Thursday, June 10, 2021

PREVIEW: Cup Series All-Stars aren't the only storylines in Texas

Jordan Anderson gets to race his own XFINITY car for the first time this season.
PHOTO: @j66anderson

Saturday, June 12, 2021 (1:00 P.M. Eastern)
TRUCKS Race 11 of 22 220 at Texas
2020 Last-Place Finisher (July): Tanner Gray 

As I write this, I am in Dallas preparing to cover this weekend’s action during All-Star Weekend at the Texas Motor Speedway, marking the second time I’ve covered races trackside on consecutive weeks. As always, stay tuned to my Twitter feed @LASTCARonBROCK for more content!

There are 36 drivers entered for 40 spots, so all will start the race. This mars the fourth short field in 11 Truck Series races this season, but the first where the initial entry list had fewer than 40 entries. Charlotte saw 38 take the green after two withdrawals.

DRIVER CHANGE: #3-Jordan Anderson Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #33-Reaume Brothers Racing
For only the sixth time this year and the first time since Darlington, Jordan Anderson will pilot his own #3 Chevrolet, which carries Good Sam as sponsor. Anderson takes the place of Keith McGee, who will also be in Saturday’s race as he slides over to the primary Josh Reaume entry, taking the place of 28th-place Charlotte finisher Akinori Ogata.

RETURNING: #6-Norm Benning Racing
Welcome back Norm Benning, who hasn’t started a Truck Series race since Darlington, where he was flagged off the track for not meeting minimum speed for the third time in 2021. The team had withdrawn from their most recent entry at the Circuit of the Americas.

MISSING: #9-CR7 Motorsports
DRIVER SWAP: #98-ThorSport Racing
Codie Rohrbaugh’s team is not entered for the first time in 2021 as Grant Enfinger, who ran 14th in Charlotte, will again return to the #98 ThorSport entry in place of Christian Eckes, who isn’t entered. Enfinger gave Rohrbaugh’s #9 its best finish of the year with a 4th at COTA.

MISSING: #11-Spencer Davis Racing
Spencer Davis’ team withdrew from Charlotte, and this week isn’t entered in Texas.

MISSING: #14-Trey Hutchens Racing
A flat tire, then a lengthy delay throwing the caution flag, left Trey Hutchens with his only race-ready truck destroyed, and its driver lucky to walk away uninjured. Hutchens and his #14 team are not entered this week, though the omnipresent Marcus Lemonis at Camping World tweeted his desire to help the team.

One year ago at Charlotte, Chase Elliott collected the bounty placed on Kyle Busch. This year, he makes his first Truck start of the year with the same GMS Racing team. His entry will be sponsored by energy drink brand Adrenaline Shoc, for whom he’ll be making an appearance at Texas’ on-site 7-Eleven this Friday. Elliott takes the place of Jack Wood, who quietly finished a strong 15th in Charlotte – only his second-ever series start.

DRIVER CHANGE: #25-Rackley W.A.R.
News broke following Timothy Peters’ last-place run in a backup truck at Charlotte that the driver had parted ways with the team, effective immediately. Taking his place this week is Josh Berry, whose services continue to be in demand following his breakout win in Martinsville. This will be Berry’s second Truck Series start of the year, following a 22nd-place run in Atlanta, where he was a last-minute driver substitute for Kris Wright at Young’s Motorsports.

DRIVER CHANGE: #30-On Point Motorsports
After he was entered in every Cup race last season except, curiously, the Bristol night race, Brennan Poole closed out his rookie Cup campaign with a best finish of 9th in the fall Talladega race, and a surprising run during the late stages of the spring Darlington race. This Saturday, Poole reunites with On Point Motorsports, with whom he last drove on August 7, 2020 at Michigan. He runs an unsponsored Toyota in place of his replacement, Danny Bohn, who was likewise strong at Darlington on the Truck side earlier this year before damage left him 18th.

MISSING: #32-Bret Holmes Racing
Bret Holmes and his #32 are not entered following a crash that left him 36th in Charlotte.

DRIVER CHANGE: #34-Reaume Brothers Racing
Following a series of fan vote wins in the iRacing Pro Invitational Series, Jesse Iwuji returns to the Truck Series in the second Reaume entry, taking the place of 27th-place Charlotte finisher C.J. McLaughlin. This will be Iwuji’s second series start at his home tack, following a 17th-place finish with the same team and truck number in 2019.

DRIVER CHANGE: #45-Niece Motorsports
Ross Chastain and his Circle B Diecast sponsorship again join Niece Motorsports, this time on the #45. The Cup Series regular, who enjoyed breakout runs at COTA and Sonoma, takes the place of XFINITY regular Bayley Currey, 19th in Charlotte. Currey will run later on Saturday in his XFINITY ride with Mike Harmon Racing.

RETURNING: #49-CMI Motorsports
Ray Ciccarelli is entered in his Ford after his team withdrew from the Charlotte race. Saturday will thus mark Ciccarelli’s first series start of the season, and his first green flag since a 25th-place run at Martinsville last fall. Sam’s Dock is the listed sponsor.

DRIVER CHANGE: #56-Hill Motorsports
Tyler Hill steps in for brother Timmy in the #56 this week, marking Tyler’s second series start of the year and first since Las Vegas, where he was collected in a hard late-race crash. Mountain Fork Brewery is the listed sponsor of the team’s Chevrolet.

MISSING: #66-ThorSport Racing
Ty Majeski is not entered this week, nor is the extra ThorSport entry that ran the last two rounds in COTA (finished 11th with Paul Menard) and Charlotte (7th with Majeski).

CUP INVADERS: #24-Chase Elliott, #45-Ross Chastain

Saturday, June 12, 2021 (4:00 P.M. Eastern)
XFINITY Race 14 of 33
Alsco Uniform 250 at Texas
2020 Last-Place Finisher (July): Kyle Busch

There are 42 drivers entered for 40 spots, meaning two teams have failed to qualify under metric qualifying: the #13 for Motorsports Business Management and the #77 for Bassett Racing (see below):

DRIVER SWAP: #8-JR Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #31-Jordan Anderson Racing
In addition to running his Truck, Jordan Anderson will pull double-duty on Saturday, driving his own #31 XFINITY Series entry for the first time since Daytona qualifying in February. He takes the place of Josh Berry, 8th last week, who will likewise run both races. On the XFINITY side, Berry rejoins JR Motorsports in the #8 Tire Pros Chevrolet, taking the place of 27th-place Mid-Ohio finisher Miguel Paludo.

DID NOT QUALIFY: #13-Motorsports Business Management
DID NOT QUALIFY: #77-Bassett Racing
While handing the wheel to brother Tyler on the Truck Series side, Timmy Hill will also not run the XFINITY race as his #13 did not make the cut under metric qualifying. Also sent home is Dillon Bassett, entered in he and his brother’s #77 Chevrolet.

DRIVER CHANGE: #17-Rick Ware Racing / SS-Green Light Racing
Garrett Smithley brings his Trophy Tractor sponsorship over to the originally-listed Nurtec ODT-backed Toyota of Cody Ware, 15th in Mid-Ohio. Fresh off his first Sonoma start and the 200th combined NASCAR green flag of his career, Smithley will make only his second XFINITY race of the year. His came in Las Vegas, where he ran 24th with the same sponsor.

DRIVER CHANGE: #23-Our Motorsports
Tanner Berryhill surprised with a strong run in his return to the XFINITY Series at Darlington, ultimately finishing 23rd in Our Motorsports’ surprising second entry. He runs the car this Saturday for the first time since then, taking the place of 5th-place Mid-Ohio finisher Andy Lally. Eclipse Claims Consulting is the listed sponsor.

DRIVER CHANGE: #26-Sam Hunt Racing
After stepping out voluntarily from the #26 following a difficult practice in Charlotte, Brandon Gdovic is again entered in a 1.5-mile race for the first time in years. SnapMobile.Shop is again the listed sponsor as he takes the place of Kris Wright, collected in a late-race wreck that left him 32nd, just four laps short of the scheduled distance.

DRIVER CHANGE: #54-Joe Gibbs Racing
Kyle Busch will not compete against Chase Elliott in the Truck Series race, but again will be heavily favored in the XFINITY event. Busch takes the place of Ty Gibbs – now a two-time XFINITY winner with an average finish of 4.9 in his seven starts. Busch runs the Twix colors – the same ones that were disqualified in this race last year following his win – and marks Busch’s second series start, following his win in the COTA inaugural.

DRIVER SWAP: #61-Motorsports Business Management
DRIVER SWAP: #66-Motorsports Business Management
David Starr and Matt Jaskol have swapped rides this week – Starr will run the #66 following his 36th-place run in Mid-Ohio while Jaskol runs the #61 after a solid 19th-place finish.

While Dillon Bassett will not run the race as the #77 missed the cut, brother Ronnie Bassett, Jr. will make his first XFINITY start of the season and 18th of his career. Ronnie drives DGM Racing’s #90 in place of “road ringer” Preston Pardus, who finished 25th at Mid-Ohio. Jerry Hunt Supercenter and East Coast Wings are the listed sponsors.

DRIVER CHANGE: #99-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
We last saw Stefan Parsons at Charlotte, where he debuted the #76 team for B.J. McLeod’s effort. This time, Parsons will run in place of Ryan Ellis in the McLeod #99, again sponsored by Sokal Digital.

CUP INVADERS: #54-Kyle Busch

Sunday, June 13, 2021 (6:00 P.M. Eastern)
CUP Exhibition Race
All-Star Open at Texas
2020 Last-Place Finisher (Bristol): Bubba Wallace

These 22 drivers will compete for the final four spots in the All-Star Race – one winner of the first 20-lap segment, one in the second 20-lap segment, one in the final 10-lap sprint, and the Fan Vote Winner. Among these entries, Motorsports Business Management enters two cars for the first time since the Daytona 500, putting Timmy Hill in the primary #66 and David Starr in the second car, the #13. Austin Cindric will also attempt the race in Penske Racing’s #33 Pirtek Ford. 

Noticeably absent is Ryan Preece and the second JTG-Daugherty Racing entry, #37. According to Bob Pockrass, “open” teams like Preece’s aren’t required to run the event the way Chartered teams are, and the team has elected to leave him off the list. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. will fly the flag for JTG in his #47.

#7-Corey LaJoie
#8-Tyler Reddick
#10-Aric Almirola
#13-David Starr
#14-Chase Briscoe
#15-James Davison
#17-Chris Buescher
#21-Matt DiBenedetto
#23-Bubba Wallace
#33-Austin Cindric
#38-Anthony Alfredo
#42-Ross Chastain
#43-Erik Jones
#47-Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.
#51-Cody Ware
#52-Josh Bilicki
#53-Garrett Smithley
#66-Timmy Hill
#77-Justin Haley
#78-B.J. McLeod
#99-Daniel Suarez
#00-Quin Houff

Sunday, June 13, 2021 (8:00 P.M. Eastern)
CUP Exhibition Race
All-Star Race at Texas
2020 Last-Place Finisher (Bristol): Kurt Busch

The four transfer drivers from the Open will increase this group of 17 locked-in drivers to 21, set to do battle in the 100-lap main event. Among these are the season’s surprise winners of Christopher Bell (Daytona Road Course) and Michael McDowell (Daytona 500), who each will make their first start in the race. McDowell had previously run the Open seven times with a best finish of 7th last year at Bristol, when he started on pole.

#1-Kurt Busch
#2-Brad Keselowski
#3-Austin Dillon
#4-Kevin Harvick
#5-Kyle Larson
#6-Ryan Newman
#9-Chase Elliott
#11-Denny Hamlin
#12-Ryan Blaney
#18-Kyle Busch
#19-Martin Truex, Jr.
#20-Christopher Bell
#22-Joey Logano
#24-William Byron
#34-Michael McDowell
#41-Cole Custer
#48-Alex Bowman

TODAY IN LASTCAR HISTORY (June 10, 1989): Chuck Bown scored the first last-place finish of his NASCAR XFINITY Series career in the Roes Stores 200 at Orange County Speedway when his #63 Nescafe Classic Pontiac lost the engine after 32 of 200 laps. Bown, who started 3rd, led 10 of the first 11 circuits before surrendering the lead to Jimmy Spencer, who led the rest of the way.

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