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Ray Ciccarelli steps in for Camden Murphy, who was withdrawn at Las Vegas.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.

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