Thursday, July 2, 2020

PREVIEW: NASCAR's Indy road race sees the return of Wallace and Pardus, and the debut of Buford

Mike Wallace's ride for his series return on Saturday.
PHOTO: @Lionel_Racing
Saturday, July 4, 2020
XFINITY Race 13 of 33
Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Grand Prix Circuit
2019 Last-Place Finisher: Inaugural Race

There are 38 drivers entered for 40 spots in Saturday’s first-ever NASCAR race held on the Indianapolis infield road course. Not among them is Tony Stewart, who on March 4 had originally planned to run this race before the COVID-19 pandemic led to this race being run without fans.

DRIVER CHANGE: #0-JD Motorsports
DRIVER SWAP: #15-JD Motorsports
Welcome back NASCAR veteran Mike Wallace, who on Saturday will make his first XFINITY Series start since February 21, 2015, when he ran 13th in the Daytona opener. Wallace reunites with Johnny Davis’ team, with whom he’d been racing off and on since 2009. In place of the traditional red-and-gold Davis schemes, Wallace will run a brilliant red-white-and-blue #0 Chevrolet with sponsorship from Market Scan. Wallace bumps Jeffrey Earnhardt from the #0 to the #15 in place of Ryan Vargas. Vargas is not entered this week after nearly scoring his first top-ten finish at Pocono en route to a career-best 13th.

DRIVER CHANGE: #8-JR Motorsports
Jeb Burton will once again take the wheel of the #8 LS Tractor Chevrolet, taking the place of Daneil Hemric, who ran 28th after he was collected in a multi-car wreck with his teammates at Pocono.

DRIVER SWAP: #13-Motorsports Business Management
DRIVER SWAP: #61-Motorsports Business Management
DRIVER SWAP: #66-Motorsports Business Management
Last Sunday’s XFINITY race at Pocono saw Chad Finchum suffer a hard hit at Pocono, which left Finchum with pain in his neck, back, shoulders, and wrist. The accident destroyed the #13 Supra, and the team has apparently swapped its driver lineup in response. The #13 is this week driven by Timmy Hill, who earned a sterling 8th-place run in the same race. Stephen Leicht takes Hill’s spot in the #61, which puts Finchum in Leicht’s #66. Whether or not this means Finchum will fall out early in the #66 is yet to be known.

RETURNING: #16-Kaulig Racing
Certainly one to watch at Indy will be A.J. Allmendinger, who returns to the circuit for the first time since Talladega along with the Kaulig #16. Digital Ally Body Cameras will sponsor Allmendinger’s Chevrolet.

DRIVER CHANGE: #21-Richard Childress Racing
Myatt Snider finished a strong 4th in Pocono, and this week will again move to the RSS Racing #93, taking the place of Jeff Green, who isn’t entered after a loose track bar, then power steering issues left Green 31st in Pocono. Louisana Hot Sauce will again sponsor Snider as part of his expanded full-time schedule. Anthony Alfredo will again drive the RCR #21 with Lucas Oil jumping on board as sponsor.

Dexter Bean turned heads with a career run at Pocono, flirting with a Top Ten for much of the race before taking 11th at the checkered flag. In his just 17 series starts, he’d never finished better than 23rd, which was one of only five times he’d finished under power. Bean is not running on Saturday as Preston Pardus rejoins the XFINITY Series. Pardus made two road course starts in the series last year for his family’s #43 team, taking 36th at Road America and 27th in a rebuilt car at the Roval.

SPONSOR UPDATE: #47-Mike Harmon Racing
SPONSOR UPDATE: #74-Mike Harmon Racing
Teammates Kyle Weatherman and Bayley Currey will run near-identical paint schemes sponsored by, a sponsor most often identified with owner-driver Jeremy Clements and his #51 team (and is again listed as Clements’ sponsor for the race). The cars will also brandish the message “We Stand For The National Anthem” on the hood. Weatherman finished a strong 15th last week in Pocono, his new career-best in 13 series starts.

DRIVER CHANGE: #99-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Josh Bilicki takes the place of Stefan Parsons in the #99 this week, bringing his Insurance King sponsorship with him. Parsons ran strong for much of last week’s Pocono race before he slipped to 21st in the sprint to the finish.

DRIVER CHANGE: #07-SS-Green Light Racing
While the original entry list did not have a name listed, it was reported on Tuesday that Jade Buford would make his NASCAR debut this Saturday. The Nashville-born Buford is a part-time competitor for PF Racing in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Series, a sports car division that runs sprint races on road courses. He swaps PF’s Ford Mustangs for SS-Green Light’s Chevrolet Camaro, which carries Sunday’s sponsor Big Machine Vodka. He takes the place of Carson Ware, who finished a career-best 20th on Sunday.


Sunday, July 5, 2020 
CUP Race 16 of 36
Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 at Indianapolis
2019 Last-Place Finisher: Landon Cassill

There are 40 drivers entered for as many spots in Sunday’s return to the Brickyard.

PAINT SCHEME: #21-Wood Brothers Racing
Fresh off a solid weekend in both Pocono races, finishing 13th and 6th, Matt DiBenedetto will debut a new deep red paint scheme this Sunday, carrying sponsorship from Red Kap in addition to Menards.

Last week, the Patriots of America PAC purchased space on Corey LaJoie's lower quarter-panel to put a "Trump 2020" logo there in both Pocono races. On Wednesday came news that the PAC will move up to being the primary sponsor for nine more races, starting this Sunday.

DRIVER CHANGE: #48-Hendrick Motorsports
On Friday came news that Jimmie Johnson will miss his first Cup race since November 23, 2001 due to exposure to the COVID-19 virus. Johnson will only be allowed to return if he passes two viral tests in 24 hours. Taking his place will be Justin Allgaier, who hasn't run Cup since a last-place run at Bristol in 2016.

DRIVER CHANGE: #77-Spire Motorsports
The lone driver change in this week’s Cup race comes at Spire Motorsports, which had James Davison run his first two Cup races at Pocono with finishes of 34th and 30th, both without incident. Taking Davison’s place this week is Ross Chastain, whose most recent Cup start also came with Spire during the Coca-Cola 600, when he ran 21st. In place of Advent Health, which backed both his Spire efforts this year, he will be sponsored by his own “Melon Man” brand of apparel. Chastain has finished a solid 26th and 22nd in his previous two Indy starts, both for Premium Motorsports.

TEAM UPDATE: #00-StarCom Racing
Quin Houff will run the same car on Sunday that was his backup for the Pocono double-header. Houff ended up running the car on Sunday after his last-place run Saturday (explaining the American flag design on the sides of the Sunday car), and on the final lap suffered minor damage to the right-rear after a blown tire. The team will run this car as the primary and have their Kentucky car on hand as the Indy backup.

TODAY IN LASTCAR HISTORY (July 2, 1995): Doug Taylor picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR XFINITY Series career in the Sears Auto Center 250 at the Milwaukee Mile when his #81 Unifirst Uniforms Ford fell out with crash damage after 16 laps. The accident didn’t draw the caution flag. This was a rare start for the Santa Barbara, California-born Taylor, who made exactly one series start in each of the 1991, 1995, 1997, and 1998 seasons, and never once finished under power. His best run came in his series debut at Watkins Glen, when he ran 25th.

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