Thursday, August 16, 2018

PREVIEW: A stacked Truck Series field leads off night race weekend at Bristol

PHOTO: DC2 Designs
Thursday, August 16, 2018
TRUCKS Race 16 of 23
UNOH 200 at Bristol
2017 Last-Place Finisher: Joe Nemechek

Even after two withdrawals by Tuesday, there remains a strong list of 38 trucks competing for the 32 starting spots in Thursday’s race. It’s the second biggest entry list of the season, just one fewer than Eldora. Six teams will miss the show. UPDATE: Make that three withdrawals, making it 37 for 32.

WITHDREW: #0-Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing
Camden Murphy's truck became the third withdrawal of the weekend in the lead-up to qualifying, joining the #12 and #63 (see below).

SPONSOR UPDATE: #3-Jordan Anderson Racing
Jordan Anderson welcomes sponsorship from Rusty's Off-Road Products, which has its logos on the hood and quarter-panels of the #3 Chevrolet. The "Fueled By Fans" fan-supported campaign continues as well with names of other companies and supporters on the rear decklid.

NEW TEAM: #9-CR7 Motorsports
Currently 19th in the ARCA Racing Series standings, Codie Rohrbaugh and his team CR7 Motorsports are making the jump to NASCAR’s top three series for the first time. Grant County Mulch, his backer in ARCA, has joined the effort, where he will run a #9 Chevrolet. The West Virginia native has a pair of K&N Pro Series East starts at Bristol, finishing 22nd in 2015 and 26th in 2016, but has not competed here since.

WITHDREW: #12-Young’s Motorsports
Randy Young’s team had originally entered the #12 for the first time since Eldora, but withdrew the truck by Tuesday without a listed driver.

DRIVER CHANGE: #15-Premium Motorsports
Stefan Parsons, son of NASCAR veteran, team owner, and TV personality Phil Parsons, is set to make his NASCAR national touring series debut. Sponsorship arrives from Phoenix Construction, the Florida-based firm owned by James Finch of the shuttered Phoenix Racing. This continues a partnership between Finch and Parsons that most recently included Phoenix Construction logos on Parsons’ #98 Ford driven then by Josh Wise.

MISSING: #17-DGR-Crosley
David Gilliland’s team scales back from two trucks to one, leaving behind Bo LeMastus and the #17 team. The #54 stands alone this week, this time with Riley Herbst in place of Matt Mills, who wrecked early at Michigan. Herbst returns to the series for the first time since his series debut at Gateway, where he finished 8th for Kyle Busch Motorsports. Then as now, he will be sponsored by Advance Auto Parts, along with “Terrible Herbst” and NOS Energy.

DRIVER CHANGE: #20-Young’s Motorsports
Tanner Thorson saddles up for his fifth Truck Series start of the season, taking the place of Tate Fogleman, 15th at Michigan. It will be Thorson’s first Bristol start.

NEW TEAM: #30-On Point Motorsports
Scott Lagasse, Jr. returns to Truck Series competition with a new team as well, fielded by crew chief Steve Lane. It is Lagasse's first series start since this year's Daytona opener, where he ran 5th for Young's Motorsports.

DRIVER CHANGE: #33-Reaume Brothers Racing
MISSING: #34-Reaume Brothers Racing
Like DGR-Crosley, Josh Reaume’s team has scaled back from two trucks to just one, leaving out both the #34 entry and driver B.J. McLeod. McLeod will instead focus on the XFINITY Series, both as the owner of the #8 and #78, and as driver of the #15 for JD Motorsports (see below). UPDATE: McLeod swapped into the #33 in place of Josh Reaume.

RETURNING: #38-Niece Motorsports
Al Niece’s team brings back its second truck for the first time since Eldora, and this time brings Ross Chastain, who will attempt to run triple-duty along with JD Motorsports’ #4 on Friday and Premium Motorsports’ #15 on Saturday. It would be Chastain’s fourth Truck Series start of the season, following DNFs in the previous three and no finishes better than 26th. The white truck carries quarter-panel sponsorship from Black Rifle Coffee Co.

RETURNING: #42-Chad Finley, Inc.
Welcome back Chad Finley and team, who come back to the circuit since their successful debut together at Gateway in June, where they finished 6th. With his first Truck Series start since 2015 out of the way, Finley now aims for his first Bristol start.

DRIVER CHANGE: #50-Beaver Motorsports
Gray Gaulding looks to pull double-duty at Bristol as the newest driver to take the wheel of Mark Beaver’s #50 Chevrolet. He takes the place of Reed Sorenson, who managed only a 28th-place showing at Michigan due to electrical issues.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Kyle Busch Motorsports
Harrison Burton rejoins the Truck Series circuit in place of Spencer Davis, who finished a disappointing 22nd at Michigan. Hunt Brothers Pizza joins as sponsor, having just revealed their throwback scheme for Kevin Harvick’s XFINITY Series effort at Darlington next month. UPDATE: Harrison Burton was sidelined by illness, so Christopher Bell took over the ride before qualifying.

WITHDREW: #63-MB Motorsports
J.J. Yeley entered in the #63 Chevrolet, but team withdrew for the first time this season. It will mark the first race the team has missed since this year’s Daytona opener, where Bobby Gerhart failed to qualify, and the first where the team hasn’t even entered since last fall at Las Vegas, when D.J. Copp fielded both the #63 and #83. Copp’s #83 will still run at Bristol, where Bayley Currey will again be driving.

RETURNING: #68-Clay Greenfield Motorsports
Clay Greenfield and his family’s #68 AMVETS Please Stand Chevrolet are back in action for the first time since Kentucky, aiming to make their fourth start of 2018. Last year, Greenfield made his first Bristol start in the series since 2013 and finished 26th, his best run since a 16th in 2010.

RETURNING: #75-Henderson Motorsports
Parker Kligerman and Charlie Henderson’s team rejoin the action under the lights in the Food Country USA Chevrolet, continuing Henderson’s long presence at Bristol. Kligerman has four Truck Series starts at Bristol, including an 8th with Henderson last year, and a track-best runner-up in 2012 to his Red Horse Racing teammate Timothy Peters.

MISSING: #87-NEMCO Motorsports
NEMCO Motorsports leaves their second truck in the shop, and Joe Nemechek will not be racing this Thursday, either.

RETURNING: #92-RBR Enterprises
Timothy Peters and team owner Ricky Benton rejoin the action at Bristol with the #92 Ford sponsored by BTS Tire & Wheel Distributors and Carquest Auto. Peters, the aforementioned 2012 winner of the race, has not started this event since 2016, not long before Red Horse closed its doors. He wasn’t even entered last year.

Now with a Cup Series start under his belt – and a second to come on Saturday – Jesse Little rejoins the Truck Series along with the JJL #97 crew. The truck carries sponsorship from Wings Over North Georgia and Visit Kingsport. Little has finished Top 20 in both his starts in this race, finishing 17th in 2016 and 13th last year.

RETURNING: #04-Roper Racing
Cory Roper’s cherry-red #04 is another part-time effort looking to break back into the field this week, eyeing their first green flag in the series since an 18th-place run in Iowa. Like the JJL team, this truck could be one to watch if it makes the field.


Friday, August 17, 2018
XFINITY Race 22 of 33
Food City 300 at Bristol
2017 Last-Place Finisher: David Starr

There are exactly 40 drivers entered for 40 spots, so all entrants will start the race.

DRIVER CHANGE: #3-Richard Childress Racing
Cup Series regulars predominate in Friday’s race, starting with Ty Dillon, fresh off his bizarre incident in last Sunday’s Cup race at Michigan. Dillon takes the place of Brendan Gaughan, who ran 12th last week in Mid-Ohio.

DRIVER CHANGE: #8-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Ray Black, Jr. rejoins the McLeod team in place of Cody Ware, who was parked at Mid-Ohio after a wreck ripped the passenger-side foam from the door. It will be Black’s sixth XFINITY start of the season and his first since Iowa, when he drove the #8 to a 28th-place finish. His best of four previous XFINITY starts at Bristol is a 14th for SS-Green Light Racing in 2017.

RETURNING: #12-Penske Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #22-Penske Racing
The #12 team is back for the first time since Watkins Glen, and Austin Cindric climbs in the Pirtek Ford. Cindric moves over from the #22, making way for Cup regular Joey Logano, also last seen at Watkins Glen, where he cruised to victory.

DRIVER CHANGE: #13-Motorsports Business Management
Team owner Carl Long takes the place of John Jackson in the third XFINITY Series entry, currently listed as a Toyota. Long has five previous Bristol starts in the XFINITY Series with his best coming just last year in the #13 when it was a Dodge. He finished 27th that day, seven laps down. UPDATE: Long and Timmy Hill swapped rides at the track with Hill in the #13.

DRIVER CHANGE: #15-JD Motorsports
B.J. McLeod takes the place of Katherine Legge, who enjoyed a strong showing in her series debut at Mid-Ohio before her car’s engine let go in the final laps. It will be McLeod’s sixth series start at Bristol, a track where he finished 20th this past spring in his own #78.

DRIVER CHANGE: #18-Joe Gibbs Racing
Kyle Busch looks to claim his 10th XFINITY Series win at Bristol in the NOS Energy Toyota. He takes the place of Kyle Benjamin, who ran 13th at Mid-Ohio.

Chase Elliott returns to GMS Racing’s #23 for the first time since the July race at Daytona, where engine woes left him 29th. He takes the place of Spencer Gallagher, who ran 8th at Mid-Ohio, his first XFNIITY start since Kentucky. Gallagher does not have a ride this weekend.

This year’s spring race at Bristol saw RSS Racing shuffle its driver lineup among its three cars following Ryan Sieg’s crash just hours before the race. It’s something similar this week as Jeff Green drives the #38, which will not be a “start-and-park” effort since he has returning sponsorship from C2 Freight Resources. J.J. Yeley’s full-race status is yet unknown as he takes the wheel of the #93, a LASTCAR mainstay.

DRIVER CHANGE: #42-Chip Ganassi Racing
Kyle Larson climbs aboard the #42 entry on the XFINITY side for the first time since his disappointing 27th-place showing at Watkins Glen, taking the place of Justin Marks, who ran 22nd at Mid-Ohio. Larson, who was denied a victory in this spring’s Cup race after a bump from Kyle Busch, is also 0-for-8 in the XFINITY races here with three runner-up finishes.

DRIVER CHANGE: #55-JP Motorsports
Following a disastrous opening lap at Mid-Ohio for Dylan Murcott, Bayley Currey rejoins JP Motorsports for the first time since Loudon, staying an extra day at the track following his run for D.J. Copp in Friday’s Truck Series race.

MISSING: #61-Fury Race Cars
Kaz Grala and the little team that could are noticeably absent from this week’s entry list, just the third race they’ve missed since their Charlotte debut. Grala finished 38th at Bristol this past spring for JGL Racing, eliminated in a crash after only 26 laps.

DRIVER CHANGE: #66-Motorsports Business Management
Timmy Hill regains his XFINITY Series ride from Tim Cowen, who ran 26th at Mid-Ohio. Hill is slated to run a Chevrolet in place of the Dodge most often fielded for this team. UPDATE: Hill and Carl Long swapped rides with Long in this #66.

DRIVER CHANGE: #78-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
California’s Jairo Avila, Jr. will make his NASCAR national series debut this Friday, taking the place of Tommy Joe Martins in the #78. Most recently, Avila ran most of the 2016 K&N Pro Series East schedule, including a 22nd-place finish on the Bristol track.

Andy Lally is set to return next week in Road America, where he expects to do more than his 15th-place finish at Mid-Ohio. In his place on the short track is Josh Williams, sponsorship from Sleep Well, and a brand-new paint scheme. Williams has finished 22nd in both of his two previous Bristol starts.

CUP INVADERS: #3-Ty Dillon, #18-Kyle Busch, #22-Joey Logano, #23-Chase Elliott, #42-Kyle Larson

Saturday, August 18, 2018
CUP Race 24 of 36
Bass Pro Shops / NRA Night Race at Bristol
2017 Last-Place Finisher: Jeffrey Earnhardt

There are 41 drivers entered for 40 spots, meaning that for just the second time all season and the first time since July 4th weekend at Daytona, one driver will miss the show after qualifying.

DRIVER CHANGE: #7-Premium Motorsports
J.J. Yeley and sponsor Steakhouse Elite return to the circuit for the first time since last month at Pocono, and join the #7 team for the first time since Pocono’s June race, taking the place of Garrett Smithley, 32nd at Michigan.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Rick Ware Racing
RETURNING: #52-Rick Ware Racing
Rick Ware’s team returns to two-car operation for the first time since Sonoma with no drivers nor sponsors listed as of Tuesday. The #51's driver and sponsor are to be determined while B.J. McLeod and sponsor Jacob Companies move to the #52, a Chevrolet. UPDATE: The #52 will be a Ford. UPDATE2: The #51 will be a Chevrolet and Reed Sorenson will drive with sponsorship from Trading View and a new purple-and-white wrap.

MANUFACTURER CHANGE: #66-Motorsports Business Management
Timmy Hill to run a Toyota after fielding a Chevrolet at Michigan. A photo from the Rick Ware Racing shop showed the #66 from Michigan in the background, perhaps indicating that the Chevy was once a Ware car. Hill has struggled in his three previous Cup starts here, finishing no better than 37th and finishing last in the spring of 2014. UPDATE: The team has acquired primary sponsorship once again with the Beef Jerky Outlet on the hood and quarter-panels.

SPONSOR UPDATE: #72-TriStar Motorsports
The rising popularity of blockchain technology continues this weekend as a third different firm in the industry is backing the #72 team. This time around, it’s custom blockchain solutions. In addition,, the primary sponsor on Timmy Hill’s Cup car last week at Michigan, has purchased space for their logo on the rear decklid.

DRIVER CHANGE: #96-Gaunt Brothers Racing
Jesse Little is back in the Cup Series for the first time since his series debut at Kentucky, and this time takes Jeffrey Earnhardt’s place in the Gaunt Brothers’ #96 Toyota. Sponsorship for the effort is still to be announced.

Last Sunday’s Cup race saw a bizarre incident where the battery came out of Timmy Hill’s Chevrolet and Ty Dillon ran over it, ending his day with a hard crash. While definitively cited as a crash (and also not a last-place finish), the confusion over what Dillon struck stirs memories of another reason out – “no reason.” In all of NASCAR last-place history, there is perhaps no finish more mysterious. It occurred only once, October 5, 1963 at the quarter-mile Tar Heel Speeedway, where Richard Petty won that day on his home track in Randleman, NC. Roy Tyner made eight laps, but the reason why his #8 1962 Chevrolet ran no further has been lost to history, cited only as “no reason.” Tyner would go on to be one of NASCAR’s longest-running independents, making 311 starts from 1957 to 1970. Curiously, he’s tied with “The King” for 15 Cup Series last-place finishes.

1 comment:

Michael said...

Driver change in the 51 car driver will be Reed Sorenson who will make his first cup start for rick ware racing