Saturday, May 23, 2020

PREVIEW: Massive Truck Series entry list among the stories heading into Charlotte

SOURCE: @chaseelliott
Sunday, May 24, 2020
CUP Race 7 of 36
Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte
2019 Last-Place Finisher: Erik Jones

There are 40 drivers entered for as many spots, marking the second full field in the last three races. This will also be the first race since the suspension of the season where cars will qualify. The lineup will be set Sunday afternoon before the race.

RETURNING: #7-Tommy Baldwin Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #77-Spire Motorsports
After skipping both Cup races at Darlington, Ross Chastain returns to run his previously scheduled start in the Spire #77, carrying Daytona 500 sponsor Advent Health. Chastain’s return bumps J.J. Yeley to the #7, which returns to the track after skipping Wednesday’s night race at Darlington. Josh Bilicki, who ran the car that day, is not entered.

Monday, May 25, 2020
XFINITY Race 6 of 33
Alsco 300 at Charlotte
2019 Last-Place Finisher: Chad Finchum

There are just 37 drivers entered for 40 spots in the upcoming Memorial Day race for the XFINITY Series, two fewer cars than in the circuit’s return last Thursday in Darlington. The series has yet to have a 40-car field in the series since the temporary field increase by NASCAR.

DRIVER SWAP: #21-Richard Childress Racing
Myatt Snider struggled mightily in the #93 last Thursday and finished 35th. He now moves back to the RCR #21, taking the place of Anthony Alfredo, who isn’t entered. Returning to the seat of the #93 is Jeff Green, his first start since Phoenix in March. No sponsor is yet listed for Green, so it is yet uncertain whether the car will run the full race.

MISSING: #26-Sam Hunt Racing
Colin Garrett is not entered after brake trouble left him just 37th at Darlington.

Alex Labbe moves from the #90 back to the #36 this week, taking the place of Ronnie Bassett, Jr., who isn’t entered after a 31st-place run in Darlington. Ronnie’s brother Dillon Bassett will drive the #90 in Labbe’s place. We last saw Dillon Bassett run at Phoenix just before the suspension of the season, where he finished 18th after an on-track tangle with Brandon Brown.

SPONSOR UPDATE: #44-Martins Motorsports
Tommy Joe Martins welcomes another new sponsor to his single-car operation this week as Market Rebellion will back his black #44 Chevrolet.

DRIVER CHANGE: #61-Motorsports Business Management / Hattori Racing Enterprises
DRIVER SWAP: #66-Motorsports Business Management
Timmy Hill slides from the #61 to the #66, taking the place of Darlington last-place finisher Stephen Leicht, who isn’t entered. Into Hill’s place comes Austin Hill, who will run a fully-funded effort in the #61 with sponsor AISIN Group and support of Hattori Racing Enterprises. This will be Austin’s third series start of the season, following a 35th at Daytona and 16th at Fontana, and he will pull double-duty with the Truck Series for Hattori.

DRIVER CHANGE: #74-Mike Harmon Racing
Robby Lyons takes the place of Bayley Currey, who isn’t entered. This will be Lyons’ fourth series start of the season and first since Fontana. It will also be his first of the year for Mike Harmon Racing, having run the previous three for JD Motorsports. Harmon was part of Lyons’ XFINITY debut last November at Homestead, when he ran the #17 co-owned by Rick Ware Racing. UPDATE: And now the driver change is reversed - Bayley Currey will run the #74 in Lyons' place.

MISSING: #89-Shepherd Racing Ventures
Morgan Shepherd’s team will take a brief hiatus. Landon Cassill is not entered, but reported he would make himself available at the Charlotte track as “a reserve driver on the Cup and Truck side, and ready with my stuff to drive anything else.” For more on how you can help Shepherd Racing Ventures, check out this article from Toby Christie's site.

DRIVER CHANGE: #07-SS-Green Light Racing
After his ride with JD Motorsports fell through, Garrett Smithley will return to the XFINITY Series for the first time this season, taking the place of Ray Black, Jr. in the #07 Chevrolet. While CDA Tech was still shown as the listed sponsor, he will actually be backed by Dream Giveaways. This race will follow Smithley’s run in Sunday’s Cup race for Rick Ware Racing and precede Tuesday’s run in the Truck Series (see below). UPDATE: The sponsor and driver change are no coincidence as Rick Ware Racing has entered into a partnership with the #07 team. Smithley will also contend for XFINITY Series points, surrendering his place in the Cup Series Rookie of the Year battle.

CUP INVADERS: #54-Kyle Busch

Tuesday, May 26, 2020
TRUCKS Race 3 of 23
North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte
2019 Last-Place Finisher: Joe Nemechek

The return of the Truck Series for the first time since Las Vegas on February 21 saw an incredible 47 trucks on the entry list for the first NASCAR-extended 40-truck field. To put that number in perspective, the prestigious Daytona opener hasn’t had that many entries since 2002. However, since there will be no qualifying, the seven teams to be sent home has already been determined. Part of this was by NASCAR changing the rules for the 40-truck field, where 27 spots are set by 2019 spots and 13 by points after the two races held so far in 2020. Others worked out deals to acquire Owner Point rankings from other teams, as will be described below. To further add to the confusion, the driver and team changes noted in this article are from the entry list to the postponed Atlanta race, which was to be held on March 14.

SEASON STORY: #3-Jordan Anderson Racing
SEASON STORY: #98-ThorSport Racing
The Daytona opener on February 14 was settled between two very different competitors – owner-driver Jordan Anderson nearly pulled the upset in his first race with K-Seal as sponsor, earning the attention of both fans and the Lionel company, which planned to produce diecast of his #3 Chevrolet. Grant Enfinger took the narrow victory by just one-hundredth of a second, leading 41 laps in the process. He stands as the only series regular to win in the two races yet run.

RETURNING (DNQ): #5-Wauters Motorsports
Tuesday’s race was slated to mark the return of Richie Wauters to the Truck Series for the first time since 2017, as he had planned to field a #5 Toyota for Cup Series regular Erik Jones in the planned “Bounty Race.” However, unable to obtain another team’s rank in points leaves the team out of the race.

RETURNING (DNQ): #6-Norm Benning Racing
Norm Benning will likewise not race. He has yet to make a start in 2020, having failed to qualify at Daytona, then skipped both the completed race at Las Vegas and the postponed round at Atlanta.

TEAM UPDATE: #7-All Out Motorsports
Korbin Forrister will race in Tuesday’s race, and according to the entry list will be driving the oldest truck in the show – a 2015 Toyota.

SEASON STORY: #8-NEMCO Motorsports
SEASON STORY: #10-Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing
The 40-truck limit has been a big help to both Joe Nemechek and Jennifer Jo Cobb’s teams, which have both been shut out of the season thus far. Both John Hunter Nemechek and his father failed to qualify for their only attempt at Daytona, and John Hunter was denied the ability to bounce back at Atlanta due to the postponement. Cobb failed to qualify for both the first two races at Daytona and Las Vegas.

RETURNING: #9-CR7 Motorsports
Codie Rohrbaugh will race after he had originally planned to skip Atlanta. Rohrbaugh scored a career-best 3rd in this season’s Daytona opener and finished a respectable 18th the next round in Las Vegas.

MISSING: #12-Young’s Motorsports
T.J. Bell was originally not entered after the #12 he was slated to run in the postponed Atlanta race with RANDCO Industries as sponsor was not on the Charlotte entry list. He then popped up at CMI Motorsports, driving the team’s second truck, the #83, which will start the race. Bell takes the place of Stefan Parsons, who ran the truck in Las Vegas and was entered in Atlanta.

RETURNING (DNQ): #14-Trey Hutchins Racing
Trey Hutchins planned to return for the first time since a three-race schedule last year at Texas, Iowa, and Michigan (the Iowa race was a one-off for NEMCO Motorsports). Unfortunately, Hutchins’ low rank in points leaves him out of the field at Charlotte for a second consecutive year.

POINT SWAP: #24-GMS Racing
POINT SWAP (DNQ): #34-Reaume Brothers Racing
Prior to the postponement, Chase Elliott was slated to run the first “Bounty Race” in Atlanta with Hooters as sponsor. He is again entered for the Charlotte race, this time with iRacing as sponsor. While Elliott would not have qualified as he drives for a new team at the GMS stable, GMS acquired the Top 25 rank in Owner Points from the #34 owned by Josh Reaume. Consequently, this bumps Bryant Barnhill – who was slated to take the place of Josh Bilicki – from the field.

Bryan Dauzat is entered and will make the race on points. This marks Dauzat’s first start since the Daytona opener, where his red Chevrolet caught fire in an accident that left him 29th.

MISSING: #29-On Point Motorsports
DRIVER SWAP: #30-On Point Motorsports
The On Point team had planned to field a second entry for the first time in Atlanta, putting Brennan Poole in the truck so Danny Bohn could run the #30. However, the second truck is not entered, and Poole remains in the #30 to pull double-duty with his continued rookie campaign in Cup.

DRIVER CHANGE: #33-Reaume Brothers Racing
Jesse Iwuji will drive the #33 in place of J.J. Yeley, who isn’t entered. This will be Iwuji’s first start of the season, though he’d also participated in this year’s eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series by competing in the qualifying races at Homestead and Texas.

DRIVER CHANGE: #40-Niece Motorsports
Garrett Smithley is in for Ryan Truex, who isn’t entered. Truex had been slated to make his series debut at Atlanta before the postponement. Smithley will carry his Rick Ware Racing sponsor Trophy Tractor on the #40 in what will be his first series start since a one-off for Jeff Finley last year at Texas, where he ran 15th.

NEW TEAM: #42-Niece Motorsports
Al Niece will field still a new fourth team in the race for Ross Chastain, who will run his familiar watermelon colors for the Florida Watermelon Association on the #42 Chevrolet. Chastain started the year driving Niece’s #40 truck, finishing 8th at Daytona and 14th in Las Vegas.

DRIVER CHANGE: #44-Niece Motorsports
Natalie Decker returns, taking the place of Atlanta entrant Jeb Burton, who isn’t entered. Decker scored her first career Top Five in the season opener at Daytona, finishing 5th.

RETURNING: #49-CMI Motorsports
Ray Ciccarelli returns, fielding both the aforementioned #83 and his primary #49. Both will make the show for the first time this season after Ciccarelli failed to qualify at Daytona and Bayley Currey missed the show in Las Vegas. This will be Ciccarelli’s first series start at Charlotte.

SEASON STORY: #51-Kyle Busch Motorsports
It was yet another dominant victory by Kyle Busch in the February 21st round at Las Vegas that started Kevin Harvick and Marcus Lemonis’ “Bounty Race” concept, which was set to debut at Atlanta before the event was postponed. Busch is again entered in the series’ return, which will include Chase Elliott, who had been entered at Atlanta.

RETURNING / NUMBER CHANGE (DNQ): #55-Long Motorsports
Long Motorsports was set to make their return to the series at Charlotte, where they switched truck numbers from the #14 to the #55. Team owner Boyd Long had previously fielded entries for Ted Minor, running the #14 at Iowa and Chicago in 2017 with a best finish of 26th in the latter. However, the team will not make the cut under the rule change.

SPONSOR UPDATE: #56-Hill Motorsports’s increased support of Timmy Hill following his strong runs in the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series has extended from his Cup and XFINITY efforts to his own Truck Series team, as the company will adorn his #56 Chevrolet. Hill’s team has made both races this year, putting Gus Dean behind the wheel at Daytona, then Timmy in Vegas.

TEAM UPDATE: #68-Clay Greenfield Motorsports
Clay Greenfield, who failed to qualify at Daytona and was set to make his season debut at Atlanta before the postponement, is locked into the Charlotte race, along with his veteran crew chief Jeff Hammond. Last time out at Atlanta, the team had decorated the #68 with the Tennessee state flag in memory of lives lost in the Nashville tornado outbreak.

RETURNING (DNQ): #75-Henderson Motorsports
One surprising DNQ on the list is Parker Kligerman, whose Henderson Motorsports team has remained a part-time competitor in the series. Instead, the #75 team is on the wrong side of the cut line and will not run on Tuesday.

RETURNING: #97-Diversified Motorsports Enterprises
Jesse Little returns to the series for the first time since the Daytona opener, where his neon green Chevrolet was involved in a late accident. He is also locked-into the race in his 2018 Chevrolet.

RETURNING (DNQ): #03-Mike Affarano Motorsports
Tim Viens will not run, though the Affarano #03 was entered for the first time since the season opener at Daytona, where the truck carried logos in support of President Trump. During that week, Viens was photographed next to a similarly decorated XFINITY car fielded by Mike Harmon, even though Joe Nemechek was the car’s driver.

CUP INVADERS: #24-Chase Elliott, #51-Kyle Busch

Wednesday, May 27, 2020
CUP Race 8 of 36
Alsco Uniforms 500k at Charlotte
2019 Last-Place Finisher: Inaugural Event

UPDATE (May 25): There are 40 drivers entered for the second Cup race of the week in Charlotte, matching the number from Sunday's Coca-Cola 600.

DRIVER CHANGE: #7-Tommy Baldwin Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #27-Rick Ware Racing
Josh Bilicki returns to the #7 team for the first time since last Sunday's race in Darlington. J-Cal Designs has put together another patriotic scheme for the car, which carries sponsorship from Bilicki takes the place of J.J. Yeley, who ran 37th on Sunday. Yeley will move to the #27 in place of Gray Gaulding, who isn't entered after a 31st-place run Sunday. UPDATE: Gaulding is back in the #27 once more.

DRIVER CHANGE: #77-Spire Motorsports
Reed Sorenson returns to the Spire team this week in place of Ross Chastain, who finished 21st on Sunday. Aquesta Bank is the listed sponsor. UPDATE: Yeley takes the place of Sorenson in the #77. Sorenson is not entered in the race.

MANUFACTURER CHANGE: #78-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
After he finished 32nd on Sunday in a Ford, B.J. McLeod will again campaign a Chevrolet this Wednesday. UPDATE: McLeod will run the Ford again in the race.

LASTCAR STAT OF THE WEEK (May 23, 1998): “The High Plains Drifter,” Rick Carelli, picked up the first last-place finish of his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series career in the Yellow Freight 200 at the I-70 Speedway. Carelli’s #6 RE/MAX International Chevrolet started on the outside-pole and led 18 of the first 23 laps. He was still running 2nd on Lap 89 when Dennis Setzer lost an engine in front of him. Carelli backed into the Turn 3 wall, ending his race.


Anonymous said...

Lyons is out of the 74 with Currey taking his place.

UnderdogFan89 said...

Did the #42 take the points of the #15 from last year? That's the only way I see the starting lineup make sense.

Anonymous said...

Gaulding is now in the 27 and Yeley in the 77.