Thursday, October 8, 2020

PREVIEW: Road course specialists set to mix it up with Playoff contenders in return to Roval

IMAGE: @joshbilicki

Saturday, October 10, 2020
XFINITY Race 29 of 33
Round of 12: Race 3 of 3
Drive For the Cure 250 at the Charlotte Roval
2019 Last-Place Finisher: J.J. Yeley

There are 38 drivers entered in Saturday’s cutoff race for the XFINITY Series, up one entry from last week in Talladega.

DRIVER CHANGE: #4-JD Motorsports
DRIVER SWAP: #15-JD Motorsports
B.J. McLeod returns to action this week after stepping out of his JD Motorsports entry for the first time since Road America. This time, he drives the #4 for the first time this season, taking the place of Jesse Little. Little moves to the #15 in place of Colby Howard, who isn’t entered following his 36th-place finish in Talladega.

DRIVER CHANGE: #13-Motorsports Business Management
MBM will only make one driver swap on the XFINITY side as Stephen Leicht looks to continue his steady runs on the road courses this year, taking the place of Chad Finchum, who isn’t entered. Jani-King will sponsor the #13 Toyota.

RETURNING: #17-Rick Ware Racing
For the first time this year, Rick Ware Racing will field an XFINITY Series entry, putting Cody Ware behind the wheel after his career-best 19th-place finish in the Cup race at Talladega. Recall that RWR also entered the #17 in the first months of the 2019 season in conjunction with Mike Harmon Racing, who eventually took over and made it their current second team, the #47. Jacob Construction will sponsor Ware this weekend.

DRIVER CHANGE: #21-Richard Childress Racing
Kaz Grala goes from “super sub” as a relief driver in both the Cup and Truck Series to his regular part-time ride with RCR, taking the place of Anthony Alfredo in the #21 Chevrolet. Always a standout on the road courses, it will be Grala’s first start in the series since the doubleheader in Richmond, where he ran 9th in both races.

DRIVER CHANGE: #47-Mike Harmon Racing
Kyle Weatherman and the “Back the Blue” paint scheme return to MHR this Saturday, along with backing from Thin Gold Line Solutions. This will be Weatherman’s first-ever start in an XFINITY race at Charlotte – he has yet to start on either the oval or the “Roval.”

DRIVER CHANGE: #74-Mike Harmon Racing
Bayley Currey will not be joining Weatherman on the MHR ticket this weekend as Gray Gaulding had already been revealed as the team’s driver of the #74. Gaulding, who was noticeably absent from the lineup last week in Talladega, will carry a new teal paint scheme on the Harmon entry with backing from Visit North Carolina and (COMNC). Gaulding finished 29th in this race last year driving for Bobby Dotter.

DRIVER SWAP: #78-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #99-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Welcome back C.J. McLaughlin, who on Saturday will make his first XFINITY start since this year’s opener at Daytona, where he ran 27th for RSS Racing. This time around, he drives for B.J. McLeod in the #99 with sponsorship from Hyundai Material Handling. This moves Josh Bilicki from the #99 to the #78 Toyota, bumping out Vinnie Miller, who isn’t entered. Bilicki will again carry his longtime sponsor Insurance King.

With top-ten finishes in two of this season’s three road courses in 2020, and in addition to racing his Spec Miata in the SCCA Runoffs in Road America, Preston Pardus is back to rebound from a late crash on the Daytona infield road course that left him a disappointing 31st. He will again drive for DGM Racing, but this time in the flagship #90, taking the place of Caesar Bacarella. Chinchor Electric and Danus will sponsor Pardus once more.

DRIVER CHANGE: #07-SS-Green Light Racing
A dark horse among the “road ringers” this Saturday has to be Jade Buford, who returns to action after finishing 14th, 19th, and 16th in his first three XFINITY Series starts. Big Machine Distillery will again back his #07 Chevrolet as Buford eyes his first career Top Ten. He takes the place of Garrett Smithley, who earned a Top Ten of his own with a sterling 8th-place finish in Talladega.


Sunday, October 11, 2020
CUP Race 32 of 36
Round of 12: Race 3 of 3
Bank of America ROVAL 400 at the Charlotte Roval
2019 Last-Place Finisher: Erik Jones

There are 38 drivers entered in Sunday’s race, one fewer than at Talladega. This marks the 16th short field in 32 races this season – exactly half the schedule so far.

DRIVER CHANGE: #27-Rick Ware Racing
While Cody Ware will run RWR’s XFINITY car, Gray Gaulding will pull double-duty, rejoining the Cup Series for the ninth time this year and first since Las Vegas, two weeks ago. He will again drive the #27 Ford.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Rick Ware Racing
Although the preliminary entry list showed Joey Gase entered this week following his strong 17th-place run in Talladega, Josh Bilicki will also turn the double in an RWR car, his own first since a 36th-place run in Las Vegas. Bilicki will be sponsored by Rich Mar Florist and Lemons of Love.

MISSING: #62-Beard Motorsports
Brendan Gaughan made what was perhaps his final start in the Cup Series last week in Talladega, where a heartbreaking tangle with Kyle Busch left him a disappointing 35th. As of this writing, both driver and team’s plans for 2021 and beyond are still to be announced.

MANUFACTURER CHANGE: #66-Motorsports Business Management
Timmy Hill returns to a Toyota this week after he ran a Ford for the second time in 2020, taking a strong 15th in Talladega.

DRIVER CHANGE: #77-Spire Motorsports
J.J. Yeley returns to action after he was swapped out for Cody Ware in Talladega, and this time drives the #77 – the same team he last ran in his most recent start in Las Vegas. He takes the place of Justin Haley, who finished a strong 11th last Sunday. The colors will return to the team once more.

Saturday, October 17, 2020
TRUCKS Race 20 of 23
Round of 8: Race 1 of 3 
Kansas 200 at Kansas
2019 Last-Place Finisher: Inaugural Race

The Truck Series takes the week off and returns to Kansas for the third time this year. The race, originally slated for Friday, will instead lead off a double-header with the XFINITY Series.

TODAY IN LASTCAR HISTORY (October 8, 1988): Former Cup Series Rookie of the Year contender Joe Millikan scored the first last-place finish of his NASCAR Busch Grand National Series career in the All Pro 300 on the Charlotte oval. Millikan was making just his third of only five series start in Howard Thomas’ #00 Thomas Brothers Country Hams Oldsmobile when he was eliminated in a multi-car crash along with Bobby Labonte and Morgan Shepherd after 3 laps. Millikan rounded out a 44-car starting grid which saw another 12 drivers fail to qualify, including both Donnie and Davey Allison.

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