Thursday, May 27, 2021

PREVIEW: Differing strategies for new teams among storylines for Charlotte

Chase Briscoe takes a turn for B.J. McLeod Motorsports this week.
IMAGE: B.J. McLeod Motorsports

Friday, May 28, 2021
TRUCKS Race 10 of 22
North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte
2020 Last-Place Finisher: Spencer Davis

There are 40 drivers entered for 36 spots, meaning four will miss the race. If rain cancels qualifying, all 40 entrants will start. UPDATE (May 27): Make that 39 total entrants.

DRIVER CHANGE: #3-Jordan Anderson Racing
Keth McGee, who became the first Alaskan to race in NASCAR’s top three series when he ran Josh Reaume’s truck to a 30th-place finish in Richmond, returns this Friday in Jordan Anderson’s #3, this week sponsored by Barstool Sports. McGee takes the place of Roger Reuse, who overcame radio issues in the rain at COTA to finish 34th.

MISSING: #6-Norm Benning Racing
CORRECTION: Norm Benning isn't entered after he withdrew at COTA.

DRIVER CHANGE: #11-Spencer Davis Racing
Spencer Davis is back behind the wheel of his #11 Toyota, taking the place of Camden Murphy, who drove the truck to a 19th-place finish in COTA.

RETURNING: #14-Trey Hutchens Racing
Trey Hutchens returns and will once again seek his first Truck Series start of 2021 after metric qualifying handed him four DNQs.

DRIVER CHANGE: #30-On Point Motorsports
Danny Bohn rejoins the On Point effort in place of Michele Abbate, who ran 29th in her NASCAR debut last week in COTA.

DRIVER CHANGE: #32-Bret Holmes Racing
Bret Holmes will drive his own truck this week, seeking his fourth series start of the year and first since Kansas, where he ran a season-best 27th. On the COTA course, Sam Mayer steered this entry to an impressive 6th.

DRIVER CHANGE: #33-Reaume Brothers Racing
Akinori Ogata seeks his first Truck Series start at Charlotte as he climbs aboard the Reaume team’s flagship #33. He takes the place of Cameron Lawrence, who at COTA secured the team its best-ever qualifying run in 7th. As Lawrence tweeted this week, mechanical issues left him on pit road when the checkered flag fell, resulting in a last-place finish.

DRIVER CHANGE: #34-Reaume Brothers Racing
C.J. McLaughlin will drive the second Reaume entry for his second Truck Series start of the year and first since Kansas, where he ran 34th. He takes the place of Lawless Alan, who was 23rd on the road course.

MISSING: #44-Niece Motorsports
After Logan Bearden became the fastest driver to not qualify at COTA, Al Niece has not entered the #44 in the field for the first time in 2021.

MISSING: #72-CMI Motorsports
MISSING: #83-CMI Motorsports
Ray Ciccarelli returns to his #49, and seeks to make his first Truck Series start as a driver since October 30, 2020 at Martinsville. He takes the place of John Atwell, who led a three-truck lineup at CMI that all missed the cut for the big race. Atwell was in the #49 alongside Brad Gross in the #83 and Samuel Lecomte in the new #72 team. Neither the #83 nor the #72 are entered this week. UPDATE: On Thursday, Ciccarelli withdrew his #49 entry due to sponsorship issues.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Kyle Busch Motorsports
Drew Dollar returns for his first Truck Series start since this year’s Daytona opener, where he drove KBM’s flagship #51 to a 10th-place finish. Sunbelt Rentals is the sponsor as Dollar takes the place of Parker Chase, 18th at COTA.

DRIVER CHANGE: #66-ThorSport Racing
Curiously, ThorSport’s new #66 team was not a one-off entry for last week’s return of Paul Menard, who finished 11th in COTA. The number returns again this week, this time with Ty Majeski behind the wheel. Majeski seeks his first Truck Series start since last September at Darlington, when he was released from Niece Motorsports.

MISSING: #75-Henderson Motorsports
Parker Kligerman tweeted this week that the truck Charlie Henderson planned to field for him at Charlotte was destroyed in the wreck at Darlington, so the team isn’t entered this week. Kligerman did race for the team in another truck at COTA, finishing 13th.

DRIVER CHANGE: #02-Young’s Motorsports
One week after Kaz Grala led much of the first Truck Series race at COTA, ultimately finishing runner-up to Todd Gilliland, Kris Wright is back in the #02.


Saturday, May 29, 2021
XFINITY Race 12 of 33
Alsco Uniforms 300 at Charlotte
2020 Last-Place Finisher: Colby Howard

There are 43 drivers entered for 36 spots, meaning seven teams will fail to qualify. If qualifying is rained out, only three will fail to qualify.

DRIVER CHANGE: #4-JD Motorsports
DRIVER SWAP: #6-JD Motorsports
Ryan Vargas returns and will drive the #4 in place of Landon Cassill, who runs the #6 in place of road course ace Spencer Pumpelly, who isn’t entered following his 19th-place debut at COTA. This is the same overall driver swap that Johnny Davis’ team debuted two races ago in Dover.

DRIVER CHANGE: #5-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Thanks to both an in-team point swap and Kevin Harvick’s 4th-place finish under the team’s banner at COTA, Matt Mills finds himself in a better points position heading to Charlotte, where he again runs the J.F. Electric Chevrolet.

DRIVER CHANGE: #8-JR Motorsports
Josh Berry steps in for Miguel Paludo, who dropped a drive shaft on pit road during a difficult afternoon in COTA. The Martinsville winner has continued to find his services in demand as just yesterday he was announced as Jordan Anderson’s XFINITY driver for next week’s race in Mid-Ohio.

DRIVER SWAP: #13-Motorsports Business Management
DRIVER CHANGE: #66-Motorsports Business Management
After a frustrating afternoon for Boris Said at COTA, MBM’s oval-track lineup returns again in Charlotte. Timmy Hill will take the place of Said in the #13, leaving open the #66 for a returning Chad Finchum. This will be only the fifth start of the year for Finchum, who we last saw finish 39th in Atlanta.

DRIVER CHANGE: #17-Rick Ware Racing / SS-Green Light Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #99-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Cody Ware returns to his family’s effort in the #17, taking the place of Cup regular Cole Custer, who finished 7th in the XFINITY race at COTA. The black-and-white Production Alliance Group Ford that Custer ran last week looks very much like the #99 Ford this week, which Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Chase Briscoe will run in place of Ryan Ellis.

DRIVER CHANGE: #23-Our Motorsports
Ty Dillon’s journeyman season continues as he lands at Our Motorsports, whose #23 team has continued to impress with the likes of Tyler Reddick, J.J. Yeley, and last week’s 18th-place finisher Andy Lally. and Ammo, Inc. are the listed sponsors of Dillon’s Chevrolet.

DRIVER CHANGE: #26-Sam Hunt Racing
Brandon Gdovic and his sponsor rejoin the Sam Hunt effort for the first time since their Kyle Petty / Hot Wheels “throwback” scheme from Darlington. Gdovic takes the place of Kris Wright, who was 32nd after engine trouble in COTA.

DRIVER CHANGE: #54-Joe Gibbs Racing
Driving for the team that scored a convincing victory at COTA with Kyle Busch is a returning Ty Gibbs, who as of this writing is once again without sponsorship on his #54 Toyota.

DRIVER CHANGE: #61-Motorsports Business Management
Dover last-place finisher David Starr returns to MBM’s #61 team for the first time since that race, taking the place of Stephen Leicht, who was a surprising DNQ at COTA.

NEW TEAM: #76-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
CORRECTION: This is a McLeod entry, not Dotter's as originally reported Thursday. This time, Stefan Parsons will drive the entry with his returning Sokal Digital sponsorship on board.

DRIVER CHANGE: #77-Bassett Racing
While Tyler Reddick will again drive Jordan Anderson’s #31, Dillon Bassett will run in place of Cup regular Austin Dillon. Jerry Hunt Supercenter and East Coast Wings are the listed sponsors for a team that looks to gain a foothold in the Owner Standings before the return of metric qualifying in Mid-Ohio.

Following Caesar Bacarella’s DNQ in COTA, B.J. McLeod will again run Mario Gosselin’s #90 Chevrolet, as he had most recently at Darlington. This will be McLeod’s third XFINITY start of the year, and comes after finishes of 26th and 21st in the other two.

MISSING: #91-DGM Racing
Preston Pardus’ part-time fourth Gosselin entry is not entered after he steered the car to a 14th-place finish in COTA.

DRIVER CHANGE: #07-SS-Green Light Racing
Joe Graf, Jr. is expected to return to his ride in the #07 following the leg injury that sidelined him at COTA, putting Ross Chastain aboard. Chastain started outside-pole, but immediately plummeted to the back of the field with a snapped axle. The Dotter team got Chastain back on track to finish 30th, and Chastain impressed in the Cup race the following day, taking a career-best 4th.

CUP INVADERS: #31-Tyler Reddick, #99-Chase Briscoe

Sunday, May 30, 2021
CUP Race 15 of 36
Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte
2020 Last-Place Finisher: Jimmie Johnson

There are 38 drivers entered for 40 spots, the 11th short field in 15 races this season and first since Dover. This also happens to be the smallest-ever field in the history of the Coca-Cola 600, an event which has never seen fewer than 40 cars on the starting grid.

MISSING: #16-Kaulig Racing
MISSING: #33-Penske Racing
Two of the high-powered “open” teams from COTA are not among the entries this week as each focus on Saturday’s XFINITY Series race for the same teams. A.J. Allmendinger finished 5th in the Kaulig #16 while Austin Cindric led the opening four laps in the rain on slick tires, took 5th in both stages, and ended up 25th.

DRIVER SWAP: #51-Rick Ware Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #53-Rick Ware Racing
Garrett Smithley moves from the #53 to the #51, moving Cody Ware to the #51 in his place. Josh Bilicki remains in the #52. All four of the Ware cars will represent branches of the military: Smithley with the Air Force, Bilicki the Army, Ware the Marines, and James Davison’s #15 with the Navy. As of this writing, no other teams have picked up a scheme specific to the U.S. Coast Guard or U.S. Space Force.

RETURNING: #66-Motorsports Business Management
David Starr will pull double-duty for MBM this week as Carl Long’s Cup team rejoins the circuit for the first time since Talladega. This will be Starr’s first Cup start since June 10, 2020 at Martinsville, when he finished 32nd for Rick Ware Racing in the #53.

DRIVER CHANGE: #78-Live Fast Motorsports
B.J. McLeod will likewise pull double-duty as he climbs back aboard his #78 Ford. He taks the place of Kyle Tilley, who ran a quiet 31st place in his debut at COTA. Tilley had just lost a lap for the first time when the final caution fell for rain, and had just capitalized on the “Lucky Dog” when the race was called.

MISSING: #96-Gaunt Brothers Racing
Like Allmendinger and Cindric, Ty Dillon is also not entered on the Cup side and will focus on his XFINITY entry. Dillon ran 21st during the rainy COTA afternoon with the Gaunt Brothers.

TODAY IN LASTCAR HISTORY (May 27, 2000): Lance Hooper picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR XFINITY Series career in the Carquest Auto Parts 300 at Charlotte when his #0 Ohio State University Chevrolet crashed after 3 laps. The finish came in Hooper’s 15th series start and his first of the season, following a pair of DNQs at Fontana and Richmond.

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