers and teams in both fields

PHOTO: Roper Racing Facebook

Saturday, June 16, 2018

TRUCKS Race 9 of 23
M&M’s 200 at Iowa
2017 Last-Place Finisher: J.J. Yeley

There are 35 drivers entered for Friday’s 32-truck field, meaning that three entries will miss the starting field.

MISSING: #7-All Out Motorsports
Korbin Forrister was the final driver to finish under power in Texas, coming home 12 laps behind in the 22nd spot. Both he and the All Out Motorsports team will not be making the trip to Iowa.

RETURNING: #87-NEMCO Motorsports
NEMCO Motorsports returns to being a two-truck operation for the first time since Kansas. John Hunter Nemechek will climb aboard the #8 as he runs double-duty in Iowa along with his XFINITY Series effort for Chip Ganassi Racing. His father Joe will slide back to the #87 which, but for its 3rd-place run in this year’s Daytona opener, has traditionally been a “start-and-park” entry.

NEW TEAM: #12-Young’s Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #20-Young’s Motorsports
Young’s Motorsports will expand from two to three trucks in Iowa. The new third entry, the #12 TruNorth Chevrolet, will see the return of Reid Wilson. Wilson made his series debut this past spring at Martinsville driving the Young’s team’s #20 Chevrolet, finishing 16th. This weekend, the #20 will be driven by Tanner Thorson, his first start since he also ran 16th in his own debut at Dover. Austin Hill remains in the third truck, the #02.

DRIVER CHANGE: #15-Premium Motorsports
Following his illness that sidelined him at Texas, where spotter / driver Reed Sorenson finished 27th, Robby Lyons was entered in the #15 Chevrolet alongside teammate Wendell Chavous in the #49. However, by Wednesday he was replaced by Alabama native Bobby Reuse. It will be Reuse's first Truck Series start since Mosport last year, when he finished 17th for Beaver Motorsports.

MISSING: #17-DGR-Crosley
DGR-Crosley scales back from two trucks to one in Iowa, leaving the #17 Toyota home after a 26th-place showing in Texas. Bo LeMastus, who drove that truck last week, will replace Chris Eggleston in the #54. Eggleston is not entered in this weekend’s race. UPDATE: David Gilliland took LeMastus' place at Iowa.

RETURNING: #46-Kyle Busch Motorsports
Expanding to four trucks is KBM, which brings the #46 Mobil 1 Toyota back to the track for just the second time this season following Brandon Jones’ 3rd-place showing in Charlotte. Behind the wheel this time is New York native Christian Eckes, who this past April claimed his first ARCA Racing Series win at Salem driving for Venturini Motorsports. Eckes has two Iowa starts in ARCA with an 11th in 2016 and an 8th last year.

DRIVER CHANGE: #50-Beaver Motorsports
In place of Todd Peck, who finished last at Texas, the Beaver truck will be raced by Ross Chastain. Chastain, who has run double-duty for most of this season in Cup and XFINITY, last started a Truck race last summer in Kentucky, when he finished 13th for Bolen Motorsports. Justin Marks will drive Chastain's #15 entry in next Sunday's Cup race at Sonoma.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Kyle Busch Motorsports
Driving the flagship KBM truck is Harrison Burton, ready for his third Truck Series start of the year and first since his 5th-place showing at Dover. He takes the place of Spencer Davis, 9th at Texas, who isn’t entered this week. The #51 continues to boast a strong driver lineup. Though Kyle Busch has driven the truck in two of the eight rounds run so far, it has finished 9th or better in all but one race – a 13th by Davis at Atlanta.

DRIVER CHANGE: #63-MB Motorsports
Although Kyle Donahue was listed for a second-straight start for Mike Mittler, he was replaced by Wednesday with J.J. Yeley, who last drove this truck in a tail-end performance at Charlotte.

MISSING: #68-Clay Greenfield Motorsports
Clay Greenfield and his #68 team are not entered this week following their 20th-place showing in Texas.

DRIVER CHANGE: #74-Mike Harmon Racing
In place of team owner Mike Harmon, who failed to qualify at Texas, Iowa will see the first Truck Series attempt by 19-year-old Bryant Barnhill of South Carolina. Barnhill Realty Co., the driver's family business, will be an associate sponsor for the #74.

RETURNING: #97-JJL Motorsports
Welcome back Jesse Little, who we last saw finish 16th at Charlotte in May. Little, who finished 9th in this race last year, is again listed without a primary sponsor.

RETURNING: #04-Roper Racing
Also rejoining the action is Roper Racing with short tracker Cory Roper behind the wheel of the #04 Preferred Industrial Contractors, Inc. Ford. Looking to build on driver and team’s impressive 13th-place showing in Martinsville, Roper posted on Facebook that the team plans to follow Iowa with Bristol, Las Vegas, Martinsville, Texas, Phoenix, and Homestead.

CUP INVADERS: #50-Ross Chastain (though points ineligible)

Sunday, June 17, 2018
XFINITY Race 14 of 33
Iowa 250 presented by Enogen at Iowa
2017 Last-Place Finisher: Jeff Green

There are 40 drivers entered for as many spots, meaning all entered drivers will start Sunday’s race.

DRIVER CHANGE: #3-Richard Childress Racing
One week after Austin Dillon claimed his rain-shortened win, Shane Lee returns to the #3 Chevrolet in Iowa for his fourth start in the last eight races. Lee is the defending polesitter of the ARCA Racing Series event at Iowa, where he finished 11th for Kerry Scherer.

DRIVER CHANGE: #8-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Blake Jones eyes his first XFINITY Series start since September 24, 2016, when he drove JD Motorsports’ #15 Chevrolet to a 35th-place finish. This time around, he takes the place of Caesar Bacarella in B.J. McLeod’s #8 Chevrolet. He’ll be teamed with the #78 once again driven by Tommy Joe Martins, who impressed with an 11th-place showing in this race last year. Riessen Construction will sponsor Martins' effort.

RETURNING: #13-Motorsports Business Management
DRIVER CHANGE: #66-Motorsports Business Management
Carl Long’s MBM effort returns to a three-car operation this week with the return of the #13 for the first time since Dover. Now, as then, the driver is Timmy Hill, who moves over from the #66 Dodge he’s driven the last two rounds. In Hill’s place in the #66 will be Stan Mullis, who hasn’t started an XFINITY Series race since his series debut in this track last July, when he finished 32nd for MBM.

DRIVER CHANGE: #15-JD Motorsports
Joe Nemechek was scheduled to pull double-duty in Iowa, following-up his run in the #87 Truck Series effort by running JD Motorsports’ #15 Chevrolet. However, by Wednesday he was replaced by B.J. McLeod, who last week made a one-off for Mike Harmon. McLeod takes the place of Matt Mills, who crashed hard in Turn 2 last week in Michigan.

DRIVER CHANGE: #18-Joe Gibbs Racing
Iowa will see the XFINITY Series debut of 19-year-old Riley Herbst. The Las Vegas native finished 7th in the K&N Pro Series West standings in 2016, and the following year won his first ARCA Racing Series event at Pocono en route to a 5th-place rank in the standings. He enters Iowa 3rd in the ARCA standings for Joe Gibbs Racing’s effort, having finished 2nd to Sheldon Creed last week in Michigan. Herbst finished 12th in the ARCA race at Iowa last year. Advance Auto Parts sponsors his XFINITY effort.

DRIVER CHANGE: #22-Penske Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #60-Roush-Fenway Racing
Austin Cindric returns to Penske Racing, taking the place of Cup regular Paul Menard. Cindric again makes the lateral move from Roush-Fenway Racing’s #60 Ford, which this week will again be driven by Ty Majeski. Majeski made his XFINITY debut in this race last year, finishing 34th after a crash. Cindric finished 8th in last year’s Truck Series race here for Brad Keselowski Racing.

Also making his XFINITY debut this week is Justin Haley, currently 8th in the Truck Series standings in GMS Racing’s #24 Chevrolet. Haley takes the place of Cup regular Alex Bowman, who ended up 21st when the rain fell at Michigan.

After their withdrawal from the Michigan race following the parting of ways with driver Dylan Lupton, the #28 was this time not entered on the preliminary list for Sunday’s race.

Coming off his second-consecutive last-place finish, current LASTCAR XFINITY Series leader Jeff Green moves over to the #38 with J.J. Yeley swapping rides into the #93. Ryan Sieg remains in the #39, and looks to improve on his stunning 2nd-place run to William Byron in this race last year.

TEAM UPDATE: #61-Fury Race Cars LLC
Iowa is the fourth and final scheduled start for Fury Race Cars LLC, whose driver Kaz Grala has been competitive in each of those starts, including a near-win at Michigan. The story has caught the attention of FOX, which sent Alan Cavanna to interview Grala for Race Hub on Monday. As of this writing, plans for the rest of the season are still coming together.

DRIVER CHANGE: #74-Mike Harmon Racing
Mike Harmon returns to his own Chevrolet in place of B.J. McLeod, who ran 28th at Michigan.

MISSING: #98-Stewart-Haas Racing with Biagi DenBeste
Along with the Cup Invaders, the Biagi DenBeste #98 entry is not entered this week following Kevin Harvick’s 8th-place showing in Michigan.


Sunday, June 24, 2018
CUP Race 16 of 36
Toyota / Save Mart 350 at Sonoma
2017 Last-Place Finisher: Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.

This time, it’s the Cup Series that takes a week off. Next up is the annual visit to the Sonoma Raceway, where LASTCAR will be covering the event in the media center for the fifth time.

The listed reason “too slow” has only been to blame one time each in both the XFINITY and Truck Series. On the XFINITY side, it occurred March 27, 2004 during the Sharpie Professional 250 at Bristol. Last-place starter Donnie Neuenberger made it 26 laps into the event before his run ended in the #77 Moy Racing Ford. On the Truck side, it happened just over four months later on July 31, 2004, during the Line-X Spray-On Truck Bedliners 200 at Michigan. Flagged off the track after 8 laps was Loni Richardson, that year’s LASTCAR Truck Series Champion, whose #0 Value Tool & Engineering Chevrolet started 32nd in the 34-truck field.

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