Thursday, August 5, 2021

PREVIEW: Annett's return from injury, MBM's reunion with a longtime backer, and series debuts in all four divisions among big stories at Watkins Glen

PHOTO: Carl Long Motorsports on Facebook

Friday, August 6, 2021
ARCA Race 13 of 20
Clean Harbors 100 at the Glen at Watkins Glen (41 laps)
2001 Last-Place Finisher (62 laps): Wheeler Boys

For a full breakdown of this and other ARCA entry lists, be sure to check out our staff writer William Soquet's articles on this site. Today, I will only be featuring one driver in particular:

SERIES DEBUT: #60-Josh Williams Motorsports
Among the 30 starters in Friday's return of the ARCA Racing Series to The Glen is Spec Miata racer and Rackley-W.A.R. crewman Brad Perez, who will make his stock car racing debut on Friday. Perez has been eyeing his debut for years, working his way from his "Breadmobile" in Bandoleros and attracting sponsorship from RacingUnderdog, Barr Visuals, and Living Room Dance Floor, among others. Josh Bilicki has been among the many in the industry who have helped get the word out. All this culminated with last Friday's announcement - Josh Williams brought him on board as part of his driver development effort. The black-and-blue #60 Chevrolet carries sponsorship from his previous backers, plus Rackley Roofing, Ready Set Seal, Every Life Is Worth Saving, and Memorial Healthcare System.

Saturday, August 7, 2021 (12:30 P.M. Eastern, FS1)
TRUCKS Race 15 of 22
Regular Season Finale
United Rentals 176 at the Glen at Watkins Glen (72 laps)
2000 Last-Place Finisher (62 laps): Ryan McGlynn

For the first time in 21 years, the Truck Series will sail into Turn 1 at Watkins Glen International. Despite this, that moment will occur on race day as there will be no practice or qualifying for any of NASCAR’s top three series. On this 41-truck entry list for 40 spots, this has left CMI Motorsports’ #72 on the outside looking in (see below). 

DRIVER CHANGE: #3-Jordan Anderson Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #49-CMI Motorsports
Road course racing in the Truck Series has in recent years meant a matchup between Bobby and Roger Reuse. Saturday will be no exception. Bobby Reuse takes the place of Parker Price-Miller (29th in Knoxville) in Jordan Anderson’s #3, bringing back sponsorship from I Heart Mac & Cheese. Roger Reuse takes the controls of the #49 CMI entry, taking the place of Andrew Gordon (24th in Knoxville).

DRIVER CHANGE: #9-CR7 Motorsports
DRIVER SWAP: #98-ThorSport Racing
Christian Eckes will also be running this Saturday, returning to the #98 for the first time since Pocono. This moves Grant Enfinger, 3rd at Knoxville, to the #9 fielded by Codie Rohrbaugh. The dirt race’s biggest wreck left Rohrbaugh 34th in the final running order. Enfinger will also run a bright yellow paint scheme for sponsor Champion Power Equipment.

DRIVER CHANGE: #17-David Gilliland Racing
Back in April, Taylor Gray’s NASCAR Truck Series debut was pushed back after he suffered injuries in a car accident. He’s now been cleared to race, though with some controversy following his tangle during Winchester’s ARCA race, where contact left Daniel Dye with a concussion. Gray will make his Truck debut in the #17 entry previously piloted by Donny Schatz at Knoxviille, earning a 32nd-place finish.

DRIVER CHANGE: #20-Young’s Motorsports
Spencer Boyd is back in the Truck Series for the first time since Pocono, and carries E1 Motorsports as the sponsor on Randy Young’s #20 Chevrolet. He takes the place of Kyle Strickler, who started 8th at Knoxville only to finish 23rd.

On Friday came news that Chase Purdy tested positive for COVID-19, putting A.J. Allmendinger into his first Truck race since February 23, 2008 at Fontana, when he finished 17th for Morgan Dollar Motorsports.

DRIVER CHANGE: #33-Reaume Brothers Racing
Josh Reaume makes just his third start as a Truck Series driver in 2021, and also his first since Pocono, where he ran 28th. He takes the place of Devon Rouse, who finished 18th in Knoxville after starting 39th.

DRIVER CHANGE: #34-Reaume Brothers Racing
Returning to the second Reaume entry this week is Lawless Alan, who earned his best finish in four series starts his last time out in Pocono by taking 20th. He takes the place of Jake Griffin, who recovered from significant damage at Knoxville to take home 12th.

MISSING: #37-AM Racing
Brett Moffitt is not entered in this week’s Truck Series race, and neither is AM Racing’s second team, which made its season debut in Knoxville.

DRIVER CHANGE: #41-Cram Racing Enterprises
Coming into Saturday, Will Rodgers has five XFINITY Series starts, but none in the Truck Series. That changes at The Glen, where the driver who so impressed Kevin Harvick during the K&N West Series race at Sonoma in 2017 takes the wheel of Dawson Cram’s #41. Rodgers takes the place of Cody Erickson, who ended up 22nd in Knoxville.

MISSING: #44-Niece Motorsports
Al Niece has not entered their part-time #44 team, which most recently finished last at Knoxville with Morgan Alexander.

DRIVER CHANGE: #45-Niece Motorsports
With Cup Series drivers prohibited from Saturday’s race as the Playoff cutoff event, the “Protect Your Melon” paint scheme so synonymous with Ross Chastain will instead be driven by his younger brother Chad Chastain. This will be Chad’s first start in any of NASCAR’s top three series. He takes the place of Jett Noland, who ran 37th with the team in Knoxville.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Kyle Busch Motorsports
Corey Heim had an eventful Truck Series debut at Darlington, where he worked his way to the lead, only to be eliminated in a grinding pileup on a late-race restart. Saturday will be Heim’s first series start since that night, again in KBM’s fleet #51 Toyota. He takes the place of Brian Brown, who was 8th on the dirt.

RETURNING: #56-Hill Motorsports
Timmy Hill and Hill Motorsports return to action, though without a sponsor on their #56 Chevrolet. The team hasn’t run since Pocono, where brother Tyler Hill took 24th, and Timmy hasn’t run in the series since the previous round at Nashville.

MISSING: #62-Halmar-Friesen Racing
The Halmar-Friesen team has not entered their second truck, which finally made its series debut at Knoxville with Jessica Friesen driving. Jessica finished 26th that night, besting her husband Stewart by one spot and five laps.

RETURNING: #66-ThorSport Racing
Paul Menard also returns to the Truck Series, competing at the site of his Cup debut in 2003. Menard made his return to the Trucks earlier this year in Austin, piloting this same ThorSport entry to an 11th-place finish.

Samuel Lecomte, who was among Ray Ciccarelli’s rookie triumvirate at COTA, will not qualify as his #72 is ranked too low in Owner Points.

RETURNING: #75-Henderson Motorsports
Parker Kligerman and Charlie Henderson are back on the Truck Series grid for the first time since Nashville, where they earned a 17th-place finish. Before that, they also scored a strong 13th at COTA.

DRIVER CHANGE: #02-Young’s Motorsports
Another road course specialist in the lineup is Kaz Grala, who this year has finished 8th on the Daytona Road Couse and was runner-up to Todd Gilliland in COTA. As in both starts, Grala will run Randy Young’s #02 Chevrolet, this time with Sim Seats as associate sponsor. He takes the place of Chris Windom, a last-minute replacement for an injured Michael Annett at Knoxville, where he finished 15th.

MISSING: #04-Roper Racing
Cory Roper’s entry is not among this week’s entrants. The #04 did run the last time out at Knoxville with Cup rookie Chase Briscoe steering the Ford to a 36th-place finish.


Saturday, August 7, 2021 (4:00 P.M. Eastern, CNBC)
XFINITY Race 20 of 33
Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey 200 at Watkins Glen
2019 Last-Place Finisher: A.J. Allmendinger

As with the Truck Series, there are 41 drivers entered for 40 spots in Saturday’s XFINITY race. Missing the cut will be Motorsports Business Management’s #13 entry with David Starr (see below).

DRIVER CHANGE: #1-JR Motorsports
Welcome back Michael Annett, who has been cleared to race following the stress fracture suffered to his leg prior to the two-week Olympic break. He takes the place of Josh Berry, who finished 8th as his most recent substitute at Loudon. Annett still holds onto the 11th spot in the Playoff standings, but his advantage over 13th has dropped from 70 points two races ago to only 32 with six races still to run after Saturday.

DRIVER CHANGE: #6-JD Motorsports
Saturday will also see the NASCAR debut of 20-year-old Michael Munley of Virginia, who has competed in both stock car and SCCA road racing in recent years. Last year, he drove a GTA car in the V8 Road Racing Series for Overbagh Motor Racing, claiming the GTA title and Rookie of the Year. Gutterman Services, the sponsor of his #29 in that series, will back his NASCAR ride in the Johnny Davis-owned #6. He takes the place of Ryan Vargas, who finished 29th in Loudon.

DRIVER CHANGE / DID NOT QUALIFY: #13-Motorsports Business Management
DRIVER SWAP: #66-Motorsports Business Management / Fleur-De-Lis Motorsports
On June 26, 2020, word broke of a historic barn collapse in upstate New York which had trapped the man who was dismantling it. That man was Craig Partee, owner of the Fleur-De-Lis Brew Works in Seneca Falls. Thanks to the efforts of first responders, Partee was rescued and has since recovered. Involved in the rescue was Mercy Flight Central, whose helicopter airlifted Partee to the hospital. To express his thanks, Partee has reunited with Carl Long, who he fielded cars for in the XFINITY Series back in 2010 to 2011. In fact, Partee had been involved in racing for three decades, and was going to run a tribute car in last year’s XFINITY event at The Glen before it was cancelled. This time around, Partee will sponsor MBM’s #66. Mercy Flight Central’s name will be on the car, along with the tail number of the helicopter that airlifted Partee – N911SM. Timmy Hill will drive the car, a Chevrolet dubbed “Second Chances,” moving David Starr to the #13 in place of Chad Finchum. However, due to the point standings, Starr will not race on Saturday, and MBM’s Cup operation is not competing this weekend.

DRIVER CHANGE: #17-Rick Ware Racing / SS-Green Light Racing
Josh Bilicki will pull double-duty at The Glen, both times running for Rick Ware Racing. He takes the place of J.J. Yeley, 23rd in Loudon, in the #17 Ford. This will be only his second XFINITY start of the year and first since Road America, where he ran 29th for team partner SS-Green Light Racing in the #07.

DRIVER CHANGE: #23-Our Motorsports
There are significantly fewer Cup regulars in Saturday’s field with just two yet announced – none driving for Penske Racing or Joe Gibbs Racing. First of these is Austin Dillon, who we last saw as the last-minute relief driver for Michael Annett at Atlanta. Dillon takes the place of Patrick Emerling, who was 31st in Loudon. Mayhem Athlete is the listed sponsor.

It’s been a big couple of weeks for Sam Hunt Racing. Hunt himself has now married, and his team will expand to a two-car operation next week with Will Rodgers – the same driver running the #41 in the Truck Series race – running the team’s new #24 GoodRx / Toyota. For now, the #26 remains the flag bearer for SHR, and Kris Wright will take the place of Brandon Gdovic, the 16th-place finisher in New Hampshire.

DRIVER CHANGE: #31-Jordan Anderson Racing
The second cup regular in the field is Richard Petty Motorsports’ Erik Jones, who will run Jordan Anderson’s #31 in place of Anderson himself, who finished 34th in Loudon. This will mark Jones’ first XFINITY start since August 16, 2019, when he drove for the now-defunct XCI Racing under the lights at Bristol.

TEAM UPDATE: #44-Martins Motorsports
Perhaps taking inspiration from Jordan Anderson’s team, Tommy Joe Martins announced over the break that he will scale back to a part-time driving schedule in 2022, leaving the seat of his #44 open to other drivers. That roster is expected to be announced in the coming weeks. Martins will run the Gilreath Farms Red Angus colors on Saturday.

DRIVER CHANGE: #52-Jimmy Means Racing
Earlier this year at Sonoma, ARCA West Series competitor Dave Smith informed me that he was looking to run a Cup Series road course race next year. This Saturday, he will take the first step that direction, replacing 33rd-place Loudon finisher Spencer Boyd in Jimmy Means Racing’s #52 Chevrolet. Smith’s name was not originally listed on until mid-week. For more on Smith, be sure to check out my feature on him from 2019 at this link.

DRIVER CHANGE: #54-Joe Gibbs Racing
With seven wins in ARCA and two in XFINITY, Ty Gibbs will certainly be one to watch as he climbs aboard JGR’s Toyota for only the tenth time in his career, and first since his pole-winning run at Road America. Gibbs takes the place of Christopher Bell, who walloped the field in his return to XFINITY at Loudon.

DRIVER CHANGE: #61-Motorsports Business Management
Stephen Leicht looks to turn around a frustrating season on the road courses in 2021 as he and sponsor Jani-King again takes the wheel of MBM’s #61 Toyota, this time replacing C.J. McLaughlin. Leicht was running mid-pack at the Daytona Road Course before a late-race incident dropped him to 29th. He failed to qualify at COTA, then managed just 26th in Road America.

DRIVER CHANGE: #74-Mike Harmon Racing
After Dawson Cram finished 35th in the team’s most recent outing at Loudon, Bayley Currey returns to the #74 for his first series start at Watkins Glen.

Preston Pardus continues his road course schedule with DGM Racing on Saturday as he brings sponsor Danus Utilities to Mario Gosselin’s #90 Chevrolet. Pardus finished 16th his last time out at Road America, narrowly avoiding the wrecking Sam Mayer in the early laps. His season-best 14th came at COTA. Pardus takes the place of Dexter Bean, who took 27th in Loudon.

DRIVER CHANGE: #99-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Like Josh Bilicki, Kyle Tilley will pull double-duty for the same organization – his with B.J. McLeod. On Saturday, Tilley runs the #99 in place of Mason Massey, whose involvement in an early restart crash at Loudon left him in last place. ERA Motorsport is the listed sponsor.

CUP INVADERS: #23-Austin Dillon, #31-Erik Jones

Sunday, August 8, 2021
CUP Race 23 of 36
Go Bowling at the Glen at Watkins Glen
2019 Last-Place Finisher: Reed Sorenson

There are just 37 drivers entered for Sunday’s 40-car field, the fourth-straight running of this race with that number of starters, and the 18th short field in 23 Cup races this season.

DRIVER CHANGE: #15-Rick Ware Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #51-Rick Ware Racing
On Sunday, Cody Ware will make his second IndyCar Series start during the highly-anticipated street race in Nashville, leaving open his seat in the #51 Cup car. Teammate James Davison will run in his place, which has availed the RWR #15 to R.C. Enerson. Enerson, who has four IndyCar starts of his own, most recently missed the cut at this year’s Indianapolis 500 with Top Gun Racing. He also has one previous green flag in NASCAR – last summer at Road America, where he ran 20th for SS-Green Light Racing. This will mark Enerson’s first Cup start, and on a track where he finished a career-best 9th in IndyCar with Dale Coyne Racing back in 2016 (though using the track’s “long course”).

DRIVER CHANGE: #78-Live Fast Motorsports
Kyle Tilley’s second round of his double-header will come in the B.J McLeod and Matt Tifft backed Live Fast Motorsports with whom he finished 31st COTA and 35th at Road America. Bremont Chronometers is the sponsor of his #78 Ford, which McLeod most recently finished 30th with in Loudon.

TEAM UPDATE: #99-Trackhouse Racing
Following their acquisition of Chip Ganassi Racing and its two Charters, the team has this week announced that they will also bring on one of CGR’s drivers – Ross Chastain – and will campaign the #1. As of yet, Kurt Busch’s plans for 2022 are still to be announced.

TODAY IN LASTCAR HISTORY (August 5, 2005): John Andretti scored the first last-place finish of his Truck Series career in the Power Stroke Diesel 200 at IRP when his #15 Stoops Freightliner / Pedigo / ABC Chevrolet started 4th, but crashed out after 23 laps. Andretti drove for Billy Ballew that night in what was his third of six career starts in the series. His best finish was a 4th at Las Vegas on September 20, 2008.

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