Thursday, June 13, 2019

PREVIEW: A new team - and a new team owner - among the many stories at Iowa

PHOTO: @Ryan_Repko14
Saturday, June 15, 2019
TRUCKS Race 10 of 23
M&M’s 200 at Iowa
2018 Last-Place Finisher: J.J. Yeley

There are 34 trucks on the preliminary entry list for Saturday’s Truck Series race, meaning two teams will miss the show. UPDATE: Make that 33 for 32 after Josh Reaume's new #32 team was withdrawn (see below).

RETURNING: #0-Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #10-Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing
For just the second time this year, Jennifer Jo Cobb will field two trucks, bringing back the #0 for the first time since Kansas. Unlike at Kansas, where Cobb switched into the truck after a qualifying wreck in her #10, Cobb is entered in the #0, leaving the #10 open for two-time NASCAR FedEx Challenge Series race winner Juan Manuel Gonzalez. Gonzalez looks to make his series debut after a DNQ during his first attempt at Martinsville earlier this year. Illux returns as sponsor for his #10.

MISSING: #14-Trey Hutchens Racing
Last week, Tony Mrakovich got to make his 2019 debut driving for Joe Nemechek, but finished just 26th after brake issues on the #8 Street Stores Chevrolet. Camden Murphy was originally listed to run the #8 this week, but as of Tuesday that changed to Trey Hutchins. Hutchins made his own season debut in his #14 last week, but collided with Spencer Boyd on the backstretch. With the #14 not entered, Hutchins will slide into the #8.

MISSING: #9-CR7 Motorsports
Codie Rohrbaugh was another driver eliminated in a hard crash at Texas, and his #9 is not entered this week.

MISSING: #15-DGR-Crosley
Anthony Alfredo will also not be making the trip to Iowa, nor will DGR-Crosley’s third truck – unfortunate given Alfredo’s 12th-place finish in Texas after leading his first three laps.

Saturday sees the third series start of Raphael Lessard, who finished 14th at Martinsville and 11th at Dover driving Kyle Busch Motorsports’ #46. This time around, Lessard drives DGR-Crosley’s #17, taking the place of Tyler Ankrum, Texas’ 3rd-place finisher (UPDATE: Ankrum to the #87, see below). Sponsorship will come from Rseau dynamique and FRL Express.

MISSING: #25-Ted Minor Motorsports
Ted Minor is not entered this week following his DNQ in Texas. The team’s next attempt is still to be announced.

NEW TEAM / WITHDREW: #32-Reaume Brothers Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #33-Reaume Brothers Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #34-Reaume Brothers Racing
Josh Reaume expands his team from two to three trucks for the first time, debuting the #32 Surface Prep Supply Chevrolet with returning driver Daniel Sasnett. UPDATE (June 13): The #32 has withdrawn. Reaume himself is not entered in either of his other two trucks. Taking the wheel of his flagship #33 is C.J. McLaughlin, who’s run the superspeedway portion of this year’s ARCA Menards Series season. McLaughlin, who earned a series-best 10th last week in Michigan, will bring his ARCA sponsor Sci Aps. Rounding out the trio is Mason Massey, who has just two K&N Pro Series East starts back in 2014. Massey takes the place of Scott Stenzel in the #34, and carries sponsorship from Anderson Power Services.

MISSING: #38-Niece Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #44-Niece Motorsports
Al Niece is not fielding the #38 that Ross Chastain steered to a 10th-place finish last week in Texas. The second race of Chastain’s go-for-broke season will move to the #44, driven last week by Angela Ruch before an accident after 33 laps left her 29th. Kyle Benjamin remains the driver of the #45 after an accident of his own left him 31st.

RETURNING: #42-Chad Finley Racing, Inc.
Welcome back Chad Finley and his #42, back on the track for the first time since their 18th-place showing in Charlotte. Finley eyes his first green flag at Iowa since July 11, 2009, when he finished 9th in his only ARCA start here.

RETURNING: #46-Kyle Busch Motorsports
Riley Herbst looks to put a miserable XFINITY weekend in Michigan behind him as he climbs aboard KBM’s returning #46, last run in the series when Herbst finished 9th in Kansas. Monster Energy and Advance Auto Parts join him as sponsors.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Kyle Busch Motorsports
Greg Biffle will not be running this weekend’s race, following his impressive win in Texas. The flagship #51 goes this week to Chandler Smith, a three-time winner in the ARCA Menards Series, most recently at Toledo earlier this year. Smith looks to make his NASCAR national touring series debut with sponsorship from Safelite Auto Glass.

RETURNING: #56-Hill Motorsports
Iowa is the next race on Timmy and Tyler Hill’s single-truck team, and this week Tyler takes the controls while Timmy runs in the XFINITY Series for Motorsports Business Management. Tyler, who ran 20th in his series debut at Dover, will be sponsored by Southern Freight Services.

RETURNING: #74-Mike Harmon Racing / Lou Goss Racing
Also making its return is Mike Harmon’s Truck Series team, which hasn’t been seen trackside since their 31st-place finish last summer at Mosport. This time around, the driver is Green Bay, Wisconsin native Lou Goss, who has a fascinating story of his own. According to this article, found by our own ARCA Guest Contributor William Soquet, Goss purchased Harmon’s truck in January to help Harmon fund his XFINITY car at Daytona. The truck came without an engine or transmission, and Goss has had to sell his short track equipment to lease both. Harmon has since helped Goss prepare the truck, which will make its debut at the track. The team is listed with Kramer Service Group and A&A Haulers. Goss’ team website is also coming together at this link.

On Thursday, Josh Reaume was swapped into Joe Nemechek's #87. UPDATE: And later that same day it became Tyler Ankrum, bumped from the #17, who will this be able to keep up on race attempts.

Jesse Little rejoins the Truck circuit for the sixth time this year and first time since a 14th-place showing in Charlotte. Little has finished inside the Top 10 in both his Iowa starts, running 9th in 2017 and a track-best 6th just last year. Skuttle Tight rejoins the team as sponsor.

MISSING: #04-Roper Racing
Noticeably absent from this week’s list is Cory Roper, who survived at Texas to etch his career-best 9th-place finish.


Sunday, June 16, 2019
XFINITY Race 14 of 33 250 at Iowa
2018 Last-Place Finisher: J.J. Yeley

While 39 were on the original entry list, the withdrawal of Rick Ware Racing's #17 (see below) made it exactly 38 entries for as many spots. No drivers will miss the show.

DRIVER CHANGE: #4-JD Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #15-JD Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #01-JD Motorsports
Denver, North Carolina native Ryan Repko, a late model driver with two ARCA starts with a best finish of 8th at Madison, will make his first start in NASCAR’s top three series. Repko, who has sponsorship from The McLain Group, will drive Johnny Davis’ #01 in place of Stephen Leicht, who moves to the #4 vacated by Ross Chastain. Chastain will not run Sunday and will instead focus on Saturday’s Truck race, ending a streak of 146 consecutive XFINITY Series starts which began November 15, 2014 at Homestead. Also swapping into the JD Motorsports lineup is Tyler Matthews, who we last saw run 24th for the team in Richmond. Then as now, the sponsor is LineTec Services. Matthews takes the place of B.J. McLeod, 19th at Michigan and not entered in Iowa. Garrett Smithley remains in the JD team’s #0.

DRIVER CHANGE: #8-JR Motorsports
Iowa is the next race on Zane Smith’s schedule as he makes his fifth start of 2019 and first since a 9th-place run in Dover. He takes the place of Jeb Burton, 9th last week in Michigan. Sponsorship comes from LaPaz Margarita Mix.

MISSING: #12-Penske Racing
Roger Penske has not entered the #12 car this week, and Cup regular Paul Menard, 4th at Michigan, is also not on the list.

MISSING: #17-Rick Ware Racing
Rick Ware’s #17 was originally on the preliminary entry list for Iowa on Monday, but by Tuesday had been pulled. At the time, there was no driver listed. Bayley Currey drove the car last week in Michigan, yielding a 33rd-place finish. The team had attempted all 13 races this season with just one DNQ at Texas. UPDATE (June 13):, which left out the #17, has re-added it, but without a driver. UPDATE (June 14): The #17 has now been withdrawn there as well, still without a driver.

DRIVER CHANGE: #18-Joe Gibbs Racing
With Riley Herbst running the Truck Series after his 37th-place finish in Michigan, Harrison Burton will jump from Trucks to XFINITY this week along with sponsor Dex Imaging. It will be Burton’s second career start in the series and first since Bristol, where he finished 10th.

NEW TEAM: #28-H2 Motorsports
As announced earlier this year, Shane Lee will now drive for a brand-new team, H2 Motorsports. The car carries on it sponsorship from Circuit City, which also took the opportunity to sponsor Sunday’s race. Lee, previously a development driver with Richard Childress Racing, now runs a Toyota and seeks his 14th start. He finished 16th and 13th in last year’s Iowa races. Without Owner Points, Lee was in position to have to qualify on speed for Sunday, but that changed following the early withdrawal of Rick Ware’s #17. Thus, car #28 will make its first XFINITY start since last summer at Pocono, when JGL Racing last fielded the number for Dylan Lupton.

On Tuesday came news that Jeff Green will climb out of the #38 this July for rotator cuff surgery, and will not be racing the rest of this season. Green will run on Sunday as well as the next three races in Chicagoland, Daytona, and his home track in Kentucky before he steps aside. Still leading a three-way tie for the 2019 LASTCAR XFINITY Series championship with John Jackson and Joey Gase, this may end his bid for a third-straight title. This is not the end, however - plans are already in motion for a return in 2020, depending on sponsorship. By far the most prolific driver on this website - and a good guy to boot - we here at wish him the best and hope for a speedy recovery.

DRIVER CHANGE: #66-Motorsports Business Management
With Tyler Hill running the aforementioned Truck Series race, the #66 falls to a returning Stan Mullis, Carl Long’s go-to driver for several stand-alone races since 2017. Mullis has three Iowa starts on his record with a best of 32nd in his series debut.

DRIVER CHANGE: #74-Mike Harmon Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #89-Shepherd Racing Ventures
As of this writing, both Mike Harmon and Morgan Shepherd will qualify and race their respective cars this week, Harmon replacing Kyle Weatherman in the #74 and Shepherd in for Landon Cassill in the #89. Cassill finished two spots ahead of Weatherman last week, running 32nd to Weatherman’s 34th.

Alex Labbe seeks his fourth XFINITY start of the season and first since Talladega, where he ran 25th. He takes the place of Dillon Bassett, who ended up with his first last-place finish at Michigan.

DRIVER CHANGE: #99-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Ryan Ellis will make his first XFINITY start of the season and first in the series since a 17th-place showing for B.J. McLeod last summer at Road America. It will be Ellis’ third series start at Iowa and first since 2015, when he finished 35th for JGL Racing. He takes the place of Tommy Joe Martins, a solid 18th in Michigan, and brings with him sponsorship from The Wes Cook Band.


Sunday, June 23, 2019
CUP Race 16 of 36
Toyota / Save Mart 350 at Sears Point
2018 Last-Place Finisher: A.J. Allmendinger

Yes, the official name is the Sonoma Raceway, but the original 2.52-mile Sears Point International Raceway configuration makes its return in two weeks’ time, and I will be there to cover the action of the first road course race of 2019. Included in our coverage will be a second BSGN Starting Grid video, to be posted late Saturday, June 22.

Today in LASTCAR history (June 13, 1997): Kevin Grubb picks up the first last-place finish of his NASCAR Busch Series career in the Winston Motorsports 300 at South Boston Speedway when his #82 Virginia is for Lovers Chevrolet is collected in a six-car pileup after 60 laps. Grubb started 6th, but was collected when Stacy Puryear and Elliott Sadler spun in front of him. The finish came in Grubb’s second series start and was his first of five last-place runs in his career.

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