Thursday, July 18, 2019

PREVIEW: Seuss and Theriault's first Cup starts with Rick Ware Racing among Loudon storylines

Austin Theriault's first Cup ride with Rick Ware Racing
Saturday, July 20, 2019
XFINITY Race 18 of 33
Roxor 200 at New Hampshire
2018 Last-Place Finisher: Jeff Green

There are 41 drivers entered for 38 spots, meaning three teams will fail to qualify for Saturday’s race in Loudon.

RETURNING: #12-Penske Racing
Paul Menard seeks his second XFINITY start of the season and first since his 4th-place showing in Michigan in June. He’ll drive the returning #12 team from the Penske stables, which last ran at Chicagoland during Joey Logano’s runner-up finish.

DRIVER CHANGE: #13-Motorsports Business Management
The preliminary entry list showed no driver listed for Carl Long’s #13 team in place of John Jackson, who ran 31st last week in Kentucky. Driving the car this week is Carl Long himself, eyeing his first series start of 2019.

DRIVER CHANGE: #15-JD Motorsports
Tyler Matthews returns for the first time since Iowa, where he ran a season-best 20th, and eyes his third XFINITY start of the year in Johnny Davis’ #15 Chevrolet. Matthews takes the place of Landon Cassill, who will focus on Sunday’s Cup race with StarCom Racing.

DRIVER CHANGE: #17-Rick Ware Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #74-Mike Harmon Racing
As with MBM’s #13, there was no driver listed for Rick Ware’s #17 Chevrolet on the preliminary list, following Camden Murphy’s 33rd-place finish at Kentucky. Murphy then tweeted on Tuesday that he would be driving the #74 this Saturday, taking over for Mike Harmon, 27th in Kentucky. Driving the #17 this week is Bayley Currey, who ran Rick Ware's Cup car last Saturday. Currey seeks his 8th XFINITY start of the year and first since Michigan, when he drove Ware's car to a 33rd-place finish.

DRIVER CHANGE: #18-Joe Gibbs Racing
Harrison Burton will make his third XFINITY start of the season and first since a 4th-place showing in Iowa, again driving with DEX Imaging as sponsor of Joe Gibbs’ #18 Toyota. He takes the place of Riley Herbst, who turned in an 11th-place finish in Kentucky.

RETURNING: #21-Richard Childress Racing
RCR will bring back the #21 team for the first time since Daytona, where Joe Graf, Jr. finished 23rd under the lights. Driving this time is a returning Kaz Grala, who last ran at Dover with a 14th-place finish. Ice cream company HotScream returns as sponsor for Grala, who ran 14th in this race last year for start-up Fury Race Cars LLC.

As Jeff Green now recovers from his rotator cuff surgery earlier this week, cutting short his 2019 campaign behind the wheel, C.J. McLaughlin will seek his XFINITY Series debut. McLaughlin has made four ARCA Menards Series starts, most recently a season-best 10th at Michigan, and made his national series debut at Iowa’s Truck Series race, where he ran 23rd for Reaume Brothers Racing. To ensure McLaughlin qualifies, he has swapped rides with flagship driver Ryan Sieg, putting Sieg in the #93 and McLaughlin in the #39.

RETURNING: #68-Brandonbilt Motorsports
For just the second time this year, Brandonbilt Motorsports will field a second car, the same team which debuted with a 20th-place finish at Charlotte. Unlike at Charlotte, Brandon Brown will not run the second team, and is still the listed driver of his familiar #86. The preliminary entry list did not have a driver named for the #68, but it has since gone to Dillon Bassett, who previously joined his brother Ronnie Jr. driving for DGM Racing.

DRIVER CHANGE: #89-Shepherd Racing Ventures
Landon Cassill once again climbs aboard Morgan Shepherd's #89 to get it qualified into the race.

Swapped out of the ride in his most recent entries, Alex Labbe is again the listed driver of Mario Gosselin’s #90 Chevrolet, and again seeks his first series start since a 25th-place showing in Talladega. Labbe finished 23rd in this race last year, his lone XFINITY start here. He takes the place of Ronnie Bassett, Jr., 29th at Kentucky after a vibration caused by a tire failure.

DRIVER CHANGE: #99-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Tommy Joe Martins returns to B.J. McLeod’s third team this week, taking the place of Jairo Avila, Jr., last the previous Friday in Kentucky. Martins and sponsor Diamond Gusset Jeans seek their ninth series start of the season, a year where his best finish was an 18th at Michigan. His best finish in two prior Loudon starts was a 20th in this race last summer.

CUP INVADERS: #12-Paul Menard

Sunday, July 21, 2019
CUP Race 20 of 36
Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire
2018 Last-Place Finisher: Landon Cassill

There are just 37 drivers entered in Sunday’s main event – one more car than last week, but the fifteenth short field in twenty races this season. This ties last summer’s race for the fewest starters ever in a Cup race at Loudon.

RETURNING: #27-Premium Motorsports
Reed Sorenson and the second Premium Motorsports entry rejoin the Cup tour this Sunday as the lone “open” car in the field. We last saw this car in Daytona two weeks ago, where a litany of mechanical issues left Ross Chastain several laps off the pace. Sorenson has 17 Cup starts at Loudon on his resume with a best finish of 6th in 2008, driving for Chip Ganassi Racing.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Rick Ware Racing
Rick Ware Racing will give two drivers their first-ever chances to start a Cup Series race. Leading the contingent is Andy Seuss, who takes over for Bayley Currey in the flagship #51 Ford. Currey moves to Ware's XFINITY car (see above). The New Hampshire-born Seuss has been racing modifieds since 2006, and has amassed 22 wins. He also finished 13th in his lone K&N Pro Series East race here two years ago. Readers of this site may recall that name from his lone Truck Series start at Charlotte in 2016. Driving for Jim Rosenblum, Seuss started last and finished there after an early crash. Curiously, when qualifying was washed out that weekend, one of the trucks he bumped was driven by Austin Theirault, who is his teammate this Sunday (see below).

DRIVER CHANGE: #52-Rick Ware Racing
As announced on June 29, Austin Theriault will make his Cup Series debut this Sunday, taking over for B.J. McLeod in the second Rick Ware Racing entry. Theriault, sponsored by Bangor Savings Bank, is the 2017 ARCA Menards Series Champion and has a combined nineteen starts in the XFINITY and Truck Series. His best NASCAR finish at the Loudon track came in 2015, when he ran 8th in the Truck Series race for Brad Keselowski Racing.

Saturday, July 27, 2019
TRUCKS Race 14 of 23
Gander RV 150 at Pocono
2018 Last-Place Finisher: Bayley Currey

The Truck Series is off this week and rejoins the Cup Series next Saturday in Pocono.

Today in LASTCAR history (July 18, 1987): John Linville finished last at the South Boston Speedway when his #08 Reedy Racing Pontiac broke the rear end after 7 laps of the Coors 200. The finish, the eighth of Linville’s career, broke a tie with Jimmy Lawson for the most last-place finishes in XFINITY Series history. Linville would hold the record until September 19, 1992, when Ed Berrier scored the 11th last-place run of his own career at Dover.

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