Thursday, October 14, 2021

PREVIEW: Grala, Berryhill, and Lupton among those making infrequent starts at Texas

IMAGE: @hershydesigns, posted on @joshbilicki

Saturday, October 16, 2021 (3:00 P.M. NBC)
XFINITY Race 30 of 33
Round of 8 – Race 1 of 3
Andy’s Frozen Custard 355 at Texas
2020 Last-Place Finisher: Timmy Hill

There are 41 drivers entered for the XFINITY Series’ return to Texas, which once again puts Timmy Hill and the #13 team out of the field.

TEAM UPDATE: #1-JR Motorsports
Following a last-lap spin, Michael Annett finished 27th in his return to action at the Roval. This week, he’s once again entered in the #1 in place of relief driver Josh Berry, and looks set to close out his final season as a full-time driver.

DRIVER CHANGE: #15-JD Motorsports
Bayley Currey is back in the #15 this week, which by all accounts will again be a JD Motorsports Chevrolet in place of the Sam Hunt Racing Toyota entered last Saturday for Kris Wright. Fort Worth Screen Printing has stepped up as Currey’s sponsor.

DRIVER CHANGE: #5-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #17-Rick Ware Racing / SS-Green Light Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #99-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
DRIVER SWAP: #07-SS-Green Light Racing
It’s a game of musical chairs as Mason Massey returns to drive the B.J. McLeod #5 for his 12th XFINITY start of 2021 and first since Talladega. Massey’s return moves Matt Mills to the #99 in place of J.J. Yeley, who moves to the #17 in place of Joe Graf, Jr. Graf will himself move back to the #07 in place of Josh Bilicki, who’s not entered in this Saturday’s race following his frightening incident at the Roval.

DID NOT QUALIFY: #13-Motorsports Business Management
The #13 team has not started a XFINITY race since Road America in July, when Stephen Leicht finished 26th. But Timmy Hill, entered in the car this week, will run the Cup race instead (see below).

DRIVER CHANGE: #23-Our Motorsports
Saturday will see Tanner Berryhill make just the third XFINITY start of the season, following the spring race at Darlington, where he ran 21st, and this same Texas track in June, where a crash left him 39th. As in Texas, Eclipse Claims Consulting will sponsor him in the high-powered #23 Chris Our entry. Berryhill takes the place of Ty Dillon, who this past week was announced as GMS Racing’s Cup driver for 2022, bearing the #94.

DRIVER CHANGE: #26-Sam Hunt Racing
Dylan Lupton’s returns to the XFINITY Series at Las Vegas lasted just 31 laps before he was involved in the day’s biggest accident. This week, he looks for a better finish as he rejoins Sam Hunt’s #26 team. Lupton takes the place of Will Rodgers, who ran 29th on the Roval.

DRIVER CHANGE: #31-Jordan Anderson Racing
After testing StarCom Racing’s NextGen car on the Charlotte “Roval,” Kaz Grala is back in action on the XFINITY side for the first time since his 18th-place showing at Road America, his only other series start in 2021. Then as now, Grala drives for Jordan Anderson, this time taking the place of Sage Karam, 25th on the Roval.

DRIVER CHANGE: #52-Jimmy Means Racing
Joey Gase is listed in a Chevrolet rather than the Ford he entered in Talladega, and rejoins the Jimmy Means Racing team for the third time in 2021 with Donate Life Texas as sponsor. Gase takes the place of Spencer Boyd, who moves to the #90 in place of road race ace Preston Pardus, fresh off a career-best 7th on the Roval. Boyd will again be sponsored by the Mini Doge cryptocurrency.

DRIVER CHANGE: #54-Joe Gibbs Racing
John Hunter Nemechek will make his fourth XFINITY start of the year and second for Joe Gibbs Racing, the other coming at Talladega just a few weeks ago with a 22nd-place finish. Nemechek takes the place of Ty Gibbs, who ran 21st on the Roval, and will be sponsored by longtime NEMCO Motorsports backer ROMCO Equipment.

DRIVER CHANGE: #66-Motorsports Business Management
With Austin Hill still in the #61 with Hattori Racing Enterprises backing, David Starr will instead replace Loris Hezemans in the MBM #66 following Hezemans’ 35th-place finish on the Roval (and accompanying Cup Series announcement with the Reaume Brothers and Hezeberg Systems in 2022). 

DRIVER CHANGE: #74-Mike Harmon Racing
C.J. McLaughlin and his Sci Aps backing are back with Mike Harmon Racing this weekend during what has been a frustrating season for the #74 team. McLaughlin, who finished last at Richmond, will take the place of last week’s last-placer Gray Gaulding.

DRIVER CHANGE: #78-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Jesse Little has become a less frequent sight in the XFINITY Series lately. On Saturday, he’ll make his first start since the night race at Bristol and only his seventh start in the season’s second half. He takes the place of Stefan Parsons, who ran 24th on the Roval.


Sunday, October 17, 2021 (2:00 P.M. ET, NBC)
CUP Race 33 of 36
Round of 8 – Race 1 of 3
Autotrader Echo Park Automotive 500 at Texas
2020 Last-Place Finisher: J.J. Yeley

There are 39 drivers entered for 40 spots in Sunday’s main event, marking the 25th short field in 33 races this season.

RETURNING / DRIVER SWAP: #13-Motorsports Business Management
DRIVER CHANGE: #66-Motorsports Business Management
For the first time since Nashville, MBM’s second Cup car will start a points-paying Cup race, carrying Broken Bow Luxury Cabins as sponsorship. Timmy Hill will drive, opening up the #66 for a returning David Starr. Starr’s sponsorship from ConnectUS and Kyocera were announced earlier this month. The #13 had run at Texas this past June, where Starr drove it in the Open for the All-Star Race. Its only other attempt was this year’s Daytona 500, where Garrett Smithley ran a Ford.

DRIVER SWAP: #15-Rick Ware Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #52-Rick Ware Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #53-Rick Ware Racing
Joey Gase returns for double-duty in Texas driving the #53 on Sunday, moving Garrett Smithley to the #15 with returning sponsorship from Trophy Tractor. Smithley takes the place of Josh Bilicki, who ran 28th on the Roval, and will now return to the #52 in place of Joey Hand, who will not race this weekend following his solid 27th-place NASCAR debut last Sunday. Bilicki’s Ford will be decorated with the pattern of the Texas state flag.

MISSING: #16-Kaulig Racing
A.J. Allmendinger is not entered after his promising run on the Roval was cut short with engine trouble, leaving him 38th. He will instead focus on the XFINITY race, where his car will carry race sponsor Andy’s Frozen Custard.

DRIVER CHANGE: #78-Live Fast Motorsports
B.J. McLeod rejoins the #78 crew this Sunday in place of road racer Scott Heckert, who turned in a 31st-place finish on the Roval. McLeod finished 30th his most recent time out in Talladega.

Saturday, October 30, 2021
TRUCKS Race 21 of 22
Round of 8 – Race 3 of 3
United Rentals 200 at Martinsville
2020 Last-Place Finisher: Josh Reaume

There are still two more weeks until the Truck Series returns in Martinsville.

TODAY IN LASTCAR HISTORY (October 14, 1979): Kansas native Henry Jones picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR Winston Cup Series career in the Holly Farms 400 at the North Wilkesboro Speedway when his #69 Pro Shoppe Chevrolet lost the engine after 10 laps. This was the third of Jones’ eight career starts, driving in place of team owner Mike Kempton, who made four Cup starts of his own. Kempton also scored exactly one las-place finish in Cup, which came at the Nashville Fairgrounds on July 16, 1977 following early overheating issues.

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