Thursday, August 26, 2021

PREVIEW: Landmark start for Landon Cassill among stories in return to Daytona

PHOTO: @carnomaly

Friday, August 27, 2021 (7:30 P.M. ET NBCSN)
XFINITY Race 23 of 33
Wawa 250 at Daytona
2020 Last-Place Finisher: Joe Graf, Jr.

There are 42 drivers entered for 40 spots in Friday’s return to Daytona. More metric qualifying awaits, however, meaning both Motorsports Business Management’s #13 and the Bassett Racing’s #77 are already bumped from the field.

DRIVER CHANGE: #1-JR Motorsports
Michael Annett’s push to get back into the Playoffs will reportedly resume this week, as he again entered in the #1 in place of his latest relief driver, Josh Berry. At Michigan, Berry came close to scoring his second XFINITY Series win before ultimately finishing 4th behind A.J. Allmendinger. Berry is not entered in Friday’s race.

DID NOT QUALIFY: #13-Motorsports Business Management
Timmy Hill will not run in the XFINITY Series as his #13 team is again too low in Owner Points. Hill will likewise not run Saturday’s Cup race at Daytona, site of he and then-teammate Garrett Smithley’s DNQs for MBM back in February.

DRIVER CHANGE: #17-Rick Ware Racing / SS-Green Light Racing
J.J. Yeley rejoins the XFINITY Series for just the ninth time in 2021, bringing new sponsorship from Figgers Wireless. He takes the place of Carson Ware, who ran 28th last week in Michigan.

DRIVER CHANGE: #23-Our Motorsports
Daytona will mark Blaine Perkins’ fifth series start and first since Pocono. Raceline will sponsor him once more as he looks to improve on his 24th-place showing in his series debut at Phoenix. He takes the place of Cup regular Tyler Reddick, who ran 16th in Michigan.

DRIVER CHANGE: #52-Jimmy Means Racing
Spencer Boyd returns to the XFINITY Series for the second time in 2021, and like his previous start at Loudon will run for Jimmy Means. Wheelhouse Bicycle is the listed sponsor of his red-and-white Chevrolet. Boyd takes the place of Gray Gaulding, who finished runner-up in this same race last year for SS-Green Light Racing.

DRIVER CHANGE: #54-Joe Gibbs Racing
Friday will not be without Cup Series “invaders” as Christopher Bell – already locked-into the Playoffs by winning the second race of the season on the Daytona Road Course – will drive the #54 for the first time since his dominant and unsurprising win at Loudon. Bell will thus take the place of Ty Gibbs, whose wins included that weekend’s XFINITY event, and finished 13th at Michigan. Reser’s Fine Foods is the sponsor.

DRIVER SWAP: #61-Motorsports Business Management
DRIVER CHANGE: #66-Motorsports Business Management
Jason White continues his superspeedway-exclusive season in the XFINITY Series, rejoining the circuit for the first time since his 39th-place finish at Talladega in MBM’s #13. This time, he drives the #66 with sponsors A-Game and CMR Construction remaining from his 10th-place Daytona effort with RSS Racing. White’s return moves David Starr – 22nd at Michigan – to the #61 which Bubba Wallace drove to a strong 10th-place finish despite damage from an early crash.

DRIVER CHANGE: #74-Mike Harmon Racing
While Kyle Weatherman will remain in Mike Harmon’s #47 Chevrolet, the #74 will go to Tim Viens instead of 34th-place Bayley Currey, the latter struggling with electrical issues at Michigan. Viens will make his first series start of the season following an 18th-place run in this race last year. Barnes Law is the listed sponsor.

Dillon Bassett was entered in what would have been the Bassett team’s first attempt since Texas in June. Due to a low rank in Owner Points, however, the team will not make their second start of the year and first since COTA, joining Timmy Hill on the DNQ list.

DRIVER CHANGE: #99-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
The second Cup regular in the lineup will be Chase Briscoe, who will run his second XFINITY start of the year and first since running for this same #99 team at Charlotte in May. Briscoe finished 6th that day. is the listed sponsor as Briscoe takes the place of Jesse Little, collected in a late accident at Michigan en route to a 32nd-place finish.

CUP INVADERS: #54-Christopher Bell, #99-Chase Briscoe

Saturday, August 28, 2021 (7:00 P.M. ET NBC)
CUP Race 26 of 36
Regular Season Finale
Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona
2020 Last-Place Finisher: J.J. Yeley

There are 40 drivers entered for as many spots this week, marking just the 7th “full” field in 26 races this season and first since Indianapolis, two races ago.

DRIVER CHANGE: #7-Spire Motorsports
With Michael Annett returning to JR Motorsports’ #1 in XFINITY, Corey LaJoie will likewise return to Spire’s #7 Chevrolet for the Playoff cutoff race, again replacing Josh Berry. Built Bar returns as the team’s sponsor for the first time since Las Vegas. LaJoie may be a good dark horse pick as he’s finished Top 10 in three of his last four Cup starts at Daytona, including a career-best 6th in this race in 2019.

RETURNING: #16-Kaulig Racing
Kaulig Racing returns to the Cup Series for the first time since A.J. Allmendinger’s breakthrough win at Indianapolis. Driving this week is Kaz Grala, who last ran this entry at Talladega, where he finished a strong 6th. Goettl Air Conditioning, previously a sponsor with Premium Motorsports, will back the team this weekend.

RETURNING: #66-Motorsports Business Management
David Starr is back in the Cup Series for the first time since Nashville, and runs MBM’s #66 for the first time since the Coca-Cola 600. Midwest Mobile Tech is the sponsor for what will be Starr’s first Cup start at Daytona.

RETURNING: #96-Gaunt Brothers Racing
Welcome back Landon Cassill, who on Saturday returns to the Cup Series for the first time since the 2019 finale at Homestead, where he closed out his last season with StarCom Racing. Cassill, who nearly won this race that year before following Kurt Busch onto pit road before a rain delay, will carry sponsorship from Carnomaly. In what will be Cassill’s 500th NASCAR start (and 325th in Cup), he will drive for the Gaunt Brothers, who most recently withdrew Ty Dillon’s entry from Indianapolis.

Sunday, September 5, 2021
TRUCKS Race 17 of 22
Round of 10 – Race 2 of 3
Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Darlington
2020 Last-Place Finisher: Bryant Barnhill

The Truck Series takes the week off and returns on Labor Day weekend for their second race of the season in Darlington, the second-straight year it replaces the cancelled race in Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.

TODAY IN LASTCAR HISTORY (August 26, 1995): On the same night that Terry Labonte wrecked across the finish line after contact from Dale Earnhardt, Ricky Rudd finished last for the 5th time in his Cup Series career in that Goody’s 500 at Bristol. Rudd dropped out after 138 laps with crash damage on his #10 Tide Ford. This was Rudd’s first last-place finish as an owner-driver of Rudd Performance Motorsports.

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