Thursday, October 18, 2018

PREVIEW: New associate sponsors for StarCom and MBM among entry list stories at Kansas

PHOTO: @ChaseBriscoe5
Saturday, October 20, 2018
XFINITY Race 30 of 33
Round of 8, Race 1 of 3
Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas
2017 Last-Place Finisher: Jeff Green

There are 42 drivers entered for 40 spots in Saturday’s XFINITY Series race, meaning two drivers will miss the show. UPDATE: Make that 43 cars with the addition of a fourth RSS Racing car.

DRIVER CHANGE: #15-JD Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #01-JD Motorsports
B.J. McLeod runs double-duty once again this weekend, but this time moves from Johnny Davis’ #15 Chevrolet to the #01, taking the place of Landon Cassill, who will only run Cup this weekend (see below). Taking McLeod’s place in the #15 is a returning Quin Houff, who we last saw run 31st last month at Richmond driving Davis’ #4.

DRIVER CHANGE: #8-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Jairo Avila, Jr. rejoins the McLeod team for his first XFINITY start since his series debut at Bristol, where he ran 20th in the #78. Avila takes the place of Matt Mills, who ran 28th at Dover.

DRIVER CHANGE: #13-Motorsports Business Management
DRIVER CHANGE: #66-Motorsports Business Management
Timmy Hill drives in place of Carl Long in the #13 as part of his double-duty sweep at Kansas (see below). Hill’s spot in the #66 goes to Bobby Dale Earnhardt in a Chevrolet. According to Long’s Facebook page, Earnhardt has been working for MBM since 2014, though he’s scaled back to part-time this year. No less than four sponsors will be backing the #66 – HABCO Material, CIA Insurance, WT Contracting, and Lucky D’s Barbecue.

RETURNING: #26-Tullman-Walker Racing
Kansas marks the third attempt of the season for Max Tullman and the #26 Ford Mustang following a 30th-place run in Iowa and a 23rd at Las Vegas. The car will be sponsored by Eskata and Zoomi.

NEW TEAM: #37-RSS Racing
Added as a late entry Thursday is a fourth car from Ryan Sieg's team for J.J. Yeley, moved from the #38 (see below). Whether or not this car will run the full race is to be announced. Car #37 hasn't made an XFINITY start since September 14, 2013, when Tanner Berryhill drove his family's Dodge at Chicagoland.

Angela Ruch, one of Derrike Cope’s nieces, looks to make her second XFINITY start of the season and first since a 30th-place showing at Loudon. Unlike at “The Magic Mile,” where she ran for B.J. McLeod Motorsports, Ruch will drive for RSS Racing, taking J.J. Yeley’s place in the #38. It marks the first XFINITY race without Yeley in the field since Road America, where Brian Henderson ran in his place. UPDATE: Yeley has since been entered in the #37 (see above).

TEAM UPDATE: #55-JP Motorsports
Although the preliminary entry list did not show a driver for the #55 Prevagen Toyota, Bayley Currey tweeted that he will once again be driving the car on Saturday, his ninth XFINITY start of the season and seventh in a row. The same tweet indicated the team’s new associate sponsors from Dover - Rollin’ Smoke Barbecue and Touched By Pros – will once again run on the car.

DRIVER CHANGE: #60-Roush-Fenway Racing
RETURNING: #98-Stewart-Haas Racing with Biagi DenBeste
Chase Briscoe returns to the #98 team for the first time since his victory on the Roval, this time with Nutri Chomps as sponsor. Briscoe makes the move from the #60, which this week goes to Ty Majeski, his tenth XFINITY start of the season and first since his 34th-place run on the Roval. Majeski looks for a turnaround with his 7th at Iowa standing as his only finish better than 22nd and four DNFs all due to crashes.

Josh Williams regains the #90 Chevrolet for the first time since his 20th-place run in Las Vegas, taking the place of Brandon Brown, 22nd at Dover. It will be Williams’ first start at Kansas.

Sunday, October 21, 2018
CUP Race 32 of 36
Round of 12, Race 3 of 3
Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas
2017 Last-Place Finisher: Derrike Cope

There are 40 drivers for 40 spots, the second-straight full field in 2018 and the ninth in the last ten races. It is the 14th full field in 2018, meaning that 40-car lists in the remaining four rounds will match the current total of 18 short fields this season.

DRIVER CHANGE: #7-Premium Motorsports
Reed Sorenson returns to the second Jay Robinson entry, taking the place of D.J. Kennington, who struggled to a 34th-place showing at Talladega. As in many Kansas races, Harrah’s North Kansas City is the listed sponsor for the Chevrolet.

MANUFACTURER CHANGE: #23-Front Row Motorsports
One week after driving a Ford for the first time since Bob Jenkins acquired BK Racing, J.J. Yeley is once again listed in a Toyota, and this time without a listed sponsor.

One week after Cody Ware finished under power for the first time in eight career Cup starts, B.J. McLeod returns to the #51, which also swaps from a Chevrolet back to a Ford.

MISSING: #62-Beard Motorsports
Brendan Gaughan closed out his 2018 “restrictor-plate only” campaign with a 12th-place finish at Talladega. The team closes out 2018 with a 28th and 12th at Daytona and a 22nd and 12th at Talladega. If past history is any indication, expect their next attempt to be the 2019 Daytona 500.

RETURNING: #66-Motorsports Business Management
Timmy Hill and the blue Ternio Toyota rejoin the circuit for the first time since their last-place run at Dover. Most significantly, according to the team’s Facebook, it will be the first time MBM has run with their own engine program after employing PME Engines these last two years. The team is also looking ahead to 2019, when they plan to enter a second car at Daytona in addition to “at least” two of their current three XFINITY cars.

MISSING: #97-Obaika Racing
Victor Obaika’s team isn’t entered this week, one week after David Starr was the only driver sent home in qualifying. While Starr remains with Jimmy Means Racing in Saturday’s XFINITY race, the next start for Obaika’s Cup effort is to be announced.

DRIVER CHANGE: #99-StarCom Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #00-StarCom Racing
Landon Cassill moves from the #99 to the #00 to take place of Joey Gase, who isn’t entered this week. Gase finished 18th at Talladega, matching Cassill’s season-best run for the #00 last month in Las Vegas. Kyle Weatherman takes the seat of the #99, his own first start since Vegas, and brings with him at least two new associate sponsors – Superior Essex on the TV Panel and Smokin’ Guns Barbecue on the lower quarter-panels. Sunday will mark the one-year anniversary of StarCom's first Cup start, which yielded a last-place run for Derrike Cope.

Saturday, October 27, 2018
TRUCKS Race 20 of 23
Round of 6, Race 1 of 3
Texas Roadhouse 200 at Martinsville
2017 Last-Place Finisher: Chris Windom

The Truck Series takes the week off and returns the following Saturday on the short track at Martinsville.

Aric Almirola’s win last Sunday in Talladega marked the first series victory for car #10 since November 3, 2002, when Johnny Benson, Jr. earned his first and only Cup win at Rockingham. Over those nearly 16 years, car #10 finished last in Cup just four times, including the first career last-place runs for Scott Riggs (March 18, 2007 at Atlanta), Patrick Carpentier (May 3, 2008 at Richmond), and Danica Patrick (October 6, 2013 at Kansas). Patrick authored the number’s most recent last-place run in the series last June at Michigan.

Monday, October 15, 2018

K&N WEST: David Hibbard’s second K&N race not one at all

Hibbard's car at the Las Vegas dirt track earlier this year.
PHOTO: NBC Sports via
by William Soquet Guest Contributor

David Hibbard scored the first last-place finish of his NASCAR K&N Pro Series West career in Saturday night’s Toyota / NAPA Auto Care 200 at All American Speedway when his #64 Dave’s Flooring / Ames Rubber Chevrolet fell out with transmission issues without completing a lap. The finish came in Hibbard’s second career series start.

David Hibbard is a name known to few, if any, stock car racing fans. Hibbard’s wheelhouse is sprint car racing, as the Oregon native has gained notoriety in the Pacific Northwest for his acumen in that discipline. The 38-year-old has been racing sprints in Oregon for some time, running the inaugural Southern Oregon Sprint Series season in 2013 and finished seventh in points. He then went on a tear this summer, winning five races. Hibbard also has a son, Bailey, who is also a sprint car racer. Bailey is proving to be a chip off the old block, scoring top-fives in sprint car A-mains this summer. David made his debut in a second entry from the Rich DeLong stable, starting last in the field but working his way up to fifteenth, finishing three laps down.

Last week's entry list showed sixteen cars, which is quickly becoming average to above-average. Former series champion Chris Eggleston headlined the cast of part-timers, driving a one-off for Bill McAnally Racing. Taylor Canfield returned with a new car number and a new paint scheme after a less-than-great debut at Idaho. Travis Milburn returned for another ride in the 08 car, and Nick Joanides returned with his part-time schedule in the 77 car. Rich DeLong returned in his familiar #84, and Rudy Vanderwal was entered again in the #34.

Eggleston led the first practice session, wheeling his #50 to a lap of 13.951 seconds around the one-third-mile track. Hibbard ran the most laps of anybody in the field with 56 but could only manage a lap eight-and-a-half tenths slower than Eggleston, slowest of anyone in the field. Second practice was much the same story as the first – Eggleston led, and Hibbard was slowest. In qualifying, Hibbard still trailed the field, a second behind polesitter Cole Rouse.

Hibbard’s effort came to an end early Saturday night. His #64 machine went down during pace laps with transmission issue, with vague “mechanical” issues as the originally listed culprit. The race’s 15th finisher, Derek Kraus, completed less than half of the laps but finished running. An early spin with Thorn derailed what was already a below-average night for the Wisconsin native, and he logged laps from there on out, completing 92. Rudy Vanderwal was the next retiree from the race, with brakes at fault for his first DNF of 2018. His son Kody fell out with drive train issues after 117 laps. Eggleston rounded out the Bottom Five, his Toyota careening hard into the Turn 3 wall on a restart near the three-quarters mark of the race.

With one race to go, all three LASTCAR championships have been clinched. Chevrolet has outscored all other manufacturers combined, and Patriot Motorsports Group has outscored all other teams combined. Jesse Iwuji has three last-place finishes, while no other driver has more than one.

16) #64-David Hibbard / 0 laps / mechanical
15) #16-Derek Kraus / 92 laps / running
14) #34-Rudy Vanderwal / 102 laps / brakes
13) #43-Kody Vanderwal / 117 laps / drive line
12) #50-Chris Eggleston / 149 laps / crash / led 18 laps

1st) Chevrolet (9)
2nd) Toyota, Ford (2)

1st) Patriot Motorsports Group (7)
2nd) B&B Motorsports, Bill McAnally Racing, Flyin Dutchman Racing, Hollis Thackeray, Norman Levin Racing, Rich DeLong Jr. (1)


Sunday, October 14, 2018

CUP: Not all Fords had it easy at Talladega – Front Row Motorsports struggled with mechanical woes

McDowell's crew attends to the right-front hub at Talladega.
Michael McDowell picked up the 30th last-place finish of his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career in Sunday’s 500 at the Talladega Superspeedway when his #34 Speedco / Rotella Ford finished under power, completing 155 of the race’s 193 laps.

The finish, which came in McDowell’s 280th series start, was his second of the season and first since the spring race at Las Vegas, 28 races ago. In the Cup Series last-place rankings, it was the 31st for the #34, the 34th where the driver finished running, and the 686th for Ford. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 43rd for the #34, the 44th where the car was running, and the 945th for Ford.

In doing so, McDowell broke a tie with the late J.D. McDuffie for the fifth-most last-place finishes across all three of NASCAR's top divisions.

Ever since Las Vegas, McDowell has enjoyed a handful of mid-pack performances in his first year for Front Row Motorsports, not to mention a brilliant run at Daytona in July. After a 9th-place finish in this year’s Daytona 500, McDowell qualified 8th for the 400 and led 20 laps, pacing the field as early as Lap 89 and as late as Lap 113 before he was collected in a pile-up with just five laps to go in regulation. It was the third of five DNFs the Phoenix native had collected since Las Vegas, all of them due to crashes. With five top-twenty finishes in the last ten races headed to Talladega, McDowell looked to turn things around on the plate tracks.

McDowell was one of 41 drivers competing for spots in the 40-car field, and one of the 36 locked-in by virtue of his Charter. He ran 27th in the lone practice session and came just two-hundredths of a second short of making Round 2 with the 14th-best lap of 192.509mph (49.743 seconds). Further back, two-tenths of a second sent home Obaika Racing, which late in the week hired David Starr to attempt their first Cup Series race. Using both a hauler and car acquired from BK Racing, Starr’s #97 Vroom! Brands / Brand South Africa Toyota ran faster than two Chartered cars, but was sent home for not catching 38th-place Landon Cassill in StarCom Racing’s #99 Chevrolet.

The 40th and final starting spot was to go to Cody Ware, the second Chartered car Starr beat in qualifying. Ware’s turn in the #51 Jacob Companies Chevrolet yielded the slowest lap of the session, a lap of 183.136mph (52.289 seconds). However, 39th-place qualifier Corey LaJoie failed his first go-round in post-qualifying inspection, sending the #72 Winn-Dixie Chevrolet to the back of the grid for Sunday. LaJoie, whose car passed inspection on the second go-round, would incur a redundant tail-end penalty on Sunday for unapproved adjustments, soon to be followed by 37th-place starter Joey Gase (#00 PFK Foundation Chevrolet) and 34th-place Kyle Larson (#42 Credit One Bank Chevrolet).

On Sunday’s pace laps, LaJoie held the 40th spot on the high side of Row 20 with Ware to his inside. Both dropped to the back a second time after Larson joined them. Falling back voluntarily were Premium Motorsports teammates D.J. Kennington (starting 33rd in the #7 Wilride Transport Ltd. Chevrolet) and Ross Chastain (36th in the #15 Xchange of America / Solomon Plumbing Chevrolet). After sorting themselves out, Kennington pulled to the inside of LaJoie in the final row with Ware to the inside of Chastain in Row 19.

When the green flag dropped, Kennington trailed in the high lane, but caught Ware to his inside, putting the #51 back to last as the field crossed the stripe. Moments later, however, the group screamed past 16th-place qualifier David Ragan, who was carrying sponsorship from the race’s title sponsor Ragan had been running among the leaders on Lap 1 when his car lost oil pressure in the outside lane, forcing him to jump to the third lane and out of danger. The #38 then fell to the back of the field, losing a lap as he made it down to the apron. The crew looked under the hood, noticing just 13 pounds of oil pressure, then managed to get him back on track on Lap 6, five laps back of the leaders. Ragan then lost oil pressure just past pit exit, forcing him to the garage on Lap 9, just seconds before Jeffrey Earnhardt drew the first caution for spinning the Gaunt Brothers’ #96 Xtreme Concepts / iK9 Toyota. By Lap 29, the Ragan crew managed to get the #38 out on track a second time, 20 laps down in last, but at full speed.

Front Row Motorsports’ day went from bad to worse around Lap 77, when McDowell first encountered trouble. As with Ragan, McDowell pulled behind the wall under green, citing a problem with the right-front wheel. The crew discovered a problem with the right-front hub, and though’s RaceView pulled the #34 off the screen on Lap 87, the team continued to work on their repairs. McDowell took last from his teammate on Lap 98, then on Lap 114 was rolling again in the garage area, just in time for the caution that ended Stage 2. The Ford rejoined the race 37 laps down, then lost a 38th on the ensuing restart as he pulled high to let the leaders pass. At the time, all 40 entrants were still running with much of the Final Stage left to run.

For the rest of the afternoon, McDowell and Ragan didn’t lose another lap, but neither were able to climb past the handful of drivers having trouble further up the running order. On top of Earnhardt’s early spin, single-car incidents involving Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Larson, and Jamie McMurray did not eliminate all three drivers from competition – in fact, both Johnson and Larson finished on the lead lap in 7th and 11th, respectively. Thus, on Lap 150, all lead-lap cars were eliminated from last-place contention, and with the same 18-lap gap between McDowell and Ragan, McDowell all but secured last place on Lap 170, pending a green-white-checkered finish. While the race did end up going into overtime due to late accidents, no driver in the Bottom Five wrecked out, keeping the final five positions largely unchanged.

McDowell secured the 40th spot by his 18-lap margin over Ragan. Ware took 38th in a three-way tie with two other drivers eight laps down to the leaders. First was Earnhardt, who lost five laps after his spin, then another three by the finish. Rounding out the group was J.J. Yeley, the day’s only DNF, after his Ford rear-ended a sliding Alex Bowman with two laps to go in regulation. Yeley, whose #23 Steakhouse Elite Ford made the switch from Toyota for the first time since Front Row Motorsports owner Bob Jenkins acquired the team in August, ended up the third FRM car in the Bottom Five.

Despite a comparatively lackluster battle for the lead, a few underdogs did prevail with strong runs:

Still searching for a ride in 2019, A.J. Allmendinger led a lap in his #47 Kroger ClickList Chevrolet and finished 6th, his second top-ten finish in the last three races.

Regan Smith lost his drafting partner on the final lap, but managed to steer the Leavine Family Racing team’s #95 Procore Chevrolet to a 10th-place finish, Smith’s best finish since relieving Kasey Kahne, and the team’s best run since Kahne’s 4th at Daytona in July.

Just on the outside of the Top 10 came Brendan Gaughan, 12th in his second-straight plate race for Beard Motorsports in the #62 Beard Oil / South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet.

Joey Gase managed to rebound from his DNQ in the Truck Series race to finish 18th, his own season-best, improving even on his 25th in the crash-marred Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona.

*This marked the first time car #34 finished last in a Cup Series race at Talladega.
*It was McDowell’s second last-place finish in a Cup race at Talladega, and his first since May 6, 2012, when his #98 Curb Records Ford fell out with a vibration after 2 laps of the Aaron’s 499.
*The 155 laps McDowell completed were the second-most of any Cup Series last-place finisher at Talladega. The lead remains with the late Marty Robbins, who was disqualified for a restrictor plate violation after he turned 179 laps on May 7, 1972.
*This was also just the second time that a Cup Series driver finished last at Talladega while still under power at the checkered flag. The only other instance was on May 1, 2005, when Kyle Petty’s #45 Georgia-Pacific / Brawny Dodge finished 88 laps down in the Aaron’s 499.

40) #34-Michael McDowell / 155 laps / running
39) #38-David Ragan / 173 laps / running
38) #51-Cody Ware / 185 laps / running
37) #96-Jeffrey Earnhardt / 185 laps / running
36) #23-J.J. Yeley / 185 laps / crash

1st) StarCom Racing, TriStar Motorsports (4)
2nd) Rick Ware Racing (3)
3rd) BK Racing, Front Row Motorsports, Furniture Row Racing, Motorsports Business Management, Penske Racing, Premium Motorsports (2)
4th) Chip Ganassi Racing, Germain Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, JTG-Daugherty Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports, Roush-Fenway Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing (1)

1st) Chevrolet (16)
2nd) Ford (8)
3rd) Toyota (7)


TRUCKS: A rare last-place run for Greenfield on a day where underdogs delight at Talladega

PHOTO: Christian Koelle
Clay Greenfield picked up the 3rd last-place finish of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career in Saturday’s Fr8Auctions 250 at the Talladega Superspeedway when his #68 AMVETS Please Stand Chevrolet fell out with suspension issues after he completed 47 of 94 laps.

The finish, which occurred in Greenfield’s 42nd series start, was his first of the season and his first in the series in over six years, dating back to September 28, 2012 at Las Vegas, 137 races ago. In the Truck Series last-place rankings, it was the 3rd for the #68, the 14th for suspension issues, and the 362nd for Chevrolet. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 26th for the #68, the 38th for the suspension, and the 1,630th for Chevrolet.

Talladega marked just the sixth attempt of the season for Greenfield and his family’s #68 team. The year began with a career-best 3rd-place starting spot at Daytona, a night that ended with a late-race crash in Turn 4 that left him a disappointing 22nd. Following a 28th-place run for TJL Racing, Greenfield was supposed to bring his team back to Charlotte, but they withdrew. He finished 20th the next time out at Texas, 21st at Kentucky, then ran 20th in the Bristol night race, only to be incurred a penalty for dropping ballast on the race track.

Through it all, the AMVETS veterans’ organization continued its support of Greenfield’s #68 team, and invited him to the group’s national convention in August, where he was awarded a lifetime membership. Greenfield’s patriotic-themed Chevrolet carried the message “Please Stand,” referencing the group’s stance on the ongoing “Take A Knee” protests. Greenfield’s own tie with the NFL is his wife Tandra, a former cheerleader for the Tennessee Titans who he married in 2015.

This newest backing from AMVETS came after several small businesses supported his team, including Clutch Defense, Titan Paint Sprayers, and 1-800-Pavement, the latter tied to Greenfield’s part-time work in the paving industry. The black pavement scheme gained its most attention in the final laps of the 2013 Last Chance Qualifier at Eldora, where his RAM raced door-to-door with Norm Benning’s Chevrolet for the final transfer spot. Greenfield looked to do much better at Talladega, where he’d earned a career-best 8th just last fall.

Greenfield was one of 36 drivers entered to attempt Saturday’s 32-truck field. After not running a lap in opening practice, he ranked 17th of 26 drivers in Happy Hour, then ran 18th in qualifying with a lap of 178.271mph (53.716 seconds). Fastest of the four drivers to miss the show was defending last-placer Norm Benning in the #6 H&H Transport Chevrolet. Joining him were Joey Gase in the #83 PFK Foundation / Sparks Energy, Inc. Chevrolet, Ray Ciccarelli in the #0 CMI Installations Chevrolet, and Jamie Mosley, slowest overall in Premium Motorsports’ #15 VIP Racing Experience Chevrolet.

Starting 32nd and last on Saturday was Wendell Chavous, who announced on Monday that Talladega would be his 50th and final series start so he could spend more time with his family and his business. Following the DNQ of his teammate Mosley in the #15, Chavous’ #49 SobrietyNation Chevrolet put up a time of just 173.507mph (55.191 seconds), ranking him last of the five drivers needing Owner Points to make the show.

Prior to the green, Chavous would be joined by no less than seven drivers sent to the rear for pre-race penalties. Five were sent there due to unapproved adjustments: 5th-place Johnny Sauter (#21 ISM Connect Chevrolet), 10th-place Austin Hill (#02 Young’s Building Systems / Randco Chevrolet), 11th-place Stewart Friesen (#52 We Build America Chevrolet), 20th-place Parker Kligerman (#75 Food Country USA Chevrolet), and 31st-place John Hunter Nemechek (#8 Fleetwing Corporation Chevrolet). In addition, 25th-place Scott Lagasse, Jr. (#30 Toyota) was sent to the back for an engine change, 28th-place Myatt Snider (#13 RideTV Ford) for a tire change, and FS1 reported 16th-place Justin Haley went to the back because NASCAR didn’t like where the cooling devices were located on his #24 Fraternal Order of Eagles Chevrolet.

Greenfield, meanwhile, dropped back in the early laps, and appeared to be among the six trucks who fell back of the lead pack in a single-file group by Lap 3. On Lap 11, he had completely lost touch with the trucks around him, and went a lap down as the field roared by to his high side in Turn 1. By the time the race restarted after Stage 2, Greenfield was behind the wall, done for the day with suspension issues. Chris Knight tweeted that he had come down pit road with smoke trailing from his Chevrolet.

Intense, but surprisingly clean racing kept the Bottom Five open for much of the race. 31st ended up with Las Vegas last-placer Tanner Thorson, who also suffered suspension issues on the #12 K&L Ready Mix / Nyloxin Chevrolet following a flat left-rear tire that sent him spinning down the backstretch. Joe Nemechek qualified a strong 7th in the #87 Fleetwing Corporation Chevrolet and led his first two laps of the season before a vibration eliminated him at the 50-lap mark. Rounding out the group were two of the drivers eliminated in the day’s biggest accident on Lap 59. After he was collected in the Turn 4 pileup, Parker Kligerman’s #75 careened down the banking and crossed the nose of Bo LeMastus’ #54 Fred’s / Crosley Brands Toyota. Kligerman then struck the inside wall nearly head-on. After crews came to the scene, Kligerman climbed out and lay on his back for a moment before he walked away, apparently without serious injury.

The wreck that collected Kligerman and LeMastus was triggered by one of a number of intriguing underdog storylines. Plate-race specialist Chris Fontaine fielded a chassis called “Freak,” a truck built for Bobby Hamilton Motorsports’ Dodge effort in 1998. The full pedigree of the truck is discussed in this article by writer NASCARMAN at this link. On Saturday, Fontaine had worked his way up to 2nd, pushing Grant Enfinger to lthe lead with 38 laps to go. Moments later, Fontaine crossed the nose of a closing Justin Haley, sending him spinning down, then back up the track. While the driver was uninjured, there was little left of “Freak” as the #47 Glenden Enterprises Toyota was towed to the infield, 24th at the finish.

When we last heard of Jim Rosenblum’s team FDNY Racing, the team had reportedly shut down permanently after driver Bryan Duzat failed to qualify for this year’s season opener at Daytona. But when the preliminary entry list for Talladega was posted, Dauzat and the #28 FDNY / O.B. Builders Chevrolet were right there. This time around, the driver made the cut, squeezing his way into the 27th and final spot set on speed by a half-second over Norm Benning. In the race, Dauzat flirted with the 20th spot, then jumped to 6th after the big wreck and 5th with 20 laps to go. After slipping back to 13th in the final laps, Dauzat climbed back up to 8th by the finish – the first-ever top-ten finish for team owner Rosenblum after 35 years in NASCAR.

After starting 22nd, owner-driver Jennifer Jo Cobb ran up to the 6th spot on Lap 29, firmly defending her spot in a single-file draft. Her #10 Osage Contractors / Chevrolet then climbed up to the front row to start the final stage, only to be moved to the middle lane and out of the lead draft. She then worked her way up to the 11th spot at the finish, closing out the day with three laps led during the yellow for the big wreck. These were the first laps Cobb led since Chicagoland, and the first time she’d ever led multiple laps in a Truck Series race.

Austin Hill came to Talladega with a career-best 8th two months ago in Mosport and six top-ten finishes, and though he’d finished 10th three times before Saturday, Talladega’s was a career run. Hill led two laps early, then found himself out front for the start of Stage 2, where he led another six circuits. Third on the restart for the final stage, Hill was black flagged for passing Cobb below the yellow line, and lost a lap with 18 to go. He then earned the Lucky Dog when Todd Gilliland wrecked off Turn 4 with six laps to go, and just like that, the #02 was back battling into the Top 5 – only to be ensnared in the last-lap tangle after race winner Timothy Peters dumped Noah Gragson. Teammate Max Tullman in the #20 Chevrolet finished one spot in front of Hill, his first top-ten finish in just his third series start, and his first run better than 23rd.

Driving through the smoke in a #3 Rusty’s Off Road Toyota without the manufacturer’s crest on the dislodged grille of his machine, fan favorite Jordan Anderson was all smiles with a 7th-place finish, backing up his 9th-place run in this year’s Daytona opener with a new career-best. Anderson had made just one Talladega start in the series before – three years ago, when he ran 19th for Mike Harmon, who dropped charges brought against Anderson earlier this month relating to one of his race trucks.

Robby Lyons earned a ride in Josh Reaume's #33 Sunwest Construction Chevrolet and worked his way into contention in the final laps. Making his first Truck Series start since his release from Premium Motorsports, Lyons made a bid for a top-ten finish before he ended up 14th, his best run since a 13th in this year's Daytona race and the best-ever for Reaume's young team.

To cap it off, Wendell Chavous closed out his Truck Series career in style. Running 7th just moments before Gragson wrecked, he climbed into the 5th position at the moment of caution, then pulled alongside race winner Timothy Peters as both took the checkered flag.’s leaderboard even showed Chavous across the stripe first, though the official results would later be set by the scoring loops. Prior to Saturday, Chavous’ best finish had been 12th, which came both at Daytona and Texas earlier this year. It was also the first top-five finish for Jay Robinson’s Truck Series team in 112 combined starts dating back to 2015.

*This marked the first last-place run for the #68 in Truck Series competition since Greenfield’s first last-place run at Charlotte on May 18, 2012, when his #68 @ClayGreenfield RAM fell out with power steering issues after 6 laps of the North Carolina Education Lottery 200. The number had never trailed a Truck race at Talladega.

32) #68-Clay Greenfield / 47 laps / suspension
31) #12-Tanner Thorson / 48 laps / suspension
30) #87-Joe Nemechek / 50 laps / vibration / led 2 laps
29) #54-Bo LeMastus / 58 laps / crash / led 1 lap
28) #75-Parker Kligerman / 58 laps / crash

1st) MB Motorsports (6)
2nd) Beaver Motorsports, Copp Motorsports (3)
3rd) NEMCO Motorsports (2)
4th) Clay Greenfield Motorsports, Mike Harmon Racing, Norm Benning Racing, TJL Racing, Young’s Motorsports (1)

1st) Chevrolet (19)


Thursday, October 11, 2018

PREVIEW: The departure of Kahne and three Truck Series drivers among Talladega entry list storylines

PHOTO: Parker Kligerman's Instagram (pkligerman)
Saturday, October 13, 2018
TRUCKS Race 19 of 23
Round of 8, Race 3 of 3
Fr8Auctions 250 at Talladega
2017 Last-Place Finisher: Norm Benning

The Truck Series returns to action this Saturday for their first race since Las Vegas. The preliminary entry list sees 36 drivers for 32 spots, meaning that four will miss the show. Two drivers will be eliminated from Playoff contention, pruning the field to six at Martinsville.

DRIVER CHANGE: #0-Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing
Ray Ciccarelli steps in for Camden Murphy, who was withdrawn at Las Vegas. Ciccarelli looks to make his third start of the season, his first since Mosport, and will attempt to qualify Cobb’s second truck for the first time since his DNQ at Eldora. CMI Installation is the listed sponsor.

On September 24, GMS Racing parted ways with Cody Coughlin “due to unforeseen issues with additional sponsorship needed.” Coughlin, 11th in the points after Las Vegas, will be replaced this week by Spencer Gallagher and his family’s Allegiant Airlines sponsorship.

DRIVER CHANGE: #12-Young’s Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #20-Young’s Motorsports
Randy Young shuffles his driver lineup once again, moving Tanner Thorson from the #20 to the #12, taking the place of Tate Fogleman, who isn’t entered this week. Taking Thorson’s place in the #12 is Max Tullman, back on the circuit for the first time since a 30th-place showing at Mosport.

DRIVER CHANGE: #15-Premium Motorsports
Five months after making his return to the Truck Series at Kansas, Jamie Mosley is entered in Jay Robinson’s #15 this week, taking the place of Ross Chastain. Mosley ran 28th at Kansas for Beaver Motorsports, which isn’t entered this week (see below).

After reportedly shutting down after Daytona, Jim Rosenblum’s team FDNY Racing is back for at least one more start, bringing back short tracker Bryan Dauzat in the #28 FDNY Chevrolet. Dauzat faces a tall order in qualifying as his entry has the fewest Owner Points of any on the list.

DRIVER CHANGE: #30-On Point Motorsports
Following a short night in Bristol, Scott Lagasse, Jr. returns to On Point Motorsports. He takes the place of Austin Theirault, whose return to Las Vegas yielded a strong 8th-place finish. is the listed sponsor for Talladega, and the truck will run a white scheme instead of black as at Bristol and Vegas.

DRIVER CHANGE: #33-Reaume Brothers Racing
Welcome back Robby Lyons, who we haven’t seen in the Truck Series since his most recent start for Jay Robinson at Kentucky. Lyons’ sponsor, Sunwest Construction, follows him this week to the Reaume Brothers Racing team. Lyons takes the place of Reaume himself, who the preliminary entry list showed as this week’s driver, taking the place of J.J. Yeley at Las Vegas. The truck will be white in place of the black scheme used for much of this season.

MISSING: #38-Niece Motorsports
TEAM UPDATE: #45-Niece Motorsports
Al Niece enters just one of his two trucks this week, leaving the #38 at the shop and T.J. Bell without a ride. Since Las Vegas, there has also been an update as to primary driver Justin Fontaine in the #45. On September 19, Fontaine said he would step away from NASCAR at season’s end, citing his family’s stress and a lack of sponsorship. Fontaine will close out the schedule, and is still entered Saturday in the #45 ProMATIC Automation / Superior Essex Chevrolet.

MISSING: #46-Kyle Busch Motorsports
KBM leaves the #46 out of the chaos of Talladega, one month after Riley Herbst ended up 29th in Las Vegas after a mid-race crash.

RETURNING: #47-Chris Fontaine, Inc.
The plate race sees Chris Fontaine return to action with his own #47 Glenden Enterprises Chevrolet. Fontaine last ran in the series in this year’s Daytona opener, where electrical issues left him 29th. Crashes have eliminated him from his last two starts at Talladega, though he finished 8th the year before that.

DRIVER CHANGE: #49-Premium Motorsports
On Monday, Wendell Chavous announced he would be leaving the sport, citing his desire to spend more time with his family and develop his own business. Saturday's turn in the #49 SobrietyNation Chevrolet will be his 50th and final series start.

MISSING: #50-Beaver Motorsports
Mark Beaver has not entered the #50 Chevrolet, which was withdrawn along with Travis Kvapil last time out at Las Vegas.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Kyle Busch Motorsports
Two of the three KBM trucks will go to the Gilliland family as Cup veteran David drives the #51 Pedigree Toyota against his son Todd in the #4. David takes the place of Brandon Jones, whose 26th-place showing in Las Vegas was his first finish worse than 9th this season.

Following Chris Eggleston’s 10th-place run in Las Vegas, Bo LeMastus – 30th that same night - seeks his 11th Truck Series start of the year. LeMastus also drove this truck in this year’s Daytona opener, where a crash left him 30th.

RETURNING: #63-MB Motorsports
Mike Mittler’s single-truck team rejoins the circuit for the first time since they withdrew from the night race in Bristol, nearly two months ago. As in their recent plate race showings, ARCA veteran Bobby Gerhart will drive with his Lucas Oil sponsor on the hood. Gerhart missed the field in this year’s Daytona opener, but ran 11th in this race last year.

RETURNING: #68-Clay Greenfield Motorsports
Clay Greenfield and the AMVETS Please Stand movement return to the Truck Series for the first time since the night race at Bristol, where they matched a season-best 20th. Greenfield looks to regain some of the magic he left at Daytona, where he qualified a strong 3rd only to be eliminated in a late-race crash.

MISSING: #74-Mike Harmon Racing
Mike Harmon takes the week off along with his XFINITY Series program, one month after the team withdrew at Las Vegas.

RETURNING: #75-Henderson Motorsports
Two-time and defending Talladega winner Parker Kligerman looks to take the checkers again as he and the #75 team rejoin also rejoin the circuit for the first time since Bristol, where they ran a season-best 4th.

DRIVER CHANGE: #83-Copp Motorsports
As of this writing, Joey Gase is the only driver who will pull double-duty this weekend at Talladega. On the Truck side, he takes Bayley Currey’s place in D.J. Copp’s #83 Chevrolet and brings with him sponsorship from Sparks Energy, Inc.

MISSING: #97-JJL Racing
Jesse Little isn’t entered in this week’s race, nor is his family’s #97, following a 15th-place finish in Las Vegas. The team also didn’t enter this year’s opener in Daytona.

MISSING: #04-Roper Racing
Also not making the trip south is Cory Roper and the #04 Roper Racing entry, which finished 25th in Vegas.


Sunday, October 14, 2018
CUP Race 31 of 36
Round of 12, Race 2 of 3 500 at Talladega
2017 Last-Place Finisher: Justin Marks

After last Sunday saw the Cup Series’ first short field since Watkins Glen, 41 drivers are entered in this week’s final plate race of the season, meaning that one “open” driver will miss the cut. The race stands as the “wild card” of the Round of 12, which concludes next week in Kansas.

DRIVER CHANGE: #6-Roush-Fenway Racing
In place of Matt Kenseth, who after Ryan Newman’s addition to the team announced he has no plans to drive in 2019, comes Trevor Bayne and sponsor AdvoCare Rehydrate.

RETURNING: #7-Premium Motorsports
Jay Robinson’s second Cup car rejoins the circuit for the first time since the Roval, this time with D.J. Kennington driving a black-and-blue Chevrolet sponsored by WILRIDE Transport Ltd.

MANUFACTURER CHANGE: #23-Front Row Motorsports
For the first time since Bob Jenkins acquired BK Racing in August, the #23 will run a Ford like the other Front Row Motorsports cars and not a Toyota. J.J. Yeley will once again drive with Steakhouse Elite as sponsor.

TEAM UPDATE: #48-Hendrick Motorsports
Following a disastrous afternoon in Dover for Jimmie Johnson, it was announced late Wednesday that Chad Knaus will move to the #24 team with William Byron in 2019. It will be the first different team Knaus has crewed for since 2001, when he led Stacy Compton's team at Melling Racing. Kevin Meendering will lead the 48 crew next year.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Rick Ware Racing
MISSING: #52-Rick Ware Racing
For the second time in four races, Rick Ware Racing leaves the #52 at the shop and brings the #51 Jacob Companies Ford to the track. Driving this week is Cody Ware, announced Tuesday in place of B.J. McLeod. It will be Ware's first Cup start since Sonoma, when he debuted the #52.

RETURNING: #62-Beard Motorsports
Brendan Gaughan and Mark Beard close out their 2018 restrictor-plate campaign with the #62 Beard Oil Distributing / South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet. The team arrives in Talladega as the lowest-ranked entrant in Owner Points, meaning they must beat at least one “open” car in qualifying, and will miss the show if qualifying is rained out.

MISSING: #66-Motorsports Business Management
Carl Long's Cup team will sit out the final plate rae of 2018 along with Timmy Hill, who trailed his third fall Dover race last Sunday.

TEAM UPDATE: #95-Leavine Family Racing
On Tuesday came the announcement that Kasey Kahne was not medically cleared for the rest of this season, putting an abrupt end to his NASCAR career with 18 wins in 529 Cup starts. At the time of the news, a press conference had already been set for Wednesday, where Matt DiBenedetto was annoinced as the car's driver in 2019 along with a switch from Chevrolet to Toyota. The manufacturer swap comes with a technical alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing, who DiBenedetto once drove for as a development driver in 2009. Regan Smith is the listed driver for this Sunday, a decade following his controversial loss in the same race, and will drice the car the rest of this season.

NEW TEAM: #97-Obaika Racing
After months of speculation, Victor Obaika is going Cup racing this weekend, entering a Toyota purchased from the shuttered BK Racing. Incidentally, the team also acquired two race-used car hoods from BK and are auctioning them off. The #97 Vroom Brands / Space Grill Toyota will have Dan Stillman as crew chief and a driver to be announced. UPDATE: On Thursday came the reveal that David Starr will drive on this off-weekend for the XFINITY Series, where he drives for Jimmy Means.

RETURNING: #99-StarCom Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #00-StarCom Racing
Derrike Cope’s team reprises their lineup from Daytona in July, bringing back their second “open” car #99 for Landon Cassill to drive the StarCom Fiber Chevrolet. In Cassill’s place in the #00 comes Joey Gase with sponsorship from the PFK Foundation.

Saturday, October 20, 2018
XFINITY Race 30 of 33
Round of 8, Race 1 of 3
Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas
2017 Last-Place Finisher: Jeff Green

This time, the XFINITY Series takes two weeks off and will start their Round of 8 in Kansas.

The largest number to finish last in a NASCAR national touring series race was car #791. The date was April 26, 1959, in the 11th round of the season at the Reading (Pennsylvania) Fairgrounds. In a race that saw Bobby Johns run the #72A, John Findlay in the #100, and Ray Fanning in the #200, Reading native Dave Marburger lined up in a 1957 Ford with the #791 as his identifier. Marburger, a competitor in the Reading Stock Car Association, was a competitor in so-called “jalopy races,” taking at least on 25-lap victory at the Hilltop Speedway in 1958 according to the Lebanon Daily News. The Reading track also hosted “jalopy” races, giving Marburger a chance to compete in NASCAR at his home track. Unfortunately, he turned just 22 laps that day before he crashed and finished 25th, perhaps from oil left by the #7 of 24th-place finisher Jim Reed. It was to be Marburger’s only Cup start.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

K&N EAST: Colin Garrett finishes last due to flat right-rear, claims LASTCAR championship

PHOTO: Hunt-Sellers Racing, @Team_HSR18
by William Soquet Guest Contributor

Colin Garrett finished last for the third time in his NASCAR K&N Pro Series East career in Saturday’s Crosley Brands 125 at the Dover International Speedway when his #18 Propel GPS / Hunt-Sellers Racing Toyota crashed out after 2 of 125 laps.

The finish came in Garrett’s twelfth career start and was his first since Thompson, six races ago. With the finish at Dover, Garrett claimed the inaugural LASTCAR K&N Pro Series East Championship.

From the last time Garrett appeared on LASTCAR, his schedule has expanded even more. What started as a three-race deal eventually expanded to six races, and from those six the schedule morphed into every race after Langley Speedway. Despite missing two races and finishing last three times, Garrett was able to secure the last spot in the top ten for the season-long points tally, a promising sign for a young driver and a young team.

The season finale brought out a few extra cars with eighteen on the entry list. Derek Kraus continued his partnership with DGR-Crosley in the #1, Trey Hutchens and his family team returned, and Sam Mayer continued his late-season swing with MDM Motorsports. Todd Gilliland returned to the K&N Pro Series, taking the place of Tyler Dippel in the #54. Dippel was dismissed from DGR-Crosley following the previous race. Harrison Burton returned to the site of his championship triumph a year ago, piloting yet another MDM Motorsports entry. Hutchens wound up withdrawing, not participating in any of the weekend’s activities.

Juan Manuel Gonzalez was slowest in practice Friday, in which all 17 cars took part. Of note, Garrett was sixteenth, still a second faster than Gonzalez but more than a second off Sam Mayer’s practice-leading pace. Gonzalez was the slowest car to take a lap in qualifying, but he would not start last. Spencer Davis crashed in practice and his Danny Watts Racing team only brought one car to the race, rendering them unable to compete.

DWR works out of the Rette Jones Racing shop, and RJR lent Davis and company a backup car to start-and-park with - for owners points purposes, according to Davis. Going into the race, it looked like the LASTCAR battle would be settled fairly early - Davis would park his #82 for his third of the year, claiming the inaugural LASTCAR championship. Instead, the action started even earlier than that, at the very back end of the field. Garrett, who started fourteenth, reported a loose condition, and on lap three, spun the car and collected Gonzalez. The team eventually blamed a flat right-rear tire as the culprit. Both cars were forced to retire as a result.

Davis wound up fifteenth, parking after 11 laps. Todd Gilliland finished fourteenth, exiting after a crash with Ruben Garcia after 49 laps. Tristan van Wieringen rounded out the Bottom Five, also the victim of contact.

On the strength of Garrett’s three last-place finishes, Hunt-Sellers Racing claimed the inaugural LASTCAR K&N Pro Series East Owners’ Championship with three. Toyota squeaked out a victory in the Manufacturers’ Championship, breaking a tie with Chevrolet in the final race of the season.

17) #18-Colin Garrett / 2 laps / crash
16) #5-Juan Manuel Gonzalez / 2 laps / crash
15) #82-Spencer Davis / 11 laps / electrical
14) #54-Todd Gilliland / 49 laps / crash
13) #30-Tristan van Wieringen / 93 laps / crash

1st) Hunt-Sellers Racing (3)
2nd) Danny Watts Racing, Rev Racing, Ronnie Bassett Sr. (2)
3rd) Bill McAnally Racing, Chuck Buchanan Jr., Carroll Motorsports, Ace Motorsports, Rev Racing, Rette Jones Racing (1)

1st) Toyota (7)
2nd) Chevrolet (6)
3rd) Ford (1)

Note: 45 drivers recorded at least one bottom-ten finish, and 34 of those recorded a Bottom Five. The top twenty are included in this snapshot.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

CUP: Timmy Hill’s third last-place run in a fall race at Dover overshadowed by missed start by Jimmie Johnson

PHOTO: Edward James O'Rourke, @ejorourke41
Timmy Hill picked up the 7th last-place finish of his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career in Sunday’s Gander Outdoors 400 at the Dover International Speedway when his #66 Ternio Toyota fell out with transmission issues after he completed 35 of 404 laps.

The finish, which came in Hill’s 80th series start, was his second of the year and first since Chicagoland, 13 races ago. In the Cup Series last-place rankings, it was the 53rd for car #66, the 78th from transmission issues, and the 152nd for Toyota. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 63rd for the #66, the 158th from transmission failure, and the 304th for Toyota.

Hill’s last-place run at Chicagoland proved to be a turning point for his part-time Cup Series effort with Carl Long’s team, Motorsports Business Management (MBM). After weekly backing by attorney James Carter’s personal injury firm, the #66 finally attracted the first in a series of new sponsors at Kentucky - cryptocurrency program Crypto Crow. At Pocono, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms youth hockey team joined the effort, the team splitting time with Josh Reaume and his #33 Truck Series effort. joined at Michigan and also funded the 2000 Darrell Waltrip throwback scheme team owner Carl Long had originally planned to run at Darlington in 2017. Beef Jerky Outlet backed Hill’s best Cup finish of the season at Bristol, a 28th-place run under the lights. And at Indianapolis came Ternio, another blockchain framework.

The blue Ternio scheme, nearly identical to Martin Truex, Jr.’s Auto-Owners Insurance scheme on the #78, finished 35th at the Brickyard, 39th at Richmond, and 38th last week on the Charlotte “Roval.” The paint job would return at Dover, where Hill would run double-duty with the XFINITY Series. Coming into “The Monster Mile,” Hill had qualified for 24 of the first 28 races on the XFINITY schedule, all of them for MBM. By last weekend, he’d made at least one start in all three of Long’s cars - #13, #66, and #72 – driving a combination of Chevrolets, Toyotas, and Dodges. His best finish was a surprising 7th in the July race at Daytona. In each of his other 23 previous starts in 2018, Hill had finished no better than 27th, which came at Talladega in the spring. That changed on Saturday, when Hill ran 27th once more in the #66 Dodge. Hill hoped to turn in another surprising run on Sunday, though with qualifying rained out, his part-time “open” ride would have to line up 38th in the 39-car field. He’d run 38th in the weekend’s only practice session.

Starting 39th – and also last in practice – was Harrison Rhodes, a former XFINITY Series driver for JD Motorsports, who was making his return to the Cup Series for the first time since April 20, when he drove for Rick Ware Racing at Richmond. Rhodes would again drive for Ware at Dover, though this time in Ware’s second “open” car, the #52. Like MBM, the second Ware car had acquired a number of new sponsors in recent weeks, most recently at Richmond, where last-place finisher Gray Gaulding was backed by the Live! Hotel & Casino in Maryland. Rhodes’ sponsor was The Medicine Shoppe of Columbia, Pennsylvania. Like Hill’s blue Ternio car, Rhodes’ #52 resembled another playoff contender’s paint scheme – specifically, the Sun1 Energy Chevrolet of Chase Elliott.

Johnson's car in the garage after the lower ball joint
failed on the pace lap.
Joining Rhodes at the tail end of the field on Sunday was Bubba Wallace, whose #43 World Wide Technology Chevrolet qualified 29th, but failed pre-race inspection three times. Moments later, 13th-place starter Jimmie Johnson began to slow noticeably, the right-front wheel of his car shaking visibly. As NASCAR reported debris in Turn 3 on driver’s left, possibly off Johnson’s #48 Lowe’s for Pros Chevrolet, Johnson took a turn down pit road, then steered into the garage. The driver reported he hit the splitter hard during the pace laps, and felt something break in the front of the car. The crew discovered the lower ball joint failed, twisting the right-front wheel upward until the weight of the car caused the suspension to collapse.

Repairs in the garage area forced Johnson to miss the start of the race, much as Austin Dillon had at Texas last year and Hill himself driving for Premium Motorsports at Indianapolis and Michigan in 2015. As in those instances, the event threatened the Cup Series’ first last-place finish due to a “did not start” since September 5, 1993, when Bob Schacht’s #85 Burger King Ford missed the green in the Southern 500 at Darlington. But, as in those same instances, Johnson managed to return to the track. The #48 was rolling again on Lap 8 and completed its first lap on the 10th circuit, 10 laps back of the lead. He remained in 39th, threatening to give the #48 only its second last-place run in a Cup race at Dover, its first since Freddie Crawford’s early exit on June 3, 1990.

Hill, meanwhile, had slipped behind Rhodes on the start, and the driver reported his car was shooting up the track in Turn 1. He was a lap down by the 17th circuit, and had dropped to 12 laps back by the 46th circuit. That time by, Hill pulled his own car behind the wall, parking his Toyota in an infield stall facing Turns 1 and 2. After several minutes of radio silence, communication picked up on Lap 94, when Hill’s car was listed “unavailable.” The crew said something broke either in the engine or the input shaft to the transmission, remarking that the fluids were fine but “whatever it is is big.” The team then proceeded to load up their equipment, allowing the team’s VIPs to stay in the pit box as the race continued. Located in Stall 31 between Daniel Suarez and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., the box was closer to Turn 4, some distance from the #66 itself.

Rhodes finished 38th, but didn't pull into the garage until late in the final stage with brake issues. The 37th spot fell to Ross Chastain, who one day after being eliminated from XFINITY playoff contention saw his #15 Use Your Melon Drive Sober Chevrolet lose a right-rear axle on the track in Turn 4, damaging Joey Logano's passing Ford. Johnson worked his way to 36th by the finish, just one lap short of 35th-place Clint Bowyer, whose own playoff chances took a hit with a loose wheel, then a hard hit in the Turn 3 wall in the #14 Haas VF1 / Rush Truck Centers Ford.

*Hill has now finished last in three fall Cup races at Dover. His two consecutive lasts in this event were preceded by a short afternoon for Team XTREME Racing on September 28, 2014, when his #44 Phoenix Construction Chevrolet had a vibration after 11 laps. Altogether, Hill has finished last in half of his previous six Cup starts at Dover.

39) #66-Timmy Hill / 35 laps / transmission
38) #52-Harrison Rhodes / 308 laps / brakes
37) #15-Ross Chastain / 314 laps / rear gear
36) #48-Jimmie Johnson / 387 laps / running
35) #14-Clint Bowyer / 388 laps / crash / led 1 lap

1st) StarCom Racing, TriStar Motorsports (4)
2nd) Rick Ware Racing (3)
3rd) BK Racing, Furniture Row Racing, Motorsports Business Management, Penske Racing, Premium Motorsports (2)
4th) Chip Ganassi Racing, Front Row Motorsports, Germain Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, JTG-Daugherty Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports, Roush-Fenway Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing (1)

1st) Chevrolet (16)
2nd) Ford, Toyota (7)


XFINITY: Speeding penalty hastens Stephen Leicht’s exit at Dover

PHOTO: Benjamin Schneider, @bcschneider53
Stephen Leicht picked up the 3rd last-place finish of his NASCAR XFINITY Series career in Saturday’s Bar Harbor 200 at the Dover International Speedway when his unsponsored #99 B.J. McLeod Motorsports Chevrolet fell out with electrical issues after he completed 13 of 200 laps.

The finish, which came in Leicht’s 96th series start, was his first of the season and his first in an XFINITY Series race since Charlotte on May 27, 2017, 52 races ago. In the XFINITY Series last-place rankings, it was the 12th for car #99, the 49th for electrical problems, and the 515th for Chevrolet. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 32nd for the #99, the 119th for electrical issues, and the 1,629th for Chevrolet.

Dover saw both Leicht and the #99 team return to the circuit after brief absences. Leicht was making his first XFINITY Series attempt since Road America in August, his fourth and most recent attempt to get Mike Harmon’s #74 into the field, which yielded a 33rd-place finish on the road course. It was a ride he secured following his mutual decision to part ways from JP Motorsports following the previous XFINITY race at Dover this past May. While Bayley Currey has driven the majority of the races since then, Leicht was still the “placeholder” for JP on preliminary entry lists before each week’s driver change.

B.J. McLeod Motorsports, meanwhile, had entered its third team, the #99, in just five races earlier this year. The first was this year’s Daytona opener, where Ray Black, Jr. failed to qualify. The team then withdrew without a listed driver for the next two rounds in Atlanta and Las Vegas before McLeod himself turned just three laps at Charlotte in May. Black then rebounded from his Daytona DNQ by not only getting the car into the July race there, but finishing 22nd, three laps down to race winner Kyle Larson. Dover marked the team’s first series attempt since that night. Joining Leicht in the other two cars were the #78 Chevrolet of Vinnie Miller, who shifted from JD Motorsports to the McLeod team the week before on the Roval, and Matt Mills, another JD export, in the #8 J.F. Electric Chevrolet. Miller would ultimately finish 25th on Saturday with Mills in 28th.

Leicht, meanwhile, was one of 34 of the 40 entered drivers to participate in opening practice. He ranked 29th of that group despite turning just two laps. Absent from Happy Hour, Leicht also turned the 33rd-best lap in qualifying with a speed of 147.783mph (24.360 seconds), the slowest lap of anyone who didn’t need to rely on Owner Points.

Starting 40th on Saturday was Leicht’s former boss Mike Harmon, whose #74 was driven the previous week by Ray Black, Jr. Harmon carried another new military initiative on his Dodge, Veterans for Child Care, whose representatives Craig and Aspen Sawyer took several photos with the team’s car and the “Miles the Monster” trophy. Engine trouble, however, prevented Harmon from turning a lap in qualifying, and the Dodge would be the only car to not take time. He’d incur a redundant tail-end penalty prior to the start for the engine change, joined by unsponsored JD Motorsports teammates Landon Cassill (#01 Chevrolet) and B.J. McLeod himself (#15 Chevrolet) for unapproved adjustments.

The opening two stages were run without incident, and while a number of cars exited early, many were also tagged for pit road speeding penalties. On Lap 13, 36th-place starter Morgan Shepherd was tagged for too fast exiting. The same happened the next time by to Leicht, who served his penalty by pulling into the garage. Shepherd didn’t serve his pass-through penalty until Lap 21, at which point he too exited the race. Shepherd only finished 38th, however, as Jeff Green had already pulled his #93 RSS Racing Chevrolet into the garage. McLeod’s turn in the #15 ended with engine failure, leaving him 37th, while Carl Long, docked on Lap 63 for crew members over the wall too soon, pulled out of the race with suspension issues on the #13 OCR Gaz Bar Toyota.

Last-place starter Harmon just missed the Bottom Five when his Dodge was flagged off the track on Lap 71 for not maintaining minimum speed.

*This marked the second last-place finish of the season for B.J. McLeod Motorsports’ #99. McLeod himself piloted the car to an early exit at Charlotte on May 26, 2018, following an early vibration.
*Each of Leicht’s three last-place finishes in the XFINITY Series have come with different teams. The previous two came with The Motorsports Group, owned by Curtis Key and Rod Sieg’s RSS Racing.
*This was the first last-place finish for car #99 in an XFINITY Series race at Dover.

40) #99-Stephen Leicht / 13 laps / electrical
39) #93-Jeff Green / 16 laps / suspension
38) #89-Morgan Shepherd / 21 laps / electrical
37) #15-B.J. McLeod / 30 laps / engine
36) #13-Carl Long / 59 laps / suspension

1st) RSS Racing (14)
2nd) B.J. McLeod Motorsports, JP Motorsports (3)
3rd) Roush-Fenway Racing (2)
4th) Fury Race Cars LLC, Hendrick Motorsports, Jeremy Clements Racing, JGL Racing, Mike Harmon Racing, Shepherd Racing Ventures, SS-Green Light Racing (1)

1st) Chevrolet (21)
2nd) Ford, Toyota (4)


Thursday, October 4, 2018

PREVIEW: Kasey Kahne, Fury Race Cars among those missing at The Monster Mile

Jeff Green's 99th last-place finish came in this race last year.
PHOTO: NBC Sports; screenshot by NrReference
Saturday, October 6, 2018
XFINITY Race 29 of 33
Round of 12, Race 3 of 3
Bar Harbor 200 at Dover
2017 Last-Place Finisher: Jeff Green

There are 40 drivers entered for as many spots, meaning all entrants will start the race.

DRIVER CHANGE: #3-Richard Childress Racing
Shane Lee returns for his ninth start of the 2018 campaign, his first since a 9th-place showing at Richmond. It will be his first series start at Dover, where Jeb Burton drove this car to a 12th-place finish. Lee takes the place of Brendan Gaughan, who closed out his road course schedule with a 17th-place finish on the Roval.

DRIVER CHANGE: #8-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
After Dylan Murcott rebounded from his Mid-Ohio disappointment to finish a quiet 30th on the Roval, Matt Mills regains his seat with the McLeod team, two rounds since he ran 27th in the team’s flagship #78 at Richmond. Like Lee, Mills will be making his first Dover start.

DRIVER CHANGE: #13-Motorsports Business Management
DRIVER CHANGE: #66-Motorsports Business Management
The preliminary list had Timmy Hill in the #13 in place of Landon Cassill (who himself swapped in for John Jackson) and Carl Long in Hill’s place in the #66. Hill will run double-duty with the Cup Series, again driving Long’s #66 (see below). UPDATE: Long will be in the #13, Hill in the #66.

DRIVER CHANGE: #15-JD Motorsports
B.J. McLeod rejoins JD Motorsports in place of Katherine Legge, who was eliminated from contention at the Roval following right-front damage suffered as she tried to return to the track from an off-course excursion. Like Hill, McLeod will also run double-duty as he rejoins Rick Ware’s Cup effort (see below). McLeod finished 23rd at Dover this past spring in his own #78.

DRIVER CHANGE: #42-Chip Ganassi Racing
Swapping in for “road ringer” Justin Marks, runner-up on the Roval, John Hunter Nemecehek takes the wheel for his 14th XFINITY start of the year and first since a 25th-place run at Indianapolis. Nemechek finished 14th when the series last ran here in May.

DRIVER CHANGE: #60-Roush-Fenway Racing
MISSING: #98-Stewart-Haas Racing with Biagi DenBeste
After taking the first checkered flag on the Roval, Chase Briscoe moves from the Biagi #98, not entered this week, to the Roush-Fenway #60, replacing Ty Majeski, who isn’t entered. Briscoe last drove the #60 at Las Vegas, where a hard crash left him 31st.

MISSING: #61-Fury Race Cars LLC
Kaz Grala and upstart Fury Race Cars LLC aren’t entered in the race this week after a strong 8th on the Roval, their first top-ten finish since Daytona in July.

DRIVER CHANGE: #74-Mike Harmon Racing
The yellow B.J. McLeod door numbers return to Mike Harmon red as the owner-driver climbs back behind the wheel of his #74 Chevrolet this week. Harmon, who failed to qualify at Dover in the spring with Cody Ware behind the wheel, last ran at Richmond, where he ran 35th.

RETURNING: #89-Shepherd Racing Ventures
Also returning is Morgan Shepherd, less than a week before his 77th birthday. Shepherd, who last ran at Richmond with a last-place finish, finished 38th here in the spring.

Brandon Brown takes over for road racer Andy Lally with sponsorship from Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes. It will be Brown’s fifth XFINITY start of the season and his first since Darlington, when he ran a season-best 18th.

MISSING: #97-Obaika Racing
One week after Victor Obaika and driver Tanner Berryhill returned to the circuit after long absences only to miss the cut on the Roval, both driver and team aren’t entered this week.

RETURNING: #99-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
McLeod’s part-time third team returns for the first time since Daytona in July, where Ray Black, Jr. finished 22nd, this time with Stephen Leicht driving. Leicht, once the entry list placeholder for JP Motorsports’ #55 (now driven by Bayley Currey), looks to make his first XFINITY start since Road America, when he ran 33rd for Mike Harmon.

DRIVER CHANGE: #01-JD Motorsports
One week after being the late replacement for John Jackson in MBM’s #13, Landon Cassill will pull double-duty this week as he takes road racer Lawson Aschenbach’s place in Johnny Davis’ #01 Chevrolet. Aschenbach finished 21st last week on the Roval while Cassill was out early with engine trouble, finishing 38th.


Sunday, October 7, 2018
CUP Race 30 of 36
Round of 12, Race 1 of 3
Gander Outdoors 400 at Dover
2017 Last-Place Finisher: Timmy Hill

There are 39 drivers entered for 40 spots, marking the first short field since Watkins Glen, eight races ago, and the 18th short field in 30 points races this year.

DRIVER CHANGE: #6-Roush-Fenway Racing
Matt Kenseth rejoins the Cup circuit for the 12th time in 2018 and the first time since Richmond, two races ago. He takes the place of Trevor Bayne, collected in last week’s biggest Roval pileup and finishing 35th. Wyndham Rewards returns as sponsor for Kenseth, a three-time Cup winner at “The Monster Mile.”

MISSING: #7-Premium Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #15-Premium Motorsports
Jay Robinson’s team scales back from two cars to only their chartered #15 this week, moving Ross Chastain from the #7 back to his traditional ride. Justin Marks, who ran the #15 last week, isn’t entered. Chastain, who made his Cup debut at this track in the spring of last year, finished 20th that day and ran 28th there earlier this year. He, too, runs double-duty this weekend as he fights to stay in the Playoffs driving JD Motorsports’ #4 Chevrolet.

MISSING: #8-Richard Childress Racing
Daniel Hemric turned heads last week when he was not only announced as joining Richard Childress Racing’s Cup team in 2019, but proceeded to run strong in both the XFINITY and Cup Series races on the Roval. On Sunday, he started 11th and ran inside the Top 15 for much of the day until he was involved in the day’s biggest crash, then Jeffrey Earnhardt’s last-corner spin, leaving him 23rd. Hemric will focus exclusively on XFINITY this weekend as his #8 isn’t entered on the Cup side.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Rick Ware Racing
RETURNING: #52-Rick Ware Racing
Rick Ware brings both his cars to the track for the first time since Richmond with B.J. McLeod taking Stanton Barrett’s place in the flagship #51 and a driver to be announced in the #52, most recently steered by Gray Gaulding. UPDATE: Welcome back Harrison Rhodes, who we haven't seen in Cup since this year's spring race at Richmond. Rhodes drives the #52 with The Medicine Shoppe as sponsor.

DRIVER CHANGE: #72-TriStar Motorsports
Cole Whitt survived to finish 20th on the Roval, the TriStar team’s second top-twenty run in the last three rounds. Returning to the driver’s seat is Corey LaJoie, who prior to the Roval ran 11 of the 12 races before that with the exception of Watkins Glen. LaJoie finished last here in the spring, giving him the lead in the 2018 LASTCAR Cup Series standings he still holds right now.

TEAM UPDATE: #95-Leavine Family Racing
Following his extreme dehydration at Darlington, Kasey Kahne had planned to return to action this Sunday at Dover. However, following a two-hour test on Charlotte’s oval this past Tuesday, Kahne has not been cleared to drive this Sunday, and Regan Smith will once again pilot the #95.

Saturday, October 13, 2018
TRUCKS Race 19 of 23
Round of 8, Race 3 of 3
Talladega 250 at Talladega
2017 Last-Place Finisher: Norm Benning

Next weekend’s action at Talladega sees the Truck Series return to action for the first time in three weeks.

These days, when a team withdraws from a NASCAR race, it typically happens prior to qualifying, as it did with Cody Lane following his crash two weeks back at Richmond. However, there are two occasions where a driver was classified last for “withdrawing” for the race. Both were distinguished from “did not start” as each actually turned laps in the race, and are also categorized separate from “did not finish” or “quit” among more generic reasons a driver stopped racing. The first occasion took place on April 29, 1956 at Richmond, where Tim Flock pulled out after 2 laps in his #49 1956 Mauri Rose Engineering Chevrolet. The other came on June 2, 1963, this time Curtis Crider exiting in his #62 1963 Mercury. As of this writing, it has not happened since.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

K&N WEST: Kyle Tellstrom’s debut barely lasts ten laps at Meridian

PHOTO: Luis Torres @TheLTFiles
by William Soquet Guest Contributor

Kyle Tellstrom finished last for the first time in his NASCAR K&N Pro Series West career during Saturday night’s NAPA Auto Parts Idaho 208 at the Meridian Speedway when his #91 HD Power Systems / Pit Stop USA Chevrolet fell out with engine problems after 14 of 208 laps. The finish came in his series debut.

Twenty-three years old and from Ukiah, California, Kyle Tellstrom has been racing since his formative years. His developmental path included the traditional outlaw karts, Legends cars and Bandoleros, racing at Ukiah and Lakeport Speedways. He stepped up to the Lucas Oil Modified Series in 2014. He's balanced a partial schedule in modifieds while attending Boise State University, and as William Byron will tell you, college and racing are a tough couple to manage.

Tellstrom also transitioned into racing with closed-fendered cars, winning his first super late model race this summer, coincidentally at Meridian. That win was around the time that he got a roller from John Wood containing the parts to build a K&N car. Tellstrom and two others worked on the car over the summer to get it ready, but didn't announce his debut until Spetmeber 24 – a mere five days before the race. Expectations ran high due to previous experience at Meridian and the performance backed it up – he finished fourth in first practice.

The entry list was back down to a normal size for a West race at fifteen cars. Taylor Canfield, driving another car out of the Wood stable, the #32 machine. It marked his series debut. Four other part-time drivers rounded out the non-full time entrants: Travis Milburn returned to the 08 car, Andrew Koens to the 77, Jeff Jefferson in the 27, and Pro Mazda driver Sting Ray Robb (yes, that is his real name). Robb would make his first start of the year, driving yet another entry from the Wood team, #36. Former US Olympic bobsledder Nick Cunningham had hinted at plans to run this race, but the hints never came to fruition.

Robb trailed first practice, his fastest lap six-tenths of a second slower than leader Derek Kraus’ lap around the quarter-mile track. Hailie Deegan led second practice, in which only twelve cars participated. Canfield, the only driver not to turn a lap in first practice, anchored the second session, his lap a second slower than Deegan’s fastest, and comparable to the best lap by Kraus. In qualifying, Canfield trailed as well, running a 14.4-second lap, two-tenths slower than his fastest practice lap.

After qualifying tenth, Tellstrom looked set to have a solid debut, but drew the second caution of the night for a spin down the backstretch. Evidently, the 91 car had been battling gremlins before that, as the leaderboard indicated his car had less than seventeen laps complete total and the caution flag flew for him on Lap 17.

Takuma Koga also fell into the “constant battle” category, going on and off the track during the first half of the race before retiring with 47 laps complete due to drive shaft issues. Travis Milburn was the only other retiree of the race, bowing out at the three-quarter mark with oil line issues. The last car running was Taylor Canfield, who had a rough go of it throughout the race. After a spin on lap two, he spun again on laps 124 and 190, the latter one forcing then-leader Derek Kraus into the outside wall. Kraus later implied that Canfield was the reason that he did not win the race. Canfield’s #32 fell twenty-six laps down over the course of the race, while the car that rounded out the Bottom Five, Andrew Koens, was only three laps down at the end of the race.

15) #91-Kyle Tellstrom / 14 laps / engine
14) #11-Takuma Koga / 47 laps / drive shaft
13) #08-Travis Milburn / 151 laps / oil line
12) #32-Taylor Canfield / 182 laps / running
11) #77-Andrew Koens / 205 laps / running

1st) Patriot Motorsports Group (7)
2nd) B&B Motorsports, Bill McAnally Racing, Flyin Dutchman Racing, Hollis Thackeray, Norman Levin Racing (1)

1st) Chevrolet (8)
2nd) Ford, Toyota (2)