Thursday, September 3, 2020

PREVIEW: Paint schemes aren’t the only throwbacks on Darlington entry lists as three past Daytona winners enter the Truck Series race

Objectively the best "throwback" scheme to run this weekend in Darlington.
PHOTO: @XfinityRacing

Saturday, September 5, 2020
XFINITY Race 23 of 33
Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 at Darlington
2019 Last-Place Finisher: Denny Hamlin

There are 37 drivers entered for 40 spots, the same number as last week in Daytona.

DRIVER SWAP: #5-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #6-JD Motorsports
DRIVER SWAP: #78-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
DRIVER SWAP: #99-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Returning to the XFINITY Series for the first time since Kansas is Ryan Vargas, who this time takes the controls of Johnny Davis’ #6 Chevrolet, and carries a throwback to Jimmie Johnson’s own Busch Series ride, the #92 Excedrin Chevrolet. Vargas’ return bumps B.J. McLeod back to his own #78, which has shaken up the lineup of his three-car effort. Vinnie Miller, who ran a strong 11th in the #78 last week, will this Saturday run the #5. Matt Mills moves from the #5 to the #99, taking the place of Joey Gase, who isn’t entered.

MISSING: #16-Kaulig Racing
A.J. Allmendinger and the third Kaulig Racing entry are not entered this weekend after a bump from teammate Ross Chastain wrecked him out of the lead on the final lap of last week’s Daytona race.

DRIVER CHANGE: #47-Mike Harmon Racing
In a perfect combination of Mike Harmon Racing’s support of the “Back The Blue” campaign and a tribute to David Ragan, who repainted a 1960 Ford Fairlane to resemble the Mayberry police car from “The Andy Griffith Show,” the #47 is decorated like a police car for Saturday’s race. Kyle Weatherman returns to the team after Tim Viens finished 18th in Daytona.

RETURNING: #54-Joe Gibbs Racing
Denny Hamlin and sponsor Sport Clips are back for their annual “Buschwhacking” attempt at Darlington. Last year, Hamlin was disqualified, taking last from Morgan Shepherd and handing Cole Custer the victory.

DRIVER CHANGE: #61-Motorsports Business Management
Austin Hill makes his fourth XFINITY start of the year and first since Charlotte in May, again driving the #61 MBM entry with added support from Hattori Racing Enterprises. Toyota Tsusho is the listed sponsor for his Supra. Austin takes the place of Timmy Hill, who will focus on a double-header on Sunday in both the Truck Series and Cup Series (see below).

DRIVER CHANGE: #66-Motorsports Business Management
Stephen Leicht hopes for a better outcome than his most recent XFINITY race at Darlington this past May, where serious handling issues left him out of the race in the opening seconds. This time, Leicht drives in place of John Jackson, who isn’t entered after a Turn 1 spin left him next-to-last in Daytona. The #66 carries the familiar blue, yellow, and white colors of team owner Carl Long’s former #85 Dodge he raced for Mansion Motorsports. Incidentally, Leicht’s last name is misspelled “Leight” on the roof rails.

DRIVER CHANGE: #74-Mike Harmon Racing
Bayley Currey joins teammate Kyle Weatherman in returning to MHR this weekend, one week after Harmon himself steered the #74 to a 17th-place finish, one spot in front of the team’s #47.

Dexter Bean makes his fourth XFINITY start of the year and first since Kansas. It will be Bean’s first XFINITY start at Darlington since back in 2016, when he fell out after five laps in DGM’s #92 due to electrical issues. Bean may run a longer race this time as he takes the place of Caesar Bacarella in Mario Gosselin’s flagship #90 Chevrolet.

DRIVER CHANGE: #07-SS-Green Light Racing
David Starr returns to the Bobby Dotter team for the first time since he finished 27th and 20th in the double-header at Dover. He takes the place of Daytona runner-up Gray Gaulding, who isn’t entered this week.

CUP INVADERS: #54-Denny Hamlin

Sunday, September 6, 2020 (2:00 P.M. Eastern)
TRUCKS Race 15 of 23
South Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Darlington
2011 Last-Place Finisher: Brad Sweet

The Truck Series returns to “The Lady In Black” for the first time since 2011, and joins in the “Throwback Weekend” festivities. The field consists of 34 drivers for 40 spots.

MISSING: #7-All Out Motorsports
The #7 team is again not among this week’s entrants after they withdrew from Gateway without a driver listed.

RETURNING: #9-CR7 Motorsports
Codie Rohrbaugh returns to action for the first time since the Daytona infield road course, and will again campaign the #9 Pray For Joshua Chevrolet.

MISSING: #11-Spencer Davis Motorsports
Spencer Davis is not entered after his team withdrew from Gateway last week.

RETURNING: #17-DGR-Crosley
After two separate attempts to run a Truck Series race in 2020, where the lack of qualifying left him out of the field at both Atlanta and Michigan, David Ragan will finally get to make his season debut on Sunday in the #17 Select Blinds Ford. Ragan has a combined 15 NASCAR starts at Darlington, but only in the Cup and XFINITY Series.

The Darlington Raceway has seen both the highs and lows of Greg Biffle’s career. He took the checkered flag in back-to-back Cup races in 2005 and 2006, and was well on his way to a third in 2008 when the engine let go after he led a then-LASTCAR record 95 laps. More than a year after he took the checkered flag in his NASCAR return at Texas for Kyle Busch Motorsports, “The Biff” returns with GMS Racing, taking the place of Sam Mayer in a #24 decorated to resemble the GMAC Chevrolet of the late Ricky Hendrick.

DRIVER CHANGE: #40-Niece Motorsports
Welcome back 2011 Daytona 500 champion Trevor Bayne, who on Sunday will not only make his first start in NASCAR’s top three series since November 4, 2018, but will make his Truck Series debut. His ride is Al Niece’s #40 Plan B Sales / Proceller8 Chevrolet, the same entry Carson Hocevar ran last week in Gateway.

DRIVER CHANGE: #44-Niece Motorsports
In addition to Saturday’s XFINITY race, Bayley Currey will run a 1983-1984 Cale Yarborough throwback on his #44 Hardcore Fish & Game Chevrolet, taking the place of Natalie Decker, 28th in Gateway.

MISSING: #49-CMI Motorsports
Neither Ray Ciccarelli truck is entered, including the #49 that ran last week in Gateway. Roger Reuse rebounded from his first-lap clutch issues at Daytona to take a 27th-place finish last Sunday.

DRIVER CHANGE: #56-Hill Motorsports
Timmy Hill will take the place of brother Tyler, who ran 21st in Gateway, and carries a throwback scheme to his father Jerry Hill. Not only will the truck continue to run Jerry’s #56 from the Cup Series, but it will feature a bold red stripe on the doors, similar to Jerry’s Truck Series ride with Rick Ware’s team in 2003.

DRIVER CHANGE: #00-Reaume Brothers Racing
Team owner Josh Reaume will resume driving duties this Sunday in place of Kyle Donahue, who took 20th in Gateway. Reaume last took the wheel as a relief driver on the Daytona infield road course before mechanical issues ended his run.

CUP INVADERS: None (technically)

Sunday, September 6, 2020 (6:00 P.M. Eastern)
CUP Race 27 of 36
Round of 16: Race 1 of 3
Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington
2019 Last-Place Finisher: B.J. McLeod

There are 39 drivers entered for 40 spots, marking the first short field since the Daytona infield road course, four races ago, and the 12th in 27 races this season.

DRIVER SWAP: #51-Rick Ware Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #53-Rick Ware Racing
James Davison and Joey Gase will swap rides from the Daytona entries. Davison will run the #53 Signing Day Sports Chevrolet, which is decorated like the #53 Simoniz Chevrolet of open-wheel star Tom Sneva. Joey Gase will campaign the #51 ASC / Agri Supply Carolina Cooker Ford entry, which as announced on April 1st, will honor Bobby Allison. Ware’s team has two other impressive “throwback” schemes as Brennan Poole’s #15 Remember Everyone Deployed Chevrolet will resemble one of Bud Moore’s #15 Motorcraft Fords from the mid-1980s while J.J. Yeley honors the late Kenny Irwin, Jr. with the 1997 #27 NERF Ford paint scheme.

MISSING: #62-Beard Motorsports
Brendan Gaughan isn’t entered this week, and will return in Talladega for the final NASCAR start of his career.

TEAM UPDATE: #77-Spire Motorsports
While Reed Sorenson was originally listed to drive, Ross Chastain will again run the #77 as he had at Daytona. As revealed on the latest episode of the “Dale Jr. Download,” the team will honor Dale Earnhardt with the Johnny Ray-owned Chevrolet Malibu paint scheme, carrying sponsorship from Dirty Mo Media. 

TODAY IN LASTCAR HISTORY (September 3, 1973): Richard Childress picks up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR Winston Cup Series career in the Southern 500 at Darlington after his #96 L.C. Newton Trucking 1973 Chevrolet lost the engine after 19 laps. Tim Brewer was his crew chief that day, and Cale Yarborough dominated to lead 277 of 367 laps on his way to victory.

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