Thursday, April 29, 2021

PREVIEW: While Kaulig and Gaunt aren't in Kansas Cup race after strong Talladega runs, B.J. McLeod will field a new car of his own

IMAGE: Todd Casteel Designs

Saturday, May 1, 2021
TRUCKS Race 7 of 22
Wise Power 200 at Kansas
2020 Last-Place Finishers (July): Kevin Donahue, Bryan Dauzat

There are 41 drivers entered for 40 spots in the Truck Series’ return on Saturday night, but with metric qualifying, the lineup has already been set, and Trey Hutchens’ #14 fails to qualify for their third straight attempt (see below).

DRIVER CHANGE: #3-Jordan Anderson Racing
After Howie DiSavino III struggled to a 34th-place finish in his series debut at Richmond, Jordan Anderson returns to his own #3 Chevrolet, this week sponsored by EasyCare and BG Services in addition to longtime backer Bommarito. Anderson finished 30th an 15th in last year’s double-header at Kansas.

DRIVER SWAP: #9-CR7 Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #98-ThorSport Racing
Kansas will also be the third time in 2021 that Christian Eckes will drive ThorSport’s #98, and the first since his 9th-place run with the team in Las Vegas. As at Vegas, Enfinger moves to CR7 Motorsports, taking the place of Codie Rohrbaugh in a Camping World sponsored #9 Chevrolet. Rohrbaugh finished 36th at Richmond after a crash while Enfinger ran 8th for ThorSport.

DID NOT QUALIFY: #14-Trey Hutchens Racing
As mentioned above, Trey Hutchens fails to qualify for the third time in 2021 and for the second race in a row.

DRIVER CHANGE: #32-Bret Holmes Racing
Bret Holmes’ team turned heads at Richmond, where Sam Mayer charged from last on the grid to finish a sterling 9th place. Holmes himself will take Mayer’s place this Saturday with Southern States Bank as sponsor.

DRIVER CHANGE: #33-Reaume Brothers Racing
Jesse Iwuji, the fan vote for Talladega’s iRacing event, rejoins the Reaume Brothers team in the flagship #33. He takes the place of Alaska native Keith McGee, who ran 30th with the team in Richmond.

DRIVER CHANGE: #34-Reaume Brothers Racing
C.J. McLaughlin will make only the second Truck Series start of his career this Saturday, and his first since Iowa on June 16, 2019, when he finished 23rd in Reaume’s #33 entry. This time around, he replaces Reaume in the #34, and will again be sponsored by his XFINITY backer Sci Aps.

DRIVER CHANGE: #44-Niece Motorsports
The first of three Cup regulars in Saturday’s race is Chip Ganassi Racing’s Ross Chastain, who will make just his second start of the year and first since Atlanta, when he ran 7th in a Terry Labonte “throwback” scheme. This time, he takes the place of newcomer Jett Noland, who ran 26th in his second career start at Richmond.

DRIVER CHANGE: #45-Niece Motorsports
After a rough start to the 2021 season with limited sponsorship, Brett Moffitt has elected to switch to XFINITY Series points with his current full-time ride in Our Motorsports’ #02 Chevrolet. As Moffitt’s points reset heading into next Saturday’s Darlington race, Bayley Currey will take his place in the Sharky’s Pub & Grub Chevrolet. Currey, currently full-time in the XFINITY Series for Mike Harmon Racing, makes his first Truck start since Talladega last fall, where he ran 15th in Niece’s #40.

DRIVER CHANGE: #04-Roper Racing
Along with Ross Chastain and a returning Kyle Busch comes Cup rookie Chase Briscoe, back in Cory Roper’s #04 for the first time since the Bristol Dirt Race, where he ran a strong 5th. Briscoe will carry sponsorship from Trick Shot, which previously backed some Cup races for Rick Ware Racing. Roper ran 31st last time out at Richmond.

CUP INVADERS: #44-Ross Chastain, #51-Kyle Busch, #04-Chase Briscoe

Sunday, May 2, 2021
CUP Race 11 of 36
Buschy McBusch Race 400 at Kansas
2020 Last-Place Finisher (July): Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.

There are 39 drivers entered for 40 spots, which marks the seventh short field in 11 Cup races so far this season.

DRIVER SWAP: #15-Rick Ware Racing
Joey Gase’s run in the Davey Allison “throwback” #28 was a one-off in Talladega as the third Rick Ware entry returns to its familiar #53 this week. As Gase takes J.J. Yeley's place in the #15 with Branson, Missouri as sponsor, Garrett Smithley takes Gase’s place, set to make his sixth start of the year and first since Richmond. Smithley’s season-best stands at 27th, which he earned on the Daytona Road Course.

MISSING: #16-Kaulig Racing
Kaz Grala not entered after a career-best 6th-place finish in just his third Cup start. However, Matthew Kaulig has since announced he will field a full-time Cup entry in 2022. While no driver has yet been selected, Grala is likely in the conversation.

RETURNING: #33-Penske Racing
With the XFINITY Series off for the week, Austin Cindric will continue his partial schedule with Penske Racing, this time with Money Lion as sponsor of his #33 Ford. Cindric’s fourth Cup start will come at a track where he has yet to win in the XFINITY Series, but last July finished runner-up to Brandon Jones after leading 131 laps.

RETURNING / NUMBER CHANGE: #55-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
A surprising addition to the grid this week is the Cup return of B.J. McLeod Motorsports – apparently separate from McLeod’s co-ownership of Live Fast Motorsports – which will afford XFINITY regular Matt Mills his Cup debut. Mills’ gray Ford will carry sponsorship from his XFINITY backer J.F. Electric along with Siebert Electric. To date, Mills has 79 XFINITY starts and 11 in Trucks. His lone Top Ten came in the summer Daytona race in 2019, when he ran 10th for McLeod on the XFINITY side.

MISSING: #96-Gaunt Brothers Racing
Harrison Burton very nearly had a top-ten finish in his Cup debut last week at Talladega, only to slip to 20th in the final moments. As Burton prepares for the XFINITY race at Darlington, the Gaunt Brothers have not entered a car this weekend.

Saturday, May 8, 2021
XFINITY Race 9 of 33
Steakhouse Elite 200 at Darlington
2020 Last-Place Finisher: Stephen Leicht

The XFINITY Series takes the week off this time and returns in Darlington as part of “Throwback Weekend.”

TODAY IN LASTCAR HISTORY (April 29, 2006): Robert Richardson, Jr. picked up the 1st last-place finish of his Truck Series career in the Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers Ram Tough 200 at Gateway when his #1 Chevrolet was involved in a crash after 47 laps. This was the first last-place finish for the #1 in the series since March 20, 1999, when Dennis Setzer scored his own first last-place run in Homestead.

No comments: