Thursday, May 6, 2021

PREVIEW: Throwback schemes - and even a couple throwback drivers - on hand for big weekend in Darlington

PHOTO: @JohnnyBensonWeb

Friday, May 7, 2021
TRUCKS Race 8 of 22 200 at Darlington
2020 Last-Place Finisher (September): Bryant Barnhill

There are 43 drivers entered for 40 spots, but metric qualifying has already set the field, sending home Trey Hutchens (#14), Ray Ciccarelli (#49), and Todd Peck (#96).

DRIVER CHANGE: #9-CR7 Motorsports
DRIVER SWAP: #98-ThorSport Racing
Darlington will again see Grant Enfinger run for ThorSport in place of Christian Eckes, llowing Codie Rohrbaugh back to his own #9 entry.

DID NOT QUALIFY: #14-Trey Hutchens Racing
Trey Hutchens does not qualify for the fourth time in 2021 and his third time in a row.

RETURNING: #17-David Gilliland Racing
David Gilliland makes the cut in his own Black’s Tire entry, returning to the series for the first time since Las Vegas, where a crash left him 39th out of the 40 starters. This will be Gilliland’s 20th series start.

Ray Ciccarelli was slated to run the #49, which did not qualify, taking the place of Ryan Reed, who finished last in Kansas. Reed will himself move to GMS Racing’s #24, a ride freed up after Raphael Lessard and GMS parted ways earlier this week.

MISSING: #32-Bret Holmes Racing
Bret Holmes is not entered following a late-race stall at Kansas that left him 27th.

DRIVER CHANGE: #33-Reaume Brothers Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #34-Reaume Brothers Racing
Earlier this year, Akinori Ogata was among the first to announce their Truck Series “throwback” scheme, honoring fellow Japanese racer Kenji Momota. Momota made his only Truck Series start in 1995 at Phoenix, running a brightly-colored #71 Marukatsu Chevrolet for Randy MacDonald. Momota finished 37th of 40 after an early crash. Ogata was originally listed in the #33, which Jesse Iwuji drove last week in Kansas, but by mid-week he’d been moved to the #34, replacing C.J. McLaughlin. Driving the #33 this week is B.J. McLeod, who will run all three races this weekend.

DRIVER SWAP: #44-Niece Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #45-Niece Motorsports
After a strong run in Kansas where he ran as high as 3rd for the final restart before he fell to 12th at the finish, Bayley Currey will again run the Truck Series race at Darlington. This time, he moves from the #45 to the #44, taking the place of Cup regular Ross Chastain. Driving the #45 is a “throwback” in his own right: Erik Darnell. While active in short tracks, Darnell has not competed in any of NASCAR’s top three series since 2012, and hasn’t run a Truck Series race since the 2008 finale at Homestead, where he closed out a 4th-place finish in the standings for Roush-Fenway Racing. Darnell will bring back his familiar Northern Tool + Equipment paint scheme from that year, this time the #45 in place of Roush’s #99. Darnell has never competed in a Truck Series race at Darlington.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Kyle Busch Motorsports
After Kyle Busch scored yet another Truck Series win in Kansas, Corey Heim will get to make his NASCAR national series debut at one of the sport’s most difficult tracks. Heim arrives fresh off his third ARCA Menards Series win at Talladega, already his second win of the 2021 season, where he holds a 13-point lead over Drew Dollar through last Saturday’s event in Kansas.

RETURNING: #75-Henderson Motorsports
Parker Kligerman returns along with the Charlie Henderson crew for what will be their fourth start of the season and first since Bristol, where they tied their season-best 8th-place finish from Las Vegas. Kligerman’s only previous Truck start here came back in 2011, he finished 14th for the now-defunct Brad Keselowski Racing.

Todd Peck was set to return in the Holla Vodka Chevrolet, which we last saw fail to make the show in this year’s Daytona opener. Unfortunately, the team joins Hutchens and Ciccarelli on the wrong side of the cut line.

DRIVER CHANGE: #04-Roper Racing
Cory Roper returns in place of Cup regular Chase Briscoe with TechNet Professional as the listed sponsor of his #04 Ford.


#2-Sheldon Creed brings back Ultra Motorsports' Team ASE scheme from the early 2000s
#3-Jordan Anderson running Mark Martin's Apache Stove paint scheme from 1982
#11-Spencer Davis running Darrell Waltrip's Toyota paint scheme from the mid-2000s
#19-Derek Kraus (2003 NAPA) and #30-Danny Bohn (1988 Country Time) both honor Michael Waltrip
#20-Spencer Boyd in Jack Sprague's #60 Con-way Freight scheme from 2007
#21-Zane Smith in Glen Wood's 1957 paint scheme (also run by Paul Menard in Cup in 2019)
#22-Austin Wayne Self in a Tony Raines Pennzoil scheme
#23-Chase Purdy running Davey Allison's short track Camaro paint scheme
#25-Timothy Peters honors Bobby Hamilton with the early 2000s Square D paint scheme
#26-Tyler Ankrum in the Wonder Bread paint scheme Will Ferrell ran in "Talladega Nights."
#42-Carson Hocevar will run the 2001-2003 Johnny Benson, Jr. Valvoline scheme
#52-Stewart Friesen runs the Tim Richmond Folger’s scheme with Jimmy Means’ car number
#56-Timmy Hill runs the Kenny Irwin, Jr.’s 1997 Truck Series scheme for Jim Herrick
#02-Kris Wright in the silver-and-black Ron Hornaday, Jr. Goodwrench throwback

Saturday, May 8, 2021
XFINITY Race 9 of 33
Steakhouse Elite 200 at Darlington
2020 Last-Place Finisher (May 21): Stephen Leicht

There were 43 drivers entered for 40 spots, resulting in the same three DNQs since Daytona: Jordan Anderson Racing’s #31, Bassett Racing’s #77, and Our Motorsports’ #03.

DRIVER CHANGE: #13-Motorsports Business Management
MBM owner Carl Long honors the life of Thee Dixon, who first gave him a chance to compete in the Cup Series. His #13 will run one of the Dixon’s most recognizable paint schemes – the #13 Glidden Paints Chevrolet, which campaigned from 1990 through 1992. The full story of this car and team is coming in the upcoming Episode 7 of my YouTube series “Rise of The Field Fillers.” Driving the car this week is Matt Jaskol, who returns to the XFINITY Series for the first time since his 28th-place debut at Martinsville. Jaskol replaces Jason White, who had mechanical trouble at Talladega and finished 39th.

RETURNING: #17-Rick Ware Racing / SS-Green Light Racing
J.J. Yeley returns to the XFINITY Series this Saturday along with the Ware / SS-Green Light effort. The #17 team runs a more recent “throwback” to the green Valvoline paint schemes run by the likes of Matt Kenseth and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., this time with Workpro as sponsor. The team last ran at Martinsville, where Yeley finished 24th.

DRIVER CHANGE: #23-Our Motorsports
Welcome back Tanner Berryhill, who hasn’t made a start in NASCAR’s top three series since his brief run with Obaika Racing’s Cup effort in 2018. For the XFINITY Series, it’s been even longer since he’s taken the green flag – October 4, 2014 at Kansas, when he drove for his family’s team. Berryhill takes the place of Natalie Decker, who finished 24th in Talladega.

DRIVER CHANGE: #26-Sam Hunt Racing
One of the most distinctive “throwback” schemes on the XFINITY side has to be the 1997 Hot Wheels colors for Brandon Gdovic on the #26 Toyota. Gdovic takes the place of Collin Garrett, who ran a solid 15th in Talladega to keep going the team’s strong start with Santino Ferrucci earlier this year.

DRIVER CHANGE: #54-Joe Gibbs Racing
Ty Gibbs will run one of no less than three Dale Jarrett throwback schemes in Saturday’s race. His will be the green-and-black Interstate Batteries scheme that D.J. ran to victory in the 1993 Daytona 500. Also running Jarrett cars are two variations of the popular UPS Ford – Jeremy Clements’ #51 carries the 2006 version while Brandon Brown’s #68 runs the 2002-2003 livery. Gibbs takes the place of Ty Dillon, who ran 35th after a crash in Talladega.

In the second leg of his triple-header, B.J. McLeod will run for Mario Gosselin this week, running a throwback to Kenny Schrader’s 1985 rookie car with Junie Donlavey’s team. McLeod takes the place of Caesar Bacarella, who ran 38th after damage at Talladega.


#1-Michael Annett in the DiGard version of the Gatorade car run in the late 1970s
#2-Myatt Snider in a Jimmie Lewallen throwback
#6-Ryan Vargas running Mark Martin’s Valvoline colors from 1992-1995
#7-Justin Allgaier running Dale Earnhardt's 2000 Daytona 500 "Taz" scheme
#8-Josh Berry running Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s winning Budweiser scheme from the 2001 Pepsi 400
#10-Jeb Burton, the series’ most recent winner, honors his father Ward with 1996 MBNA car
#11-Justin Allgaier running the first Leaf Filter scheme Blake Koch ran in 2014 with Go FAS Racing
#15-Colby Howard honors his father Rodney Howard with his late model paint scheme
#16-A.J. Allmendinger in his own Cup paint scheme from first Cup win at Watkins Glen in 2014
#18-Daniel Hemric follows up Daniel Suarez' and B.J. McLeod's with another Red Farmer car
#19-Brandon Jones runs the paint scheme Arnold Motorsports introduced on Todd Bodine's truck team with Bob Germain
#36-Alex Labbe in Kenny Wallace’s Red Dog Ford from the mid-90s Busch Series
#44-Tommy Joe Martins in Rich Bickle’s 10-10-345 paint scheme from 1999
#47-Kyle Weatherman running Richard Petty’s 1981 Daytona 500 winning scheme
#48-Jade Buford honors Dan Gurney with his 1970 Trans Am paint scheme
#66-Timmy Hill in the Duraflame paint scheme run by Rusty Wallace’s Busch team in 2004
#74 Bayley Currey in the 1981 Bobby Allison “Tuf-Lon” silver-and-black scheme
#92-Josh Williams honors the late Rusty Crews with a war-torn street stock scheme
#98-Riley Herbst in Tony Stewart's rookie Cup scheme with Home Depot from 1999
#99-Ryan Ellis runs his grandfather Vic Ellis' dirt racing scheme from the 1950s
#07-Joe Graf, Jr. running the DeLorean from "Back to the Future"

Sunday, May 9, 2021
CUP Race 12 of 36
Goodyear 400 at Darlington
2020 Last-Place Finisher (May 17): Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.

There are 37 drivers entered for 40 spots, down two entries from last week. This marks the ninth short field in 12 races this season, and for just the second time in 2021 (the other at Martinsville), Ryan Preece’s #37 entry is the only “open” team in the field.

DRIVER CHANGE: #15-Rick Ware Racing
James Davison honors fellow Australian NASCAR driver Dick Johnson, who ran the Redkote paint scheme in the late 1980s and early 1990s part-time in Cup. Davison, who takes the place of teammate Joey Gase, carries returning sponsorship from Hopegivers.

MISSING: #33-Penske Racing
Austin Cindric is not entered in Sunday’s race after a strong run in Kansas was undone late by contact, leaving him 22nd.

DRIVER CHANGE: #53-Rick Ware Racing
J.J. Yeley will return to Cup on Sunday for his first start in the series since Talladega, where he ran 26th in Ware’s #15. This time, he runs the #53 in place of Garrett Smithley, who ran 33rd in Kansas.

MISSING: #55-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Matt Mills and the B.J. McLeod Cup effort are not entered in Sunday’s race after Mills finished next-to-last in his series debut at Kansas, though still under power.

#3-Austin Dillon honoring Smokey Yunick and Fireball Roberts, who also campaigned #3
#7-Corey LaJoie (1989-1990 Zerex) and #9-Chase Elliott (1991-1993 Hooters) honoring Alan Kulwicki
#8-Tyler Reddick honoring country music legend and part-time racer Marty Robbins
#10-Aric Almirola in the flame scheme that Mark Martin ran in the Busch Series in 2000
#11-Denny Hamlin honoring Julius "Slick" Johnson's Seamless Machine paint scheme
#14-Chase Briscoe running A.J. Foyt's 1986 Gilmore paint scheme - even a matching helmet
#23-Bubba Wallace running Wendell Scott's colors along with throwback logos
#24-William Byron running Neil Bonnett's Valvoline colors with the RahMoc team from 1987-1988.
#34-Michael McDowell in Bill Elliott's 1985 Southern 500 winning scheme
#38-Anthony Alfredo in Alan Kulwicki's 1985 Hardee's paint scheme
#42-Ross Chastain in the last McDonald’s paint scheme to win a Cup race in 1994
#48-Alex Bowman running his crew chief Greg Ives' late model paint scheme
#52-Josh Bilicki honoring Lennie Pond with the Burger King paint scheme from 1979
#77-Justin Haley in Robert Pressley’s Jasper Engines paint scheme in Cup from 1998-1999
#78-B.J. McLeod honoring Cup champion and 1963 Southern 500 winner Joe Weatherly
#00-Quin Houff (1997 RCA) and #43-Erik Jones (1999 STP) honoring John Andretti

TODAY IN LASTCAR HISTORY (May 6, 1961): Richard Petty picked up the 3rd last-place finish of his NASCAR Cup Series career in the Rebel 300 at Darlington when his #43 1961 Plymouth dropped out with engine trouble after 11 laps. This was the first of three last-place finishes “The King” had at Darlington. The other two were August 31, 1986 in the Southern 500 and on March 27, 1988 in the TranSouth 500. Both of those finishes were due to crashes after 6 and 4 laps, respectively.

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