TRUCKS Race 2 of 23
Ultimate Tailgating 200 at Atlanta
2018 Last-Place Finisher: Scott Stenzel
There are 33 drivers entered for 32 spots, down seven drivers from last week’s massive 40-truck preliminary list. One team will not make the starting lineup.
RETURNING: #1-Beaver Motorsports
The Mark Beaver / Tracy Lowe effort was the only team to withdraw last week in Daytona, and the team is again entered this week with 2003 series champion Travis Kvapil. Kvapil last took the green in a Truck Series race in Atlanta in 2016, finishing 23rd for Jennifer Jo Cobb. That remains his lone Atlanta start in the series since 2008.
MISSING: #7-All Out Motorsports
Korbin Forrister and the All Out team aren’t entered this week following their DNQ at Daytona.
DRIVER CHANGE: #8-NEMCO Motorsports
MISSING: #87-NEMCO Motorsports
NEMCO Motorsports scales back from two trucks to just the flagship #8 this week, to be driven by team owner Joe Nemechek. Nemechek ran 16th last week in the #87, the same race that saw Angela Ruch have a career night with an 8th-place finish and two laps led.
MISSING: #9-CR7 Motorsports
Also among the Daytona DNQs not entered in Atlanta is ARCA competitor Codie Rohbraugh and his #9 Chevrolet.
DRIVER CHANGE: #17-DGR-Crosley
Taking the place of team co-owner David Gilliland, who was ensnared in last Friday’s wild first lap action at Daytona, 20-year-old Anthony Alfredo seeks his NASCAR national touring series debut. Alfredo, from Ridgefield, Connecticut, finished 5th in last year’s K&N Pro Series East standings highlighted by a last-lap pass for the win in South Boston. His truck carries sponsorship from Ceco Building Systems.
MISSING: #27-ThorSport Racing
Myatt Snider’s effort in ThorSport’s part-time #27 entry ended in one of Daytona’s many multi-truck melees, leaving him a disappointing 21st. Neither Snider nor the #27 are entered this week.
MISSING: #28-FDNY Racing
Also missing are driver Bryan Dauzat and team owner Jim Rosenblum’s FDNY Racing, whose 21st-place qualifying effort ended abruptly with an early crash, then a scary pit road incident involving the team’s jack man. Neither driver nor team are entered in this week’s race.
MISSING: #34-Reaume Brothers Racing
Like NEMCO, the Reaume Brothers team scales back from two trucks to only the flagship #33 with Josh Reaume himself. Both Jason White and the #34 team are not entered this week following their DNQ in Daytona.
DRIVER CHANGE: #42-Chad Finley, Inc.
Chad Finley returns to the driver’s seat of his #42 for the first time since last summer at Bristol, and his first Truck Series start since a one-off for Reaume at Martinsville which yielded a last-place finish. Finley takes the place of Robby Lyons, who finished a disappointing 30th in Daytona.
MISSING: #47-Chris Fontaine
Chris Fontaine remains committed to the restrictor-plate races, and both he and his #47 Toyota are not entered in this week’s Atlanta race. Fontaine crashed out in Daytona and finished 27th.
DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Kyle Busch Motorsports
Flying the flag for the Cup invaders is one Kyle Busch, less than a week after teammate Denny Hamlin denied him his first Daytona 500 victory. Busch takes the place of Christian Eckes, who won the pole in Daytona only to finish 22nd.
MISSING: #68-Clay Greenfield Motorsports
Owner-driver Clay Greenfield is not among the Atlanta entrants after his Chevrolet crashed late in Friday’s season opener, yielding a 12th-place finish.
RETURNING: #75-Henderson Motorsports
Joining Busch from the Daytona 500 is Parker Kligerman, who rejoins Charlie Henderson’s venerable team as driver of the #75 Food Country USA Chevrolet. Kligerman’s most recent two of his five Atlanta starts in the series came with Henderson, yielding a 31st-place run in 2017, then an 11th last year. Kligerman is also entered in Sunday’s race (see below).
RETURNING: #80-Jacob Wallace Racing
Typically a one-off team for Eldora since 2014 with all but three of their eight Truck starts coming on the dirt track, Jacob Wallace Racing announced they will be making a rare pavement start at Atlanta with B.J. McLeod behind the wheel. McLeod, now running a larger part of the Cup schedule for Rick Ware Racing, has not made a Truck Series start since last summer at Michigan, and has not started the Truck race at Atlanta since 2011.
MISSING: #82-Mark Rette
Driver Spencer Davis and team owner Mark Rette are not among the Atlanta entrants following their own DNQ at Daytona.
MISSING: #92-Ricky Benton Enterprises
Also missing is Austin Theriault and the Ricky Benton team, the fastest of the trucks to miss the show in Daytona. Theriault has never made a Truck Series start in Atlanta.
RETURNING: #97-JJL Racing
After skipping the Daytona opener - and avoiding its carnage - Jesse Little’s season debut comes this weekend in the family’s #97 Skuttle Tight / Parker FiberNet / Visit Kings Ford. Little closed out the 2018 season strong with Top Tens in his final two starts, ending with a 9th at Homestead. He was 8th in this race that year.
CUP INVADERS: Kyle Busch
Saturday, February 23, 2019
XFINITY Race 2 of 33
Rinnai 250 at Atlanta
2018 Last-Place Finisher: Jeff Green
In just the series’ second race with its new 38-car cap on starting fields, just 37 drivers are entered this week, the first short field of 2019.
DRIVER CHANGE: #4-JD Motorsports
MISSING: #10-Kaulig Racing
Since his part-time effort in Kaulig Racing’s #10 Chevrolet is not entered this week, Ross Chastain returns to Johnny Davis’ #4 Chevrolet this week, taking the place of Scott Lagasse, Jr., who ran 21st in Daytona. Chastain, who won Stage 2 and finished 13th last Saturday, finished a track-best 16th in this race last year.
DRIVER CHANGE: #8-JR Motorsports
After his “Days of Thunder” inspired feats of wreck avoidance in the Daytona 500, Ryan Preece returns to the XFINITY Series, taking Chase Elliott’s place in the #8 Chevrolet. Louisiana Hot Sauce sponsors the ride, Preece’s first since a 6th-place showing for Joe Gibbs in last year’s Homestead finale.
MISSING: #12-Penske Racing
Both Penske Racing’s #12 and the troublesome roof hatch on the #12 Ford are not entered this week, leaving Cup regular Brad Keselowski to focus his attention on Sunday’s 500-miler.
DRIVER SWAP: #13-Motorsports Business Management
DRIVER SWAP: #42-Motorsports Business Management
At Carl Long’s team, John Jackson moves from the #42 to #13, leaving #42 open for returning Chad Finchum. Finchum now part-time as team continues search for sponsors. Max Tullman, who ran #13 last week, is not entered. Timmy Hill remains in the #66, as he had last week.
DRIVER CHANGE: #17-Spraker Racing / Rick Ware Racing
As of this writing, no driver is listed for the #17 Chevrolet, driven to a 31st-place finish last week by Chris Cockrum.
RETURNING: #89-Shepherd Racing Ventures
Welcome back ageless Morgan Shepherd, who after not entering Daytona will make his season debut at a track he once dominated in the Cup Series. Shepherd eyes his 12th XFINITY start at the track where he’s missed the field just once in the last eight years.
DRIVER CHANGE: #90-DGM Racing
After he was replaced with Josh Williams at the start of this season, Alex Labbe rejoins DGM Racing to drive the team’s second car, the #90 Chevrolet. This team earned some quality TV time during Saturday’s broadcast when Caesar Bacarella earned a strong top-ten performance in the opening and closing stages until a late brush with the wall left him 29th.
DRIVER CHANGE: #99-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Atlanta is also the season debut for Tommy Joe Martins, who takes D.J. Kennington’s place in B.J. McLeod’s #99 Toyota Supra. Longtime Martins sponsor Diamond Gusset Jeans returns to back the effort in a fan-designed paint scheme. Martins finished 33rd in this race last year.
Sunday, February 24, 2019
CUP Race 2 of 36
Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta
2018 Last-Place Finisher: Gray Gaulding
Continuing the trend of massive team drop-off after Daytona, there are just 37 drivers entered in Sunday’s 40-car field for the second race of the season, down five cars from last week. It is just one entry more than last year’s 36-car field for the race, and marks the first time that exactly 37 cars will start a Cup race in Atlanta.
STILL MISSING: #7-NY Racing Team
Jonathan Cohen’s single-car effort is still not entered in this week’s race after also skipping the Daytona opener. It was during this same race weekend in 2015 that the Cohen team endured the bizarre incident of their race car being stolen, then recovered after their withdrawal.
MISSING: #27-Germain Racing
Several “open” teams are not making the trip to Georgia this weekend. Among them is the second Germain Racing entry with driver Casey Mears, a pair that ended up last in Sunday’s Daytona 500 following a mid-race crash.
MISSING: #31-Richard Childress Racing
Tyler Reddick will focus on his XFINITY Series effort with Richard Childress Racing after both he and Childress’ “open” #31 team are not entered this week. Atlanta thus marks the first race without car #31 in the field since November 18, 2001, when Robby Gordon failed to qualify the Lowe’s Chevrolet – also at Atlanta.
DRIVER SWAP: #51-Rick Ware Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #52-Rick Ware Racing
Following their tangle during the Daytona 500 after the cars in front tried to duck onto pit road without notice, B.J. McLeod and Cody Ware are swapping rides this week with McLeod now in the #52 and Ware in the #51.
MISSING: #62-Beard Motorsports
Brendan Gaughan and the Mark Beard team remain committed to their restrictor-plate schedule in 2019, and neither are entered in this week’s race.
MISSING: #66-Motorsports Business Management
Carl Long’s team has also elected not to enter their Cup car this week following Joey Gase’s DNQ for the Daytona 500.
MISSING: #71-Tommy Baldwin Racing
Ryan Truex, the 500’s other DNQ, is also not entered this week along with the newly-renumbered Tommy Baldwin effort.
NUMBER AND DRIVER CHANGE: #77-Spire Motorsports
This week comes the first real test for Spire Motorsports, which last week ran unofficially in a Chip Ganassi effort for Jamie McMurray’s final Cup start. The team will for the first time run their claimed car number 77, and bring on XFINITY Series regular Garrett Smithley from JD Motorsports. Smithley, who made his Cup debut last year for StarCom Racing, will be sponsored by Overkill Motorsports.
TEAM UPDATE: #96-Gaunt Brothers Racing
The lone “open” team entered in Atlanta is the Gaunt Brothers effort, along with a returning Parker Kligerman. Kligerman finished a respectable 15th in last week’s Daytona 500 after tangling with Casey Mears in the aforementioned mid-race tangle.
STILL MISSING: #97-Obaika Racing
As of this writing, the Victor Obaika team has yet to be added to the entry list after also not entering the Daytona 500.
LASTCAR STAT OF THE WEEK
Matt DiBenedetto turned heads with a strong run in last week’s Daytona 500, leading the most laps and remaining in position for an upset victory until he was eliminated in a late crash, leaving him 28th. It was also on this date three years ago, February 21, that DiBenedetto scored his first Cup Series last-place finish, which also came in the Daytona 500. At the time, he was driving one of four cars from the now-defunct BK Racing.