Thursday, February 13, 2020

PREVIEW: Reviewing a multitude of changes in the XFINITY and Truck Series entry lists

Tommy Joe Martins brings back his owner-driver operation in 2020
PHOTO: @bradxperez
Friday, February 14, 2020
TRUCKS Race 1 of 23
NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona
2019 Last-Place Finisher: Natalie Decker

There are 41 trucks entered for 32 spots, meaning nine trucks will miss the show for the season opener of the newly renamed NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series. UPDATE: Make that 40 trucks for 32 with eight DNQs as of Thursday afternoon.

TEAM UPDATE: #3-Jordan Anderson Racing
COMING SOON: #??-Jordan Anderson Racing
In a December 18 interview, Jordan Anderson indicated he was interested in starting a second team for development drivers in 2020. That second team is not entered this week. Anderson will remain in his primary #3 Chevrolet, which will now come out of the same shop as AM Racing, the #22 Chevrolet team of Austin Wayne Self. Anderson also welcomes new backing from K-Seal in addition to previous sponsor

DRIVER CHANGE: #4-Kyle Busch Motorsports
NEW TEAM: #38-Front Row Motorsports / DGR-Crosley
TEAM SUSPENDED: #92-RBR Enterprises
NASCAR Pinty’s Series driver Raphael Lessard continues on with KBM this year, taking the place of Todd Gilliland in the #4 Toyota with JBL as sponsor. Gilliland makes the move from KBM to a new team from Cup Series program Front Row Motorsports, thanks to a technical alliance with DGR-Crosley. The DGR-Crosley team has completely restructured their team and driver lineup, while also switching from Toyota to Ford. The #38 team carries sponsorship from Black’s Tire and Wheel Distributors, a longtime backer of Ricky Benton’s No. 92 team, plus Highland Construction and Restoration. Benton himself will not be fielding a truck this year but will be part of the No. 38 effort in the four races they run this year. Future plans for Benton’s own No. 92 are yet unknown.

MISSING: #5-DGR-Crosley
MISSING: #7-DGR-Crosley
David Gilliland’s expansion team which Dylan Lupton ran solidly for late last season is not among the entrants this week, nor is the truck Tanner Gray ran to a 16th-place finish that night. The team that is returning is the #15, previously driven by Anthony Alfredo before he landed his part-time XFINITY Series effort with RCR, set to start at Fontana. In Alfredo’s place this week is Tanner Gray, who finished Top Twenty in all three of his Truck Series starts late last season. The DGR-Crosley team also announced a switch from Toyota to Ford on December 11.

RETURNING: #6-Norm Benning Racing
Norm Benning is back on the entry list for the season opener after he did not enter last fall’s races at Phoenix and Homestead.

RETURNING: #7-All Out Motorsports
Korbin Forrister is back on this week’s entry list with new sponsorship from 50 Egg Music on his #7 Toyota. Forrister last took the green flag in the series last fall at Talladega, where he ran a season-best 13th.

DRIVER SWAP: #8-NEMCO Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #87-NEMCO Motorsports
Father and son, Joe and John Hunter Nemechek, are again entered in competing trucks from their own team. Joe takes the place of Camden Murphy in the #87 with Fleetwing and DAB Constructors returning as sponsors. John Hunter will run double-duty with the Cup Series and brings Fire Alarm Services once again to the #8. As a twist, the traditionally Chevrolet-based NEMCO team will field a Ford for John Hunter, likely due to the younger Nemechek's new Cup ride with Ford team Front Row Motorsports.

PAINT SCHEME: #10-Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing
Jennifer Jo Cobb debuts a new variant of her white, pink, and camouflage paint scheme on her team’s Chevrolets. NASCAR stepped in to require further changes, citing that they don’t allow white numbers on a white vehicle. Cobb then had Paradigm Racing alter the scheme to add black numbers.

MISSING: #11-Rette Jones Racing
Spencer Davis is not entered this week after he failed to qualify Mark Rette’s #11 in last fall’s Homestead finale.

MISSING: #12-Young’s Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #56-Hill Motorsports
Gus Dean makes the move from his full-time effort with Randy Young to a one-off start for Timmy Hill’s single-truck team at Daytona. Mashonit is the listed sponsor. The effort is part of a busy week for Dean, who will compete in both the ARCA Menards Series opener at Daytona and the Super Late Model races at New Smyrna. Dean's former ride, the #12, is not entered this Friday.

MISSING: #17-DGR-Crosley
NEW TEAM: #26-GMS Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #44-Niece Motorsports
MISSING: #54-DGR-Crosley
Tyler Ankrum makes the move from DGR-Crosley, whose #17 is also not entered this week, to the new #26 team at GMS with sponsorship from LiUNA. Natalie Decker will also move teams from DGR-Crosley to one of Al Niece’s trucks and will also scale back from full-time to part-time. Decker takes the place of Angela Ruch, who moves to the Reaume Brothers this season. The #54 that Decker drove last year is also not entered this week.

DRIVER SWAP: #18-Kyle Busch Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Kyle Busch Motorsports
Christian Eckes moves from KBM’s #51 to the #18, taking the place of Harrison Burton, who isn’t entered in the series this week. Taking Eckes’ place in the #51 is Riley Herbst, who will pull double-duty with his XFINITY Series effort for Joe Gibbs Racing. Safelite Auto Glass remains Eckes’ sponsor while Mobil 1 backs Herbst.

TEAM UPDATE: #19-McAnally-Hilgemann Racing
Derek Kraus will run full-time in the Truck Series this year, thanks to a technical alliance between Bill McAnally’s team, Hattori Racing Enterprises, and a new partner in the team from Wisconsin businessman Bill Hilgemann. Shockwave joined the team as their sponsor for Daytona.

DRIVER CHANGE: #20-Young’s Motorsports
Talladega winner Spencer Boyd returns to Young’s Motorsports in place of Colby Howard, who drove the truck at Homestead. CuraLife is the listed sponsor.

Following a 5th-place finish in his lone Truck Series start at Gateway last summer, Zane Smith will drive for GMS Racing this year, taking the controls of the returning #21 team with sponsorship from ICON Vehicle Dynamics. Brett Moffitt’s entry goes from the #24 to the team’s previously used #23, still fielded by GMS, with CMR Roofing as sponsor. Sheldon Creed remains in the GMS #2.

It was then revealed in January the #24 will return this July at Eldora, where it will be driven by Knoxville Nationals champion David Gravel with sponsorship from Axalta. This will start a five-race Truck schedule for Gravel, with dates and sponsors to be announced.

Jim Rosenblum’s team continues plugging away in the Truck Series, and will once again field Bryan Dauzat in the Daytona season opener. American Genomics joins the team as primary sponsor.

DRIVER CHANGE: #30-On Point Motorsports
Brennan Poole will make at least one more start with his former Truck Series team in Daytona as his Cup sponsor, Spartan Mosquito, is also on board the #30 Toyota for the Friday race. Poole takes the place of Danny Bohn, who enjoyed some strong performances with the #30 team last fall.

DRIVER CHANGE: #33-Reaume Brothers Racing
TEAM UPDATE: #34-Reaume Brothers Racing
Jason White returns to the superspeedway to drive the #33 in place of Josh Reaume. Reaume is expected drive the #34, which withdrew from last fall’s Homestead race, and Motorsports Safety Group is the listed sponsor.

DRIVER AND NUMBER CHANGE: #40-Niece Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #45-Niece Motorsports
Ryan Truex takes his sponsorship from Marquis Spas from his XFINITY ride with JR Motorsports to the Truck Series, driving for Al Niece in the #40 Chevrolet. Truex will run in six races this season, starting with Texas in March. Ross Chastain will drive in Truex's place Friday, a slide over from the team's #45. This appears to take the place of the part-time third team Al Niece had run in previous years, the #38 driven last year by T.J. Bell, Mark Smith, and Colin Garrett. The #38 will instead be fielded by the Front Row Motorsports / DGR-Crosley effort driven by Todd Gilliland (see above). Ty Majeski takes Chastain's place in the full-time #45 after a strong 11th-place finish in his series debut at Phoenix last fall.

TEAM UPDATE: #49-CMI Motorsports
Ray Ciccarelli confirmed on January 24 that he will be running the first five Truck Series races of the season in a new red-and-gold paint scheme with Ciccarelli Moving & Installations LLC as his sponsor. Bayley Currey will run the truck in Las Vegas.

MANUFACTURER CHANGE: #52-Halmar Friesen Racing
Stewart Friesen will see a manufacturer change from Chevrolet to Toyota, driving trucks from Kyle Busch Motorsports. Halmar International remains the team’s sponsor.

CREW CHIEF CHANGE: #68-Clay Greenfield Motorsports
Surprising news came in late January when it was revealed that veteran crew chief turned racing analyst Jeff Hammond would come out of retirement to sit atop the pit box for Clay Greenfield’s eight Truck Series races this season. Hammond hasn’t served as a crew chief since 2002, when he reunited with Darrell Waltrip for a pair of Truck Series races at Martinsville and IRP. Rackley Roofing remains the sponsor.

MISSING: #75-Henderson Motorsports
Charlie Henderson’s Truck Series team, a longtime part-time effort, announced on December 18 that they planned to increase their schedule in 2020 and bring on several developmental drivers. They were not, however, entered in this Friday’s race. Parker Kligerman, one of the team’s drivers from last year, said he had no plans to run any of NASCAR’s top three series this year.

RETURNING: #96-Peck Motorsports
Todd Peck returns as owner-driver with sponsorship from Holla Vodka. Peck has not started a Truck Series race since 2018, when he ran 26th for Jay Robinson at Michigan. His family hasn’t fielded its own entry since 2017, when they finished last at Charlotte in partnership with MB Motorsports.

TEAM UPDATE: #97-Diversified Motorsports Enterprises
Logan Puckett completed his purchase of JJL Racing on December 20, completing the investment that began in last year’s Homestead finale. Teletrack Navman joined as sponsor for six Truck Series races, and have a bright neon-decorated truck for the Daytona opener. Jesse Little will continue to drive for Friday’s race in addition to his new XFINITY effort (see below).

NUMBER AND DRIVER CHANGE: #00-Reaume Brothers Racing
Angela Ruch revealed she would be competing full-time in the Truck Series this season, having landed a ride with the Reaume Brothers Racing team. She will run the #00 in place of Reaume’s part-time third team, the #32, and will run the same white-and-orange paint scheme from her sponsor The Ruch Life.

DRIVER CHANGE: #02-Young’s Motorsports
On January 27 came news Tate Fogleman, a part-time racer in the series last year, will become a full-time competitor in 2020, taking the place of Tyler Dippel. Fogleman hasn’t run in the Truck Series since 2018, when he made three starts in Young’s #20 with a best finish of 15th in his most recent start at Michigan.

WITHDREW: #03-Mike Affarano Motorsports
Mike Affarano continues his determined effort to break into the Truck Series part-time and has brought on Tim Viens to drive a truck with logos supporting the re-election of President Trump. Affarano’s most recent start as a team owner came last summer at Eldora, where Jake Griffin turned in a 26th-place finish in his #03. However, as of this writing, the effort may have taken a costly detour as the team's transporter drove into a ditch en route to the speedway. UPDATE: The incident appears costly as the team has withdrawn as of late Thursday.

SPONSOR UPDATE: #04-Roper Racing
Alliance Aviation and CarQuest have joined as sponsors for Cory Roper, who enjoyed a strong start to the 2019 season before financial woes forced his team to scale back. Roper made nine starts last year, most recently the Homestead finale where he ran 27th.

CUP INVADERS: None, technically. John Hunter Nemechek and Brennan Poole run the Daytona 500 as rookies.

Saturday, February 15, 2020
XFINITY Race 1 of 33
NASCAR Racing Experience 300 at Daytona
2019 Last-Place Finisher: Stephen Leicht

There are 40 drivers entered for 36 spots in Saturday’s race, meaning four teams will fail to qualify as the XFINITY Series reduced their field size once more this season.

DRIVER SWAP: #0-JD Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #4-JD Motorsports
B.J. McLeod will also return to the JD team this season, though his car number hadn’t yet been confirmed as of February 6. It was later confirmed to be the #0, which he will drive at Daytona in place of Garrett Smithley. Jeffrey Earnhardt will also run races for the #0 team later this season, one year after his limited-season run for Joe Gibbs Racing. Taking McLeod’s place in the #4 he ran at Homestead is Jesse Little, who will complement his Truck Series effort with a full-time XFINITY run.

MISSING: #2-Richard Childress Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #21-Richard Childress Racing
Myatt Snider will run a limited XFINITY schedule in 2020, starting this Saturday in Daytona. On December 3, it was confirmed the car will be the #21, which he will share with Truck Series driver Anthony Alfredo. Rounding out the group will be Kaz Grala, who will run a few races with this team during the summer. This car is running in place of the #2 vacated by Tyler Reddick, who will instead focus on his bid for Cup Series Rookie of the Year in RCR’s #8.

DRIVER SWAP: #5-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
DRIVER SWAP: #78-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #99-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
B.J. McLeod’s team returns to the XFINTY Series this season. Matt Mills makes the move from the #78 to the #5 with J.F. Electric returning as sponsor and new red numbers on his car. Vinnie Miller takes Mills’ place in the #78 and welcomes new backing from the United American Patriots organization. The #99 goes to a returning Josh Bilicki, who takes the place of Jairo Avila, Jr., who ran the car at Homestead. Bilicki welcomes returning sponsorship from Insurance King plus new backing from DITEC Marine.

DRIVER CHANGE: #52-Jimmy Means Racing
For the first time since 2007, Johnny Davis will not campaign the #01 in this year’s XFINITY Series season. The team will now be the #6, and David Starr will end a two-year tenure driving for Jimmy Means Racing to drive it, bringing Whataburger with him as sponsor. Starr takes the place of Stephen Leicht, who does not have a ride with Johnny Davis this year. Taking the place of Starr at the Means team is J.J. Yeley, who will pull double-duty if he qualifies for the Daytona 500. Yeley is slated to run the first three XFINITY races of the season, then hand the wheel to Kody Vanderwal, who will make his NASCAR national touring series debut.

TEAM UPDATE: #8-JR Motorsports
Among the drivers slated to run this car in 2020 are Daytona driver Jeb Burton, who continues his part-time campaign with State Water Heaters, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who will run a Hellman’s paint scheme at Homestead. Also running will be Daniel Hemric, who rejoins the XFINITY series after his Rookie of the Year run in Cup. Hemric brings with him sponsorship from Poppy Bank and shares Brendan Gaughan’s Cup Series backing from South Point Casino.

TEAM UPDATE: #10-Kaulig Racing
Last season, Ross Chastain revealed he will go full-time – again - in the XFINITY Series in the car he ran part-time the year before. Chastain still plans on running all three series, with plans to be announced in Cup (driving for Spire this Sunday) and Trucks (for Niece on Friday). Nutrien Ag Solutions continues as sponsor as Chastain runs the Kaulig team’s second car alongside Justin Haley in the #11.

DRIVER CHANGE: #13-Motorsports Business Management
MISSING: #35-Motorsports Business Management
DRIVER CHANGE: #61-Motorsports Business Management
DRIVER CHANGE: #66-Motorsports Business Management
Tommy Joe Martins reported December 8 that MBM will scale back from four XFINITY entries to two, but this has since changed to three, according to the preliminary entry list. Not making the cut this year is the #35 driven full-time last year by Joey Gase. The #13 and #66 will go to Chad Finchum and Timmy Hill, respectively, who will attempt to run double-duty between the Cup and XFINITY Series races. Both carry the same sponsors from their Cup efforts with Timmy Hill’s #66 backed by VSI Racing and while Finchum’s #13 has Garrison Homes. Hill slides over from the #13 he ran at Homestead last fall to make way for Finchum, and takes the place of Bobby Dale Earnhardt, who DNQ’d at Homestead. Driving the #61 is Austin Hill, continuing the partnership with Hattori Racing Enterprises. Hill looks to bounce back from a disappointing DNQ at Daytona last July.

DRIVER CHANGE: #15-JD Motorsports
Robby Lyons will drive the first three XFINITY races of the season, driving the #15 Chevrolet. For Daytona, Lyons’ sponsor is Carr & Sons Masonry, Inc. Jeffrey Earnhardt will also run races in this car this season in addition to his runs in the #0. On January 9 came word that Colby Howard will drive most of the 2020 XFINITY season with JD Motorsports, starting at Phoenix. Project Hope Foundation is the listed sponsor for his own runs in the #15.

RETURNING: #16-Kaulig Racing
As announced December 30, A.J. Allmendinger will run the Daytona opener after his entry rounded out a top-three sweep by the team here last July, only to be disqualified. Ellsworth Advisors returns as sponsor for the effort as Kaulig, like last July, will have three strong cars in the Daytona race.

DRIVER CHANGE: #18-Joe Gibbs Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #20-Joe Gibbs Racing
Harrison Burton makes the move from JGR’s flagship #18 to the #20 vacated by Christopher Bell, who now goes for Cup Series Rookie of the Year with Leavine Family Racing. Taking Burton’s place is a returning Riley Herbst, who will run his first full-time XFINITY Series season with Monster Energy as the sponsor. Brandon Jones remains in the third JGR car, #19, and with sponsor Interstate Batteries, will run a "throwback" scheme to Bobby Labonte's car from 1995.

Maury Gallagher’s team has closed their single-car XFINITY program and instead expand their Truck Series efforts. John Hunter Nemechek, the team’s XFINITY driver, advances to Cup with Front Row Motorsports as he competes for Rookie of the Year.

RETURNING: #25-ACG Motorsports
Chris Cockrum returns to run on the superspeedways once more in his #25 Advanced Communications Group Chevrolet. Jeff Spraker remains the crew chief with Rick Ware as the listed car owner.

TEAM UPDATE: #26-Sam Hunt Racing
After a successful debut last fall at Homestead, the start-up Sam Hunt team announced in early February they have a formal alliance with Toyota Racing Development to power their Toyota Supra. Colin Garrett remains the team’s driver with Brian Keselowski as the team’s crew chief.

Alex Labbe tweeted on January 23 that he will return to Mario Gosselin’s #36 for Daytona and has two other races planned for the 2020 season with perhaps more on the way. His car will be sponsored by Globocam and Rousseau. Labbe takes the place of Josh Williams, who slides over to Gosselin’s returning part-time third team, the #92, with returning sponsorship of his own from Sleep Well and Harkin Construction. Taking Labbe’s place in the #90 is Caesar Bacarella, who confirmed he will drive for Mario Gosselin in the primary #90 Chevrolet this week with MAXIM and Alpha Prime returning as sponsors. Also, after a successful first season, both Ronnie Bassett, Jr. and Dillon Bassett will return to DGM Racing later this year, splitting 20 races between them.

Jeff Green will run both the Daytona opener and the Talladega race for RSS Racing with returning sponsorship from C2 Freight Resources, taking the place of J.J. Yeley, who goes to Jimmy Means Racing. This #38 team will only run a limited number of additional races as Green will serve as crew chief for the #93 for most of the season (Clinton Cram is the listed crew chief of the #93 for Daytona). RSS Racing indicated they will instead focus on the #39 and #93 as their lone full-time entries. Among the drivers of the #93 will be a returning C.J. McLaughlin, who will run 20 races in 2020, and Myatt Snider, who in addition to his run for RCR will run some of his races, starting at Fontana, with Superior Essex as sponsor. Ryan Sieg remains in the #39 while C.J. McLaughlin is expected to again run the #93 in Daytona.

RETURNING: #44-Martins Motorsports
Tommy Joe Martins tweeted on December 8 that he wasn’t going to be driving for MBM in 2020 as the team scales back from four cars to two. Martins said he had a couple Toyota Supras on hand and a speedway Chevrolet from Brandonbilt Motorsports, leaving open the option to run for another team or field his own entry. Martins then confirmed this on December 24, bringing back his team with new partner Rodney Riessen. Martins will drive his #44 with Diamond Gusset Jeans in a full-season effort. After the opening rounds, he will share the ride with other drivers.

TEAM UPDATE: #74-Mike Harmon Racing
Last year’s #17, the second entry managed by Mike Harmon Racing but entered under Rick Ware Racing, will now exclusively be a Harmon entry this year and have a new car number, #47. The new number will be run by Joe Nemechek, Harmon’s driver of the #74 last fall, who at Daytona will carry logos endorsing President Trump’s re-election campaign through the Patriots PAC of America. The team’s #74 will also remain active for the two-car effort, which will see Mike Harmon drive and continuing partnership with Veterans for Child Rescue. Other drivers in the mix to run for the team this year are XFINITY part-timers Bayley Currey, Kyle Weatherman, Tyler Matthews, and possibly Camden Murphy.

DRIVER CHANGE: #68-Brandonbilt Motorsports
MISSING: #86-Brandonbilt Motorsports
Brandon Brown will drive his team’s #68, a number he’s raced since the early years of his career, instead of the #86. Larry’s Lemonade, formerly a sponsor at RSS Racing for Ryan Sieg, has joined Brown to sponsor his Daytona effort. The team may still run both numbers this season as they plan to make their second team a full-time operation. Will Rodgers drove a second Brandonbilt car for a number of races in 2019, most recently last fall at Homestead.

MISSING: #89-Shepherd Racing Ventures
Morgan Shepherd reported to Dustin Albino earlier this week that his team would not be attempting the season opener at Daytona, but would run the rest of the year with Landon Cassill as driver. Cassill, last year’s Cup regular with StarCom Racing who helped out Shepherd late last season, had arrived at Daytona’s Media Day wearing a Cup Series uniform, though he had no ride set up for the Daytona 500.

NEW TEAM: #02-Our Motorsports
Announced back on October 30, this team will run full-time with Andy Seuss among the drivers. To help get the team started, they have signed Brett Moffitt to run the first four races of the season, including Daytona. Plan B Sales is the listed sponsor for Moffitt’s fourth XFINITY Series start and his first since a 13th for JR Motorsports last spring at Talladega.

DRIVER CHANGE: #08-SS-Green Light Racing
Joe Graf, Jr. moves from a part-time role with Richard Childress Racing in the #21 to take the place of Gray Gaulding in the #08, bringing with him sponsorship from Eat, Sleep, Race from his time running with RCR. Core Development Group has also joined as the team's primary sponsor. Gaulding’s show car and display hauler have likewise been changed, having been acquired by Josh Bilicki and re-decaled to represent his Cup Series effort in the #53 for Rick Ware Racing (in addition to his run in the #99 for B.J. McLeod in XFINITY). Ray Black, Jr. remains his teammate in the #07 CDA Tech Chevrolet.


Sunday, February 16, 2020
CUP Race 1 of 36
Daytona 500 at Daytona
2019 Last-Place Finisher: Casey Mears

For a full breakdown of this Sunday’s competitors, check out our feature from last week.

Today in LASTCAR History (February 13, 1955): Gober Sosebee picked up the 2nd last-place finish of his NASCAR Cup Series career in a 200-lap race at Speedway Park, a half-mile dirt track in Jacksonville, Florida, when his #51 Cherokee Garage 1954 Oldsmobile fell out with carburetor issues after 9 laps. Sosebee started third in a race won by Lee Petty, and the next month scored the third and final last-place finish of his career.


Anonymous said...

Down to 40 for Trucks, the 03 withdrew.

Anonymous said...

Then down to 39 as the 34 withdrew due to the engine going kaboom.