Thursday, August 13, 2020

PREVIEW: Heavy hitters set to challenge NASCAR regulars during inaugural Daytona infield road course race

J.J. Yeley's new-look #27 for this Sunday's Cup Series race
IMAGE: @RickWareRacing

Saturday, August 15, 2020 
XFINITY Race 19 of 33
UNOH 188 at the Daytona Infield Road Course
2019 Last-Place Finisher: Inaugural Event

The first NASCAR drivers to tackle the infield road course in Daytona without practice or qualifying will be the XFINITY Series, which sees 38 entrants for 40 spots, up one entry from last week in Road America.

DRIVER CHANGE: #5-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
After Vinnie Miller became the last-minute driver change for Matt Mills last week in Road America, Mills is again entered in the #5 Thompson Electric / J.F. Electric Chevrolet. The team looks to rebound from a spectacular engine failure that left Miller a disappointing 34th.

DRIVER CHANGE: #6-JD Motorsports
DRIVER SWAP: #07-SS-Green Light Racing
B.J. McLeod returns to his familiar ride in the #6 for Johnny Davis, taking the place of Jade Buford. Buford will also have a chance to continue his streak of solid road course finishes as he rejoins SS-Green Light Racing, the team which gave him his series debut at Indianapolis. Then as now, he will drive the #07, and this time takes the place of R.C. Enerson, who isn’t entered after his 20th-place debut at Road America. The Big Machine Distillery will again sponsor the Buford effort.

DRIVER SWAP: #13-Motorsports Business Management
DRIVER CHANGE: #66-Motorsports Business Management
Making his NASCAR national touring series debut this weekend is Harold Crooms, who for the first time will get to drive on his home track. The Lakeland, Florida native comes from the Super Late Model ranks, and this week takes the place of Chad Finchum in the #66 Toyota. Finchum will instead run MBM’s #13 in place of Jesse Iwuji, who isn’t entered after a 26th in his own series debut at Road America. Stephen Liecht remains in MBM’s #61 for a third-straight road course race and looks to continue his streak of Top 25s. UPDATE: Bobby Reuse will take the place of Chad Finchum in the #13 following the withdrawal of Reuse's entry in the Truck Series. This will be Reuse's first XFINITY start since 2015.

DRIVER CHANGE: #21-Richard Childress Racing
New Zealand’s Earl Bamber is perhaps the most accomplished road course racer in Saturday’s field. He’s a five-time starter of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, including two overall victories with Porsche, an Australian SuperCar standout with five starts in the Bathurst 12 Hour, and a five-time winner in the Weathertech SportsCar Championship, three of them coming just last year. Bamber makes his NASCAR national touring series debut on Saturday in a fleet Richard Childress Racing entry, taking the place of Kaz Grala, who ran 4th in Road America.

RETURNING: #26-Sam Hunt Racing
After skipping Road America, the SHR team is back with Brandon Gdovic, who ran well on the Indianapolis Grand Prix Circuit, taking a career-best 12th-place finish in his first XFINITY start in nearly four full years. Windstax Energy will sponsor their Toyota as Gdovic races on the same Daytona infield road course he’s tackled three times in the Weathertech SportsCar Championship, most recently a 15th-place run in GTD this year in a Lamborghini.

GIVE A CALL: #36-DGM Racing
Preston Pardus will make just his fifth XFINITY Series start this Saturday, coming off a new career-best 8th-place finish at Road America, where he led five laps before Austin Cindric made the winning pass. Pardus goes for his third-straight top-ten finish this week at his home track. His father Dan Pardus made his lone Cup Series start at the track on October 17, 1998, when he finished 36th in a field of 43.

Another boost of good news came Wednesday when Mario Gosselin's team successfully appealed their penalty relating to Alex Labbe's alleged testing violation in an event at the Daytona infield road course. 


Sunday, August 16, 2020 (12:00 P.M. Eastern)
TRUCKS Race 12 of 23
Sunoco 159 at the Daytona Infield Road Course
2019 Last-Place Finisher: Inaugural Event

There are 39 drivers entered for 40 spots in Sunday’s lone Truck Series road course race for 2020, which is down two entries from Michigan. UPDATE: Make that 38 drivers following the withdrawal of the #68 (see below).

Welcome back to Mike Skeen, who we haven’t seen in the Truck Series since his infamous 2013 tangle with Max Papis at Mosport while battling for third off the final corner. This time around, he takes the place of John Hunter Nemechek in the NEMCO #8, which carries the team’s longtime sponsor D.A.B. Constructors on the hood. Nemechek made a strong bid for the win just last week before he collided with race leader Grant Enfinger on a late restart.

TEAM UPDATE: #11-Spencer Davis Motorsports
Spencer Davis is entered in the #11 Toyota this week after the team had to withdraw following Davis’ positive COVID-19 test. He was officially cleared to race on Wednesday.

MISSING: #14-Trey Hutchens Racing
Trey Hutchens is not entered following his 29th-place showing last week in Michigan.

MISSING: #17-DGR-Crosley
David Ragan not entered after he was on the wrong side of the cut line for Michigan’s 41-truck entry list. Ironically, he would have been able to start this week’s race had he been entered.

Last year, Kris Wright ran on this same road course during the Rolex 24 at Daytona, where he and teammates Robert Masson, Kyle Masson, and Cameron Cassels finished 7th overall and 2nd in LMP2. After a handful of starts in the ARCA Racing Series and the ARCA Menards West Series this year, he will drive for GMS Racing, who fielded his #21 in last week’s ARCA race at Michigan. Wright finished 14th that day after a mid-race accident. This week, Wright takes the place of David Gravel in the #24, one week after Gravel finished 10th in his own Truck Series debut at the Michigan track.

DRIVER CHANGE: #30-On Point Motorsports
Scott Lagasse, Jr. is a frequent one-off entry for races at Daytona, and this time will tackle the infield road course for the first time. He takes the place of Cup Series rookie contender Brennan Poole, who finished just 35th last week in Michigan after a late-race accident. This will also be Lagasse’s first Truck Series start since 2018, when he finished 18th with the same team.

DRIVER CHANGE: #33-Reaume Brothers Racing
From 2006 through 2007, Bryan Collyer ran three endurance races at the Daytona infield road course, each time racing Corvettes for Michael Baughman Racing. His best finish came in the 2006 running of the Rolex 24, where he finished 28th overall when teamed with Ray Mason, Michael Baughman, John Connolly, and Frank Del Vecchio. This week, he tries something entirely different in the Truck Series, taking the place of Jesse Iwuji in the #33 Toyota. Crunch Construction is the listed sponsor of the Collyer effort.

DRIVER CHANGE: #40-Niece Motorsports
Last year, Carson Hocevar made his first two Truck Series starts, taking 25th for Jordan Anderson’s team at Eldora, then 23rd for Hill Motorsports in Phoenix. This week, he drives for a third different team, taking the controls of Al Niece’s #40 Chevrolet in place of Ryan Truex. Scott’s is again the listed sponsor, as it was for both starts in 2019.

RETURNING: #42-Niece Motorsports
Niece has also brought back his fourth entry this week, bringing back another Eldora qualifier from last year in Mark Smith. Smith finished 15th that night in the Niece #38, and this week has sponsorship from St. Lucie Battery & Tire.

DRIVER CHANGE: #44-Niece Motorsports
Natalie Decker will also take on the road course this weekend, taking the place of Jeb Burton, who finished 36th in Michigan after a crash.

DRIVER CHANGE: #49-CMI Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE / WITHDREW: #68-Clay Greenfield Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #83-CMI Motorsports
The Reuse brothers are back in action for the first time since Mosport last summer, and will again be running under two different teams. Roger Reuse takes the place of Tim Viens in CMI Motorsports’ #49 Chevrolet while Bobby Reuse will replace Clay Greenfield in the #68 Chevrolet. While Greenfield is not entered, Viens will move over to CMI’s #83 in place of Ray Ciccarelli, who isn’t entered. UPDATE: The #68 team has withdrawn after apparent issues getting the chassis certified for Sunday's race. Bobby Reuse, who was set to start 37th in the 39-truck field, will instead run the XFINITY race driving the MBM #13 (see above).

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Kyle Busch Motorsports
Sunday’s race will be run in place of the originally scheduled Mosport event, and Alex Tagliani’s lone Truck start of the season has been moved to Florida. Tagliani takes the place of Chandler Smith, who wrecked out early in Michigan and finished 38th. He carries sponsorship from Rona and Viagra on the #51 Toyota.

MISSING: #55-Boyd Long Motorsports
Not among this week’s entrants are Dawson Cram and the Boyd Long team, who both survived the chaos in Michigan for a strong 14th-place finish. UPDATE: On Thursday, Cram revealed he parted ways with the Long team, and is working toward a new ride.

DRIVER CHANGE: #00-Reaume Brothers Racing
Josh Reaume will not drive this week, and has tabbed Bobby Kennedy to drive the #00 Toyota. Another Floridian looking to make his NASCAR national touring series debut, Kennedy’s experience includes running Ford Mustangs in the Trans-Am Series.


Sunday, August 16, 2020 (3:00 P.M. Eastern)
CUP Race 23 of 36
Go Bowling 235 at the Daytona Infield Road Course
2019 Last-Place Finisher: Inaugural Event

There are 39 drivers entered for 40 spots in Sunday’s Cup Series race, the same number as last week. This marks the 11th short field in 23 races this season and the fourth in a row.

LATE UPDATE: #3-Richard Childress Racing
On Saturday, Austin Dillon tested positive for COVID-19, and RCR has selected Kaz Grala to take his place. Grala will not only make his Cup debut, but marks the first time since 1983 that neither Dillon nor Dale Earnhardt started a Cup points race in the #3. In 1989, Jimmy Hensley qualified the #3 on pole at Martinsville and was classified last after Earnhardt took over in the race.

MISSING: #7-Tommy Baldwin Racing
Joey Gase and Josh Bilicki are both not entered after they ran each of the Michigan double-headers in the TBR entry, yielding finishes of 38th and 33rd, respectively. Bilicki will instead focus on Saturday’s XFINITY race, where he looks to build on his strong showing at Road America.

SPONSOR UPDATE: #27-Rick Ware Racing
After running the last several races without primary sponsorship, J.J. Yeley weclomes new sponsorship from XBOX and the game NASCAR Heat 5 to his #27 Ford. Yeley has shown measured improvement this year, enjoying his longest streak of consecutive finishes inside the Top 30 since his rookie season.

RETURNING: #62-Beard Motorsports
Brendan Gaughan announced this summer that he would add Sunday’s race to his retirement season in 2020, marking the first start for the Beard Motorsports team in a non-superspeedway race (technically). This will mark Gaughan’s first Cup start on a road course since August 15, 2004, when he finished 34th at Watkins Glen for Doug Bawel. Gaughan is no stranger to road racing, however, as he took his first XFINITY Series victory at Road America in 2014.

NUMBER AND DRIVER CHANGE: #77-Spire Motorsports
Spire Motorsports will return to their familiar car #77 after Reed Sorenson ran Harris Lue’s #74 “Fake Steak” Chevrolet for the upcoming Kevin James show “The Crew.” This return to their more familiar number comes just days after it was revealed Spire has acquired Leavine Family Racing’s Charter and will expand to a two-car team in 2021. UPDATE: For the third-straight year, Stanton Barrett will make a one-off start in the Cup Series, this time taking the place of Reed Sorenson in the #77. 

TODAY IN LASTCAR HISTORY (August 13, 2005): Kelly Sutton picks up the third last-place finish of his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series career when her #02 Team Copaxone Chevrolet tangles with Shigeaki Hattori’s #9 Toyota after 8 laps of the Toyota Tundra 200 at the Nashville Superspeedway. The finish signaled a difficult season for Sutton, who qualified for just 16 of the 25 races, failing to qualify nine times.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Bobby Reuse will drive the 13 car in Xfinity and Stanton Barrett will drive the 77 car in Cup.