Thursday, May 16, 2019

PREVIEW: Many Truck teams return for NASCAR's homecoming on All-Star Weekend

PHOTO: @StefanParsons98
Friday, May 17, 2019
TRUCKS Race 8 of 23
North Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte
2018 Last-Place Finisher: J.J. Yeley

The lone points race of the weekend sees the Truck Series return to a strong 37-truck entry list (following a single withdrawal), meaning five trucks will fail to qualify. UPDATE: Make that 36 with four DNQs.

MISSING: #0-Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing
MISSING: #38-Niece Motorsports
With a full entry list, two of the “start-and-park” entries from Kansas are not entered this week. This includes the #0 that was qualified by Joey Gase and raced by Jennifer Jo Cobb to a 23rd-place finish following Cobb’s qualifying crash (Cobb will instead drive her #10). The other is Al Niece’s #38, which T.J. Bell steered to a 26th-place finish before electrical issues.

WITHDREW: #1-Beaver Motorsports / Vizion Motorsports
Bayley Currey was set to follow-up his 29th-place finish in the #1 Toyota, but the team was withdrawn by Tuesday. Currey will instead focus on Saturday’s All-Star Open, where he rejoins Rick Ware Racing as driver of the #52 (see below).

WITHDREW: #6-Norm Benning Racing
Norm Benning was entered this week, but withdrew by Thursday.

RETURNING: #7-All Out Motorsports
First of the ten teams returning to action after at least one week off is the #7, which withdrew from Kansas and hasn’t taken the green since driver Korbin Forrister finished 30th in Dover from a crash. Forrister looks to end a streak of back-to-back crashes and start his first Truck Series race here since 2015.

DRIVER CHANGE: #87-NEMCO Motorsports
Camden Murphy returns to action in the Truck Series for the first time since last fall at Homestead, when he finished last in Beaver Motorsports’ #50 Chevrolet. This time, he makes his first start for NEMCO Motorsports in the team’s flagship #8. Murphy’s arrival moves team owner Joe Nemechek to the second truck, #87, taking the place of Kansas 28th-place finisher Timmy Hill. Hill will instead drive his own #56 truck (see below) in addition to his Cup ride in the Open.

RETURNING: #9-CR7 Motorsports
Codie Rohrbaugh seeks his second Truck Series start of 2019 and first since a 23rd-place showing in Texas, again driving his #9 Grant County Mulch Chevrolet. Rohrbaugh finished 9th in an ARCA Menards Series race here just last year.

NEW TEAM: #14-Trey Hutchins
Trey Hutchins returns to the Truck Series for the first time since his series debut at Iowa on June 23, 2017, when he finished a solid 16th for the now-closed Bolen Motorsports. In the years since, Hutchens has remained a part-timer in the K&N Pro Series East, where just last year he finished 15th at Memphis and 18th at Loudon. There, as here, he will now run as an owner-driver of the #14 Chevrolet, the newest team on the Truck Series circuit.

RETURNING: #15-DGR-Crosley
David Gilliland’s team fields its third truck for the first time since Las Vegas, and as it was then, has Anthony Alfredo drive. Alfredo seeks his fourth Truck start of the season and first since Texas, where he ran 28th after a fiery crash. This time, he drives with returning sponsorship from the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation and has new backing from Steelsmith.

RETURNING: #30-On Point Motorsports
Brennan Poole is back in action with his #30 team after both withdrew last week in Kansas, and carries new sponsorship from MadVapes. If he qualifies, it will be Poole’s first Truck Series start at Charlotte, a track where he has five XFINITY Series starts with a best of 5th his last time out in the fall of 2017.

RETURNING: #42-Chad Finley Racing, Inc.
Chad Finley returns to the Truck Series garage for the first time since Atlanta, where his hauler suffered damage in an incident leaving the speedway. Finley finished 28th that day, and seeks his first series start at Charlotte. and Air Lift return as sponsors.

MISSING: #46-Kyle Busch Motorsports
KBM has elected not to bring their part-time #46 Toyota to the track, and Riley Herbst is not entered following a 9th-place showing in Kansas.

Ray Ciccarelli’s team returns to the track for the first time since a 24th-place finish at Dover, but this time arrives with a different driver, and a message. Stefan Parsons will drive in Ciccarelli’s place, the #49 now representing The 49ers of his college, UNC Charlotte. The truck will bear the #CharlotteStrong hashtag in honor of those killed and wounded in the shooting on April 30.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Kyle Busch Motorsports
Kyle Busch began the year four-for-four in his 2019 Truck Series schedule, and this week takes the place of Brandon Jones in a bid for his fifth victory of the season. Cessna sponsors the effort.

RETURNING: #56-Hill Motorsports
The Hill brothers return to action after a week off from Kansas, and this time Timmy Hill will drive for the first time since Martinsville. Southern Freight Services will sponsor the #56 Chevrolet.

RETURNING: #92-Ricky Benton Racing Enterprises
Timothy Peters aims for his fourth Truck Series start of the year, his first since a 12th-place finish in Las Vegas. Unlike the prior three, when he drove for Al Niece, Peters will reunite with team owner Ricky Benton as driver of the #92 Black’s Tire Service Ford. Peters last took the green in the truck at Martinsville in the spring of last year, when he finished 7th. RBR’s only start this year came in the 2019 running of the Martinsville race, where Austin Theriault finished 22nd.

RETURNING: #97-JJL Motorsports
Jesse Little is back in action for the first time since Dover where he, like Stefan Parsons this week, ran a tribute car for victims of the UNC Charlotte shooting. Little looks to bounce back from a 29th-place finish on the Monster Mile that was his worst of the 2019 season. He finished 16th in last year’s Charlotte Truck Series race, his only other start here.

RETURNING: #04-Roper Racing
Also returning to action is Cory Roper and his Roper Racing team, which had to scale back at Dover when their full-time effort was scrapped. His new part-time schedule begins this week, where he looks to find the same speed that secured him spots in the season’s first five races.

CUP INVADERS: #51-Kyle Busch

Saturday, May 18, 2019
Monster Energy Open at Charlotte
2018 Last-Place Finisher: Reed Sorenson

There are 24 drivers entered in Saturday’s 50-lap open race for the All-Star main event, up three cars from last year. Four of these drivers will transfer to the All-Star Race: three by winning one of the night’s three stages (Lap 20, Lap 40, Lap 50), while a fourth wins the Fan Vote. This includes Alex Bowman, who finished 2nd the last three points races, and Kyle Larson, who went winless in 2018 and has continued to struggle through the first part of 2019.

#8-Daniel Hemric
#13-Ty Dillon
#15-Ross Chastain
#17-Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.
#21-Paul Menard
#24-William Byron
#32-Corey LaJoie
#34-Michael McDowell
#37-Chris Buescher
#38-David Ragan
#41-Daniel Suarez
#42-Kyle Larson
#43-Bubba Wallace
#46-Joey Gase
#47-Ryan Preece
#51-Cody Ware
#52-Bayley Currey
#53-B.J. McLeod
#66-Timmy Hill
#77-Quin Houff
#88-Alex Bowman
#95-Matt DiBenedetto

TEAM UPDATE: #46-Motorsports Business Management
Joey Gase and the #46 were not on the preliminary entry list for Saturday’s race, but were added late Tuesday.

NEW TEAM: #53-Rick Ware Racing
Rick Ware’s team fields a third car for the first time, the #53 entry that was originally scheduled to debut at Dover. This allows for a three-car lineup of the Ware team’s most frequent starters this year: Cody Ware, Bayley Currey, and B.J. McLeod. McLeod will drive this new car. It marks car #53’s first drive in the Open race since 1992, when Johnny McFadden did not start Jimmy Means’ Pontiac, one of four drivers to not take the green flag that evening.

SPONSOR UPDATE: #00-StarCom Racing
Landon Cassill debuts still another new sponsor to join the Derrike Cope team’s effort – truck accessory company Elongator Tailgates, manufacturers of integrated ramps and extensions for pickup truck tailgates.

Saturday, May 18, 2019
Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte
2018 Last-Place Finisher: Alex Bowman

There are 15 drivers already locked-in to Saturday’s All-Star spectacular, to be joined by four drivers from the aforementioned Open race.

#1-Kurt Busch
#2-Brad Keselowski
#3-Austin Dillon
#4-Kevin Harvick
#6-Ryan Newman
#9-Chase Elliott
#10-Aric Almirola
#11-Denny Hamlin
#12-Ryan Blaney
#14-Clint Bowyer
#18-Kyle Busch
#19-Martin Truex, Jr.
#20-Erik Jones
#22-Joey Logano
#48-Jimmie Johnson

PAINT SCHEME: #4-Stewart-Haas Racing
Saturday will see defending All-Star winner Kevin Harvick drive “the ugliest car I’ve ever seen,” the light pink Millennial Car.

Saturday, May 25, 2019
XFINITY Race 11 of 33
Alsco 300 at Charlotte
2018 Last-Place Finisher: B.J. McLeod

The XFINITY Series returns next Saturday as part of the Coca-Cola 600 weekend.

Today in LASTCAR history (May 16, 1969): Ed Hessert picks up the 1st last-place finish of his Cup Series career in the Beltsville 300 at the Beltsville (Maryland) Speedway, a half-mile paved oval. Hessert was making just the third Cup start of his career and his first as an owner-driver, but quit after 14 laps, leaving his #15 Plymouth last in the 22-car field. He would end up making 22 Cup starts with a best of 6th in the inaugural race at Dover that same 1969 season on July 6. The New Jersey-born Hessert is the father of Tom Hessert, Jr., who made one Cup start at Pocono in 1982, and grandfather of Tom Hessert III, who has six wins in the ARCA Menards Series.

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