Thursday, October 28, 2021

PREVIEW: Spooky paint schemes and some intrepid road racers among the stories at Martinsville

IMAGE: @raceartist

Saturday, October 30, 2021 (1:00 P.M. ET, FS1)
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 41 drivers entered for 40 spots in Saturday's return of the Truck Series, which means Norm Benning will be the one competitor left on the outside looking in. 

#20-Spencer Boyd
#26-Tyler Ankrum
#33-Jesse Iwuji
#34-Josh Reaume

DRIVER CHANGE: #3-Jordan Anderson Racing
Martinsville marks the Truck Series debut for Sage Karam, whose impressive first three XFINITY races featured a 16th-place run in the night race at Bristol. There, as here, Karam runs for Jordan Anderson, taking the place of the owner-driver who ran 11th last time out in Talladega.

DID NOT QUALIFY: #6-Norm Benning Racing
While Benning will not race Saturday, he is currently preparing to make the season finale next week in Phoenix.

DRIVER CHANGE: #9-CR7 Motorsports
Colby Howard makes his third Truck start of the year and first since the night race at Bristol, where he ran 15th following a 13th-place season debut in Darlington. Taking the place of team owner Codie Rohrbaugh, who finished 16th after a last-lap wreck in Talladega, Howard will make his first Martinsville start in the Truck Series, a track where he’s run just 25th and 39th in two XFINITY races.

DRIVER CHANGE: #11-Spencer Davis Motorsports
Spencer Davis will make his 8th Truck start of the season and first since Las Vegas, again piloting the #11 Inox Supreme Lubricants Toyota. He takes the place of Clay Greenfield, who ran 23rd after a late-race wreck in Tallaega.

RETURNING: #17-David Gilliland Racing
Taylor Gray returns for his fourth career Truck start and first since his 29th-place run at Bristol.

DRIVER CHANGE: #25-Rackley-W.A.R.
Josh Berry rejoins the Rackley team for the first time since his 11th-place run in the night race at Bristol as part of a double-duty effort at the track he won his first XFINITY race this past spring (see below). Berry takes the place of Willie Allen, whose return to the series for the first time in seven years yielded an 18th-place finish.

MISSING: #28-FDNY Racing
Bryan Dauzat and Jim Rosenblum’s FDNY Racing are not entered following the crash that left them next-to-last in Talladega.

DRIVER CHANGE: #33-Reaume Brothers Racing
Jesse Iwuji returns to the Truck Series for the first time since Texas in June, when he ran 28th in the Reaume Brothers’ #34. This week, he drives the team’s primary #33 in place of Canada’s Jason White, who ran 27th in Talladega, and carries sponsorship from eRacing Association.

DRIVER CHANGE: #34-Reaume Brothers Racing
Team owner Josh Reaume swept both last fall’s XFINITY and Truck Series last-place runs, and this weekend returns to action for the first time since his last-place run at Bristol in September. He takes the place of Dylan Lupton, who was one spot ahead of Jason White in 26th at Talladega. Hardy Boy Consulting is the listed sponsor.

DRIVER CHANGE: #41-Cram Racing Enterprises
On Wednesday, Keith McGee reported he was unable to secure funding for another race this year, meaning his career-best 10th-place finish at Talladega would be his final start of 2021. Dawson Cram will resume driving duties of his own #41 Be Water Chevrolet. Cram ran 35th in his most recent race at Bristol, where a crash before halfway left him 35th.

DRIVER CHANGE: #45-Niece Motorsports
Chris Hacker returns to the Truck Series for the first time since his last-place run in Las Vegas, and will again run in Al Niece’s #45, this time replacing 38th-place Talladega finisher Lawless Alan. Sherfick Companies debuts as team sponsor.

RETURNING: #49-CMI Motorsports
The Reuse brothers – Bobby and Roger – are most often seen running the occasional NASCAR road course race. But this Saturday, Roger Reuse will make only his third series start on an oval, following runs of 27th and 24th in the last two Gateway races. This also signals a return of Ray Ciccarelli’s team to the series for the first time since Keith McGee’s run in Las Vegas.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Kyle Busch Motorsports
Martinsville marks the third Truck Series start for Corey Heim, following a 23rd in the spring race at Darlington and a career-best 18th at Watkins Glen. He takes the place of a struggling Drew Dollar, who ran 35th in Talladega.

DRIVER CHANGE: #56-Hill Motorsports
Timmy Hill makes his 10th Truck start of the season and first since Bristol, taking the place of his brother, Talladega runner-up Tyler Hill. Timmy looks for his third top-ten finish of the year and matching his own series-best run in this race two years ago, when he ran 5th.


Saturday, October 23, 2021 (6:00 P.M. ET, NBCSN)
XFINITY Race 32 of 33
Round of 8 – Race 3 of 3
Dead On Tools 250 at Martinsville
2020 Last-Place Finisher: Josh Reaume

There are 41 drivers entered for 40 spots on the XFINITY side as well, which again excludes the #13 Motorsports Business Management entry.

#6-Ryan Vargas
#11-Justin Haley
#16-A.J. Allmendinger
#31-Josh Berry
#36-Alex Labbe
#51-Jeremy Clements
#90-Preston Pardus
#92-Josh Williams

TEAM UPDATE: #1-JR Motorsports
Michael Annett debuts a military-themed Pilot / Flying J Veterans Salute paint scheme that he will also run at Phoenix to close out his full-time XFINITY career. With his strong runs of late, Annett will roll off 6th in Saturday’s race, second only to outside polesitter Ty Gibbs among non-Playoff drivers.

DRIVER SWAP: #5-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #99-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Fresh off his return to the Cup Series last Sunday in Kansas, Ryan Ellis will make his sixth XFINITY start of the season and first since Labor Day weekend in Darlington, when he ran 35th. His season-best run was in the spring Darlington race, where he took 16th. Ellis will make his first XFINITY start at Martinsville in McLeod’s #99, moving 25th-place Kansas finisher Matt Mills back to his familiar #5, replacing Mason Massey, who finished 37th after a crash.

DID NOT QUALIFY: #13-Motorsports Business Management
Timmy Hill had been entered in the #13 that will not start Saturday, but Hill will himself run double-duty in both the Truck Series for his own team and in Sunday’s Cup race for MBM (see below).

DRIVER CHANGE: #17-Rick Ware Racing / SS-Green Light Racing
Alcova Mortgage, J.J. Yeley’s sponsor from the spring race at Martinsville, will back him again on Saturday. Yeley replaces Garrett Smithley, 18th after a last-minute deal to run Kansas. In just three series starts here, Yeley has completed all but one lap, and was out front for five circuits in this race last year, crossing the line in 14th.

DRIVER CHANGE: #23-Our Motorsports
While saddled with a costly four-race suspension for both crew chief and car chief following the loss of ballast on pit road prior to the start of last week’s Kansas race, Our Motorsports looks to close out a strong year for their new second team. Driving this week is Natalie Decker – back in the car for the first time since Road America – replacing 24th-place Kanas runner Patrick Emerling. After being sponsored by several musicians in the Reaume Brothers Racing team’s portion of the #23’s schedule, Decker carries sponsorship from the film “The Manson Brothers’ Midnight Zombie Massacre” for the Halloween race.

DRIVER CHANGE: #26-Sam Hunt Racing
Colin Garrett makes only his fifth XFINITY start of the year and first since September at Darlington, where he ran 17th. Veterans Grow America backs the #26 Toyota this week as Garrett takes the place of Dylan Lupton, who ran 27th in Kansas.

DRIVER CHANGE: #31-Jordan Anderson Racing
Josh Berry looks for a season sweep at Martinsville during a packed Saturday schedule. Following his return to Rackley-W.A.R.’s Truck Series team, he’ll hop aboard Jordan Anderson’s XFINITY car, which welcomes Solid Rock Carriers as an associate sponsor.

DRIVER SWAP: #52-Jimmy Means Racing
One of the biggest surprises in the XFINITY field has to be Preston Pardus, who has made all 13 of his previous XFINITY starts exclusively on road courses, most recently a career-best 7th on the Charlotte “Roval.” The Spec Miata champion will make his NASCAR oval debut on one of the most demanding on the schedule, taking the place of Spencer Boyd in Mario Gosselin’s #90. Boyd will also run Saturday, replacing Joey Gase in Jimmy Means’ #52 that finished last in Kansas. Sparrow Dynamics will back the Boyd effort.

SPONSOR UPDATE: #54-Joe Gibbs Racing
JGR enters the cryptocurrency sponsorship craze for the first time with Smile Coin as sponsor for last week's winner and newly crowned ARCA champion Ty Gibbs.

DRIVER CHANGE: #61-Motorsports Business Management
Stephen Leicht has seen his XFINITY schedule reduced significantly in 2021 with this marking only his seventh attempt of the year, and his fifth actual start. He’s looking to improve on his season-best 26th at Road America with returning sponsor Jani-King. Leicht’s only NASCAR national series start at Martinsville came nine years ago today, when he ran 34th for Circle Sport. Leicht takes the place of Loris Hezemans, who ran 32nd in Kansas.

DRIVER CHANGE: #74-Mike Harmon Racing
While no driver was listed to take the place of 39th-place Kansas finisher Gray Gaulding as of this writing, Sci Aps was listed as sponsor, likely indicating a return for the brand’s frequent choice, C.J. McLaughlin. UPDATE: As of Friday, MHR announced that Mike Harmon himself will be driving the car on Saturday.

DRIVER CHANGE: #78-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Akinori Ogata will make his third career XFINITY Series start for a third different team, and will do so in his first -ever race at Martinsville. Ogata and sponsorship from Pneumatic Tools will run B.J. McLeod’s flagship #78, taking the place of 30th-place Kansas finisher Jesse Little.


Sunday, October 24, 2021 (2:00 P.M. ET, NBC)
CUP Race 35 of 36
Round of 8 – Race 3 of 3
XFINITY 500 at Martinsville
2020 Last-Place Finisher: Garrett Smithley

There are 38 drivers entered for 40 spots, marking the 26th short field in 35 races this season.

#6-Ryan Newman
#38-Anthony Alfredo
#52-Josh Bilicki
#78-B.J. McLeod

MISSING: #13-Motorsports Business Management
David Starr is not entered in MBM’s second car this week following a 34th-place showing in Kansas. Starr will instead focus on Saturday’s XFINITY race, where he will again pilot the #66, and could potentially lock-up the 2021 LASTCAR XFINITY Series Championship.

DRIVER CHANGE: #15-Rick Ware Racing
Defending last-place finisher Garrett Smithley makes his 26th Cup start of the season and his fourth at Martinsville, where his best finish came in his track debut in 2019 taking 32nd in Rick Ware Racing’s #52. This time around, Smithley runs Ware’s #15, taking the place of 36th-place Kansas finisher Ryan Ellis, who is exclusively running XFINITY this week for B.J. McLeod. Boom Mobile rejoins as sponsor.

DRIVER CHANGE: #66-Motorsports Business Management
Timmy Hill will pull double-duty this weekend, taking the place of Chad Finchum, who is expected to run the Cup race at Phoenix. American Dream Leasing is the listed sponsor for Hill’s Toyota in what will be his 12th series start of the year and first since his 27th-place run at Texas tied his season-best finish.

MISSING: #96-Gaunt Brothers Racing
Parker Kligerman is only entered in Trucks this week for Henderson Motorsports after his breakout 20th-place Cup run last Sunday in Kansas.

TODAY IN LASTCAR HISTORY (October 28, 2000): Phil Bonifield picked up the 9th last-place finish of his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series career in the season finale, the Motorola 200 at the California Speedway, when his #23 Red Line Synthetic Oil Chevrolet lost the engine after 11 laps. Bonifield was among the 39 entrants for the 36-truck field. One of the three DNQs was Rick Ware, current owner of Rick Ware Racing, who entered his own #81 Chevrolet.


dawg said...

I know JJ Yealey struggled to make the transition from openwheel to stock cars. And that he's become a journeyman "field filler" driver. But now that he's become used to this type of racing, I'd love to see what he could do with a more competitive ride. Look what has happened to AJ's career since Matt Kaulig saw something that had been overlooked by everyone else.

Brock Beard said...

@dawg - That's a very good point. Yeley has outperformed in his equipment, and would be a prime candidate for another shot at a top ride.