Friday, October 30, 2020

PREVIEW: Spooky paint schemes, returning drivers, and last-place title clinchers on tap for Martinsville

PHOTO: @dgm_racing_

Friday, October 30, 2020
TRUCKS Race 22 of 23
Round of 8: Race 3 of 3
NASCAR Hall of Fame 200 at Martinsville
2019 Last-Place Finisher: Cody McMahan

Martinsville has traditionally seen some of the largest entry lists on the Truck Series schedule as new drivers and teams look to break into NASCAR’s top three series. Not so this year, as without qualifying, there are 37 drivers entered for 40 spots, up one entry from Texas.

The 2020 LASTCAR Truck Series Championship remains wide-open heading into Martinsville. Norm Benning, Johnny Sauter, Bryant Barnhill, and Tanner Gray remain tied for the lead with two last-place finishes apiece (Barnhill is the only one of those four who is not entered). The remaining 13 drivers with one finish can take the title by sweeping the last two finishes at Martinsville and Phoenix.

RETURNING: #9-CR7 Motorsports
Codie Rohrbaugh returns to action for the first time since his 5th-place run in Talladega. Rohrbaugh’s only previous Truck start at Martinsville was this race last year, but he finished an impressive 10th.

RETURNING: #11-Spencer Davis Motorsports
Spencer Davis and the Max Industrial Toyota are back at the track for the first time since the fall race at Las Vegas, where they ran 19th. Davis finished 20th in the spring race here last season.

MISSING: #14-Trey Hutchens Racing
Trey Hutchens is not entered after early ignition woes left him next-to-last in Texas.

MISSING: #17-DGR-Crosley
Dylan Lupton is not entered along with David Gilliland’s part-time #17 Ford after the duo ran 8th in Texas.

Brett Moffitt carries a 1991 Harry Gant throwback scheme on both his Truck Series and XFINITY Series entries, both sponsored by Destiny Homes. At age 51, Gant famously scored his fourth consecutive Cup victory at the Martinsville track, recovering from a mid-race accident.

After completing a five-win part-time season in the ARCA Menards Series, Sam Mayer makes his fifth Truck Series start of the year and first since his victory under the lights in Bristol. He takes the place of Chase Purdy, who ran 12th in Texas. 

DRIVER CHANGE: #33-Reaume Brothers Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #00-Reaume Brothers Racing
After a frustrating end to Josh Bilicki’s solid run at Texas following a last-lap bump from Ben Rhodes, B.J. McLeod was originally listed in place of Bilicki in the #00. That has since changed to McLeod running the team’s #33 instead, moving Josh Reaume himself to the #00.

DRIVER CHANGE: #42-Niece Motorsports
James Buescher’s return to the Truck Series last week yielded a quiet 15th-place finish. He won’t run this week as Carson Hocevar returns to the #42 for his first start since Bristol, where he ran 17th.

WITHDREW: #49-CMI Motorsports
Tim Viens’ hard crash at Texas left him in last place, and Ray Ciccarelli decided to withdraw the #49 entry this week.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Kyle Busch Motorsports
XFINITY Series regular Brandon Jones dabbles in the Truck Series for the fourth time in 2020 and first time since his 8th-place run in the second round of the Kansas double-header. He takes the place of Chandler Smith, who ended up 21st in Texas. Magick Woods Vanities is the listed sponsor.

DRIVER CHANGE: #56-Hill Motorsports
Timmy Hill will run all three NASCAR races this weekend, taking the place of brother Tyler Hill in the team’s #56 Hair Club Chevrolet. This will be Timmy’s 10th series start of the year and first since Bristol, where he ran 20th. Timmy finished a strong 5th in this race last year.

RETURNING: #75-Henderson Motorsports
Parker Kligerman will once again have to pass the entire field as the metric awarded him the last starting spot in Charlie Henderson’s return to action for the first time since Kansas earlier this month.


Saturday, October 31, 2020
XFINITY Race 32 of 33
Round of 8: Race 3 of 3
Draft Top 250 at Martinsville
2006 Last-Place Finisher: Shane Hall (July 22)

The XFINITY Series’ return to Martinsville for the first time in 14 years sees 39 drivers entered for 40 spots.

The 2020 LASTCAR XFINITY Series Championship will be settled between two teammates at Motorsports Business Management – Stephen Leicht and Timmy Hill. While Leicht is not entered, he can take the title on Saturday merely if Hill doesn’t finish last. Hill’s only path to the title is to finish last at both Martinsville and Phoenix as he trails in Bottom Fives, 16-7.

RETURNING: #16-Kaulig Racing
Martinsville has been perhaps A.J. Allmendinger’s best track outside of the road courses. In 21 Cup Series starts, he scored two runner-up finishes in 2012 and 2016 and took seven top-ten finishes for an overall average finish of 18.6. It’s perhaps less surprising that Matthew Kaulig elected to run Allmendinger in the XFINITY Series again this Saturday, rejoining the circuit for the first time since his rain-soaked thriller on the Charlotte “Roval.”

RETURNING: #17-Rick Ware Racing
Rick Ware also brings his XFINITY entry back to the track for the first time since Cody Ware’s breakout 7th-place finish on the “Roval.” This time, the driver is J.J. Yeley, who will run double-duty with the Cup Series. Workpro is the listed sponsor of the #17 Ford. It will be Yeley’s fifth XFINITY start of the year and first since Homestead, where he ran a season-best 11th for SS-Green Light Racing.

DRIVER SWAP: #21-Richard Childress Racing
In addition to his Truck Series effort, Josh Reaume will return to the XFINITY Series for the first time since Kansas. After running for Mike Harmon Racing that night, he will instead run for RSS Racing in the #93. Myatt Snider, who ran the #93 just last week, will take another turn in RCR’s #21 Tax Slayer Chevrolet. Snider takes the place of Anthony Alfredo, who’s not entered after an emotional 3rd-place finish in Texas.

RETURNING: #26-Sam Hunt Racing
Sam Hunt’s single-car team rejoins the XFINITY circuit for the first time since the Daytona infield road course, but this time without Colin Garrett or Brandon Gdovic behind the wheel. Mason Diaz will run the car instead, making his first series start of the year. Diaz’ most recent XFINITY start came under the lights at Bristol last year, when he was involved in a crash and finished last.

DRIVER SWAP: #61-Motorsports Business Management
DRIVER CHANGE: #66-Motorsports Business Management
Welcome back Carl Long to the XFINITY Series for his first start as a driver since October 5, 2019, when he ran 28th at Dover. Long takes the place of Chad Finchum, who this week moves to the team’s #61 in place of Austin Hill, who isn’t entered following a 33rd-place finish in Texas following a suspension issue in the rear of the car.

PAINT SCHEME: #74-Mike Harmon Racing
Bayley Currey carries ribbons from donors for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a portion of the sales for each ribbon going to Carolina Breast Friends. Currey comes off a career-best 12th-place finish last week in Texas and makes his first Martinsville start since the 2017 fall race in the Truck Series, where he ran 25th for Mark Beaver.

DRIVER SWAP: #78-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Donald Theetge returns to the Gosselin team for the first time since April 12, 2019 at Richmond, when he ran 25th, with his own sponsorship listed as Theetge Chevrolet. The DGM team’s three-car effort will each sport dazzling Halloween-themed paint schemes, to be joined by Jeremy Clements’ #51 on Saturday and both Corey LaJoie and Ty Dillon on Sunday. Theetge takes the place of B.J. McLeod, who will instead run his own #78 in place of C.J. McLaughlin, who’s not entered after a quietly impressive 20th. This will be the third different team McLeod has run for in as many XFINITY races.

DRIVER CHANGE: #99-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Teamed with McLeod once more is Stefan Parsons, who takes the place of last week’s 23rd-place finisher Jesse Iwuji. Springrates returns as sponsor for Parsons, who last took the green flag in the fall race at Las Vegas, where he finished 20th.

DRIVER CHANGE: #07-SS-Green Light Racing
Gray Gaulding’s interesting 2020 schedule continues as he jumps aboard Bobby Dotter’s #07 Chevrolet once more, taking the place of David Starr. Panini Trading Cards will once again sponsor Gaulding, who has four Cup starts at Martinsville with a best finish of 29th in 2017.


Sunday, November 1, 2020
CUP Race 35 of 36
Round of 8: Race 3 of 3
XFINITY 500 at Martinsville
2019 Last-Place Finisher: Jimmie Johnson 

There are 39 drivers entered for 40 spots after back-to-back races with “full” fields. This marks the 17th short field in 35 races in 2020.

On top of being the only challenger in the LASTCAR XFINITY Championship, Timmy Hill holds a one-finish lead on Ryan Preece, the only other driver in contention for the LASTCAR Cup Series title. Hill, who finished last in the most recent Martinsville race in June, will take the title if Preece doesn’t finish last. Hill leads Preece in Bottom Fives with a score of 16-6, so Preece’s only path to the title is to finish last at both Martinsville and Phoenix.

TEAM UPDATE: #27-Rick Ware Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #53-Rick Ware Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #77-Spire Motorsports
The preliminary entry list for Sunday showed J.J. Yeley entered in both Rick Ware’s #27 and Spire’s #77. That was changed by midweek as Garrett Smithley will run the #77, taking the place of Reed Sorenson, who ran 32nd at Texas. Smithley, who ran the #53 for Ware last week in a 31st-place effort, makes the move to Spire as James Davison returns for the first time since the fall race at Kansas. Davison’s green car will be sponsored by Virginia International Raceway and along with a returning Tilson and Cruz.

MISSING: #49-Motorsports Business Management
Chad Finchum is not entered on the Cup Series side after he ran Carl Long’s second Cup car in both the most recent rounds at Kansas and Texas, finishing 39th and 35th, respectively.

TEAM UPDATE: #51-Rick Ware Racing
Joey Gase tweeted this week that he was looking for sponsorship on his plain black Ford for Sunday’s race. There are as yet no updates on his sponsorship effort, though Gase also tweeted that his Donate Life car from Texas will be turned around for the race, though with some of its decals removed.

TODAY IN LASTCAR HISTORY (October 30, 1988): Tommy Sigmon scored the fourth last-place finish of his NASCAR Busch Series career in the Winston Classic at Martinsville, when his #07 Duck Graphics Oldsmobile crashed on the first lap. This same race saw Tommy Houston win from the pole and lead 198 of 200 laps, only to run out of fuel and hand the win to Harry Gant.

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