Thursday, February 20, 2020

PREVIEW: Full-time teams take center stage on Las Vegas entry lists

Joey Gase will recognize the Nevada Donor Network in XFINITY and Cup this weekend.
PHOTO: @RSS383993 and The Decal Source

Friday, February 21, 2020
TRUCKS Race 2 of 23
Strat 250 at Las Vegas
2019 Last-Place Finisher: Scott Stenzel

There are 35 drivers entered for 32 spots, meaning three trucks will fail to qualify.

MISSING: #6-Norm Benning Racing
Norm Benning is not entered in his #6 Chevrolet after he was the slowest driver to fail to qualify in Daytona.

MISSING: #8-NEMCO Motorsports
MISSING: #87-NEMCO Motorsports
As reported last week in Daytona, neither of the two NEMCO Motorsports entries are entered this week, just days after both trucks surprisingly failed to make Friday’s season opener.

RETURNING: #11-Rette Jones Racing
Spencer Davis returns driving the #11 Toyota with Hearn Industrial as sponsor. Davis made four Truck starts last year, three of them with Rette, including his season-best 8th-place run in Kentucky.

MISSING: #28-FDNY Racing
Jim Rosenblum’s team not entered after their truck was heavily damaged in a late wreck with Tate Fogleman.

DRIVER SWAP: #33-Reaume Brothers Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #34-Reaume Brothers Racing
Josh Reaume moves from the #34, withdrawn last week after engine trouble, to his team’s primary #33. Into the #34 comes Josh Bilicki, who comes over from his XFINITY run last week in Daytona for B.J. McLeod. Bilicki seeks his first Truck Series start since last fall’s Homestead finale, where he ran 30th with electrical issues. No sponsor is yet listed for either truck.

DRIVER CHANGE: #49-CMI Motorsports
NEW TEAM: #83-CMI Motorsports
Ray Ciccarelli moves from his team’s primary #49, which failed to qualify in Daytona, to a new second team, the #83. A source indicated D.J. Copp is not a part of the #83 effort, one year after he most recently entered the former MB Motorsports team in a Truck Series race, but that Copp and Ciccarelli “will be working closely with one another at some point this year.” Taking Ciccarelli’s place in the primary #49 is Bayley Currey, who made three Truck starts last year, but none since Michigan in August. Both black Chevrolets are sponsored by Springrates – Currey’s #49 with white numbers while Ciccarelli’s #83 has yellow ones. UPDATE: On Thursday, Stefan Parsons was swapped into the #83 in place of Ray Ciccareli.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Kyle Busch Motorsports
Kyle Busch returns to continue his undefeated streak in the series from last year, taking the place of Riley Herbst in the #51 Toyota. CESSNA returns as sponsor.

DRIVER CHANGE: #56-Hill Motorsports
After a career week in Daytona, Timmy Hill will this week drive his team’s #56, taking the place of Daytona starter Gus Dean, 26th in the opener. Hill will attempt triple-duty along with runs in XFINITY and Cup for Motorsports Business Management (see below).

MISSING: #68-Clay Greenfield Racing
Clay Greenfield is not entered after his Jeff Hammond-led team weren’t able to make the cut in Daytona.

MISSING: #96-Peck Motorsports
Todd Peck is likewise not entered after his Daytona DNQ.

MISSING: #97-Diverisifed Motorsports
Also missing is Jesse Little, who avoided several of the night’s accidents before he was collected in one on Lap 99, leaving him in 24th. Little remains in his full-time XFINITY Series ride for JD Motorsports this weekend, again driving car #4.

MISSING: #03-Mike Affarano Motorsports
Tim Viens, who made appearances at Daytona despite his truck withdrawing from the event, is not entered along with the Mike Affarano team.

CORRECTION: #04-Roper Racing
Cory Roper’s Carquest Auto Parts sponsor mentioned in last week’s article did not run on the truck at Daytona, and will instead debut as primary backer this Friday in Las Vegas.


Saturday, February 22, 2020
XFINITY Race 2 of 33
Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas
2019 Last-Place Finisher: Joey Gase

There are exactly 36 drivers entered for as many spots, meaning no drivers will be sent home.

DRIVER CHANGE: #8-JR Motorsports
Daniel Hemric will make his first start of the season, taking the place of Jeb Burton, eliminated in a late wreck at Daytona that left him 23rd at the finish. This will be Hemric’s first start since he clinched Cup Series Rookie of the Year last fall at Homestead, driving the #8 Chevrolet now piloted by new rookie Tyler Reddick. South Point Hotel & Casino – of Brendan Gaughan fame - is the sponsor.

DRIVER CHANGE: #13-Motorsports Business Management
DRIVER SWAP: #61-Motorsports Business Management
DRIVER SWAP: #66-Motorsports Business Management
Stephen Leicht, released from JD Motorsports for David Starr, makes his season debut in the #13. This bumps Chad Finchum from the #13 to the #66, and bumps Timmy Hill from the #66 to the #61, taking the place of Austin Hill, who isn’t entered.

MISSING: #16-Kaulig Racing
Matthew Kaulig’s part-time third team is not entered after the team’s disastrous afternoon in qualifying at Daytona. A.J. Allmendinger is likewise not entered in Saturday’s race.

MISSING: #25-ACG Motorsports
Chris Cockrum is not entered after his mid-race crash at Daytona.

MISSING: #26-Sam Hunt Racing
Colin Garrett is not entered after his Toyota-backed Supra failed to make the cut at Daytona.

MISSING: #36-DGM Racing
Mario Gosselin’s #36 appears to have scaled back to a part-time effort as the car is not entered this week. Alex Labbe, who drove the #36 to a strong 10th-place finish, moves to the team’s #90, taking the place of Caesar Bacarella, who isn’t entered after a 29th-place finish.

MISSING: #38-RSS Racing
The entry Kaulig Racing bought to keep Ross Chastain in Saturday’s race is not entered this week, and Jeff Green will work behind the scenes for the Sieg team. The team has scaled back from “start-and-parking” in non-superspeedway races, and is expected to return at Talladega in April at the earliest.

DRIVER CHANGE: #74-Mike Harmon Racing
The preliminary entry list showed no driver listed for the #74 driven at Daytona by Mike Harmon, who scored a strong 16th-place finish behind teammate Joe Nemechek. Finlay Cadillac is the listed sponsor of the #74 Chevrolet.

RETURNING: #89-Shepherd Racing Ventures
Landon Cassill is back in his west coast swing driving for Morgan Shepherd. This is Cassill’s first NASCAR start since his final Cup run for StarCom Racing, and his first series start since his breakout performance last fall at Homestead, where tire money from longtime backers Dale & Sandra Dietrich culminated in a 15th-place finish. VisoneRV returns as sponsor once again.

Joey Gase takes the place of C.J. McLaughlin, and brings with him sponsorship from his Sunday backer Nevada Donor Network. Interestingly, the rendering of the car showed the RSS Racing door and roof numbers replaced with a font style similar to that currently used by Rick Ware Racing. According to the press release, the scheme will be run in honor of the late Montana Amato, an organ donor.

DRIVER CHANGE: #99-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Mason Massey makes his XFINITY Series debut this week, one year after he made his first seven Truck Series starts for Reaume Brothers Racing with a best season finish of 17th at Pocono. Gerber Collision & Glass is the listed sponsor. Massey takes over for Josh Bilicki, who this week drives for the Reaume Brothers (see above).


Sunday, February 23, 2020
CUP Race 2 of 36
Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube at Las Vegas
2019 Last-Place Finisher: Joey Gase

There are 38 drivers entered for 40 spots, meaning all drivers will qualify. It also marks the first short field of the season, one week after three drivers were sent home before the Daytona 500.

DRIVER CHANGE: #6-Roush-Fenway Racing
Leading all stories this week is the injuries sustained to Ryan Newman in his scary crash while battling for the win of the Daytona 500. On Monday night, Newman remained in serious condition with non-life threatening injuries. On Tuesday, he was able to speak with his family and doctors. And on Wednesday, he walked out of the hospital under his own power. The preliminary entry list showed “TBA” in place of the driver. Newman has not been cleared to run on Sunday, putting an end to his consecutive start streak of 649 races dating back to the 2002 Daytona 500. Driving in his place Sunday is Ross Chastain, who last week drove for Spire Motorsports (see below).

MISSING: #16-Kaulig Racing
Neither Justin Haley nor the RCR-backed Kaulig Racing entry are in this Sunday’s field, one week after Haley recovered from a spin in the day’s biggest pileup to finish 13th. Haley will instead focus on his full-time XFINITY effort, driving Kaulig’s #11.

MISSING: #27-Premium Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #77-Spire Motorsports
Jay Robinson’s second car not entered after Reed Sorenson’s late crash in the 500. Sorenson moves back to the #77 from Robinson’s partners at Spire Motorsports, taking the place of Ross Chastain, who was on Wednesday named the relief driver for Ryan Newman (see above). As in 2019, it’s likely the car Sorenson drives this week will not have the support from Chip Ganassi Racing that Chastain enjoyed last week and Jamie McMurray did in 2019. The car has no listed sponsor.

MISSING: #36-Rick Ware Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Rick Ware Racing
RETURNING: #53-Rick Ware Racing
David Ragan is not entered after his sterling 4th-place finish in the Daytona 500, his first top-five finish since 2015, and best finish at Daytona since his win there in July 2011. Ragan’s car is also not entered - the Charter used to enter his #36 reverts back to its original owner, Rick Ware’s #53, which this week is driven by Joey Gase with matching XFINITY Series sponsorship from the Nevada Donor Network. Gase makes the move from the #51, which this week is driven by Garrett Smithley, his first start of the year. Victory Lane Quick Oil Change and Trophy Tractor will sponsor the Smithley effort for an “expanded schedule” in 2020. Smithley’s most recent Cup start was last fall at Phoenix, where he ran 31st.

MISSING: #49-Motorsports Business Management
Chad Finchum’s car that DNQ’d at Daytona is not entered this week, but Timmy Hill will still drive MBM’s primary #66 on Sunday. Like many drivers not entered in Sunday’s race, Finchum will focus on the XFINITY Series – his ride will be MBM’s #66 (see above).

DRIVER SWAP: #52-Rick Ware Racing
MISSING: #54-Rick Ware Racing
Rick Ware has also not entered his fourth “open” car, and J.J. Yeley moves from that machine to the #52, taking the place of B.J. McLeod, who isn’t entered after a mid-race spin left him 38th in the Daytona 500.

MISSING: #62-Beard Motorsports
Brendan Gaughan is not entered after he, like Justin Haley, recovered from involvement in the late-race pileup to charge back into the lead pack. Making his final Daytona 500 start, Gaughan left the track with a 7th-place finish – his third top-ten since he joined Mark Beard’s effort to run the superspeedways exclusively. Expect driver and team to return to action on the Cup side in Talladega in April.

Today in LASTCAR History (February 20, 1999): Kerry Earnhardt picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR XFINITY Series career in the Alltel 200 at the North Carolina Speedway (Rockingham) when his #40 Channelock Chevrolet fell out with handling issues after 56 laps. Earnhardt qualified seventh for what was his fifth series start.

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