Wednesday, July 15, 2020

PREVIEW: Change is in the air for Bristol All-Star Race while familiar faces return in Texas

Wednesday, July 15, 2020 (7:00 P.M. Eastern)
CUP Exhibition Race
NASCAR All-Star Open at Bristol
2019 Last-Place Finisher (Charlotte): B.J. McLeod

This race will be run in three stages: 35 laps, 35 laps, and 15 laps. From these 21 entrants, four will advance into the main event: each segment winner, joined by the winner of the Fan Vote. This race will also see NASCAR test out a new door number placement on the cars, and the NASCAR debut of the “choose cone” for restart lineups. After the random draw on Monday, Michael McDowell will start on the pole with Corey LaJoie starting last in the field.

#3-Austin Dillon
#8-Tyler Reddick
#10-Aric Almirola
#13-Ty Dillon
#14-Clint Bowyer
#15-Brennan Poole
#17-Chris Buescher
#21-Matt DiBenedetto
#24-William Byron
#27-J.J. Yeley
#32-Corey LaJoie
#34-Michael McDowell
#37-Ryan Preece
#38-John Hunter Nemechek
#43-Bubba Wallace
#47-Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.
#51-Joey Gase
#53-Garrett Smithley
#95-Christopher Bell
#96-Daniel Suarez
#00-Quin Houff

NOT ENTERED: #7-Tommy Baldwin Racing
NOT ENTERED: #78-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Both the Baldwin and McLeod entries are not among the Open contestants after each ran part-time this season.

WITHDREW: #66-Motorsports Business Management
Timmy Hill was originally entered in the Open, but word came the team withdrew on Monday. Hill was originally slated to start 17th in the Open.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020 (8:30 P.M. Eastern)
CUP Exhibition Race
NASCAR All-Star Race at Bristol
2019 Last-Place Finisher (Charlotte): Erik Jones

This race will be run in four stages: 55 laps, 35 laps, 35 laps, and 15 laps. There will be unlimited attempts at a green-white-checkered finish. Unlike those drivers listed above for the Open, these 16 locked-in drivers below will also have special chassis lights under their cars. Martin Truex, Jr. drew the pole with Erik Jones ranked last of the locked-in drivers.

#1-Kurt Busch
#2-Brad Keselowski
#4-Kevin Harvick
#6-Ryan Newman
#9-Chase Elliott
#11-Denny Hamlin
#12-Ryan Blaney
#18-Kyle Busch
#19-Martin Truex, Jr.
#20-Erik Jones
#22-Joey Logano
#41-Cole Custer
#42-Matt Kenseth
#48-Jimmie Johnson
#77-Justin Haley
#88-Alex Bowman

DRIVER CHANGE: #77-Spire Motorsports
For the first time since his upset victory at Daytona just over a year ago, Justin Haley will drive the #77 Chevrolet for Spire Motorsports, now under the Rick Ware Racing affiliation. Haley made one other Cup start since then in this year’s Daytona 500, where he ran 13th in the first Cup attempt for his XFINITY team owner Matthew Kaulig.

Saturday, July 18, 2020 (3:00 P.M. Eastern)
XFINITY Race 16 of 33
My Bariatric Solutions 300 at Texas
2019 Last-Place Finisher: Jeff Green

There are 37 drivers entered for 40 spots in Saturday’s race as this week sees the XFINITY Series compete before the Trucks.

DRIVER CHANGE: #8-JR Motorsports
Jeb Burton returns to the JR Motorsports team for the first time since his opening-lap spin and crash with Brandon Jones in the first race of the Kentucky double-header. He takes the place of Daniel Hemric, who ran 9th in the second round. Longtime Burton sponsor State Water Heaters returns as sponsor.

When we last saw Dexter Bean at Pocono, he earned a career-best 11th in his very first start of the 2020 season. Bean makes his first start since then this Saturday, taking the place of Alex Labbe, who moves back to the #90 in place of Ronnie Bassett, Jr., who isn’t entered. Labbe looks to keep his own strong start to the season going at a track where he’s never finished better than 28th in three previous starts.

RETURNING: #54-Joe Gibbs Racing
Kyle Busch is back to crash the party for the series regulars in both the XFINITY and Truck Series this weekend. He again runs the Twix Cookies & Crème paint scheme on his Toyota, which we last saw at Phoenix, where Brandon Jones beat him for the victory. This will be Busch’s fourth XFINITY start of the year and first since Charlotte, which he won.

DRIVER CHANGE: #99-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Like Dexter Bean, Stefan Parsons returns to the series for the first time since Pocono, where his own strong run slipped away in the final laps, dropping him to 21st. He takes the place of Mason Massey, who isn’t entered following a 23rd-place finish in the second race at Kentucky.

NEW SPONSOR: #02-Our Motorsports
For the first time this year, Brett Moffitt will trade Chris Our’s flat black scheme for a vibrant neon-hued one by Harris Lue, welcoming new sponsorship from sunglass company Moffitt finished 17th in the second Kentucky race after a tangle with Ross Chastain in the first race, where he rebounded to finish 10th.

DRIVER CHANGE: #07-SS-Green Light Racing
As of this writing, no driver is yet listed to drive the #07 in place of Garrett Smithley, who overcame a small fire in the Thursday race to finish 16th on Friday.

CUP INVADERS: #54-Kyle Busch

Saturday, July 18, 2020 (8:00 P.M. Eastern)
TRUCKS Race 8 of 23
Vankor 250 at Texas
2019 Last-Place Finisher (Vankor 350): Josh Reaume

There are 36 drivers entered for 40 spots, which is down four entries from last week in Kentucky. All entrants will start the race.

MISSING: #14-Trey Hutchens Racing
Trey Hutchens not entered after he was collected in an early tangle with Jennifer Jo Cobb and Korbin Forrister in Kentucky, leaving him 36th.

Following his first-ever All-Star Race start, Justin Haley will return to the Truck Series this weekend, taking the place of Chase Purdy, who ran 31st last week in Kentucky. It will be Haley’s first Truck Series start since the 2018 finale at Homestead, and he will again run sponsorship from the Fraternal Order of Eagles. He won his most recent Truck Series start at Texas in that same 2018 season, beating Ben Rhodes by more than 8 seconds.

DRIVER CHANGE: #33-Reaume Brothers Racing
Akinori Ogata will make his first Truck Series start since February 24, 2018, when he ran 30th for the late Mike Mittler. This time, he will drive for Josh Reaume, taking the place of Bryant Barnhill, who ran 33rd in Kentucky. This will be Ogata’s first series start at Texas. KYOWA Industrial is the listed sponsor of his Toyota.

RETURNING: #42-Niece Motorsports
Also returning is Ross Chastain along with Al Niece’s #42 team. For Chastain, it’s his first start since Pocono, where he ran 6th in Niece’s #40. For the #42 team, it’s their first since Atlanta, where Chastain also ran 6th.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Kyle Busch Motorsports
Kyle Busch makes his fifth Truck Series start of the year and first since his victory at Homestead, again driving his #51 Toyota. He takes the place of Chandler Smith, who last week in Kentucky was 22nd when the lightning hold, then the rain ultimately cut the race short.

MISSING: #55-Long Motorsports
Boyd Long’s team is not entered this week after Dawson Cram finished 28th in Kentucky, the first truck off the lead lap.

DRIVER CHANGE: #56-Hill Motorsports
The Hill brothers will swap driving duties this weekend with Timmy taking over for Tyler, who ran 30th in Kentucky. Tyler had run the three most recent races in the series following Timmy’s most recent start in Atlanta, where he equaled his season-best 22nd from Charlotte. UPDATE: The Hill team confirmed on Twitter that the truck they're running Saturday is a former GMS Racing truck which they will be running for the first time.

MISSING: #75-Henderson Motorsports
Charlie Henderson has not entered the #75 truck one week after Parker Kligerman took 18th in Kentucky.

MISSING: #83-CMI Motorsports
Ray Ciccarelli will enter just one of his two trucks this week, keeping the #49 with new teammate Tim Viens, who took 35th in Kentucky after a spin and handling issues. Ciccarelli is himself not entered as driver as he keeps his #83 in the shop.

TEAM UPDATE: #00-Reaume Brothers Racing
While the original entry list did not have a driver listed for the #00, Angela Ruch was confirmed Tuesday to return to the team again this weekend following a 25th-place run in Kentucky.

CUP INVADERS: #51-Kyle Busch

Sunday, July 19, 2020 
CUP Race 18 of 36
O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas
2019 Last-Place Finisher: Kyle Larson

There are 41 drivers entered for 40 spots, including Vic Keller’s new #90 team attempting their first start. However, without a qualifying session, Keller will not qualify (see below).

RETURNING: #7-Tommy Baldwin Racing
Tommy Baldwin’s team returns to the Cup Series for the first time since Josh Bilicki’s 25th-place run in Indianapolis. The preliminary entry list did not indicate who would drive the car. UPDATE (July 16, 2020): Reed Sorenson will return to action in Texas, making his first Cup start since this past spring at Martinsville, where he also ran the TBR #7 and finished 38th that night.

DRIVER CHANGE: #27-Rick Ware Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #51-Rick Ware Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #77-Spire Motorsports
J.J. Yeley was originally listed to run the #27 once again for Texas, but by Tuesday, Gray Gaulding was set to return with the same Panini America sponsorship from his previous five starts. This will mark Gaulding's first Cup start since Talladega, where he ran 30th. UPDATE (July 16, 2020): Yeley is now listed in the #51 this week, bumping Joey Gase to the #77, which he will run in place of All-Star entrant Justin Haley, who isn't entered. Prior to Thursday, the #77 had no driver liosted.

RETURNING: #66-Motorsports Business Management
After withdrawing from the All-Star Open, Timmy Hill returns to action in Texas, where he prevailed in the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series by working his way past William Byron back in the spring. This will be Hill’s 7th Cup start at Texas, where he has yet to finish better than 35th.

DRIVER CHANGE: #77-Spire Motorsports
The preliminary entry list showed no driver listed to run the #77 following Justin Haley’s run in the All-Star Race.

RETURNING: #78-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Also rejoining the Cup Series field this weekend is B.J. McLeod’s #78 Chevrolet, back in the lineup for the first time since McLeod’s season-best 22nd in Indy. McLeod has just one previous Cup start in Texas, which yielded a 31st-place finish for Rick Ware Racing in the spring of 2019.

NEW TEAM (DNQ): #90-Vic Keller Racing
Vic Keller, an entrepreneur involved in several businesses that have sponsored Rick Ware Racing, including and Christensen Arms, had planned to enter a car of his own in Sunday’s race. The 2019 Chevrolet car #90 was to be sponsored by, which most recently backed Garrett Smithley’s #53 for Ware at Indianapolis. However, with 41 drivers entered and his team the newest, Keller will have to wait another week to make his debut.

TODAY IN LASTCAR HISTORY (July 15, 1967): Elmer Gilliam picked up the first last-place finish of his NASCAR Cup Series career. The finish came at the two-tenths of a mile paved oval in Islip, New York when his #06 1965 Dodge fell out with steering issues after 2 laps of the Islip 300. Gilliam was driving for longtime owner-driver Neil “Soapy” Castles in the last of his four series starts. His best finish came in his debut two years earlier in Valdosta, Georgia, taking 20th driving for Elmo Langley. Unfortunately, that race was also an early exit as he followed Jimmy Helms to the garage area, putting Gilliam in the next-to-last spot.

No comments: