Thursday, June 4, 2020

PREVIEW: It's "take two" at Atlanta, where NASCAR hit the pause button in March

PHOTO: @KarynMarinella
Saturday, June 6, 2020 (1:00 P.M. Eastern)
TRUCKS Race 4 of 23
Vet Tix Camping World 200 at Atlanta
2019 Last-Place Finisher: Joe Nemechek

For the second-straight race, 47 drivers were entered to attempt the 40-truck entry list. However, the lack of qualifying for races without fans in the stands has resulted in the same outcome as Charlotte. This will also not be a bounty race as it had been in March since Chase Elliott scored it in Charlotte. Elliott is still entered with the Hooters sponsorship he’d planned to run in the spring.

MISSING: #5-Wauters Motorsports
DID NOT QUALIFY: #6-Norm Benning Racing
DID NOT QUALIFY: #14-Trey Hutchens Racing
DID NOT QUALIFY: #34-Reaume Brothers Racing
DID NOT QUALIFY: #55-Long Motorsports
DID NOT QUALIFY: #75-Henderson Motorsports
DID NOT QUALIFY #03-Mike Affarno Motorsports
Six of the seven teams which missed the cut in Charlotte will also not run in Saturday’s Atlanta race. The only team missing from Charlotte’s cut list was the Richie Wauters #5, which was not entered after Erik Jones was cut from that race. In its place among the DNQs is the returning DGR-Crosley #17, which was slated for David Ragan to run at his home track. Ragan will join Norm Benning, Trey Hutchens, Bryant Barnhill, Dawson Cram, Parker Kligerman, and Tim Viens as the seven DNQs. All have yet to start a race so far in 2020.

DRIVER CHANGE: #33-Reaume Brothers Racing
Gray Gaulding takes the place of Jesse Iwuji, who took the blame for a controversial wreck at Charlotte that collected Brennan Poole, Tyler Ankrum, and Stewart Friesen. This will be Gaulding’s first Truck Series start since November 3, 2017, when he finished 27th for Premium Motorsports after an early electrical issue on his #15 Chevrolet.

DRIVER CHANGE: #40-Niece Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #44-Niece Motorsports
Al Niece brings back the lineup originally scheduled for this race when it was scheduled in March with Ryan Truex taking the place of Garrett Smithley in the #40 and Jeb Burton replacing Natalie Decker in the #44. Plan B Sales will back Truex while State Water Heaters and Alsco will sponsor Burton. Neither Smithley nor Decker are entered.

CUP INVADERS: #8-John Hunter Nemechek, #24-Chase Elliott, #51-Kyle Busch

Saturday, June 6, 2020 (4:30 P.M. Eastern)
XFINITY Race 8 of 33
Echo Park 250 at Atlanta
2019 Last-Place Finisher: John Jackson

There are 37 drivers entered for Saturday’s XFINITY Series race, meaning the series has yet to have a single 40-car field since the temporary field increase went into effect at Darlington, three races ago.

DRIVER CHANGE: #21-Richard Childress Racing
Anthony Alfredo returns to the #21 for his third series start and first since Darlington, replacing Myatt Snider, who returns to the #93. Snider takes the place of Jeff Green, who is not entered after a short night in “Thunder Valley.”

Alex Labbe moves back to the #90, swapping rides with Ronnie Bassett, Jr. Both drivers look to bounce back after each had a short night in Bristol, finishing 33rd and 31st, respectively.

GIVE A CALL: #74-Mike Harmon Racing
Bayley Currey looks to score his third-straight Top 20 finish for the Harmon team following a 18th at Charlotte and 20th at Bristol.

SPONSOR CHANGE: #99-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Following his gutsy performance after missing the first 189 laps at Bristol, Mason Massey has different sponsorship as Generac and Anderson Power Services back his #99 Toyota. Gerber Collision & Glass sponsored his previous four races this season.

DRIVER CHANGE: #02-Our Motorsports
Brett Moffitt in for Patrick Emerling with the FR8 Auctions scheme originally slated for the race back in March. Moffitt finished a season-best 6th his last time out at Charlotte and has twice finished 4th in the Truck Series race at Atlanta.

DRIVER CHANGE: #07-SS-Green Light Racing
Garrett Smithley and Dream Giveaway are back in the #07 for the first time since Charlotte. Both take the place of Carson Ware, who ran a solid 22nd in his series debut at Bristol.


Sunday, June 7, 2020
CUP Race 10 of 36
Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta
2019 Last-Place Finisher: Michael McDowell

There are 40 drivers entered for as many spots in Sunday’s Cup Series race, the fourth full field in the last five races and the fifth overall this year.

DRIVER CHANGE: #7-Tommy Baldwin Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #53-Rick Ware Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #77-Spire Motorsports
J.J. Yeley moves from the #7 to the #77, taking the place of Garrett Smithley, who moves to the #53 in place of Bayley Currey, who isn’t entered. Taking Yeley’s place in the #7 is a returning Reed Sorenson, who is set to make his first Cup start since he was slated to run Wednesday at Darlington before Yeley took his place.

DRIVER CHANGE: #27-Rick Ware Racing
Josh Bilicki takes the place of Gray Gaulding in the #27, and on Wednesday revealed Bilicki's sponsor Insurance King will back his ride. Bilicki was briefly listed in the #77 on Wednesday before it was then revealed he'd run the #27 Ford.

SPONSOR UPDATE: #96-Gaunt Brothers Racing
Fresh off a strong 18th-place finish at Bristol, Daniel Suarez will carry Coca-Cola as sponsor. He will not run the Cherry Vanilla Coca-Cola paint scheme he was slated to run when this race was scheduled in March, but instead carry the hashtag #WeLoveThisPlace.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020
CUP Race 11 of 36
Blue Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville
2019 Last-Place Finisher: Cody Ware

UPDATE: (June 8): There are 40 drivers entered for as many spots in Wednesday's first race under the lights at Martinsville. UPDATE: (June 9): Make that 39.

TEAM UPDATE: #3-Richard Childress Racing
A.J. Allmendinger, last Saturday's winner in Atlanta, will be on standby in case Austin Dillon's wife goes into labor. Allmendinger has enjoyed some of his best non-road course performances in Cup at the track, finishing 2nd there twice in 2012 and 2016.

DRIVER SWAP: #27-Rick Ware Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #53-Rick Ware Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #77-Spire Motorsports
J.J. Yeley moves from the #77 to the #27, taking the place of Josh Bilicki, who isn't entered following his 34th-place finish in the Insurance King Ford at Atlanta. Yeley, who made his 300th Cup start on Sunday, finished 36th. In place of Yeley in the #77 is Garrett Smithley, who moves from the #53 he drove to a 35th-place run in Atlanta. This opens up the #53, which this week will be driven by David Starr. It will be Starr's 10th Cup start, his first at Martinsville, and his first in the series since November 4, 2018 at Texas, when he drove for Victor Obaika. Helluva Ranch, Richardson Service, and SANY are Starr's sponsors.

WITHDREW: #78-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
On Tuesday, B.J. McLeod withdrew from Martinsville, his first Cup race missed since NASCAR's return. His last two starts saw his season-best finish and a last-place run, including significant damage to his Bristol car.

TODAY IN LASTCAR HISTORY (June 4, 1966): Birmingham, Alabama driver Bill Latham picked up the first last-place finish of his NASCAR Cup Series career during a 200-lap race at half-mile dirt oval, the Piedmont (South Carolina) Interstate Fairgrounds. Latham started next-to-last in the 22-car field and fell out after 7 laps when his 1964 Ford lost the engine. It was Latham’s third and final series start.


Kuku h said...

Maybe we need short heat races to figure out the Trucks issue, since some that are in are very slow, whereas others, like the 5/75, would easily had made it in.

A 20 lap heat race maybe?

Darrin said...

That's a good's the only series some owners can afford...they also are getting blocked out because of cup invaders.

Brock Beard said...

It would be nice if they were all given a chance. Heck, even single-truck qualifying would be perfectly fine. I'll be interested to see if the Truck Series entry lists stay this long as we continue to host races without fans.