Thursday, September 19, 2019

PREVIEW: Eleven XFINITY Series teams engaged in a game of musical chairs as several drivers swap rides for Richmond

Hermie Sadler's #93 for this Friday's XFINITY race.
PHOTO: Ryan Daley, @ryandaleydesign
Friday, September 20, 2019
XFINITY Race 27 of 33
Go Bowling 250 at Richmond
Round of 12 – Race 1 of 3
2018 Last-Place Finisher: Morgan Shepherd

There are exactly 38 drivers entered for as many spots in the XFINITY Series race.

DRIVER SWAP: #4-JD Motorsports
DRIVER SWAP: #15-JD Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #74-Mike Harmon Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #01-JD Motorsports
Richmond will see Ryan Repko make his third start of the year and first at a track other than Iowa, where he finished 22nd and 25th earlier this year. As in both races, he will slide into Johnny Davis’ #01 Chevrolet with The McLain Group as sponsor. This has led to driver changes in three other cars: Repko’s return moves Stephen Leicht from the Davis #01 to the #4 in place of B.J. McLeod. McLeod moves to Davis’ #15 in place of Tyler Matthews. And Matthews moves to Mike Harmon’s #74 Chevrolet in place of Kyle Weatherman, who isn’t entered.

DRIVER SWAP: #5-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #78-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
DRIVER SWAP: #99-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
The second round of musical chairs starts with the return of Hermie Sadler, one week after his brother’s final NASCAR start in Las Vegas. Hermie’s first XFINITY start since September 9, 2016 was originally on the preliminary list in the #38 from RSS Racing, but subsequent tweets from the driver himself indicate he will run the RSS #93. The Virginia Lottery will continue its long-standing relationship with Hermie as sponsor. Sadler’s run in the #93 triggers another series of swaps as it displaces C.J. McLaughlin to the #38 in place of J.J. Yeley. Yeley switches teams as a result, moving to B.J. McLeod’s #78 in place of Vinnie Miller. Miller moves to the #5 in place of teammate Matt Mills. And Mills moves to the McLeod #99 in place of Jairo Avila, Jr., who like Kyle Weatherman isn’t entered.

DRIVER CHANGE: #8-JR Motorsports
Zane Smith is back for his eighth start of the season and first since Iowa in July, where he ran 9th. He is again sponsored by PatientPop, the fourth time the company has been his primary sponsor. He takes the place of Ryan Truex, who ran 14th in Las Vegas.

MISSING: #10-Kaulig Racing
One week after Elliott Sadler finished 10th in his final NASCAR start, the second Kaulig Racing entry is likewise not entered in Richmond.

DRIVER CHANGE: #17-Rick Ware Racing
The preliminary entry list had no driver named to take the place of Joe Nemechek, who finished 33rd after steering issues at Las Vegas. That changed by Wednesday, as Mike Harmon will drive the car for the first time since last month at Bristol, where he practiced it following Bayley Currey's suspension before Nemechek started the race. Just this week, Currey was reinstated by NASCAR after completing its "Road to Recovery" program.

DRIVER CHANGE: #18-Joe Gibbs Racing
Harrison Burton makes his fourth XFINITY start of the year and first since his rough outing in Loudon, where late suspension issues left him a season-worst 29th. This time, he takes the place of Riley Herbst, who ran 9th in Las Vegas. DEX Imaging is again Burton’s sponsor.

RETURNING: #21-Richard Childress Racing
Friday marks the fifth attempt and, potentially, the third start of the year for ARCA Menards Series driver Joe Graf, Jr. with his Eat, Sleep, Race sponsorship. We last saw Graf start in in this series at Daytona this past July, where a late crash left him 23rd. His most recent attempt was a DNQ at Bristol in the Kaulig #10.

DRIVER SWAP: #61-Motorsports Business Management
DRIVER CHANGE: #66-Motorsports Business Management
Carl Long’s team focuses exclusively on the XFINITY Series this weekend, and has swapped a couple of their drivers. While Stan Mullis remains in the #13, Chad Finchum has moved from the #66 to the #61 in place of Tommy Joe Martins, who isn’t entered. Taking Finchum’s place in the #66 is Mike Marlar, who performed so spectacularly in his Truck Series debut at Eldora earlier this summer. That night, after NASCAR made his team remove the Marathon Oil branding from his Chevrolet, Marlar started 23rd and finished 4th in the Reaume Brothers’ #33.

Ronnie Bassett, Jr. will make his eleventh series start this weekend, once again bringing his Bassett Gutters & More branding to the #90 Chevrolet. He takes the place of Alex Labbe, who earned a respectable 17th-place finish at Las Vegas with Martin & Cain Warehousing as sponsor. UPDATE: Make that Ronnie's brother Dillon Bassett in the #90.


Saturday, September 21, 2019
CUP Race 28 of 36
Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond
Round of 16 – Race 2 of 3
2018 Last-Place Finisher: Gray Gaulding

There are 38 drivers entered for 40 spots in Saturday’s field, marking the 22nd short field in 28 races this season.

TEAM UPDATE: #8-Richard Childress Racing
News broke on Tuesday that Daniel Hemric, still completing his rookie season with RCR, will not be back in the #8 Chevrolet next season. There has been no official word as yet on Hemric’s replacement for 2020.

DRIVER CHANGE: #27-Premium Motorsports
Welcome back Quin Houff, who we haven’t seen on the Cup side since the night race at Bristol, when he steered Premium’s #27 Chevrolet to a 30th-place finish, his best since Pocono in June. This week, he again drives the #27, returning to the track where he ran 34th for Spire Motorsports this past spring. He takes the place of Joe Nemechek, whose most recent turn in the #27 saw him finish 34th.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Rick Ware Racing
Another part-timer returning to action is Austin Theriault, whose most recent of three Cup starts this year was a season-best 32nd in the August race at Michigan. Theriault takes the place of B.J. McLeod, who ran 33rd in Las Vegas. Garrett Smithley remains in Ware’s #52.

DRIVER SWAP: #52-Rick Ware Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #53-Rick Ware Racing
J.J. Yeley, 32nd in Vegas, moves from Rick Ware's #53 to the #52 this week, taking the place of Garrett Smithley, who isn't entered. Driving the #53 is Spencer Boyd, who returns to the Cup garage for the first time since that same August race at Michigan where Theriault last ran. Making his series debut that day, he finished last after a crash.

MISSING: #66-Motorsports Business Management
Not making the trip back east is Carl Long’s Cup team, which Joey Gase drove to a 38th-place finish in Las Vegas. Gase will focus on the XFINITY side as he drives his full-time ride in Long’s #35 Toyota.

Saturday, October 12, 2019
TRUCKS Race 20 of 23
Sugarlands Shine 250 at Talladega
Round of 6 – Race 1 of 3
2018 Last-Place Finisher: Clay Greenfield

“Truckadega,” the next round for the pick-ups, is still three weeks away.

Today in LASTCAR history (September 19, 1957): Speedy Thompson picked up the 3rd last-place finish of his Cup Series career during a 200-lap race at the Columbia Speedway, a half-mile dirt track in Cayce, South Carolina. Thompson, who won the Southern 500 seventeen days earlier, started 10th in the 19-car field, but lost an engine on his 1957 Chevrolet after just 7 laps. The following year on August 7, 1958, Thompson would rebound by winning at the Columbia track from the pole.

No comments: