Thursday, February 25, 2021

PREVIEW: Santino Ferrucci's debut, Steve Letarte's return among Homestead storylines

B.J. McLeod's Cup car for this Sunday
PHOTO: @teamlivefast

Saturday, February 27, 2021
XFINITY Race 3 of 33
Contender Boats 250 at Homestead
2020 Last-Place Finisher: Kody Vanderwal (Race 1 of 2, 250 miles)

The preliminary entry list for Saturday’s XFINITY race saw 43 drivers for 40 spots, including three of the four teams that have been on the wrong side of the rank in Owners Points in the first two races of 2021 (see below). All three will again miss the race Saturday.

DRIVER CHANGE: #8-JR Motorsports
Josh Berry returns after a one-week hiatus, looking to improve on his 27th-place finish in the Daytona opener. He takes the place of Miguel Paludo, who charged from 35th on the road course to finish 7th in his return to the series.

DRIVER CHANGE: #17-Rick Ware Racing / SS-Green Light Racing
J.J. Yeley rejoins Ware’s XFINITY team for the first time since last fall at Martinsville, when he outperformed with an impressive 14th-place finish. WorkPro Tools rejoins the team as Yeley takes the place of Cody Ware, 25th last week.

DRIVER SWAP: #23-RSS Racing / Reaume Brothers Racing
DID NOT QUALIFY: #31-Jordan Anderson Racing
DID NOT QUALIFY: #77-Bassett Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #99-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
WITHDREW: #03-Our Motorsports
Along with their start-up teams, Jordan Anderson (#31) and Ronnie Bassett, Jr. (#77) will once again not be in the show due to the lack of qualifying. Tyler Reddick was originally slated to take the place of Andy Lally in the withdrawn #03 for Our Motorsports, but the team withdrew for the same reason. Reddick will start the race, this time in the RSS / Reaume effort, the #23 driven by Natalie Decker in last week’s last-place finish. It will be Reddick’s first XFINITY start since the 2019 race at this same track, where he locked-up his second series title. Andy Lally, who was entered in the withdrawn #03 last week before moving to the B.J. McLeod #78 for a 31st-place finish, will this week be replaced by Stefan Parsons with returning sponsorship from Springrates. 

DRIVER CHANGE: #26-Sam Hunt Racing
Making his debut this week is open-wheel upstart Santino Ferrucci, who will carry sponsorship from Stillhouse Whiskey on Sam Hunt’s #26 Toyota. Ferrucci, who will make the first of five consecutive XFINITY starts, takes the place of Kris Wright, who overcame multiple incidents on the Daytona road course to finish 18th in his own series debut.

DRIVER CHANGE: #54-Joe Gibbs Racing
Ty Dillon and the Gaunt Brothers will not be in Sunday’s Cup Series race, but Dillon will be running Saturday’s XFINITY Series race, driving for the team that took the checkers last week. Ty Gibbs, who scored his first series victory in his first-ever start just last week, has since had 14 additional races added to his 2021 schedule. He’ll return to the team for the March 13 round at Phoenix.

DRIVER CHANGE: #61-Motorsports Business Management
Another solid top-twenty finish for Stephen Leicht on the road courses went sour in Saturday’s final moments, where he spun and slipped to 29th. This week, teammate Chad Finchum takes the controls of the #61, looking to improve on his 30th-place showing in this year’s Daytona opener, driving MBM’s #13.

After his fourth entry from DGM Racing wasn’t able to qualify for this year’s Daytona opener, Dexter Bean makes his return on Saturday, this time in the flagship #90. He takes the place of Preston Pardus, whose top-ten run went south with a mechanical failure in the final laps, leaving him 33rd. The fourth #91 team is not entered this week following back-to-back withdrawals.


Sunday, February 28, 2021
CUP Race 3 of 36
Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead
2020 Last-Place Finisher: J.J. Yeley

After back-to-back races in Daytona with 40-car fields, the race taking place just south of the track will see just 38 entries for 40 spots, the first short field of 2021.

TEAM UPDATE: #7-Spire Motorsports
With crew chief Ryan Sparks on COVID-19 protocol, NBC broadcaster Steve Letarte will climb back atop the pit box as a Cup Series crew chief for the first time since the 2014 finale at the same track, when he last called the shots for Dale Earnhardt, Jr. This time, he’ll work for Corey LaJoie, who ran 31st last week after a late-race encounter with the tire barriers.

NOT ENTERED: #16-Kaulig Racing
NOT ENTERED: #96-Gaunt Brothers Racing
Both A.J. Allmendinger and Ty Dillon aren’t entered in this weekend’s Cup race, and each will instead focus their attention on top-tier XFINITY Series rides this Saturday.

DRIVER CHANGE: #78-Live Fast Motorsports
B.J. McLeod will again drive the car he co-owns with Matt Tifft this week, taking the place of Scott Heckert, who ran a solid 28th in his Cup debut last week on the road course. The #78 will carry its third different paint scheme in as many races, this time with and Motorsport Games as sponsor.

Friday, March 5, 2021
TRUCKS Race 3 of 23
Silver State 200 at Las Vegas
2020 Last-Place Finisher: Josh Bilicki

The Truck Series takes the week off and returns a week from Friday in Las Vegas.


TODAY IN LASTCAR HISTORY (February 25, 1995):
L.W. Miller picked up the first last-place finish of his NASCAR XFINITY (then Busch) Series career in the Goodwrench 200 at Rockingham when his #18 Unifirst Uniforms Ford lost an engine after 2 laps. This was Miller’s second of thirteen career series starts from 1995 through 1996.

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