Thursday, June 3, 2021

PREVIEW: This weekend, the “road course ringers” are in Mid-Ohio, not Sears Point

PHOTO: @StewartHaasRcng

Saturday, June 5, 2021
XFINITY Race 13 of 33
B&L Transport 170 at Mid-Ohio
2019 Last-Place Finisher: Max Tullman

This weekend sees NASCAR return to two road courses that were scrubbed from the 2020 schedule in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. First of these is Mid-Ohio, which hosts a stand-alone XFINITY Series field of 42 drivers for 40 spots. With the return of metric qualifying, the two DNQs are the #13 for Motorsports Business Management and the #77 for Bassett Racing (see below).

DRIVER CHANGE: #8-JR Motorsports
DRIVER SWAP: #31-Jordan Anderson Racing
With Miguel Paludo returning to JR Motorsports’ #8 team for the first time since COTA, Josh Berry moves to Jordan Anderson’s #31, which is now locked-in to the field after Cup regular Tyler Reddick’s strong finishes at both COTA and Charlotte (and with Berry’s status as a 2021 race winner). With Reddick joining the rest of the Cup guys in Sears Point, Berry will take his turn in the #31 for his first road course start of the year.

DRIVER SWAP / DID NOT QUALIFY: #13-Motorsports Business Management
DRIVER CHANGE: #61-Motorsports Business Management
DRIVER CHANGE: #66-Motorsports Business Management
Carl Long’s trio shakes up their lineup this weekend. David Starr moves from the #61 to the #13, taking the place of Chad Finchum, who’s not entered after an 15th-place run in Charlotte. Unfortunately, the #13 was bumped out of a starting spot by the Anderson #31 team, which means Starr will not race. Taking Starr’s place in the #61 is a returning Stephen Leicht, who will race after his DNQ in COTA. CORRECTION (June 3): David Starr has again taken the place of Leicht in the #61 with Rad Air Complete Car Care as sponsor. Timmy Hill is out of the #66 this week, and his ride will go to Matt Jaskol, who we last saw run at Dover.

DRIVER CHANGE: #23-Our Motorsports
Andy Lally returns to Chris Our’s second car for the first time since his 18th-place run two rounds ago in Austin, taking the place of Ty Dillon, who ran a strong 7th in Charlotte. Last Saturday was Dillon’s first top-ten finish in an XFINITY Series race since 2018 at Darlington. UCC and Energy Air are the listed sponsors for Lally’s 5th series start at Mid-Ohio, where he finished a track-best 5th in 2017 driving for SS-Green Light Racing.

DRIVER CHANGE: #26-Sam Hunt Racing
Also returning to his ride from Austin is Kris Wright, who takes the place of Grant Enfinger. Enfinger was himself the last-minute replacement for Brandon Gdovic, which resulted in Enfinger finishing last in his series debut.

MISSING: #76-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
B.J. McLeod has not entered the #76 team he debuted in Charlotte with Stefan Parsons’ 23rd-plae finish.

DID NOT QUALIFY: #77-Bassett Racing
Dillon Bassett will not qualify for Saturday’s race, missing the cut along with MBM’s #13.

Road course specialist Preston Pardus returns in place of B.J. McLeod, who isn’t running either race this weekend. Chinchor Electric and Danus Utilities are again the sponsor, this time on Mario Gosselin’s flagship #90.

DRIVER CHANGE: #99-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
With the team’s point rank improved after Chase Briscoe nearly pulled off the win in Charlotte, Ryan Ellis again runs for the team for the first time since COTA. While originally listed with Keen Parts and as sponsor, the McLeod team revealed that Marcus Lemonis had jumped on board as sponsor, decorating the #99 In the red-and-gold colors of Good Sam.


Sunday, June 6, 2021
CUP Race 16 of 36
Toyota / Save Mart 350 at Sears Point (Sonoma)
2019 Last-Place Finisher: J.J. Yeley

For the first time since March 2020, when I covered the action for the most recent 400-mile race at the Auto Club Speedway, I will be working trackside for the Toyota / Save Mart 350 at my home track. Stay tuned to this site and my Twitter feed @LASTCARonBROCK for more.

Like Mid-Ohio, the race was not run last year and metric qualifying has already determined the lineup. Taking the green will be 37 drivers for 40 spots, the 12th short field in 16 races this season. It will also be the fewest-eve starters for the race, beating the mark of 38 starters from the last three runnings.

DRIVER SWAP: #51-Rick Ware Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #53-Rick Ware Racing
Cody Ware and Garrett Smithley swap rides again, putting Ware in the #51 and Smithley in the #53. Ware to pull double-duty with the XFINITY race in Mid-Ohio in the Ware #17. This will be Smithley’s first Cup start at Sears Point, and his 200th combined start across NASCAR's top three series.

MISSING: #66-Motorsports Business Management
While MBM has two cars in Saturday’s field at Mid-Ohio, Carl Long’s Cup team will not make the long trip west, one week after David Starr finished 36th in Charlotte.

DRIVER CHANGE: #77-Spire Motorsports
With Justin Haley committed to Saturday’s XFINITY race in Mid-Ohio, Ben Rhodes will make his Cup debut with Kaeding Performance s sponsor. Haley’s teammate A.J. Allmendinger is likewise conspicuously absent after running the most recent road course race with Kaulig Racing at COTA. The run is a reunion of sorts - according to a video with Rhodes, Spire Sports & Entertainment was instrumental in getting Rhodes into NASCAR back in 2013. Rhodes has never before run a race at Sears Point.

DRIVER CHANGE: #78-Live Fast Motorsports
If there is a “road course ringer” in the field, it is Scott Heckert, who we last saw in the #78 on the Daytona Infield Road Course, where he made his series debut this past February. Heckert again takes the place of B.J. McLeod with Surface Sunscreen returning as sponsor. This will also be Heckert’s first start at Sears Point.

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

The Truck Series takes the week off and returns to kick off All-Star Weekend in Texas. I will be in attendance to cover that weekend’s action as well, including the XFINITY Series and the All-Star Race.

TODAY IN LASTCAR HISTORY (June 3, 1984): John Krebs picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR Cup Series career in the Budweiser 400 at Riverside when his #91 Coca-Cola Oldsmobile lost an engine after 6 laps. Krebs, perhaps best known for his spectacular tangle with Derrike Cope after briefly leading the 1994 Cup race at Sears Point, was that day making his fourth series start. An owner-driver from Roseville, California (not far from LASTCAR Headquarters), Krebs made 19 Cup starts in “companion races” run on the west coast. His best finish came at Riverside on June 13, 1982, when he ran 19th.

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