Thursday, October 31, 2019

PREVIEW: Cup debut of John Hunter Nemechek one of only a handful of changes on the Texas entry lists

PHOTO: @JDMotorsports01
Saturday, November 2, 2019
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.

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.

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.


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

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.

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.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

CUP: Jimmie Johnson finishes last at one of his best tracks

Johnson against the wall following his crash.
PHOTO: Mike Raphael, @Mike_motorsport
Jimmie Johnson picked up the 3rd last-place finish of his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career in Sunday’s First Data 500 at the Martinsville Speedway when his #48 Ally Chevrolet was collected in a multi-car accident after 361 of 500 laps.

The finish, which came in Johnson’s 648th series start, was his first of the season and first since July 8, 2017 at Kentucky, 87 races ago. In the Cup Series last-place rankings, it was the 22nd for the #48, the 590th from a crash, and the 775th for Chevrolet. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 29th for the #48, the 1,199th from a crash, and the 1,694th for Chevrolet.

Johnson and Martinsville are as synonymous with success as the track is with Hendrick Motorsports. Coming into Sunday’s race, Johnson had made 35 starts at the half-mile track, and had only four times finished worse than 15th. The most recent of these came this past spring, where he managed just 24th, two laps down, in a race dominated by Brad Keselowski. Johnson’s first of nine victories came nearly just over fifteen years to the day of Sunday’s race, a win overshadowed by the tragic private plane crash that claimed the lives of ten people, including both the brother and son of team owner Rick Hendrick.

Sunday’s race saw Johnson on the outside of the Playoff picture for the first time in his career, something practically unthinkable just three years ago, when he tied Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt with his seventh Cup Series title. Following a gutsy 16th-place performance at Darlington, the veteran suffered his first DNF of the season at the worst possible time, crashing out midway through the cutoff race at Indianapolis. The remaining ten races would again see Johnson try to end a more than two-year winless streak since Dover in 2017, when he matched his hero Cale Yarborough’s mark of 83 career Cup victories.

Johnson started the Martinsville weekend 10th in opening practice, dropped to 22nd in Happy Hour, then ranked just 24th in qualifying with a speed of 95.917mph (19.742 seconds). Johnson’s qualifying spot was helped by two of the four drivers whose times were disallowed on Sunday – Ryan Newman, Corey LaJoie, Timmy Hill, and B.J. McLeod. These penalties caused McLeod’s #51 Jacob Companies Chevrolet to take the 38th and final starting spot from his Rick Ware Racing teammate Garrett Smithley in the #52 Chevrolet.

At center, Johnson in the garage after his accident.
Chase Elliott is at top-right, logging laps to eventually pass his
PHOTO: @Mike_motorsport
Prior to the start of Sunday’s race, Chase Elliott was also sent to the rear after he blew the engine on his #9 Mountain Dew Chevrolet just a handful of laps into opening practice. This was a significant setback for Elliott, who not only was a Playoff driver just below the cut line, but also qualified a strong second alongside Denny Hamlin, who beat Elliott for last week’s win in Kansas.

When the race started, Elliott made quick work of the tail end of the field. Smithley, whose #52 had a left-front tire rub prior to the start according to MRN Radio, dropped to 38th place and was the first to be lapped around ten circuits into the event. By Lap 48, the spot had changed hands to Timmy Hill, who for the second-straight week was having trouble finding speed out of Spire Motorsports’ unsponsored #77 Chevrolet. Hill lost a second lap on the 66th lap, then was seen coming off pit road five laps down on Lap 87. Moments later, NBCSN’s leaderboard indicated Hill was off the track, likely indicating he’d entered the garage just past pit exit. Hill returned to action 27 laps down, though he would continue to make several unscheduled stops for the duration of the race.

Next to find trouble was Elliott, whose charge through the pack came to a halt on Lap 184 when he snapped an axle on pit road. The crew first looked to replace the right-rear axle, then decided to change the left-rear. It took some time for the crew to get the parts from the hauler, and on Lap 196 the #9 rolled behind the wall and into the garage. Due to the laps Hill lost during his own repairs, it wasn’t until Lap 216 that the #77 finally dropped Elliott to last. Had the results stayed the same, it would have marked the first last-place finish for the #9 at Martinsville since Chase’s father Bill blew an engine on April 27, 1986. The Hendrick crew completed repairs on Lap 236, at which point Elliott returned to action 52 laps in arrears.

Meanwhile, Johnson was well back of the lead battle when trouble broke out in Turn 4. A battle between Kyle Busch and Aric Almirola caused the two to hook fenders, sending them careening off the walls. Coming up on the scene, Johnson pulled low with Kyle Larson behind him. He looked for a way around the spinning Almirola, but smashed into the nose of Almirola’s #10 Smithfield Ford with his right-front. The contact steered Johnson to the left, where he stopped abruptly against the inside wall. While several other cars spun into one another, only Johnson and Almirola were eliminated with crash damage.

Elliott managed to finish the race 55 laps down, but still under power, pulling over to let the leaders go by in the final laps. He passed his teammate with around 80 laps to go, handing Johnson the last-place finish with Almirola in 37th. Hill finished 34th, his #77 falling out with transmission woes that may or may not have had something to do with his earlier trip to the garage. Completing the Bottom Five behind Hill was 35th-place Clint Bowyer, who bent the track bar on his #14 BlueDEF Ford after a pair of untimely flat tires past the entrance to pit road.

While Martin Truex, Jr. dominated the race, a trio of underdogs turned in fine performances. The first was David Ragan, who finished 11th in his #38 MDS Transport Ford, his season-best finish of his final year in full-time Cup Series competition. It was Ragan’s best run at the track since 2015, when he drove in relief of an injured Kyle Busch.

Bubba Wallace had his best showing since Indianapolis, flirting with a Top 10 finish despite damage from multiple incidents, and came home 13th in the #43 Victory Junction Chevrolet. Prior to Sunday, Wallace had finished no better than 17th in three previous Martinsville starts.

But most impressive was Corey LaJoie, who ran on the lead lap for most of the day in “The Mystery Machine,” his #32 / Scooby Doo Ford. LaJoie ran as high as 17th before crossing the stripe in 18th. In three previous Martinsville starts, LaJoie had finished no better than 28th and never once came home on the lead lap.

With three races to go, the 2019 LASTCAR Cup Series Championship remains completely wide-open. Three drivers - B.J. McLeod, Erik Jones, and Michael McDowell - remain separated by just a single bottom-five finish. Also, due to their 11 bottom-five finishes, Cody Ware and Reed Sorenson can take the title by simply tying the current leaders with three last-place finishes.

*This marked the first time car #48 finished last in a Cup race at Martinsville since October 28, 1956, when the fuel pump on Jimmie Lewallen’s 1956 Ford failed after 11 laps of the Old Dominion 400. This finish, the fifth of Lewallen’s career, gave him the last-place record in Cup, which he held until September 21, 1957, when he was passed by Jim Paschal.
*The 361 laps completed by Johnson are the fifth-most of any Cup Series last-place finisher at Martinsville. Ahead of him are Dave Blaney (374 on March 30, 2008), Chad Little (394 on April 20, 1997), Hideo Fukuyama (400 on October 20, 2002), and Ricky Craven (401 on April 18, 1999).

38) #48-Jimmie Johnson / 361 laps / crash
37) #10-Aric Almirola / 363 laps / crash
36) #9-Chase Elliott / 445 laps / running
35) #14-Clint Bowyer / 449 laps / track bar
34) #77-Timmy Hill / 450 laps / transmission

1st) Rick Ware Racing (9)
2nd) Stewart-Haas Racing (4)
3rd) Chip Ganassi Racing, Front Row Motorsports, Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing (3)
4th) Richard Childress Racing, Spire Motorsports (2)
5th) Germain Racing, Motorsports Business Management, Roush-Fenway Racing, StarCom Racing (1)

1st) Chevrolet (19)
2nd) Ford (10)
3rd) Toyota (4)


TRUCKS: Cody McMahan’s troubles at Martinsville begin before the field rolls off pit road

PHOTO: @WookieAutomoTV
Cody McMahan picked up the 1st last-place finish of his Gander Outdoors NASCAR Truck Series career in Saturday’s Hall of Fame 200 at the Martinsville Speedway when his #0 Property Damage Appraisers, Inc. Chevrolet when he failed to complete any of the 201 laps due to engine trouble.

The finish came in McMahan’s second series start. In the Truck Series last-place rankings, it was the 49th for the #0, the 131st from engine trouble, and the 382nd for Chevrolet. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 89th for the #0, the 1,079th for engine trouble, and the 1,693rd for Chevrolet.

McMahan, a 27-year-old racer from Chilhowie, Virginia, transitioned from the X-1R Pro Cup Series to ARCA in 2013. He made his lone ARCA start at Talladega, finishing a strong 12th for team owner Wes Gonder. A subsequent entry at Pocono was withdrawn. On the Truck Series side, McMahan made his first series attempt at Bristol, where he first drove for Jennifer Jo Cobb. Unfortunately, McMahan’s #10 High Country Grizzlies Chevrolet was slowest in qualifying, joining three drivers on the DNQ list. He rebounded this past June, where he put Mark Beaver’s #1 Beaver Bail Bonds Chevrolet 31st on the grid. He finished 29th, out with crash damage.

It was a late announcement on Thursday that McMahan’s ride for Martinsville, his home track, would be Cobb’s second truck, the black #0 Chevrolet. The team hadn’t been entered since Las Vegas, where it was withdrawn, and hadn’t started a race since Mosport, where Ray Ciccarelli struggled with a stumbling engine and had to pull in early. Unfortunately, the same engine issues persisted at Martinsville as multiple reports indicated the same rough noise from its exhaust note.

Sponsorship for McMahon at Martinsville.
PHOTO: @NascarCatholic
Sponsorship from Property Damage Appraisers, Inc. of Bristol, Virginia came on board Thursday, and the team finished applying decals to the hood on pit road. Unfortunately, McMahan didn’t participate in either of the two practice sessions and put up the slowest lap in qualifying lap. He clocked in at just 59.051mph (32.067 seconds), a full ten seconds slower than teammate Jennifer Jo Cobb in 31st, and thirteen back of polesitter Christian Eckes. A report indicated McMahan wouldn’t even be allowed to start because the #0 truck had such bad wiring. McMahan then practiced Cobb’s #10 without notifying NASCAR of the driver change, summoning him to the NASCAR hauler.

When engines fired, McMahan’s truck still sounded rough. A picture by Mike Raphael showed the #0 pull directly into the garage area at Turn 1 before the tail end of the field had even rolled off pit road. The truck was later spotted parked with the hood up in the garage between the tractors of the Rick Ware Racing and Spire Motorsports haulers. It wasn’t until Lap 32 that NASCAR officials confirmed that McMahan was out of the race with engine trouble. McMahan tweeted that he plans on returning to the series next month at the ISM Raceway.

McMahan pulls behind the wall as the field rolls off.
PHOTO: @Mike_motorsport
Cobb had an equally frustrating afternoon when she lost brake pressure, causing her to coast to a stop in the infield with a fire behind her right-front wheel. Also smoking in the garage was the #34 Levrak Chevrolet of Josh Reaume. Reaume was done for the day, and ultimately finished in 31st. Cobb returned to action at least 50 laps down to complete another 60 laps, but with 20 to go dropped an axle on the track, ending her day in 27th.

In the process, she passed three drivers collected in a Lap 123 pileup. Sam Mayer turned in an incredible run in just his second career series start, leading 33 laps and taking the win in Stage 2. His #21 Manpower Chevrolet was still among the leaders on the ensuing restart when he got booted to the high lane. Coming off Turn 2, the field went four-wide below him, and nine trucks crashed. Eliminated were Mayer, Playoff contender Brett Moffitt in the #24 CMR Construction & Roofing Chevrolet, and Tyler Dippel in the #02 Lobas Productions Chevrolet.

At the end of twelve cautions that took up nearly half the race distance, a number of drivers turned in very strong finishes.

McMahan's truck in the garage after his early exit.
PHOTO: @MotorsportRev
Timmy Hill finished 5th, not only the career-best finish for him in the Truck Series but the best for he and his brother’s single-truck team. Hill gained several spots by cutting to the low lane on the Lap 123 wreck and engaged in a spirited battle inside the Top 10 for the final laps. This continues a breakout season for Hill, who on the XFINITY side finished in the Top 10 at Bristol and very nearly had a Top 5 in the July race at Daytona before a crash, all while driving for Carl Long.

John Hunter Nemechek was turned into the backstretch wall on Lap 90, taking significant damage to the front and rear of his #8 ROMCO Equipment Chevrolet. The NEMCO Motorsports crew rallied to not only keep the younger Nemechek on the lead lap but finish 7th. It was the best finish of the season for the Nemechek team, improving their previous best of 8th by Angela Ruch in the Daytona opener.

Danny Bohn’s series debut could hardly have gone better. Driving for On Point Motorsports in the #30 BMLG / Brantley Gilbert Toyota campaigned this year by Brennan Poole, Bohn worked his way into the Top 10 and finished 8th.

Jeb Burton took 9th, joining Al Niece teammate Ross Chastain in the Top 10. Burton overcame damage to the front corner of his #44 State Water Heaters / Alsco Chevrolet in a tangle on Lap 116, then an unscheduled stop in the later stages. He matched his 9th-place finish in his only other Truck Series start this season at Kentucky.

Codie Rohrbaugh finished 10th, the first top-ten finish of his Truck Series career in a season where he’d crashed out of four of his previous seven starts. He accomplished this in his first-ever series start at Martinsville.

Jordan Anderson, Dawson Cram, and Gus Dean all spent some time in the Top 10 during the late stages before they finished nose-to-tail in 12th, 13th, and 14th, respectively. Cram’s finish, which came in a truck built around the same time as "Freak" in 2000, came in his first Truck Series start of the year. His previous start came last fall at Phoenix, where he steered D.J. Copp’s #83 RGS Products / THP Chevrolet to a 16th-place finish.

With just two races to go in the season, the battle for the 2019 LASTCAR Truck Series Championship remains tight. Joe Nemechek holds fast to the lead over Norm Benning and Gus Dean by a single last-place finish. Nemechek's only path to the title at the ISM Raceway is to finish last there. If he does not, Benning can take the lead by finishing last at ISM, thanks to his 10th bottom-ten finish resulting from a late accident at Martinsville. Dean can potentially tie Nemechek at ISM, but will still trail on bottom-five finishes, meaning he must finish last at both ISM and Homestead. Josh Reaume is the only other driver mathematically in contention, though he must also finish last in both races to take the title.

*This marked the first last-place finish for the #0 in a Truck Series race at Martinsville.
*McMahan is just the third Truck Series last-place finisher to fail to complete a lap at Martinsville. He's joined by Dana White on April 12, 2003 (clutch issues) and Chris Windom on October 28, 2017 (engine trouble).

32) #0-Cody McMahan / 0 laps / engine
31) #34-Josh Reaume / 37 laps / brakes
30) #02-Tyler Dippel / 121 laps / crash
29) #24-Brett Moffitt / 122 laps / crash / led 8 laps
28) #21-Sam Mayer / 122 laps / crash / led 33 laps / won stage 2

1st) Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing, NEMCO Motorsports (4)
2nd) Norm Benning Racing, Reaume Brothers Racing, Young’s Motorsports (2)
3rd) Copp Motorsports, DGR-Crosley, Halmar Friesen Racing, Hattori Racing Enterprises, JJL Motorsports, Niece Motorsports, ThorSport Racing (1)

1st) Chevrolet (17)
2nd) Ford, Toyota (2)


Thursday, October 24, 2019

PREVIEW: Martinsville entry lists show a few open seats left to be filled

PHOTO: @DiecastFans
Saturday, October 26, 2019
TRUCKS Race 21 of 23
Hall of Fame 200 at Martinsville
Round of 6 – Race 2 of 3
2018 Last-Place Finisher: Chad Finley

There are 32 trucks entered for as many spots, so all teams entered will start the race.

RETURNING: #0-Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing
As of this writing, there is no driver listed for Jennifer Jo Cobb’s second truck, which is entered for the first time since it was withdrawn at Las Vegas. UPDATE: As of Thursday, Cody McMahan has been named to drive, seeking his second series start since a 29th-place run for Mark Beaver in his debut at Gateway this past June.

MISSING: #7-All Out Motorsports
Korbin Forrister is not entered following a 13th-place run last time out at Talladega.

No driver is listed in for Anthony Alfredo, who ran 15th at Talladega. Alfredo has run the bulk of the team’s partial schedule with Dylan Lupton running another two races. The team did not run at Martinsville back in the spring. UPDATE: Tanner Gray will make his Truck Series debut in the DGR-Crosley entry with sponsorship from Valvoline and Durst. Gray just finished 3rd in points for the K&N Pro Series East, also driving David Gilliland's equipment.

Sam Mayer seeks his first Truck start since his debut at Bristol, where he finished 21st. As at Bristol, he will carry sponsor Manpower on the GMS #21, a team hasn’t run since that night.

MISSING: #28-FDNY Racing
Bryan Dauzat is not entered after he gave team owner Jim Rosenblum his first lap led in 36 years of team ownership.

DRIVER CHANGE: #30-On Point Motorsports
Danny Bohn seeks his series debut and has BMLG / Brantley Gilbert as sponsor. The New Jersey native has four victories in the Whelen Southern Modified Tour – two each at Caraway and Bowman Gray Stadium. Bohn takes the place of Brennan Poole, who has given the #30 team all 13 of its starts in 2019.

DRIVER CHANGE: #33-Reaume Brothers Racing
As of this writing, no driver is listed in for Talladega last-place finisher Mason Massey in Josh Reaume’s primary #33 Chevrolet. UPDATE: Dawson Cram will be moved from the #34 to this entry, allowing for Josh Reaume himself to run the #34.

DRIVER CHANGE: #34-Reaume Brothers Racing
Dawson Cram returns to the Truck Series at the site of his DNQ this past spring, driving the #63 for D.J. Copp (and formerly of the late Mike Mittler). This time, he drives in place of Talladega 19th-place finisher Jesse Iwuji in Reaume’s #34. UPDATE: Cram was moved on Thursday to the #33, and Josh Reaume will drive this truck.

DRIVER CHANGE: #44-Niece Motorsports
Jeb Burton returns for another run at the short track, taking the place of 28th-place Talladega finisher Angela Ruch. It will be Burton’s eighth Truck start at Martinsville and his fourth different team in as many attempts. His best finish is a pair of 3rd-place runs in 2013 for Turner Motorsports.

RETURNING: #49-CMI Motorsports
Ray Ciccarelli is back on the list after he withdrew his team at Talladega. It will be Cicarelli’s first Truck start at Martinsville.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Kyle Busch Motorsports
Newly-crowned ARCA Menards Series Champion Christian Eckes takes over for Riley Herbst, who was involved in that close and controversial finish at Talladega. Eckes’ most recent series start was at Las Vegas, where he started on pole and finished 3rd.

RETURNING: #56-Hill Motorsports
Welcome back to the Hill brothers, who bring their #56 back to the track with Timmy behind the wheel. Timmy ran 21st in this truck back in the spring, his best of four series starts at Martinsville. Just like the team’s arrangement at Mosport, the team’s Owner Points will also be used in the upcoming round at the ISM Raceway, where Carson Hocevar will drive a #56 fielded by Jordan Anderson.

MISSING: #68-Clay Greenfield Racing
Clay Greenfield is not among the entrants after he finished 25th in Talladega.

MISSING: #87-NEMCO Motorsports
The second NEMCO truck is likewise not entered after Timothy Peters was a late driver swap for Joe Nemechek in Talladega, yielding a 23rd-place finish.


Sunday, October 27, 2019
CUP Race 33 of 36
First Data 500 at Martinsville
Round of 8 – Race 1 of 3
2018 Last-Place Finisher: Hermie Sadler

There are 38 drivers entered for 40 spots, marking the 24th short field in 33 races this season, but also the first since Dover.

Amid rumors that he will stay with Archie St. Hilaire’s team next season, Corey LaJoie will roll out his much-anticipated Scooby-Doo Mystery Machine paint scheme this Sunday, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the cartoon. LaJoie’s best finish in three previous Martinsville starts was a 28th in 2017.

DRIVER CHANGE: #36-Front Row Motorsports
Following a medical emergency early Saturday morning, Matt Tifft will not race this weekend in the Surface Sunscreen Ford. Tifft has since been checked and released from the hospital, but Matt Crafton, who practiced the car, will qualify and race it on Sunday. It will be Crafton's first Cup start since he drove in relief of Kyle Busch in the 2015 Daytona 500, though he also relieved Paul Menard a couple weeks back in Talladega.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Rick Ware Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #53-Rick Ware Racing
The preliminary entry list shows no driver in the #51 in place of J.J. Yeley, who makes the move to the #53 in place of Josh Bilicki. UPDATE: Yeley's #53 will carry sponsorship from "Gotta Kill it to Heal It," a clothing brand created for the benefit of cancer research. The #51 has also gone to B.J. McLeod, back in the Cup garage for the first time since Dover.

TEAM UPDATE: #52-Rick Ware Racing
No driver is likewise listed in for Garrett Smithley, who drove in relief of Austin Theriault at Kansas. UPDATE: The driver announcement has not yet come mid-day Thursday, but Rich Mar Florist is the listed sponsor. All three Ware cars including this one will also run different pink paint schemes as Breast Cancer Awareness Month draws to a close. UPDATE 2: There is no driver change as by Thursday evening Garrett Smithley is slated to drive.

MISSING: #66-Motorsports Business Management
Joey Gase and the Carl Long team are not entered at Martinsville, one year after a scary fire following a late-race incident destroyed the hood of their Toyota.

MISSING: #96-Gaunt Brothers Racing
While the Gaunt Brothers have frequently competed at Martinsville in recent years, they are not among this week’s entrants, along with Parker Kligerman.

Saturday, November 2, 2019
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

The XFINITY Series takes the week off and returns in the Lone Star State.

Today in LASTCAR history (October 24, 1998): Lonnie Rush, Jr. finishes last for the second time in his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series career in the GM Goodwrench Service Plus / AC Delco 300 at Phoenix when his #10 Ohio State University Chevrolet crashes out after 85 laps. Phoenix will also be the side of Rush’s 55th and final Truck Series start on March 18, 2000, where he also finishes last, this time with ignition problems on the #27 Hastings Premium Filters Chevrolet. He closes his career with five last-place runs in the series.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

ARCA: Late entrant Wayne Peterson finishes last at Kansas, claims second consecutive LASTCAR drivers championship

Wayne Peterson - 2019 LASTCAR ARCA Menards Series Champion
PHOTO: @DnfRacers
by William Soquet Guest Contributor

Wayne Peterson finished last for the 44th time in his ARCA Menards Series career in Friday’s Kansas ARCA 150 at Kansas Speedway when his #0 Chevrolet retired with brake problems after completing 1 of 100 laps.

The finish came in his 109th series start, and was his first since DuQuoin, three races ago.

Wayne Peterson wasn’t even scheduled to run Friday's race. The 81-year-old team owner already had start-and-parked his team’s second entry three times this year, both at Gateway and the two dirt tracks. Since then, he had handed the reins off to his grandson Benjamin, who finished last in both his own appearances in the #0. For the season finale, Peterson would list the driver who started the season for the team – Con Nicolopoulos. However, a representative of Nicolopoulos said that this was done before offering the ride to the driver. Due to other conflicts, the Michigan-based driver couldn’t make the trip out for Friday, but Peterson never removed him from the entry list, with ARCA timing and scoring even listing Nicolopoulos as the driver during practice and qualifying. It wasn't until later that this was corrected to Peterson for the race.

Another 21 cars besides the #0 were entered for the final race before the upcoming compatibility rules with the NASCAR K&N Pro Series in 2020. DGR-Crosley entered two cars for K&N drivers Drew Dollar and Tanner Gray. Dick Doheny and Ed Pompa filled out Fast Track Racing’s other two cars, Pompa running the chrome car in the team’s fleet that team owner Andy Hillenburg said will be illegal in next year’s rulebook. Gus Dean finished out his slate of speedways with Win-Tron Racing, and Hailie Deegan, Harrison Burton and Ty Majeski also completed partial schedules. A couple of one-offs were also in the field as well: Sheldon Creed took the wheel of KBR Development’s #28 car, and Carson Ware, brother of Cody Ware and son of Rick Ware, made his series debut in a #51 fielded by his father’s team. It marked RWR’s first foray into ARCA since a one-off for Garrett Smithley in 2015.

In practice, it looked as though Richard Doheny would capture the drivers’ championship, as he anchored the charts in 22nd, about eight seconds behind leader Drew Dollar’s lap. For qualifying, though, it was Peterson that was the slowest car to take a lap, as he ran a lap of about 43 seconds, 13 behind polesitter Tanner Gray’s time.

Peterson would not line up last, however, as three cars failed to make a time in qualifying. Scott Melton, driving the #69, was slotted 20th. Joe Graf Jr. became the 21st starter, and starting last was Carson Ware. That was not the end of the saga, however, as two cars were sent to the back before the race started: Hailie Deegan for repairing damage, and Christian Eckes for changing an engine. The latter resulted in a thrash effort from the collective Venturini Motorsports to get their championship contender out on the track.

At the end of one lap, Peterson held the last position on track. A lap later, he turned behind the wall, solidifying his second consecutive LASTCAR ARCA Drivers’ Championship. Peterson was the only driver to enter the race with three last-place finishes, although Brad Smith and Richard Doheny could have won the title with a last-place finish based on the tiebreaker of Bottom Five finishes. Doheny was close, pulling off after three laps. It was eleven more to Brad Smith, six after that to Tommy Vigh Jr. and eleven after that to Eric Caudell, who all retired with mechanical issues in the first half of the race.

The Owners’ Championship and Manufacturers’ Championship had already been clinched before Kansas, with Wayne Peterson Racing and Ford winning them, respectively.

All photos courtesy of DNF Racers, @DnfRacers

22) #0-Wayne Peterson / 1 lap / brakes

21) #1-Richard Doheny / 3 laps / electrical

20) #48-Brad Smith / 14 laps / vibration

19) #10-Tommy Vigh Jr. / 20 laps / vibration

18) #7-Eric Caudell / 31 laps / electrical

1st) Ford (11)
2nd) Toyota, Chevrolet (4)
4th) Dodge (1)

1st) Wayne Peterson Racing (8)
2nd) Fast Track Racing (3)
3rd) Brad Smith Motorsports, Kimmel Racing, Venturini Motorsports (3)
4th) KBR Development, Mullins Racing, Our Motorsports (1)

61 drivers recorded at least one Bottom Ten in 2019. Of those, 39 had at least one Bottom Five. The table below shows the top 20 drivers in the 2019 LASTCAR ARCA Drivers’ Championship.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

CUP: Tangle with teammate hands Ryan Newman third Kansas last-place finish

PHOTO: @DnfRacers
Ryan Newman picked up the 11th last-place finish of his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career in Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at the Kansas Speedway when his #6 Roush Performance Ford fell out with crash damage after 72 of 277 laps.

The finish, which came in Newman’s 652nd start, was his first of the season and first since October 8, 2017 at Charlotte, 74 races ago. In the Cup Series last-place rankings, it was the 33rd for the #6, the 589th from a crash, and the 696th for Ford. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 61st for the #6, the 957th for Ford, and the 1,198th from a crash.

Just last week, Ryan Newman was just seven-thousandths of a second short of breaking a two-year winless streak. Coming off Turn 4 at Talladega, a track where he’s known to have as much bad luck as good, Newman was leading until Ryan Blaney slipped past at the last moment. It was the latest of a series of surprises authored by the twenty-year series veteran.

Since leaving Richard Childress Racing last year, Newman has made the most of his new home at Roush-Fenway Racing. The #6 team was on the upswing heading into the offseason, thanks to the part-time efforts of Matt Kenseth, who finished a season-best 7th and 6th in his last two starts of the year. This year, Newman’s 9th-place run at Bristol launched him into the Top 16 in points, and he’d stay there in all but six of the remaining races heading into the Playoffs. This included a six-race stretch over the summer where he finished Top 10 in five of those races, and was sealed with an 8th at Indianapolis.

Newman continued to show speed in Kansas, where Mazola Cooking Oil joined as associate sponsor of his Roush Performance Mustang. He started out 14th in opening practice, matched that 14th-place rank in Happy Hour, and improved to qualify 7th with a lap of 177.497mph (30.423 seconds). His was one of six Fords in the Top 10, a group headed by outside-polesitter David Ragan with his best qualifying run since his pole for the 2011 Brickyard 400. Sitting on his first pole was Daniel Hemric, just weeks after it was announced Tyler Reddick will take over his ride at Richard Childress Racing in 2020.

The other end of the grid proved equally surprising as the spot fell to Kevin Harvick in the #4 Jimmy John’s 3 Dollar Little John Ford. According to NBC, Harvick’s car passed pre-qualifying inspection, but the crew wanted to make another change, which then caused the car to fail three times. The resulting penalty meant Harvick was prohibited from turning a lap in qualifying. With the other 39 drivers taking time, this meant he’d have to roll off in the final spot.

After the ceremonial laps where Harvick and the other 11 playoff contenders paced the field, Harvick pulled to the back of the field. He was joined by 30th-place qualifier J.J. Yeley, whose #51 Jacob Companies Ford was sent to the rear for unapproved adjustments. Voluntarily falling to the rear was Timmy Hill, who for the first time was driving Spire Motorsports’ #77 Chevrolet. The tail end of the field then jumbled up with Hill now 38th alongside Garrett Smithley, the last-minute replacement for Austin Theriault in the #52 Bangor Savings Bank Ford. The final row saw the third Rick Ware entry of Josh Bilicki in the #53 Insurance King Ford and the #66 Page Construction Toyota of Joey Gase. All this shuffling moved Harvick from last on the grid to 34th alongside the #15 Harrah’s North Kansas City Chevrolet of Ross Chastain.

When the race started, Gase and Bilicki ran side-by-side through Turns 1 and 2 until Bilicki got the drive off, dropping Gase to last by the time they reached the stripe to end Lap 1. Two circuits later, Hill’s #77 had slipped to 39th, and Gase was now running in his tire tracks. On Lap 5, Hill pushed high and Gase got by on the inside lane, dropping Hill to last. Hill caught Gase back another two laps later, and both were soon more than 20 seconds back of the lead.

Newman goes behind the wall after unsuccessful repairs.
PHOTO: @DnfRacers
Newman entered the last-place battle on Lap 10, when he made an unscheduled stop after contact caused the team to miss a “chunk” of the right-front fender, requiring quick repairs and clearing the tires. This made Newman the first driver to lose a lap as he rejoined the race with Hill and Gase now racing for 38th and 39th. On Lap 14, both Gase and Hill were lapped by Kyle Larson, who raced past them on the outside of Turn 4. Hill passed Gase soon after they were lapped, then two laps later Gase returned the favor by diving to the apron at the stripe.

On Lap 17, outside-polesitter David Ragan’s day took a turn when he suffered a flat right-rear tire, forcing him to make an unscheduled stop. This dropped Ragan two laps down, placing him behind Newman in 40th place. On the 24th circuit, Newman caught the now 37th and 38th-place Hill and Gase and passed them both. He was followed by race leader Larson, who put the duo a second lap down on the same circuit as Ragan. Ragan, fighting an “8-to-10” tight condition, is then lapped by Larson for a third time on Lap 32, but he still managed to catch and pass first Gase, then Hill on Lap 39. This dropped Gase to last once more.

During this same run, Hill is struggling to find speed, and on Lap 42 has a close call when he moved to the low lane with Gase in the middle, both of them suddenly surrounded by the approaching leaders. Two laps later, Hill came down pit road and returned five circuits in arrears, having taken last from Gase in the process. On Lap 65, NASCAR issued a warning to Hill, now six laps down, to pick up his speed. Four laps later, Hill made a stop for tires, but curiously, no fuel, and returned to action eight laps back.

Hill is still running last when Newman’s day takes a turn for the worse. Coming off Turn 4, Newman locks fenders with teammate Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. The contact stuffs Newman’s Ford into the outside wall, hitting the barrier so hard the car bounces off the track. He comes to pit road under caution with the right side flattened, and the crew with their work cut out for them. To make sure the work was done properly, the team decided to do the work in one stop, using all but 30 seconds of the six-minute “Crash Clock.” On Lap 79, moments after the race restarted, Newman rolled off six laps down, then lost a seventh as Stage 1 ended soon after. “We’re done,” said Newman. “The track bar’s knocked out of it, man.” With that, Newman headed straight back to the garage, then steered into the garage, done for the day since he didn’t meet minimum speed on that single lap. On Lap 84, Newman’s car is “unavailable” on Race View. Then, on the 89th lap, NASCAR officials confirmed Newman was out due to an accident.

Timmy Hill didn’t run much longer, flagged off the track by NASCAR for not maintaining minimum speed. Officials said the team had run out of opportunities to fix the issue, which wasn’t communicated to one crew member who asked if the team was going to change tires. On Lap 116, the caution fell for Gase spinning off the nose of Larson in Turn 4, sending him into the grass. Team owner Carl Long said he wanted to look at Gase’s splitter in the garage, but unfortunately was told after Gase made that left turn that doing so meant Gase was out under the “Crash Clock” protocol. Thus, Gase was listed out due to an accident even though the car showed no significant damage.

Rounding out the group was Landon Cassill, who spent at least two stays in the garage area before his #00 Creek Enterprises / StarCom Fiber Chevrolet had a vibration. Rounding out the group was Bilicki, the last car to finish under power, fifteen laps down.

*This marked the first last-place finish for car #6 in a Cup Series race since March 18, 2018, when Trevor Bayne’s #6 Performance Plus Motor Oil Ford fell out with a crash after 108 laps of the Auto Club 400 at Fontana. The number had never before finished last in a Cup race at Kansas.
*This was also Newman’s third last-place finish in a Cup race at Kansas. The other two occurred on September 30, 2007, when he lost the engine after 108 laps, and on May 13, 2017, when he lost oil pressure after 154 laps.

40) #6-Ryan Newman / 72 laps / crash
39) #77-Timmy Hill / 95 laps / too slow
38) #66-Joey Gase / 107 laps / crash
37) #00-Landon Cassill / 203 laps / vibration
36) #53-Josh Bilicki / 262 laps / running

1st) Rick Ware Racing (9)
2nd) Stewart-Haas Racing (4)
3rd) Chip Ganassi Racing, Front Row Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing (3)
4th) Hendrick Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing, Spire Motorsports (2)
5th) Germain Racing, Motorsports Business Management, Roush-Fenway Racing, StarCom Racing (1)

1st) Chevrolet (18)
2nd) Ford (10)
3rd) Toyota (4)


XFINITY: Ryan Truex the latest to finish last in all three of NASCAR’s national touring series

PHOTO: @DnfRacers
Ryan Truex picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR XFINITY Series career in Saturday’s Kansas Lottery 300 at the Kansas Speedway when his #8 Marquis Chevrolet fell out with a blown engine after 4 of 200 laps.

The finish came in Truex’s 78th series start. In the XFINITY Series last-place rankings, it was the 13th for the #8, the 258th from engine trouble, and the 537th for Chevrolet. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 48th for the #8, the 1,078th from engine woes, and the 1,692nd for Chevrolet.

Following his release from Kaulig Racing at the end of 2018, the younger Truex has been piecing together a part-time schedule with a handful of teams. He attempted to make this year’s Daytona 500 in a one-off for Tommy Baldwin Racing, but his #71 Chevrolet was unable to race in through his 150-mile qualifier.

Since then, Truex’s focus has been sharing the fourth JR Motorsports entry with seven other drivers, including Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who ran at Darlington. The former #5 team was renumbered to #8 in a trade with B.J. McLeod Motorsports. While the team has yet to win in 2019, Truex finished runner-up in his season debut at Phoenix, following Kyle Busch. Prior to Saturday, his most recent run in the car came at the Roval, where he debuted new sponsorship from Marquis Hot Tubs and finished 10th. Marquis would sponsor Truex again at Kansas, his last start of the year in the #8.

The Marquis car was among the 39 entrants, a list that grew from 38 after Mike Harmon Racing’s #74 was confirmed to continue their full-season effort. He began the weekend 12th in opening practice, improved to 8th in Happy Hour, and qualified in the 8th spot with an average speed of 178.625mph (30.231 seconds), second only to 7th-place Justin Allgaier among the JR Motorsports quartet. The lone driver sent home was Timmy Hill in Motorsports Business Management’s #13 Toyota, six-tenths of a second off from a starting spot. Two of Hill’s three teammates – Chad Finchum and Bobby Dale Earnhardt – needed to rely on Owner Points. Earnhardt, making his first start of the year, damaged his #66 CIA / Hyatt Life Sciences Toyota in practice when he backed into the Turn 3 wall.

Ryan Truex pulls his smoking car into the garage.
PHOTO: @DnfRacers
Starting 38th and last, however, was another JR Motorports driver. Defending last-place finisher Michael Annett continued to struggle at Kansas, breaking loose in qualifying and aborting his lap. According to LASTCAR reader DNF Racers, who was watching from the frontstretch, Jeremy Clements’ 6th-place qualifying car didn’t fire at the command, then started in time to join the field. Prior to the start, Annett fell to the rear along with J.J. Yeley, who qualified a strong 14th in the unsponsored #38 RSS Racing Chevrolet. Landon Cassill, who qualified Morgan Shepherd’s “throwback” #89 Visone RV Chevrolet, also dropped to the back from 26th on the grid and took over last on the break. He then re-passed Yeley by Lap 4, putting the #38 to last.

Then on Lap 5, Truex’s car started smoking off Turn 4 with fire spotted under the right-front wheel well. “We lost power steering first,” said the crew chief. “Bring it to the garage.” Truex coasted to the apron by Turn 1 and was advised to watch the fire. He rolled past the fire truck in Turn 2 and made it back to pit road. With a hard left-hand turn to the garage, he was done for the day.

A trail of stay-dri led the way back into the garage as the rest of the Bottom Five pulled in. Next to exit was Yeley, who cited electrical issues, followed by Landon Cassill who pulled out with a vibration. Bayley Currey was next in 35th, out with suspension issues on the #17 Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet. Rounding out the group was Harrison Burton, whose news of taking over Joe Gibbs Racing’s full-time #20 team in XFINITY next year was followed by a tangle with Austin Cindric that left him 34th. Damage to the left-rear sent Burton to the garage, done for the afternoon.

Last-place qualifier Annett rebounded nicely, finishing 4th, while Jeremy Clements defended his 6th-place spot. Ross Chastain finished 10th for Kaulig Racing, which used a Richard Childress Racing car after Chastain’s hauler was involved in an accident on I-40 that sent the trailer sliding down an embankment. Also earning a strong run was Dillon Bassett, who took the place of his brother in DGM Racing’s #92 Down Syndrome Awareness / Just As I Am Chevrolet. Bassett finished 16th, the best-ever finish for Mario Gosselin’s part-time #92 effort.

*This marks the first last-place finish for the #8 in an XFINITY Series race at Kansas, and the first for the number in this series since September 26, 2015, when Blake Koch’s #8 Leaf Filter Toyota crashed after 2 laps at Kentucky.
*This is also the second-straight year that JR Motorsports has finished last in this race, following Michael Annett’s first-lap crash in 2018.
*Truex is the 35th different driver to score at least one last-place finish in each of NASCAR’s national touring series. The following is a complete list with the dates that each driver scored their first last-place finish in each series:

38) #8-Ryan Truex / 4 laps / engine
37) #38-J.J. Yeley / 13 laps / electrical
36) #89-Landon Cassill / 28 laps / vibration
35) #17-Bayley Currey / 49 laps / suspension
34) #18-Harrison Burton / 70 laps / crash

1st) RSS Racing (8)
2nd) Motorsports Business Management (7)
3rd) Joe Gibbs Racing (4)
4th) B.J. McLeod Motorsports, DGM Racing, Kaulig Racing (2)
5th) Brandonbilt Motorsports, JD Motorsports, Jimmy Means Racing, JR Motorsports, Rick Ware Racing (1)

1st) Chevrolet (18)
2nd) Toyota (12)


Thursday, October 17, 2019

PREVIEW: A series of driver swaps shake up both grids for Kansas

PHOTO: @RickWareRacing
Saturday, October 19, 2019
XFINITY Race 30 of 33
Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas
Round of 8 – Race 1 of 3
2018 Last-Place Finisher: Michael Annett

There 39 drivers entered for 38 spots in Saturday’s return of the XFINITY Series, including the late addition of Mike Harmon Racing (see below).

DRIVER SWAP: #4-JD Motorsports
RETURNING: #10-Kaulig Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #15-JD Motorsports
Tyler Matthews is back in action for the seventh time this year and the first since a one-off for Mike Harmon at Richmond. He drives the #15, bumping B.J. McLeod to the #4 in place of Ross Chastain, who on Saturday drives for the returning Kaulig Racing #10. It was leaked Monday and confirmed Tuesday that Chastain will drive the #10 full-time in 2020. As of Thursday, however, both the team's hauler drivers are recovering in the hospital following an accident on the I-40 that left the trailer on its side off an embankment. Both drivers were alert after the wreck, and both Kaulig cars are still slated to run Saturday.

DRIVER CHANGE: #8-JR Motorsports
Ryan Truex prepares for his sixth XFINITY start of the season and first since the Charlotte Roval, where he finished 10th. Marquis returns as sponsor. He takes the place of Zane Smith, who ran 9th in Dover.

DRIVER SWAP: #13-Motorsports Business Management
DRIVER CHANGE: #66-Motorsports Business Management
Welcome back Bobby Dale Earnhardt, who we haven’t seen in the series since last November at Texas. Then as now, he drives for Carl Long in the #66, bumping Timmy Hill to the #13 in place of Long himself. Long isn’t entered as a driver this week and will oversee both his XFINITY effort and Joey Gase’s double-duty in Sunday’s Cup race.

DRIVER SWAP: #17-Rick Ware Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #74-Mike Harmon Racing
Mike Harmon’s #74 team wasn’t on the preliminary entry list but was confirmed by the team’s PR to be running at Kansas. It was then shown that Harmon himself would be driving the team car, the #17 fielded under Rick Ware Racing, bumping Joe Nemechek to Harmon’s #74. This marks the first time Harmon has driven the #17 since he shook it down at Bristol in August following Bayley Currey’s brief suspension.

C.J. McLaughlin is back for the first time since Richmond. This time, he drives Rod Sieg’s #93, bumping J.J. Yeley to the #38 in place of Bayley Currey, who isn’t entered. McLaughlin’s season-best 23rd-place finish at Bristol this August was his only start in 2019 for a team other than RSS, that one coming for B.J. McLeod in the #99.

Alex Labbe steps in for Dillon Bassett, who will move to the returning #92 team. The #92 hasn’t entered or started a race since Charlotte in May, when Ronnie Bassett, Jr., originally listed to drive in place of his brother this Saturday, finished 25th. Down Syndrome Awareness and Bassett Gutters and More return as sponsors.

DRIVER CHANGE: #99-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Josh Bilicki pulls double-duty this weekend in Kansas, and starts by replacing Stefan Parsons in B.J. McLeod’s #99 Toyota. Furniture Mall of Kansas will back the effort.

Sunday, October 20, 2019
CUP Race 32 of 36
Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas
Round of 12 – Race 3 of 3
2018 Last-Place Finisher: Timmy Hill

There are 40 drivers entered for as many spots in this Sunday’s Cup race, marking the first back-to-back 40-car fields this year since May, during the spring race at Kansas and the Coca-Cola 600.

DRIVER SWAP: #27-Premium Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #77-Spire Motorsports
The preliminary entry list had no driver listed in the #27 to take the place of Reed Sorenson, who was slotted into the #77 in place of Blake Jones. By Wednesday, however, Sorenson was moved back to the #27 once more and Timmy Hill, for the first time in 2019, will drive for Spire Motorsports. Hill had himself been listed as this week’s driver of Motorsports Business Management’s #66, but that also changed Wednesday as Joey Gase was set to drive for a second-straight week, moving Hill to the open #77.

TEAM UPDATE: #37-JTG-Daugherty Racing
On Wednesday came news that Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., fresh off his strong performance in Talladega, will take over Chris Buescher's ride in 2020. Though Buescher had previously been announced as Stenhouse's replacement next year, this was not intended to be a trade as each decision was made separately. Reports indicate it is likely this team will also carry a new number next season, though using the 2019 Owner Points.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Rick Ware Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #52-Rick Ware Racing
J.J. Yeley returns to the #51 after he wasn’t entered in Talladega, bumping Austin Theriault to the #52 in place of Spencer Boyd, who isn’t entered after his last-place run on Monday. Bangor Bank rejoins Theriault as sponsor of the #52, and the bank looks to promote the Travis Mills Foundation in the upcoming season finale at Homestead. UPDATE: On Thursday, Theriault tweeted he has not been cleared to race Sunday following his wreck in Tallafega, but still intends to return at Homestead. Garrett Smithley will run in his place at Kansas.

RETURNING: #53-Rick Ware Racing
Joining Yeley and Theriault will be Josh Bilicki, who brings back Rick Ware’s third team for the first time since the Charlotte Roval. Insurance King continues their developing partnership with Bilicki and has a new paint scheme on the #53 this week. It will be Bilicki’s first Cup start at Kansas.

Saturday, October 26, 2019
TRUCKS Race 21 of 23
Hall of Fame 200 at Martinsville
Round of 6 – Race 2 of 3
2018 Last-Place Finisher: Chad Finley

The Truck Series takes the week off and returns to action for the short track in Martinsville.

Today in LASTCAR history (October 17, 1998): Curtis Markham picks up the 2nd last-place finish of his NASCAR Busch Series career in the Carquest Auto Parts 250 at Gateway when his #64 Schneider National Chevrolet overheated after 78 laps. Markham shared the Dennis Shoemaker-owned Chevrolet with Cup Series veteran Dick Trickle, who took that year’s LASTCAR championship.

Monday, October 14, 2019

CUP: Truck Series winner Spencer Boyd unable to overcome a sluggish engine in Cup

PHOTO: @SpencerBoyd
Spencer Boyd picked up the 2nd last-place finish of his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career in Sunday and Monday’s 500 at the Talladega Superspeedway when his #52 Manscaped / Factor One Source Chevrolet fell out with a blown engine after 53 of 188 laps.

The finish, which came in Boyd’s third series start, was his second of the year and first since Michigan, eight races ago. In the Cup Series last-place rankings, it was the 29th for the #52, the 690th from engine trouble, and the 774th for Chevrolet. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 56th for the #52, the 1,077th from engine failure, and the 1,691st for Chevrolet.

Boyd’s weekend in Talladega couldn’t have gotten off to a better start. In the Truck Series race on Saturday, Boyd worked the high lane on the final lap to cross the stripe a close second to Johnny Sauter. Then, while debriefing with his crew on pit road, Boyd was alerted that Sauter had been penalized for blocking Riley Herbst below the yellow line in the tri-oval, handing Boyd the victory. The driver celebrated in victory lane, a first-time winner in NASCAR’s top three series in just his 23rd Truck Series start, and the first for team owner Randy Young. Boyd then politely declined to drink the Sugarlands Shine-brand moonshine that sponsored the race, as he still had work to do.

Boyd was slated to run double-duty at Talladega, rejoining Rick Ware Racing for the third time in 2019 and his first since Richmond just last month. He would drive the #52 Chevrolet, originally listed with Medicine Shoppe as sponsor but later listed with Manscaped and Factor One Source on board. Boyd hurried to pit road on Saturday as his car was lined up first to qualify. While the car was originally pulled out of line, Boyd jumped on board and put up his lap of 167.016mph (54.404 seconds). It was the slowest lap turned in the session, but there was still celebrating to do as Boyd finished his media obligations.

It had been a challenging weekend on the Cup side. In opening practice, Boyd started the weekend slowest in practice and didn’t participate in Happy Hour. To make matters worse, after the end of track activities on Saturday, things almost turned disastrous for the #52 team as the fire department had to be called to extinguish a small fire in the team hauler.

Boyd still secured 39th on the starting grid for Sunday’s race, thanks to the misfortune of Playoff contender Denny Hamlin. This year’s Daytona 500 winner blew the engine on his timed lap, and he aborted his run, leaving with no time. The team then changed engines, incurring a redundant tail-end penalty prior to the start of the race.

Coming off pit road, Boyd stopped at the exit of pit road before joining the pack. The next time by, 38th-place Reed Sorenson fell to the rear in the unsponsored #27 Premium Motorsports Chevrolet and fell behind Boyd. Hamlin, who had been running a ceremonial lap with the other Playoff contenders, then dropped back. When he did, Sorenson and Boyd throttled back along with 37th-place qualifier Austin Theriault, Boyd’s teammate in the #51 Jacob Companies Chevrolet. Also falling back was 14th-place Paul Menard in the #21 Menards / Tarkett Ford. Menard was struggling with neck pain, and was already making preparations for Truck Series veteran Matt Crafton to drive in his relief. This moved Hamlin up another row to 36th, and he now started to the outside of Blake Jones, making his return to Cup competition in Spire Motorsports’ #77 Tennessee Shine Co. / XXX Distillery Chevrolet.

When the green flag dropped, Sorenson and Boyd were side by side all the way until Turn 3, when the #27 got a run on the inside lane. From there, Sorenson and the rest of the field pulled away, leaving Boyd suddenly by himself. After four laps, he was already 12.5 seconds back, and the next time by Theriault and Sorenson were also running alone in the far distance. “You gotta do all you can to get me more speed outta that thing,” the crew told Boyd, who insisted his foot was all the way to the floor.

On Lap 11, the leaders caught Boyd in Turns 3 and 4, and he moved high to let them by. He tried to go to the low lane in Turn 2, but the pack left him behind once more. Seven laps later, Boyd was still alone, and running just 178mph into the third corner. The field continued to reel him in at the same rate, and on Lap 22, Boyd again stuck to the high lane as he lost a second lap. This time, he caught the draft of Joey Gase, who smelled something burning in his #66 Fan Memories at Richmond Raceway Toyota. Right on schedule, after another 11 laps, the leaders passed Gase and Boyd, putting the #52 a third lap down. This time, Gase slotted into line, but Boyd could not, and he was still by himself.

On Lap 35, Boyd lost fuel pressure and pulled to the apron down the backstretch. Two circuits later, his car was just about stopped at the exit of Turn 4, but NASCAR didn’t throw the yellow until Lap 38. A push truck brought Boyd back to pit road, and while there was word he was going to the garage, they moved him past the opening. The next time by, Boyd drove into the garage himself, now six laps back of the leaders. The crew looked over the car and found nothing was dragging, then sent him back out on Lap 46. Now 14 laps back, Boyd was still told to pick up the pace, and that he might be parked for not meeting minimum speed. He managed to reach the end of Stage 1, now 15 laps down, then joined the field on pit road when the race was stopped for rain.

Storms pushed the race to Monday morning, and Boyd lined up with five cars behind him. He fired the engine on Lap 58, and was in the middle of traffic for the Lap 63 restart. Just three laps later, he was running by himself yet again, still well off the pace. Finally, on the 71st time by, Boyd pulled down pit road complaining of a fluctuating fuel pressure, then straight into the garage. Radio communications captured by Max Neuwirth reported the team had the same issues in the shop because of the ECU. “Hate it, man,” said the crew. “I know you were doing all you could out there.” The crew downloaded the data from their car and were officially listed out on Lap 79, then pulled from RaceView on Lap 80.

The rest of the Bottom Five was filled by accidents. Playoff contender Alex Bowman took the biggest hit on Lap 107. While leading into Turn 3, Bowman got in front of a fast-closing Joey Logano. The two made contact, and Bowman spun to the apron, then back into traffic, collecting ten other cars. Among them were Kyle Larson, who ended up 39th in the #42 McDonald’s Spicy Chicken Chevrolet, and 38th-placce Jimmie Johnson in the #48 Ally Bank Chevrolet. Gase ended up 36th when he plowed into Theriault’s Chevrolet during another wreck heading into the same spot on Lap 163.

These same wrecks cut short several promising runs from drivers and teams in desperate need for them. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. had arguably the best car in the field in his final plate race for Roush-Fenway, leading 32 laps in the #17 Sunny D Ford before he was shaken out in the run to the checkers. Matt DiBenedetto, in his second race with sponsorship from Barstool Sports, once again nearly got Leavine Family Racing its first checkered flag until he was collected on Lap 181. His damaged car was spun into the path of David Ragan, who ran as high as 2nd in the final plate race before his impending retirement at the end of this season.

But the biggest letdown had to be Brendan Gaughan, whose #62 Beard Oil / South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet was leading by a fender going into Turn 3 with just six laps to go. Fifteen years after his career-best Cup finish in this same race in 2004, Gaughan and his Beard Motorsports entry were set to shock the field before he was turned in a wreck started by the Busch brothers, sending his #62 somersaulting in the air before landing in Chris Buescher’s path. Gaughan, 27th after the wreck, walked away uninjured and shook off the disappointment, looking ahead to next year’s Daytona 500.

Meanwhile, the battle for the 2019 LASTCAR Cup Series Championship remains extremely tight. B.J. McLeod leads a bottom-five tiebreaker over Erik Jones and Michael McDowell with Jones and McDowell tied in both Bottom Fives and Bottom Tens. Cody Ware and Reed Sorenson could also make a push with comparable amounts of Bottom Fives and Tens. With just five races to go, a single last-place finish by anyone could change the standings completely.

*This marked the first Cup Series last-place finish for the #52 in a Cup race at Talladega since May 7, 1989, when Jimmy Means’ Alka-Seltzer Pontiac lost the engine after 5 laps of the Winston 500. Means qualified 24th for the race, which saw 13 other drivers fail to qualify.

40) #52-Spencer Boyd / 53 laps / engine
39) #42-Kyle Larson / 106 laps / crash
38) #48-Jimmie Johnson / 106 laps / crash
37) #88-Alex Bowman / 106 laps / crash
36) #66-Joey Gase / 161 laps / crash

1st) Rick Ware Racing (9)
2nd) Stewart-Haas Racing (4)
3rd) Chip Ganassi Racing, Front Row Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing (3)
4th) Hendrick Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing, Spire Motorsports (2)
5th) Germain Racing, Motorsports Business Management, StarCom Racing (1)

1st) Chevrolet (18)
2nd) Ford (9)
3rd) Toyota (4)


Sunday, October 13, 2019

TRUCKS: Mason Massey’s fluid leak leads to a frustrating race for Cobb; Boyd breaks through with upset win at Talladega

ALL PHOTOS: @chris_lightnin
Mason Massey picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series career in Saturday’s Sugarlands Shine 250 at the Talladega Superspeedway when his #33 Anderson Power / Generac Chevrolet fell out with a blown engine after 8 of 98 laps.

The finish came in Massey’s 7th series start. In the Truck Series last-place rankings, it was the 5th for the #33, the 130th from engine trouble, and the 381st for Chevrolet. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 48th for the #33, the 1,076th from engine trouble, and the 1,690th for Chevrolet.

Massey, a 22-year-old from Douglassville, Georgia has been racing for most of his life, competing on both dirt and asphalt. He drove Late Models for Bill Elliott, winning the Alabama 200 at Montgomery Motor Speedway in 2012. He’s also a former U.S. Legends Pro National Champion, and has branched out into Dirt Late Models. This past June, Massey made his Truck Series debut with Josh Reaume’s team, finishing 21st at Iowa. He’s since made at least one start in each of Reaume’s three trucks with a best finish of 17th at Pocono.

Saturday marked Massey’s first Talladega start, and in opening practice ran 30th of 31 trucks ahead of teammate Jesse Iwuji in the #34. He was again second-slowest in Happy Hour, but improved to 29th of the 32 drivers in qualifying with a lap of 172.771mph (55.426 seconds). Following Ray Ciccarelli’s withdrawal of his CMI Motorsports team, no drivers failed to qualify.

Iwuji’s #34 John’s 360 Coatings Toyota started 32nd and last on Saturday, and was joined by owner-driver Jordan Anderson, who missed the driver’s meeting after timing in 30th in the #3 / Albiero Energy Chevrolet. What unfolded was a chaotic sequence of events at the back of the field.

On the break, Iwuji took over last place from Anderson, 3.068 seconds back of the lead. By the end of the first lap, Massey was back in 31st, just a fraction of a second ahead of his teammate. That same time by, Angela Ruch made an unscheduled stop when her #44 The Ruch Life Chevrolet kept jumping out of gear. The team brought out a bungee cord to hold the truck in gear, but lost two laps in the process.

On Lap 6, Codie Rohrbaugh broke loose in Turn 1, dropping him out of 19th. As he continued along the apron, NASCAR didn’t throw a caution. Moments later, Jennifer Jo Cobb in her #10 Chevrolet spun down the backstretch, but again the yellow didn’t come out. The driver was livid over the radio, saying that someone on track was leaking fluid, causing her to spin, and coating her windshield in a layer of film. This same fluid may have also caused Rohrbaugh’s incident, but this wasn’t confirmed. The caution did not fall until Lap 9, and only when Harrison Burton’s #18 Safelite Auto Glass Toyota spun out on the frontstretch while in the lead draft. By then, Cobb was off the lead lap and in last place.
Cobb's truck sits on pit road as the crew searches for tires.

Under caution on Lap 10, a frustrated Cobb made it to pit road. Despite avoiding damage to her truck, a sponsor falling through meant the team didn’t have another set of tires ready to replace the ones flat-spotted by the spin. The team sent a runner up pit road to see if they could get a set of scuffs from another team. “We don’t have any fucking tires to put on it, so I guess we'll just sit here,” said Cobb. “Take that windshield and you go take that to a NASCAR official, please. The most ridiculous shit I've ever heard of.”

It was then revealed that Massey’s #33 was the truck leaking fluid, and on Lap 11 the truck was seen pushed behind the wall with the white TV panel smeared with brown liquid, believed to be gear oil. Fluid had, in fact, been left from Turn 4 all the way past Turns 1 and 2, but it was not until Lap 12 that NASCAR threw a red flag to clean it up.

While the field was stopped, Cobb’s #10 remained on pit road as the crew continued to search for tires. They first looked to Stewart Friesen’s crew for a pair of scuffs, then to Ross Chastain’s crew to get the set of tires they’d just changed. Both proved to be dead ends, and Chastain’s crew said they would be re-using the ones they’d changed. Cobb then told her crew to buy another set of tires from the Goodyear shop, but her crew didn’t have the required credit card on hand at pit road. According to Chris Knight, two fans on Talladega Blvd. stepped in and bought her another set of tires. Radio communications indicate these tires weren’t mounted until the red flag was lifted, at which point Cobb had now lost more than five laps. Back under caution, Cobb’s truck was pushed behind the wall, where they awaited new tires near one of the track’s big screens. Two tires were changed on Lap 22, and the other two were added with an impact wrench soon after. On Lap 29, Cobb re-fired her engine and returned to action a full 19 laps down. Massey didn’t return to the race, and with just one lap separating him from Cobb, dropped to last on Lap 30.

Cobb goes behind the wall for her tire change.
Cobb ultimately climbed to 27th, just outside of the Bottom Five, and the last truck to finish under power. The first truck she passed was Tyler Dippel, whose #02 Lobas Productions Chevrolet wrecked on the backstretch. Finishing 30th was John Hunter Nemechek, who pushed in the nose of his #8 Plan B Sales Chevrolet, knocking him out with radiator issues. Austin Wayne Self’s #22 Go Texan Chevrolet fell out with overheating issues. Rounding out the group was Anglea Ruch, whose earlier issues with the truck jumping out of gear were compounded when she lost the engine.

Saturday’s race ended with just as much controversy. In the sprint to the finish line, race leader Johnny Sauter threw a block on Riley Herbst, causing both trucks to cross below the yellow line in the tri-oval. As both returned to the track surface, Sauter blocked the approaching high lane and took the checkered flag in first. After Sauter did donuts on the frontstretch, NASCAR officials intervened, stating that Sauter violated the “yellow-line rule” with his block. The penalty handed the victory to second-place Spencer Boyd, who was leading the high lane up to Sauter at the finish. Boyd, who was on pit road at the time, celebrated with his crew – both his first Truck Series victory in his 23rd start and the first in the eight-year history of Young’s Motorsports. Boyd ultimately had to hustle back from victory lane as his Cup ride for Sunday, the #52 Medicine Shoppe Chevrolet, was lined up first to qualify. After a delay, Boyd hopped in the car and qualified it 39th. He finished XXTH.

*This marked the first last-place finish for the #33 in a Truck Series race at Talladega.

32) #33-Mason Massey / 8 laps / engine
31) #02-Tyler Dippel / 29 laps / crash
30) #8-John Hunter Nemechek / 30 laps / radiator
29) #22-Austin Wayne Self / 69 laps / overheating
28) #44-Angela Ruch / 72 laps / engine

1st) NEMCO Motorsports (4)
2nd) Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing (3)
3rd) Norm Benning Racing, Reaume Brothers Racing, Young’s Motorsports (2)
4th) Copp Motorsports, DGR-Crosley, Halmar Friesen Racing, Hattori Racing Enterprises, JJL Motorsports, Niece Motorsports, ThorSport Racing (1)

1st) Chevrolet (16)
2nd) Ford, Toyota (2)


Thursday, October 10, 2019

PREVIEW: "White-knuckle weekend" in Talladega sees many drivers return

Ty Dillon honoring Richard Chilress' first Cup start at Talladega in 1969.
PHOTO: @GermainRacing
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

There are 33 drivers entered for 32 spots in Saturday’s return of the Truck Series after nearly a full month off, meaning one team will miss the show.

MISSING: #0-Jennifer Jo Cobb
Jennifer Jo Cobb will not enter her second truck, which was withdrawn along with Daniel Sasnett as driver in Las Vegas. The Cobb team will still field the #10 with the only superspeedway truck they have in their stables.

MISSING: #5-DGM-Crosley
Dylan Lupton is not entered after another strong run in Las Vegas, where he ran 10th.

RETURNING: #7-All Out Motorsports
Korbin Forrister is back in action for the first time since May, along with his All Out Motorsports team that is still looking for sponsorship. Forrister has four Truck Series starts at Talladega with a best of 15th both last year and in 2015.

DRIVER SWAP: #87-NEMCO Motorsports
Pending the outcome of qualifying, father and son will race against each other this Saturday as Joe Nemechek moves from the #87 to the #8, leaving John Hunter to drive the #87. The younger Nemechek, who finished last with fuel pressure issues in Las Vegas, takes the place of Tony Mrakovich, who ran a strong 13th that night. UPDATE: Reportedly on Monday, Timothy Peters was slated to take the place of Joe Nemechek in the #8.

MISSING: #11-Rette Jones Racing
Spencer Davis is not entered after he ran 18th in Las Vegas.

MISSING: #19-Bill McAnally Racing
Derek Kraus and the California-based McAnally team are also not headed to Alabama following a 27th-place finish due to transmission issues in Vegas.

Bryan Dauzat and Jim Rosenblum are back in action this week, the first attempt for both driver and team since their season-best 24th-place run in Pocono. Dauzat didn’t get a chance to put the #28 through its paces at Daytona, where he was eliminated with crash damage after only two laps, leaving him 31st.

DRIVER CHANGE: #34-Reaume Brothers Racing
Team owner Josh Reaume takes the place of Jesse Iwuji, who was swapped out of the Las Vegas field following his scary qualifying crash in the #34 Chevrolet. No sponsor is yet listed for the #34, but Anderson Power Services will again back teammate Mason Massey in the #33.

MISSING: #38-Niece Motorsports
Colin Garrett is not entered after his 21st-place finish at Las Vegas, bringing the Al Niece contingent down to two between Angela Ruch (#44) and Playoff contender Ross Chastain (#45).

WITHDREW: #49-CMI Motorsports
Ray Cicarelli returns to Truck Series competition for the first time since his brief run at Mosport, and drives his own equipment for the first time since his career-best 9th-place finish at Michigan. Should he qualify, it will be Cicarelli’s first-ever start at Talladega. UPDATE: The team withdrew prior to the weekend.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Kyle Busch Motorsports
Riley Herbst makes only his third Truck Series start of the season, this time taking the place of Christian Eckes, who ran 3rd after starting on pole in Las Vegas. Herbst’s best finish of the year came at Kansas, where he ran 9th in the KBM #46.

MISSING: #56-Hill Motorsports
Tyler Hill and brother Timmy are not competing in Saturday’s race after they failed to qualify following a qualifying incident in Las Vegas.

RETURNING: #68-Clay Greenfield Racing
Clay Greenfield, the defending last-place finisher of this race, is back with his family’s #68 Rackley Roofing Toyota. Greenfield’s last attempt came at Bristol two months ago, when he ran 26th after steering issues.

MISSING: #04-Roper Racing
Cory Roper is not entered in Saturday’s race after he, too, failed to qualify in Las Vegas.

MISSING: #08-Kart Idaho Racing
Justin Johnson is not entered after they took Jesse Iwuji’s place at Las Vegas following a DNQ, ending the night in 23rd place.


Sunday, October 13, 2019
CUP Race 31 of 36 500 at Talladega
Round of 12 – Race 2 of 3
2018 Last-Place Finisher: Michael McDowell

There are exactly 40 drivers entered for as many spots in Sunday’s Cup Series race at Talladega, the first since the Roval, two races ago, and just the eighth in 31 races this year.

PAINT SCHEME: #13-Germain Racing
Announced on Tuesday was a “throwback” paint scheme for Ty Dillon. In honor of Richard Childress Racing’s 50th anniversary, dating back to the inaugural Talladega race in September 1969, Dillon’s car will carry a flat green paint scheme reminiscent of grandfather Richard Childress’ first Cup car, which also happened to be #13. Childress’ 1968 Chevrolet was among the entrants from the lower division series who were called upon to fill out the Sunday field after a driver’s strike.

TEAM UPDATE: #21-Wood Brothers Racing
Matt Crafton is on standby to relieve Paul Menard, who is struggling with neck pain.

DRIVER SWAP: #27-Premium Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #77-Spire Motorsports
Reed Sorenson moves from the #77 to the #27 this week, taking the place of Joe Nemechek, who after running 30th at Dover isn’t entered and will instead focus on Saturday’s Truck Series race. Sorenson looks to rebound from an axle failure that came after Joey Logano’s on Lap 1. In the #77 this week is Blake Jones – not Daytona winner Justin Haley – who proudly announced his return to the series by posting pictures of his 2019 NASCAR license on social media. We last saw Jones at Bristol last year, when he drove BK Racing’s final race before their Charter officially changed hands. This will be Jones’ first Cup start on a track over two miles in length.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Rick Ware Racing
Rick Ware Racing returns to their lineup from Richmond as Austin Theriault will make his first Cup start at Talladega. He takes the place of B.J. McLeod, who ran 29th at Dover. Theriault drives a special paint scheme in honor of Roger Haynes, who passed away in May. It was Haynes who drove his big rig around the Talladega track carrying the American flag. The #51 will bear a similar scheme to that truck.

DRIVER CHANGE: #52-Rick Ware Racing
Spencer Boyd joins Theriault in making his own first start since Richmond, where he ran 34th in the #53. This time, he drives the #52 in place of J.J. Yeley, who ran 32nd at Dover. It will be Boyd’s third series start, and comes with sponsorship from the Medicine Shoppe.

MISSING: #54-Rick Ware Racing
The Ware team has only entered their two Chartered cars this week and have not fielded the #54 which Garrett Smithley drove to a 33rd-place finish on “The Monster Mile.”

RETURNING: #62-Beard Motorsports
Plate racing means the return of Mark Beard’s team with driver Brendan Gaughan, who again look to turn heads in the #62 Beard Oil Distributing / South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet, which ran a strong 8th here in the spring. Gaughan’s career-best Cup Series finish came in this very race 15 years ago, when he ran 4th in Doug Bawel’s #77 Dodge.

RETURNING: #66-Motorsports Business Management
Joey Gase and the #66 MBM Cup team are back in action for the first time since Las Vegas, interestingly carrying sponsorship recognizing sponsor Eternal Fan’s fan promotions at the Richmond Raceway. Gase has four Talladega starts in the series with a best finish of 18th in this race last year, driving for StarCom Racing.

SPONSOR UPDATE: #95-Leavine Family Racing
Talladega marks the second race of Barstool Sports’ sponsorship of Matt DiBenedetto. This time, the red paint scheme reflects the website’s “One Bite” pizza taste test series.

RETURNING: #96-Gaunt Brothers Racing
Parker Kligerman rejoins the circuit following a week off in Dover, looking to improve on their 27th-place finish at Talladega this past spring.

Saturday, October 19, 2019
XFINITY Race 30 of 33
Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas
Round of 8 – Race 1 of 3
2018 Last-Place Finisher: Michael Annett

The XFINITY Series takes a week off this time and returns next Saturday in Kansas.

Today in LASTCAR history (October 10, 1993): Todd Bodine picked up the first last-place finish of his NASCAR Winston Cup career in the Mello Yello 500 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway when his #75 Factory Stores Ford was involved in a crash after 140 laps. Bodine’s crash was one of just two cautions that day – the other from oil on the track – resulting in an average race speed of 154.537mph.