XFINITY Race 31 of 33
O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas
Round of 8 – Race 2 of 3
2018 Last-Place Finisher: Morgan Shepherd
There are exactly 38 drivers entered for as many spots in Saturday’s return of the XFINITY Series.
DRIVER CHANGE: #8-JR Motorsports
Following an abrupt end to Ryan Truex’s race at Kansas due to a blown engine, Jeb Burton will take the controls of the #8 Chevrolet this week with State Water Heaters as the sponsor. Burton, who comes off his second 9th-place finish in as many Truck Series starts this season, will make his 6th start of the year. He ran 5th for this team back in the spring.
DRIVER CHANGE: #15-JD Motorsports
Stefan Parsons tweeted that he will be driving for Johnny Davis this week, taking the place of Tyler Matthews, who isn’t entered after a 28th-place showing in Kansas. This will be Parsons’ first series start for a team other than B.J. McLeod Motorsports, for whom he made five starts this year most recently at Dover. Phoenix Construction follows Parsons over as sponsor.
DRIVER CHANGE: #17-Rick Ware Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #74-Mike Harmon Racing
Bayley Currey moves from Rick Ware Racing’s #17 to Mike Harmon’s #74, taking the place of Kyle Weatherman, who isn’t entered after a solid 22nd-place finish in Kansas. Taking Currey’s place in the #17 is Mike Harmon himself, who oversees the operations of the team. This will be Harmon’s 11th series start at Texas. UPDATE: Weatherman will drive in place of Harmon in the #17.
LASTCAR UPDATE: #38-RSS Racing
With four last-place finishes this year, J.J. Yeley holds the lead in the 2019 LASTCAR XFINITY Series Championship with three races to go. Yeley controls his own destiny, and can lock-up his title by finishing last on Saturday. Still mathematically in contention are Josh Bilicki, Joey Gase, John Jackson, A.J. Allmendinger, Chad Finchum, and Bayley Currey. Of this group, only Bilicki can take the title if he finishes last in two of these three remaining races, so long as Yeley doesn't finish last in the third race and Bilicki outranks Yeley in Bottom Fives. The other five drivers - Gase, Jackson, Allmendinger, Finchum, and Currey - can only contend if they finish last in all three races, meaning at least four of them will be eliminated on Saturday. Two of those four may are already eliminated as they are not entered: Allmendinger and Jackson. None of this includes Jeff Green, who has a series-leading 14 Bottom Fives, but was eliminated when surgery cut short his season.
DRIVER CHANGE: #90-DGM Racing
Ronnie Bassett, Jr. is back in action for the first time since Indianapolis, where he tied his season-best 15th-place finish. He will run with continued support for Down Syndrome Awarness on the #90 Chevrolet fielded by Mario Gosselin. Bassett takes over for Alex Labbe, who finished one spot ahead of Ronnie’s brother Dillon at Kasnas, finishing 15th.
MISSING: #92-DGM Racing
Dillon Bassett is not entered after the aforementioned 16th-place run at Kansas, and neither is Mario Gosselin’s second car, #92.
CUP INVADERS: None.
Sunday, November 3, 2019
CUP Race 34 of 36
AAA Texas 500 at Texas
Round of 8 – Race 2 of 3
2018 Last-Place Finisher: Corey LaJoie
There are 40 drivers entered for as many spots this Sunday, the fourth full field in the last six races and the tenth in 34 races this season.
DRIVER SWAP: #15-Premium Motorsports
DRIVER SWAP: #27-Premium Motorsports
Jay Robinson has swapped two of his drivers this week as Ross Chastain moves to the #27 and Reed Sorenson to the #15. Last week in Martinsville, it was 29th-place Chastain who finished ahead of Sorenson in 33rd. UPDATE: Make that Joe Nemechek in the #15, who now gets the opportunity to race against his son in his Cup debut. Sorenson is not entered.
DRIVER CHANGE: #36-Front Row Motorsports
On Tuesday came news that Matt Tifft will be out of the #36 for the rest of the season. Tifft tweeted more information on the medical emergency that sidelined him at Martinsville: he’d suffered a seizure, but scans showed no return of the benign brain tumor that was removed in 2016. Taking Tifft’s place in the #36 for the rest of this year will be John Hunter Nemechek. The younger Nemechek, whose plans for 2020 are yet unknown, will make his Cup Series debut. Speedy Cash is the listed sponsor.
DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Rick Ware Racing
The Ware team has just one driver change this week as Josh Bilicki takes the place of B.J. McLeod, who isn’t entered this week. Bilicki is set for his 9th Cup start of the season, his first since Kansas, and his first in the team’s flagship #51 since his lone 2018 start at Watkins Glen. Garrett Smithley and J.J. Yeley remain in the #52 and #53, respectively.
RETURNING: #66-Motorsports Business Management
DRIVER CHANGE: #77-Spire Motorsports
After two consecutive races with Spire Motorsports, Timmy Hill rejoins Carl Long’s team, which last ran 38th at Kansas following a mid-race spin off the nose of Kyle Larson. Hill will also run Saturday’s XFINITY race in the MBM #13. Rejoining the Spire team this week is Quin Houff, whose 16th and most recent Cup start this year came in the fall race at Richmond, finishing 35th. Houff hasn’t run the #77 since the second Pocono race, where he ran 31st.
RETURNING: #96-Gaunt Brothers Racing
Parker Kligerman goes from interviewing Denny Hamlin on pit road last week to racing against him in the #96 TRD 40th Anniversary Toyota. It will be Kligerman’s 14th start of the season and first since Kansas, where driver and team ran 29th.
Friday, November 8, 2019
TRUCKS Race 22 of 23
Lucas Oil 150 at ISM Raceway (Phoenix)
Round of 6 – Race 3 of 3
2018 Last-Place Finisher: Joe Nemechek
LASTCAR TRACKSIDE COVERAGE
When the Truck Series returns from their week off, I will be reporting from the ISM Raceway as part of our semi-final weekend coverage. Both Norm Benning and defending last-place finisher Joe Nemechek can lock-up the title with a last-place finish – but will someone else push the battle to Homestead? Stay tuned to find out.
LASTCAR STAT OF THE WEEK
Today in LASTCAR history (October 31, 1965): Happy Halloween! The first Cup Series driver to finish last on this day was Darel Dieringer, who crashed on the opening lap of the inaugural American 500 at Rockingham. Dieringer’s #10 1964 Ford started 31st in the 43-car field for what was the penultimate race of the season, won by Curtis Turner. The driver left with the third of his five career last-place finishes.