Wednesday, September 16, 2020

PREVIEW: Only a few driver and team changes in store for Bristol weekend

Chad Finchum's #61 Toyota for Friday's XFINITY race.
IMAGE: @ChadFinchum

Thursday, September 17, 2020
TRUCKS Race 17 of 23
Round of 10: Race 1 of 3 
UNOH 200 Presented by Ohio Logistics at Bristol
2019 Last-Place Finisher: Jesse Little

There are 36 drivers entered for 40 spots, the same number from last week in Richmond.

RETURNING: #8-NEMCO Motorsports
Bristol will see Monster Jam competitor Camden Murphy make his first NASCAR start of 2020, and the return of Joe Nemechek’s team for the first time since Mike Skeen ran the #8 on the Daytona infield road course. This will be Murphy’s first Truck Series start at Bristol.

MISSING: #17-DGR-Crosley
David Ragan was surprisingly not entered just one week after the David Gilliland-owned team acquired All Out Motorsports’ Owner Points to lock Ragan into the field. The All Out #7 is likewise not entered.

DRIVER SWAP: #33-Reaume Brothers Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #00-Reaume Brothers Racing
The two Joshs – Bilicki and Reaume – swap rides this week under the lights. Josh Bilicki will run the #00 for his first Truck Series start at Bristol while team owner Josh Reaume pilots the #33. Bilicki finished the best of the pair last week in Richmond, taking 25th ahead of his owner in 32nd.

DRIVER CHANGE: #41-Cram Racing Enterprises
Welcome back to Cody Erickson, who on Thursday will make his first Truck Series start since 2015 at Eldora, where he ran 25th for the Corr team. Magnum Contracting, one of his sponsors that night, will again back his effort in the #41, which last week ran 28th with Ryan Huff.

RETURNING: #42-Niece Motorsports
Ross Chastain will pull double-duty in both the Trucks and XFINITY this weekend as Al Niece has brought back his part-time third team for the first time since Mark Smith’s 36th-place run on the Daytona infield road course. Chastain will make his fifth series start at Bristol, where he has twice finished 3rd – once each in 2012 and 2019.

WITHDREW: #49-CMI Motorsports
WITHDREW: #83-CMI Motorsports
On Wednesday, the CMI team stated they would be withdrawing both entries this week – originally planned for Ray Ciccarelli in the #49 and Tim Viens in the #83 – following the damage suffered to the #49 last week in Richmond. In the meantime, the team plans to turn their focus to speedway races toward the end of the season, including Talladega.

RETURNING: #75-Henderson Motorsports
Parker Kligerman returns as Charlie Henderson will again enter the team’s home race, but this time carries a new JDR Graphics paint scheme with sponsorship from Luck’s Mixed Beans. Like Chastain, Kligerman has been strong at “Thunder Valley,” finishing no worse than 20th in all six of his previous starts with a best of 2nd in the same 2012 race where Chastain finished 3rd. He finished 13th in this race just last year.


Friday, September 18, 2020
XFINITY Race 26 of 33
Regular Season Finale
Food City 300 at Bristol
2019 Last-Place Finisher: Mason Diaz

There are 36 drivers entered for the regular season finale of the XFINITY Series, the same number of starters from last week in Richmond.

DRIVER SWAP: #13-Motorsports Business Management
DRIVER SWAP: #66-Motorsports Business Management
Two of the three MBM teammates will again swap rides this week as Timmy Hill drives the #13, putting Stephen Leicht back in the #66. Chad Finchum will remain in the #61 after his disqualification with that entry in the first round of the Richmond double-header.

DRIVER CHANGE: #21-Richard Childress Racing
Anthony Alfredo swaps back in for Kaz Grala, who finished 9th in both rounds of last week’s Richmond double-header. Carrying sponsorship from Death Wish Coffee, Alfredo will make his first short track start in his young XFINITY Series career and eyes a rebound after a disappointing early crash in Darlington.

DRIVER CHANGE: #78-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Stefan Parsons announced this week a three-race deal with Springrates as primary sponsor, and will debut the deal this Friday, to be followed by both Texas and Martinsville this fall. Parsons takes the place of Mason Massey, who finished 21st last week in Richmond and hoisted himself out of last place after missing the start here in the spring.

DRIVER CHANGE: #07-SS-Green Light Racing
Gray Gaulding steps in for Joey Gase, who himself was a late swap for J.J. Yeley at Richmond, taking 20th and 23rd in the twin races that weekend. It will be Gaulding’s first start in the car since his season-best runner-up finish at Daytona last month, and comes one year after his track-best 6th-place finish in the 2019 Bristol race.


Saturday, September 19, 2020
CUP Race 29 of 36
Round of 16: Race 3 of 3
Bass Pro Shops / NRA Night Race at Bristol
2019 Last-Place Finisher: Kevin Harvick

There are 40 drivers entered in the first cutoff race of the Cup Series season, marking the first “full” field since the Daytona 400-miler three races ago, and only the 16th in 29 races this season.

RETURNING: #7-Tommy Baldwin Racing
Josh Bilicki returns to drive the #7 with Insurance King as sponsor, running double-duty with the Truck Series. The TBR team didn’t run last week at Richmond, and last turned laps at Darlington, where Bilicki took 32nd under the lights.

DRIVER SWAP: #15-Rick Wae Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #27-Rick Ware Racing
Gray Gaulding will also pull double-duty - his with the XFINITY Series - as he takes the place of J.J. Yeley, 34th in Richmond. Gaulding brings returning sponsorship from Panini America, and in six previous Bristol starts on the Cup side has yet to finish better than 29th. UPDATE: Yeley will run at Bristol in the #15 as on Thursday it was revealed Brennan Poole, unsponsored last week, would miss his first race of the year. Yeley's Thriv5 sponsor will follow him to the #15.

RETURNING: #78-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Welcome back B.J. McLeod’s single-car effort, which hasn’t made a Cup start since the Dover double-header, where McLeod himself finished 38th and 31st. McLeod was also on his way to a strong Top 25 finish at this track in May before he was collected in a late accident, leaving him 28th. This time, Garrett Smithley will drive the car for the first time since Talladega, where he took 34th.

TODAY IN LASTCAR HISTORY (September 17, 1950): The Langhorne Speedway still stands as one of the most treacherous tracks on which NASCAR has ever competed – a one-mile unpaved near-perfect circle with hardly any straightaways. On this day in 1950, 48 drivers were entered, but at least three didn’t start, all likely due to accidents in the lead-up to the race. Credited with last place was Braddock, Pennsylvania native Dick Burns, whose 1950 Mercury joined John Meekins and Bill Harrison on the early ride home.

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