Thursday, March 31, 2022

PREVIEW: XFINITY Series debuts of Caruth, DiSavino, and Griffith kick off Richmond weekend

PHOTO: Rajah Kirby Caruth, @rajahcaruth_

Saturday, April 2, 2022 (1:30 P.M. ET, FS1)
XFINITY Race 7 of 33
Toyota Care 250 at Richmond
2021 Last-Place Finisher (September): C.J. McLaughlin

The XFINITY Series remains strong this year as the first short track race of 2022 sees 42 drivers entered for 38 spots, meaning four teams will be sent home.

DRIVER CHANGE: #5-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
NEW TEAM: #55-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
In his first year as Stewart-Haas Racing’s reserve driver, Ryan Preece remains busy. On Saturday, he returns to the XFINITY Series for the first time since 2019 at Watkins Glen. While entered under B.J. McLeod’s #5 team, he will run a SHR Ford in place of McLeod’s Chevrolets, and carries sponsorship from Mohawk. Matt Mills, who most often campaigned the #5, save for last week with “road ringer” Scott Heckert, will this week run a new McLeod entry, the #55, with his J.F. Electric sponsorship.

DRIVER CHANGE: #18-Joe Gibbs Racing
John Hunter Nemechek is back in a XFINITY car for the first time since his team-best 5th-place finish for Sam Hunt Racing in Phoenix. This time, he drives JGR’s flagship #18, taking the place of Bubba Wallace, who contended for the lead before transmission issues in COTA left him 28th.

DRIVER CHANGE: #26-Sam Hunt Racing
Speaking of the Sam Hunt team, they will enter 24-year-old Derek Griffith in his first career XFINITY Series start in a Supra sponsored by Toyota Racing. Griffith, who takes the place of Parker Chase, the 19th-place finisher in COTA, has one previous start in NASCAR’s top three national series. This came last summer in Gateway, where he finished 26th after early damage to KBM’s #51 Truck Series entry.

Parker Retzlaff looks to pick up where he left off in his strong Phoenix debut this year, again driving Rod Sieg’s #38 Chevrolet with sponsorship from Ponsse. Retzlaff’s return moves Kyle Sieg to the #28 Ford in place of “road ringer” Patrick Gallagher, who ran 22nd despite multiple spins in COTA. The Engineering Group sponsors Kyle while brother Ryan Sieg carries a black-and-pink scheme on his #39 for team sponsor A-Game. 

DRIVER CHANGE: #34-Jesse Iwuji Motorsports
MISSING: #92-DGM Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #07-SS-Green Light Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #08-SS-Green Light Racing
On Monday came news that DGM Racing will scale back their third entry, the #92 Chevrolet, to a part-time entry shared by their current group of drivers. This came just days after the team enjoyed its second consecutive strong race. Following Kyle Weatherman’s top-ten run in Atlanta, Ross Chastain challenged for the win at COTA the day before his breakthrough first Cup victory, only to be undone by a late-race spin. The 24th-ranked #92 team’s Owner Points will reportedly transfer to Bobby Dotter’s struggling second team, the #08, which sees David Starr return to the seat, moving Joe Graf, Jr. back to the #07 in place of Cup regular Cole Custer. UPDATE (March 31): Weatherman will drive in place of Jesse Iwuji in the #34 as the JIM team looks to rurn around their frustrating start to the year.

DRIVER CHANGE: #35-Emerling-Gase Motorsports
Joey Gase returns to the team he co-owns for the first time since he finished 22nd in Las Vegas. He and his sponsorship from Donate Life Virginia come as the team is on the upswing following Parker Kligerman’s fine showing in COTA, where he took home 12th.

DRIVER CHANGE: #44-Alpha Prime Racing
Welcome to NASCAR national series competition Rajah Caruth, who on Saturday is set to make his first start in the flagship Alpha Prime #44. The 20-year-old Caruth has become a contender in ARCA’s national and regional competition, most recently battling for the lead in Phoenix before he finished 4th. Caruth, who takes the place of Sage Karam - 16th in COTA – carries sponsorship from Virginia State University.

DRIVER CHANGE: #45-Alpha Prime Racing
Joining Caruth as both a first-time XFINITY racer and teammate at Alpha Prime is Howie DiSavino III, who at this track last year kicked off a five-race stint in the Truck Series with a best finish of 22nd in Pocono. DiSavino takes the place of Josh Bilicki, whose rally at COTA was cut short by contact from Brandon Jones, leaving the #45 a distant 35th – last on the lead lap. Both Jones and the JGR team has since reached out to the Alpha Prime team to make amends.

DRIVER CHANGE: #52-Jimmy Means Racing
The Means team continues their fight to make their first start of the season, bringing back Harrison Rhodes after sports car racer Gar Robinson nearly got the #52 into last week’s field in COTA. Rhodes has five XFINITY starts at Richmond, though none since 2017, and has finished under power in each of them with 98.4% of the combined laps completed.

RETURNING: #77-Bassett Racing
Dillon Bassett is likewise determined to get his family’s #77 into the show for the first time in 2022, returning to the site of his 15th-place XFINITY debut in 2019 for DGM Racing. Bassett returned to the Richmond track that fall and improved with a 13th-place finish, a run he’s since matched in his most recent start at the Charlotte oval back in May of 2020.

MISSING: #88-JR Motorsports
Miguel Paludo is not entered along with the part-time fifth JRM entry following a 9th-place showing in COTA.

Mason Massey rejoins the Gosselin effort for the first time since his career-best 6th-place showing in Atlanta. Anderson Power Services, which backed him that day, is again the listed sponsor as he takes the place of road racer Preston Pardus, who ran 14th in COTA.


Sunday, April 3, 2022 (3:30 P.M. ET, FOX)
CUP Race 7 of 36
Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond
2021 Last-Place Finisher: Justin Haley

There are 37 entries, down two from last week in Austin, marking the sixth short field in seven points-paying Cup races this season.

DRIVER CHANGE: #15-Rick Ware Racing
MISSING: #66-Motorsports Business Management
While the preliminary entry list indicated Garrett Smithley would take the place of “road ringer” Joey Hand, who took 35th after late-race suspension issues in COTA, the ride will instead go to J.J. Yeley. This will mark Yeley’s first run in NASCAR’s NextGen car since this year’s Duel races in Daytona, where while driving for Carl Long, he was edged for the final transfer spot by Kaz Grala. Long’s Cup team finally earned its first Cup start in COTA with Boris Said and finished 26th, but isn’t entered this week.

MISSING: #27-Team Hezeberg
MISSING: #50-The Money Team
In fact, all three returning “open” teams from the Daytona 500, who each competed last Sunday, are not entered this week. While Team Hezeberg is expected to compete in this season’s remaining road course races, future events for both The Money Team and MBM are still to be announced.

RETURNING: #44-NY Racing Team
John Cohen, however, continues to build his notebook this week as Greg Biffle makes the team’s fourth start of 2022 and first since the NY Racing Team’s best-ever finish in Atlanta, taking 20th at the checkered flag. Biffle, who carries a white-and-green paint scheme for Norfolk Sate University, will be making his 30th Cup start at Richmond. His best series finish here was 3rd in the fall of 2005.

DRIVER CHANGE: #77-Spire Motorsports
Josh Bilicki will be in neither the XFINITY nor the Cup Series this week, the latter swapped with a returning Landon Cassill and his XFINITY sponsor Voyager: Crypto for All. This will be Cassill’s 20th Cup start at Richmond and his first since 2019. His best Cup finish at the Richmond short track remains his 19th-place showing for BK Racing in September 2012.

DRIVER CHANGE: #78-Live Fast Motorsports
Although COTA’s last-place finisher Andy Lally was again listed to run the #78 this week, the road racer confirmed on Monday that he’s currently mowing a baseball diamond in his lawn for a wiffle ball tournament this weekend. Team co-owner B.J. McLeod returns as driver this week. McLeod’s best of three finishes at Richmond came in his most recent appearance last fall, when he took home 30th.

Thursday, April 7, 2022
TRUCKS Race 5 of 23
United Rentals 200 at Martinsville
2021 Last-Place Finisher (October): Chase Purdy 

The Truck Series returns in another week for Martinsville.

TODAY IN LASTCAR HISTORY (March 31, 1963): Jerome Warren picked up the first last-place finish of his NASCAR Cup Series career in the Southeastern 500 at Bristol when his #93 1962 Ford dropped out with handling issues. This was the second of five career Cup starts for the Charlotte-born driver, who earned a career-best 18th in his final start at Columbia on May 2nd of that year. It was the only race he finished under power, last among those still running at the finish.

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

ARCA WEST: Burgess family nearly makes history as Pedroncelli parks again

PHOTO: Ethan Smith, @EthanHSmith_

by Ben Schneider Guest Contributor

Paul Pedroncelli finished last for the 6th time in his ARCA Menards Series West career in Saturday’s NAPA Auto Parts 150 at Irwindale Speedway when his #31 Pedroncelli Racing Chevrolet fell out with brake issues after completing 2 of 153 laps.

The finish was Pedroncelli’s sixth in his last eight series starts dating back to last season.

Regular LASTCAR readers will know that Pedroncelli’s prominence on this website is well-documented. P.J., his son, competes in the family’s main entry and even emerged as a surprise championship contender in 2021. Paul, meanwhile, runs the team’s second car mostly as a "start-and-park" operation. In fact, he has only been running at the finish three times in his ten West Series career starts.

Sarah Burgess' renumbered "04" entry,
a Sebastian Arias backup car that was
later withdrawn.
PHOTO: Diego Alvarado, @DiegoxAlv
However, the official ruling of Pedroncelli’s most recent last-place-finish is somewhat disputed. Currently listed at the bottom of Racing-Reference’s results is Sarah Burgess, the mother of full-time West Series driver Bridget Burgess. Originally from Australia, the Burgess family moved to the United States in 2008 to allow Bridget expanded opportunities to pursue a motorsports career. While Bridget is now in her third full season of West Series competition, her mother, Sarah, is also an accomplished racing driver who previously competed in off-road racing. The hard-working team does a lot with a little as Sarah currently serves as Bridget’s owner, crew chief, and, on some race weekends, her entire pit crew.

After a test run on Friday, Sarah was added as a late entry to the race in what would have been her series debut, making her and Bridget the first mother and daughter to compete against one another in an ARCA-sanctioned event. However, Sarah’s entry was withdrawn shortly before the event. While Racing-Reference currently credits her with a 16th-place finish and “dns” (“did not start”) as the reason out, ARCA Menards Series PR Director Charlie Krall clarified that Sarah will not be credited with an official series start, and therefore will not be credited with 16th place. Because Sarah made a qualifying attempt before she withdrew, however, she will receive three championship points.

Because Racing-Reference’s ARCA pages sometimes take a few days to fully update, for the purposes of official LASTCAR championship scoring, we will not dispute Krall’s explanation. Therefore, Pedroncelli is now just ahead of Phoenix last-place finisher Eric Rhead at the top of the West Series LASTCAR standings. Following Pedroncelli up the results order was Stafford Smith, who completed 73 laps before retiring with steering issues. A late crash for Chris Lowden left him 13th with 142 laps completed, followed by Bridget Burgess in 12th and Nick Joanides in 11th.

Up front, Sunrise Ford Racing’s Tanner Reif survived an overtime restart to score his first career victory in only his second start. Reif led all 153 laps of the race.

15) #31-Paul Pedroncelli / 2 laps / brakes
14) #21-Stafford Smith / 73 laps / steering
13) #11-Chris Lowden / 142 laps / crash
12) #88-Bridget Burgess / 148 laps / running
11) #77-Nick Joanides / 149 laps / running

1st) Chevrolet (2)

1st) Jones Racing, Pedroncelli Racing (1)


Sunday, March 27, 2022

CUP: Tangle with Keselowski hands Andy Lally first NASCAR last-place finish since 2008

PHOTO: @RealJaredHaas

Andy Lally picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR Cup Series career in Sunday’s EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas when his #78 Surface Sunscreen / Ford fell out with suspension issues after 19 of 69 laps.

The finish came in Lally’s 40th series start. In the Cup Series’ last-place rankings, it was the 12th for suspension problems, the 25th for the #78, and the 715th for Ford. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 39th for the #78, the 47th from suspension issues, and the 987th for Ford.

The 47-year-old from Northport, New York boasts one of the most impressive resumes in American road course racing. He’s been crowned champion of three different classes in Grand-Am competition alone, and was on class-winning teams in five runnings of the 24 Hours of Daytona, most recently in 2016. 

Driving for California-based TRG Motorsports in sports car competition got Lally a shot at NASCAR. Team owner Kevin Buckler fielded entries in the XFINITY and Truck Series in 2007, then in 2009 made his Cup debut at Watkins Glen. He finished 27th. Two years later, Lally and Buckler teamed up for a full-season Cup Series effort. The pair won Rookie of the Year virtually unopposed, scoring a season-best 19th at Talladega.

Ever since, Lally’s NASCAR appearances have remained infrequent as a “road course ringer.” His series return came in the 2014 XFINIY race at Road America, where he ran 7th for SS-Green Light Racing. The first of four 5th-place finishes came with the same team at Mid-Ohio in 2017. He’s also become one of the sport’s most popular color commentators, and would continue this role in Saturday’s Truck Series race for FS1.

For COTA, Lally drove for Live Fast Motorsports, with whom he made his return to Cup competition last summer at the Indianapolis Grand Prix Circuit. That day, he finished 39th, out in the middle stages with rear gear trouble. This time, Lally would join in the road course debut of NASCAR’s NextGen car, this time with both Surface Sunscreen and as sponsors of B.J. McLeod and Matt Tifft’s #78 Ford.

Lally joined several other “road course ringers” from both Chartered and “open” teams, resulting in a stout 39-car entry list. He ranked just 33rd in opening practice, but along with Joey Hand in Rick Ware Racing’s #15 Ford Pass Rewards Visa Ford, did not complete a qualifying lap. While Hand’s car required repairs after a blown right-front tire damaged his fender, Lally couldn’t qualify as his car failed inspection three times. This would also mean he’d incur a redundant tail-end penalty on Sunday before serving a pass-through after the green flag.

On Sunday, Lally would roll off 39th behind the 38th-place Hand, whose repaired fender made him one of six drivers sent to the rear for unapproved adjustments. Joining Hand would be 20th-place A.J. Allmendinger in the #16 Action Industries Chevrolet, 27th-place Michael McDowell in the #34 Love’s Travel Stops Ford, 30th-place Erik Jones in the #43 Focus Factor Chevrolet, 34th-place Josh Bilicki in the #77 Ziegler Auto Group Chevrolet, 36th-place Loris Hezemans in the #27 Hezeberg Systems Ford, and 37th-place Boris Said in the #66 Ford.

When the race started, Lally maintained the 39th spot as the last car on the inside lane. During the pace laps, he’d been warned about his speed down pit road, having originally been clocked at 52mph. He would instead come down pit road at 4400rpms in first gear. During Lap 1, Lally remained in touch with the rest of the field, crossing the stripe 4.589 seconds back of the leader. He began Lap 2 on pit road, 27.789 seconds back of the lead and 13.470 behind Loris Hezemans in 38th. 

But Lally had barely returned to the track when Hezemans was then handed a pass-through for short-cutting Turn 5. The driver protested his case, saying he didn’t pass anyone, but served his penalty on Lap 3. This allowed Lally to close within 5.915 seconds of Hezemans. Another 12.083 seconds ahead of Hezemans in 37th was Boris Said, who that time by was also snagged by NASCAR for driving off onto the red-painted runoff in the Esses. Said served his pass-through on Lap 4, just as Hezemans took over last, 2.192 seconds back of Lally. Said returned to the track 14.630 seconds back of Cody Ware’s #51 Nurtec ODT Ford in 36th. Lally then climbed to 37th, 4.063 ahead of 38th-place Hezemans with Said now last, 3.254 back of Hezemans.

As Lally set to work trying to catch Ware, who began to report both an overheating and steering issue, Said set to work catching Hezemans. On Lap 6, the two were 2.902 seconds apart, then closed to 1.714 on Lap 7, 1.552 on Lap 8, and 1.189 on Lap 9. But Hezemans picked up another four-tenths on the 10th circuit as Said now reported his gear was overheating, reporting over 260 degrees. Team owner Carl Long radioed back that the gear could handle up to 300 degrees, but no further – if it hit that number, they’d be done for the day. Said continued to lose ground to Hezemans, dropping to 3.739 back of the 38th-place runner on Lap 13.

On that same lap, Kaz Grala took over last place with a green-flag stop on his #50 Pit Viper Sunglasses Chevrolet. He returned to the track a distant 23.081 seconds back of Said, then lost another seven seconds the next time by. He was saved by the Stage 1 ending caution on Lap 16, though it took at least one full caution lap for him to finally catch the tail end of the field. Grala soon passed Ware, who pitted under yellow for adjustments. By then, both driver and team were concerned something was either broken in the rear of the car, or the steering had malfunctioned. Ware himself said there were so many issues he couldn’t relay them to the team. Regardless, he decided against a second stop and chose to restart on Lap 18.

Heading up the hill into Turn 1, Ware quickly passed Daniel Suarez, who up to that point had been enjoying a strong race. Suarez’ #99 CommScope Chevrolet took the lead from polesitter Ryan Blaney and cruised to victory in Stage 1. But pit strategy put Suarez a few spots back in the pack, where contact from another car sent him into a spin. The contact also cut down the left-rear tire, forcing him to limp around nearly the entire three-mile track length to make it to pit road. Suarez’ smoking car made it to the pit safely, taking last from Ware on Lap 19. Suarez returned to the track 76.197 seconds behind the new 38th-place runner, Kyle Larson, whose #5 Chevrolet spun in a separate incident. Suarez met minimum speed on Lap 20.

Despite Ware’s multiple issues, his #51 was still on the track when the first car pulled behind the wall. This was Lally, who NASCAR reported entered the garage on Lap 20. The team unbolted the left-rear wheel, and instructed the driver to keep the window net up as they looked for a torque wrench. While missed by FOX’s cameras, Lally had tangled with Brad Keselowski’s #6 Wyndham Rewards Ford, and the contact was enough to damage the control arm. As Lally took last from Suarez on Lap 21, someone on the team radio said, “Ah, we aren’t gonna be able to fix it – the whole thing’s broken.” Then, the next time by, “We’re done, boys. We’re done.” NASCAR confirmed Lally was done for the day on Lap 25.

Bubba Wallace took 38th after his #23 Leidos Toyota lost a left-rear wheel and stopped in the run-off area, needing a tow back to the garage area. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. lost a cylinder on his #47 Sunny D Chevrolet midway through the race, only to eventually stall in the middle of the backstretch. Corey LaJoie finished 36th after a separate stall, this one caused by a blown engine on his #7 Schluter Systems Chevrolet. Joey Hand rounded out the Bottom Five, citing late-race suspension issues on his Ford.

Ross Chastain led 31 of the 69 laps and fended off a furious challenge by both A.J. Allmendinger and Alex Bowman on the final lap, ultimately knocking Allmendinger into Bowman’s path. Chastain, who started the year as the last-place finisher of the Daytona 500, capped a streak of three consecutive top-five finishes with his first career win in his 121st series start. It was also the first victory for second-year team Trackhouse Racing, whose flagship #99 also had an excellent run with Daniel Suarez leading 15 laps and winning Stage 1. Only Suarez’ aforementioned spin kept him back in the order, and he slipped to 24th on the final lap.

*Lally’s only previous last-place finish in a points-paying NASCAR Cup, XFINITY, or Truck Series race came on March 29, 2008 at Martinsville, when his #7 TRG Motorsports / Adobe Road Winery Chevrolet crashed out after 77 laps of the Kroger 250.
*This marked the first last-place run for the #78 in a Cup Series race since June 7, 2020, when one of B.J. McLeod’s first efforts as a Cup Series team owner ended with his bright red #78 Chevrolet dropping out with clutch issues after 3 laps at Atlanta.

39) #78-Andy Lally / 19 laps / suspension
38) #23-Bubba Wallace / 44 laps / suspension
37) #47-Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. / 52 laps / drivetrain
36) #7-Corey LaJoie / 57 laps / engine
35) #15-Joey Hand / 60 laps / suspension

1st) Trackhouse Racing (2)
2nd) Joe Gibbs Racing, Kaulig Racing, Live Fast Motorsports, Spire Motorsports (1)

1st) Chevrolet (4)
2nd) Ford, Toyota (1)


TRUCKS: Sheldon Creed’s first last-place run a rarity among Truck Series polesitters


Sheldon Creed picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career in Saturday’s XPEL 225 at the Circuit of the Americas when his #20 Wiley X Chevrolet fell out with a drivetrain issue after just 1 of the 46 laps.

The finish came in Creed’s 76th series start. In the Truck Series’ last-place rankings, it was the 1st from drivetrain issues, the 9th for the #20, and the 418th for Chevrolet. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 1st from drivetrain problems, the 54th for the #20, and the 1,827th for Chevrolet.

The 2020 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion, the California-born Creed pulled off the feat in just his second full-time season driving the #2 Chevrolet for powerhouse GMS Racing. He prevailed over teammate Brett Moffitt, who was felled by a late-race restart which put Creed within striking distance of his fifth and most critical series victory.

Yet despite their success together, Creed and his GMS teammates struggled to land consistent sponsorship. Much like Cup teams Richard Childress Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing, Chevrolet was itself his sponsor for much of his championship season. In early 2021, he ran a flat white truck on the Daytona Road Course, finishing runner-up to Ben Rhodes. While Creed participated in CEO Marcus Lemonis’ offer to put Camping World logos on his truck at Las Vegas (then Overton’s in Atlanta), by May he criticized the program, saying his team was worth more than the $15,000 offered in the promotion.

The controversy intensified in the weeks after, when Creed began to carry sponsorship from That sponsor had previously signed with Motorsports Business Management to back Carl Long’s entries in Cup and XFINITY. The company had come on board to fill the void left by, who did not renew with MBM in the wake of COVID-19. While LiftKits4Less has sponsored some of MBM’s runs in XFINITY, the Cup team has since scaled back. After sponsoring Creed for the remainder of his three-win season, LiftKits4Less has since moved to a brand-new Truck Series team in G2G Racing.

This year, Creed joined fellow Truck Series regular Austin Hill as teammates at Richard Childress Racing. Piloting the #2 entry with Whelen as sponsor, Creed finished 6th in the Daytona opener, where Hill went to victory lane. Creed has since finished 7th in Las Vegas and 9th just last week in Las Vegas, keeping him 11th in the standings. But COTA presented the opportunity to run double-duty with his first Truck Series start since the 2021 finale with GMS. Creed would be the third different driver to run Randy Young’s #20 entry, which carried sponsorship from Wiley X sunglasses. Creed finished 5th in the series’ rainy 2021 inaugural.

With no chance of rain this past weekend, Creed showed impressive speed from the start of practice. His sixth of seven laps was fastest of the session, nearly four whole tenths better than Kyle Busch. Creed then defended this in qualifying, securing the pole with a lap of 90.985mph (2 minutes, 14.924 seconds), besting outside-polesitter Zane Smith by nearly three-tenths of second. The speed also carried over to the XFINITY side, where he ranked 2nd in practice behind session leader Preston Pardus and earned 6th place on the grid. Missing the Truck race were the #47 Mission Tortilla Toyota of Samuel LeComte and the #79 A&J Lab Portal Chevrolet of John Atwell, both in their second season of seeking their first series starts. Tyler Hill was also unable to get Hill Motorsports’ new second entry, the #5 Toyota, into the show.

But a fuel pump change would drop Creed to the back of the field before the start, one of no fewer than 14 drivers docked for unapproved adjustments – nearly half the field. Among these were last-place starter Matt DiBenedetto, whose #25 Rackley Roofing / WAR Shocks Chevrolet broke a track bar in practice, forcing the team to skip qualifying. Matt Crafton was set to start 20th in the #88 Ideal Door / Menards Toyota, but incurred both a tail-end penalty and a pass-through after the green flag. Crafton’s harsh penalties came after his team adjusted the truck in the impound area without first receiving approval from a NASCAR official. 

Practice and qualifying appeared to take a toll on many of the trucks as mechanical issues persisted through the pace laps. Matt Jaskol in 35th reported brake issues on his #46 Toyota, followed by 19th-place Ty Majeski in the #66 American Racing Wheels Toyota. Majeski made an unscheduled stop during the pace laps, where the crew lifted the hood and sent him back out. Scoring first indicated that Brad Perez had taken over last place, having crossed the stripe 4.925 seconds back of the lead in his #43 GreenTech Energy Toyota. But despite Perez’ concerns when he was later interviewed by FS1, he never actually held last place in his NASCAR national series debut. As he crossed the stripe, he ran 35th ahead of Majeski, who was still several seconds behind him, trying to close the gap after his unscheduled stop.

On the first lap, Austin Wayne Self locked the brakes on his #22 AM Technical Solutions Chevrolet, collecting Taylor Gray in the #17 Ford Performance Ford. Both re-fired their engines and continued rolling as they dropped near the tail end of the field, still trailed by Majeski. Crafton took the green flag ahead of some of the other penalized drivers, showing more than a second ahead of the last truck across the stripe, but slowed at the end of Lap 1 to serve his penalty. But Majeski was still so far behind Crafton that the #88 didn’t fall further back than 35th with Majeski a full 92.88 seconds back of the lead to complete Lap 1. By then, Austin Wayne Self had pitted his damaged #22 for repairs, and was already down to four minutes left on his “Crash Clock.” On Lap 2, the trailing Majeski dropped Self to last as the #22 remained on pit road.

On Lap 3, Creed made an unscheduled stop, then abruptly pulled behind the wall with a mechanical issue. Radio traffic played on the broadcast indicated a possible issue with the bell housing, and the radio went silent soon after. That same time by, Self’s team completed repairs, and he finally completed his first lap in last place. Not far behind, Jaskol’s brake problem had apparently worsened, and he pulled behind the wall in 34th. The driver was vocal with his frustrations, saying he only needed a battery change. Meanwhile, Self completed a second lap on Lap 4 as he cleared the “Crash Clock,” dropping the #20 to last place. Self returned to pit road for additional repairs and ultimately finished 27th after at least one other crash.

Finishing 35th was Blaine Perkins, whose #9 Raceline Chevrolet pulled behind the wall on Lap 6 with a transmission issue. Logan Bearden pulled his #37 Bearden Automotive Chevrolet behind the wall on the same lap, but returned to action on Lap 11 followed by Jaskol on Lap 13. Jaskol only climbed to 33rd before his truck stalled on the track in the final laps, forcing the race into overtime. He did manage to pass Hailie Deegan, whose #1 Monster Energy Ford suffered a steering failure after a late-race incident. Jack Wood rounded out the Bottom Five after suffering damage to his #24 Chevrolet Truck Month Chevrolet, then ultimately running out of time on the “Crash Clock.”

One of the race’s standout runs belonged to Lawless Alan, who earned a career-best 11th-place finish in Al Niece’s #45 Chevrolet. Alan, who finished 23rd in the inaugural COTA race last year, had previously run no better than 18th last summer at Bristol and had crashed out of four of his previous five series starts, including his first last-place run last fall in Phoenix.

*As indicated above, this marked the first time in the history of NASCAR’s top three national series that the last-place finisher fell out due to a “drivetrain” issue.
*This marked the first last-place finish for the #20 in a Truck Series race since October 3, 2020, when Spencer Boyd’s #20 Alabama Roofing Professionals Chevrolet was eliminated in a multi-truck crash after 12 laps of the Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Talladega.
*Creed is only the third polesitter to finish last in a Truck Series race. He joins Rich Bickle, whose #43 Cummins Engines Dodge lost the engine after 98 laps at Colorado National Speedway on June 1, 1996, and David Reutimann, whose #17 NTN Bearings Toyota lost the engine after 24 laps at Homestead on November 19, 2005. Creed is the only one of these three to have not led any laps in the same race, a direct result of his pre-race penalty.

36) #20-Sheldon Creed / 1 lap / drivetrain
35) #9-Blaine Perkins / 3 laps / transmission
34) #1-Hailie Deegan / 29 laps / crash
33) #46-Matt Jaskol / 30 laps / electrical
32) #24-Jack Wood / 31 laps / dvp

1st) David Gilliland Racing Ford, Front Row Motorsports, Niece Motorsports, Young’s Motorsports (1)

1st) Chevrolet, Ford (2)


XFINITY: Bayley Currey’s throwback for longtime sponsor ends with early engine trouble

IMAGE: FS1, Screenshot by @FinishLineYT

Bayley Currey picked up the 5th last-place finish of his NASCAR XFINITY Series career in Saturday’s Pit Boss 250 at the Circuit of the Americas when his #4 Chasco Constructors Chevrolet lost the engine after 13 of 46 laps.

The finish, which came in Currey’s 80th series start, was his first of the season and first in a XFINITY race since June 12, 2021 at Texas, 25 races ago. In the XFINITY Series’ last-place rankings, it was the 19th for the #4, the 271st from engine issues, and the 589th for Chevrolet. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 68th for the #4, the 1,115th from engines, and the 1,828th for Chevrolet.

When he was last featured here last June, Currey was enduring a frustrating stretch of races with Mike Harmon Racing, whose performance dropped off in 2021 after he and then-teammate Kyle Weatherman earned several surprising runs during the previous year. By September, Currey had made the move to JD Motorsports, which was itself about to reorganize from a four-car operation to only two. Currey ran 13th in just his second start with JDM in Las Vegas, then ran 17th in Texas and 16th in Kansas. 

When the JDM team scaled back for 2022, Currey’s #15 went away along with the #0 formerly run by a departing Jeffrey Earnhardt. Currey moved to the #4 as teammate to Ryan Vargas in the #6. In these first five races of the season, Currey achieved three more finishes of 20th or better in Daytona, Las Vegas, and Phoenix. And though he finished under power in all five races, he remained just 24th in the standings following a 29th-place showing in Atlanta.

Saturday’s race in COTA was particularly significant, both as Currey’s home track, and for the paint scheme he’d run. He ran a white car with blue door and roof numbers, matching the late model he ran earlier in his career. This was done in recognition of returning sponsor Chasco Constructors, which had backed his racing career since he was fourteen.

Currey was among the 42 drivers entered to attempt the 38-car field at COTA. Currey ran 27th in practice, then timed in 29th with a lap of 88.690mph (2 minutes, 18.415 seconds). Missing the show were Jesse Iwuji in the #34 Equity Prime Mortgage Chevrolet; Josh Williams, whose #78 Alloy Employment Services Chevrolet was bumped out of the field by teammate Stefan Parsons at the end of the session; sports car racer Gar Robinson, who came just six-hundredths of a second short of getting Jimmy Means Racing’s #52 Chevrolet into its first start of the year; and Brennan Poole, whose #47 Mike Harmon Racing Chevrolet dropped debris on the track during his own near-miss.

Rolling off 38th and last was Brandon Jones, whose #19 Menards / Oklahoma Joe’s Toyota was the only car to not complete a qualifying lap after also missing practice. Jones would incur a redundant tail-end penalty for unapproved adjustments, joined by Brett Moffitt in the #02 Home Town Lenders Chevrolet, Landon Cassill in the #10 AGI – Athletic Greens Chevrolet, Will Rodgers in the #38 Kelly Benefits Toyota, Ryan Sieg in the #39 / A-Game Ford, Josh Bilicki in the #45 The Boss / Lemons of Love Chevrolet, J.J. Yeley in the #66 Remote Health Solutions Toyota, and Brandon Brown in the #68 Chevrolet. Rodgers also missed driver introductions while Yeley had spun with six minutes to go in practice.

When the race started, Yeley was last across the stripe, 4.125 seconds back of the lead, but further up, another driver incurred a penalty. Making his first series start since 2019, Patrick Gallagher rolled off 30th in the #28 Belle Haven Ford for RSS Racing, but didn’t line up properly on the start, making an early move to the inside. NASCAR posted Gallagher for a start violation, requiring a pass-through penalty. Before he could reach pit road, Josh Berry smashed the nose of his #8 PUBG Mobile Chevrolet during a spin by teammate Miguel Paludo in the #88 Brandt Chevrolet. Paludo dropped to last before Gallagher served his pass-through, and on Lap 3, both passed Berry, whose crew set to work repairing the nose of his Chevrolet.

By Lap 4, Berry was back on track, though now showing 86.669 seconds back of the lead and 44.907 seconds back of new 37th-place runner Stefan Parsons, who had spun his #99 SOKAL Chevrolet in an unrelated incident. Over the next few green-flag laps, Berry gradually closed the gap on 37th place, drawing to within 38.758 seconds on Lap 7, then 28.626 seconds on Lap 9. During this time, Parsons climbed out of the 37th spot, which was then traded between Yeley and Ryan Vargas in the #6 Twin Liquors Chevrolet. On the 11th circuit, Berry was now just 20.660 seconds back of Vargas, nearly half the deficit he started with eight laps earlier. The next time by, he finally climbed out of 38th during a round of green-flag stops. That time by, the spot fell to Brandon Brown who returned to the track 14.403 seconds back of the 37th-place Berry. Brown remained in last place when the caution fell on Lap 14 to end Stage 1.

It wasn’t until under this caution that Currey entered the last-place battle. As the broadcast went to commercial, NASCAR noticed smoke coming off the #4 and instructed Currey to pull off the track. Running 19th at the time, Currey reported there was no warning before the car erupted in smoke. A tow truck then dragged his Chevrolet back to pit road. As it did, another driver had found trouble. Will Rodgers had pitted his #38 Kelly Benefits Toyota, but had then stalled in the middle of pit lane. As the crew came to get him, there was word of a fuel pump issue. Thus, on Lap 15, it was Rodgers who first took last from Brown as the #4 went behind the wall. At the time, Currey’s crew hoped they could fix the issue, having learned from NASCAR the car didn’t leave any fluid on the track. Rodgers then joined Currey in the garage on Lap 17. On the 19th circuit, NASCAR confirmed Currey was out with engine trouble.

On Lap 24, Rodgers’ team managed to fix their issue and returned the #38 to the track 9 laps down. The moment Rodgers crossed the line, he dropped Currey to last place. Attrition remained much lower than the Truck Series race, however, and Rodgers climbed no further, finishing 12 laps down at race’s end. The only other retiree was Alex Labbe, who started 5th in a sterling qualifying session that saw all three DGM Racing cars roll off in the Top Ten. Labbe’s rear gear failed in the final laps following an unscheduled stop. Josh Bilicki was still on the lead lap when he took 35th in the #45 with Joe Graf, Jr. rounding out the Bottom Five in the#08 G Coin Ford.

The closing stages saw first Jeb Burton, then Jeremy Clements lose bids at 3rd and 4th-place finishes after cutting a corner in separate incidents. Both benefitted Jade Buford, last week’s last-place finisher, who tied his career-best finish of 8th in the #48 Big Machine Spiked Coolers Chevrolet. Also impressive was Parker Kligerman, who showed speed the entire weekend in both Trucks and XFINITY. In the Truck race, he battled with Kyle Busch for the lead most of the day, only to slip to 19th after a late-race incident. On the XFINITY side, where he was a late driver swap for team co-owner Patrick Emerling, Kligerman qualified an underfunded Emerling-Gase Motorsports Toyota in the 11th spot. Kligerman crossed the stripe in 12th, having battled in and around the Top Ten for most of the afternoon.

*This marked the first last-place finish for the #4 in a XFINITY Series race since November 8, 2014, when Jeffrey Earnhardt lost the engine on the opening lap of the DAV 200 Honoring America’s Veterans at Phoenix.

38) #4-Bayley Currey / 13 laps / engine
37) #38-Will Rodgers / 34 laps / running
36) #36-Alex Labbe / 41 laps / rear gear
35) #45-Josh Bilicki / 46 laps / running
34) #08-Joe Graf, Jr. / 46 laps / running

1st) Alpha Prime Racing, Big Machine Racing, JD Motorsports, Kaulig Racing, SS-Green Light Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing (1)

1st) Chevrolet (4)
2nd) Ford (2)


Thursday, March 24, 2022

PREVIEW: "Road course ringers" and Cup invaders far from absent on COTA entry lists

IMAGE: Brad Perez, @bradxperez

Saturday, March 26, 2022 (1:00 P.M. ET, FS1)
TRUCKS Race 4 of 23
Xpel 225 at the Circuit of the Americas
2021 Last-Place Finisher: Cameron Lawrence

Kicking off NASCAR’s first road course weekend of the season is the Truck Series, which sees 39 drivers entered for 36 spots. Three teams will miss the show.

WITHDREW: #3-Jordan Anderson Racing
Not among the entrants this week is Jordan Anderson’s team, which was already withdrawn when the preliminary entry list was posted. Anderson, who did not have a driver listed at the time of the withdrawal, will take a couple races off to evaluate his program after a difficult start to the year. His XFINITY team is still entered with Myatt Snider. 

NEW TEAM: #5-Hill Motorsports
For the first time, Hill Motorsports will field two entries, and hopes to put brothers Timmy an Tyler Hill in Saturday’s event. Tyler will run the new entry, the #5, which photos indicated was an unsponsored gray Toyota. Timmy remains in the #56.

RETURNING: #7-Spire Motorsports
For the first time since Daytona, Spire Motorsports has entered their #7 Chevrolet. Taking the place of Austin Hill, who finished 15th in that race, will be Cup Series regular and Las Vegas winner Alex Bowman. Bowman seeks only the third Truck Series start of his career and first since March 4, 2017 at Atlanta, when he finished 6th for GMS Racing. His Spire entry will carry the blue-and-white colors of, reminiscent of Hendrick teammate Kyle Larson’s current Cup ride and, therefore, the late Ricky Hendrick’s own Truck Series ride.

DRIVER CHANGE: #17-David Gilliland Racing
Fresh off his emotional ARCA Menards Series West victory in Phoenix, Taylor Gray seeks his first Truck Series start of the year, following his five-race stint for David Gilliland last season. Gray’s series debut came on a road course – Watkins Glen – where he finished 35th. He takes over for Ryan Preece, who was a strong 7th in Atlanta.

DRIVER CHANGE: #20-Young's Motorsports
Randy Young’s #20 team has its third different driver in four races as the 2020 Truck Series Champion returns for his first series start of the year. Creed takes over for Matt Mills, whose 15th-place run in Las Vegas was followed by early suspension issues at Atlanta. Creed will run double-duty with his full-time entry for Richard Childress Racing on the XFINITY side.

DRIVER CHANGE: #33-Reaume Brothers Racing
Will Rodgers has struggled to make his return to the XFINITY Series this year, having failed to qualify for the race in Fontana, then withdrawn from Las Vegas. The same Reaume Brothers team has apparently entered its Toyota in place of RSS Racing’s #38 for a second-straight XFINITY race (see below), and also entered Rodgers in the Truck Series this week, taking the place of last week’s 17th-place finisher Chris Hacker. Rodgers seeks just his third Truck start and first since last fall’s race at Phoenix, where he finished 22nd in Reaume’s #34 entry.

RETURNING: #37-AM Racing
AM Racing expands to two trucks for the first time since last summer in Knoxville, once again bringing the #37 to join Austin Wayne Self’s flagship #22. Driving the truck this time is Logan Bearden, who begins a part-time schedule in the series with sponsorship from Bearden Automotive. Bearden attempted to qualify for this race last year with Niece Motorsports, but missed the cut in the #44.

MISSING: #41-Niece Motorsports
Speaking of Al Niece, their part-time fifth entry is not among the trucks headed to Austin, and Ross Chastain will instead focus on an XFINITY effort with DGM Racing before attempting to continue his impressive Top Five streak in the Cup race.

DRIVER CHANGE: #43-Reaume Brothers Racing
The biggest news on Monday was that of Brad "Bread" Perez, who will have his first shot at making his debut in one of NASCAR’s top three series. The Spec Miata standout takes the place of Thad Moffitt, who was on the preliminary entry list following his 32nd-place run in Atlanta. Perez’ Toyota will carry multiple sponsors, including Greentech Energy, Kimberly Kirven, Victory SIM, The Mohawk Foundation and Apex Coffee.

Just like Logan Bearden in the #37, Samuel LeComte left COTA empty-handed last year, having been unsuccessful in qualifying a third entry from Ray Ciccarelli’s team CMI Motorsports. He then missed the show again in Watkins Glen. This time around, LeComte returns to his home track in place of Brennan Poole as Matt Jaskol’s teammate at G2G Racing.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Kyle Busch Motorsports
One year after dominating the XFINITY race here, Kyle Busch will take the place of Atlanta’s first-time winner Corey Heim as driver of the #51 Safelite Auto Glass Toyota. Kyle likewise was one ill-timed pit stop from winning last year’s inaugural Cup race here, making one wonder why he needs the extra laps.

RETURNING: #75-Henderson Motorsports
Parker Kligerman returns to the seat of Charlie Henderson’s #75 for his 100th career Truck Series start, looking to build on his 5th-place finish in this year’s Daytona opener.

NEW TEAM: #79-Atwell Racing
John Atwell was still another driver who missed the inaugural Truck race at COTA last year – in fact, he was Samuel Lecomte’s teammate at CMI Racing, driving the flagship #49. This year, he has elected to field his own entry, and seeks to give the #79 its first Truck Series start since November 15, 2002 at Homestead, when Jerry Hill finished 25th for team owner Rodney Smith. Incidentally, the #79 is also one of the 12 current car numbers to have never finished last in a Truck Series race. A&J Lab Portal is the listed sponsor of his Chevrolet.

DRIVER CHANGE: #02-Young's Motorsports
Kaz Grala came up just short of victory in this race last year, and will get another chance with the same Randy Young team. Leading off his double-duty weekend with the Cup Series and The Money Team, Grala takes the place of Jesse Little, who ran 15th in Atlanta. RANDCO Industries is the listed sponsor..

CUP INVADERS: #7-Alex Bowman, #51-Kyle Busch

Saturday, March 26, 2022 (4:30 P.M. ET, FS1)
XFINITY Race 6 of 33
Pit Boss 250 at the Circuit of the Americas
2021 Last-Place Finisher: Noah Gragson

Qualifying will again be dramatic in the XFINITY Series as 42 drivers will contest 38 spots, meaning four will be sent home.

DRIVER CHANGE: #5-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Scott Heckert seeks his 11th XFINITY start – all but two on road courses – as he rejoins B.J. McLeod Motorsports for the first time since the 2020 inaugural on the Daytona Infield Road Course. This time, he runs the #5 in place of Matt Mills, who finished 31st after a late-race crash in Atlanta. Heckert did not race in any of last year’s NASCAR events at COTA.

MISSING: #13-Motorsports Business Management
Carl Long’s team elected to not enter the #13 this week, which the rain sent home in Atlanta along with driver Chad Finchum.

WITHDREW: #15-Rick Ware Racing
Rick Ware originally had a car listed to attempt this weekend’s XFINITY race, but it was withdrawn without a driver by the time the list was published.

DRIVER CHANGE: #18-Joe Gibbs Racing
Bubba Wallace will make his first XFINITY start since last August in Michigan, when he ran a strong 10th for the combined Hattori / MBM effort. This time, he takes the wheel of a Joe Gibbs Racing XFINITY car for the first time since 2014, and for the very first time in the flagship #18. Dr. Pepper joins him as sponsor as Wallace takes the place of Trevor Bayne, 28th in Atlanta.

DRIVER CHANGE: #26-Sam Hunt Racing
Following Jeffrey Earnhardt’s solid 13th-place finish in Atlanta, the Sam Hunt Racing team ranks ninth in this year’s Owner Points. The team looks to keep the momentum going with Parker Chase taking the wheel this week seeking his XFINITY Series debut. Chase’s most recent NASCAR start came at this same track last year, when he ran 18th in his second and most recent Truck start for KBM. Chase will drive a navy and off-white Toyota with sponsorship from Bahnbrecker.

Sports car racer Patrick Gallagher seeks his first XFINITY start since his 2019 debut at Mid-Ohio, where he finished 23rd for B.J. McLeod Motorsports in the #99. This time around, he’s entered in the third RSS Racing entry, replacing 24th-place Atlanta finisher Kyle Sieg.

DRIVER CHANGE: #35-Emerling-Gase Motorsports
Patrick Emerling, co-owner of Joey Gase’s new team, was originally set to attempt his first XFINITY start of the year and the fifth of his career, replacing Shane Lee, who ran 17th in Atlanta. Emerling’s previous four starts came with Our Motorsports, most recently October 23, 2021 at Kansas, where he crossed the line a series-best 24th. But Emerling will not make his first road course start as Parker Kligerman will run double-duty with the Truck Series.

On top of his Truck effort with Reaume, the entry list indicates Will Rodgers will run a Toyota under the RSS Racing banner, which with RSS’ Ford backing likely means it will again be a Reaume entry as it was in Atlanta. Hopefully, it will not be the same car – Loris Hezemans struggled from the start in the #38 last week before he was eliminated in a crash.

DRIVER CHANGE: #45-Alpha Prime Racing
Josh Bilicki will be the latest driver to get a start with the reincorporated Alpha Prime Racing as he takes over for Tommy Joe Martins in the #45, carrying sponsorship from The Boss and Lemons of Love. Bilicki’s only other XFINITY start this year came in Daytona, but he made the most of it, taking a series-best 9th in DGM Racing’s #36.

DRIVER CHANGE: #52-Jimmy Means Racing
After a DNQ in Daytona, and a washed-out qualifying session in Atlanta, Jimmy Means has replaced Harrison Rhodes with Texas’ own Gar Robinson, who seeks his NASCAR debut. Robinson boasts an impressive resume in endurance racing, and this past January was part of Riley Motorsports’ four-driver lineup that won the LMP3 class in the 24 Hours of Daytona, taking 13th overall.

MISSING: #77-Bassett Racing
Dillon Bassett is not entered after rain washed their bright-orange Chevrolet out of the field in Atlanta.

RETURNING: #88-JR Motorsports
Miguel Paludo begins his second year of road racing for JR Motorsports, which will campaign the #88 for the first time since Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s run at Richmond on September 21, 2018. Paludo will again share Justin Allgaier’s sponsorship from BRANDT Agriculture as he looks to bounce back from the rear gear failure that left him 34th here last year.

One week after Mason Massey surprised even himself with a career-best 6th-place finish in Atlanta, Spec Miata champion Preston Pardus will reunite with Mario Gosselin’s team for another shot at the series regulars. Danus and Chinchor Electric return as sponsors of his #91 in what would be his 15th series start. All three of his Top Tens have come on different road courses, and he finished 14th here last year.

Kyle Weatherman's career-tying 8th-place run in Atlanta was reportedly his last scheduled start for now. In his place comes Ross Chastain, who in this race last year barely got up to speed in a replacement role for Joe Graf, Jr. before the underside of his car was damaged on the rumble strips.

DRIVER CHANGE: #07-SS-Green Light Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #08-SS-Green Light Racing
Speaking of Joe Graf, Jr., Cole Custer likewise returns to the XFINITY Series for the first time since his Fontana win with team owner Bobby Dotter. He runs the #07 once more, moving Graf to the #08 in place of David Starr, who’s not entered.

CUP INVADERS: #18-Bubba Wallace, #92-Ross Chastain, #07-Cole Custer

Sunday, March 27, 2022 (3:30 P.M. ET, FOX)
CUP Race 6 of 36
Echopark Automotive Texas Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas
2021 Last-Place Finisher: Justin Haley

There are 39 drivers entered in this Sunday’s main event – second-most only to the Daytona 500 – but still marks the fifth consecutive short field in 2022.

DRIVER CHANGE: #15-Rick Ware Racing
Sacramento’s Joey Hand returns to the Cup Series for the first time since his NASCAR debut last fall on the Charlotte “Roval,” where he came home 27th. He again drives for Rick Ware Racing this year, and will be among the several road course ringers set to discover what the NextGen car holds for road courses. Hand takes the place of David Ragan, who ran 18th after the chaos in Atlanta.

DRIVER CHANGE: #16-Kaulig Racing
A.J. Allmendinger makes his second Cup start of the season and first since Phoenix, again as driver of Kaulig Racing’s #16 Chevrolet. The series veteran and road course specialist takes the place of Noah Gragson, whose hard hit into the Turn 2 wall left him last place in Atlanta.

RETURNING: #27-Team Hezeberg
Both brand-new teams from the Daytona 500 return to action in COTA, led by the Hezeberg effort with which Jacques Villeneuve finished 22nd in his series return. Driving this week is Loris Hezemans, who after a strong Truck debut in Las Vegas and a frustrating XFINITY run in Atlanta looks to make his Cup debut. 

MISSING: #44-NY Racing Team
Not among the entries this week is John Cohen’s #44, which earned an outstanding team-best 20th-place finish with Greg Biffle in Atlanta.

RETURNING: #50-The Money Team
Joining Team Hezeberg among the returning “open” teams is The Money Team, with whom Kaz Grala will run double-duty with the Truck Series. Coming off their 26th-place debut following a lost wheel in Daytona, driver and team look to turn heads on the road course. Pit Viper returns as team sponsor.

RETURNING: #66-Motorsports Business Management
Welcome back Boris Said, who will make his first Cup start since August 6, 2017 at Watkins Glen. It hasn’t been nearly that long since we last saw Said tackle a road course in NASCAR – just last year, he drove for this same MBM team in the XFINITY Series, where he made the field at this same COTA track and finished 31st. He then missed the cut at Road America. By taking the wheel of Carl Long’s #66, the MBM team returns to Cup for the first time since their double DNQ in the Daytona 500 and is assured their first series start since last fall’s Phoenix finale.

DRIVER CHANGE: #78-Live Fast Motorsports
Perhaps the one “road ringer” to watch on Sunday will be racer-turned-broadcaster-turned-racer Andy Lally, the 2011 NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of the Year. Lally made his return to Cup competition last summer on the Indianapolis Grand Prix Circuit, where rear gear trouble left him 39th. He looks for much better in COTA, where he ran 18th last year driving for Our Motorsports in the XFINITY Series., not the iriginally listed Surface Sunscreen, joins the Live Fast effort as sponsor.

TODAY IN LASTCAR HISTORY (March 24, 2007): Jon Wood picked up the 1st and only last-place finish of his NASCAR Nationwide Series career in the Sharpie Mini 300 at Bristol when his #47 Clorox / American Red Cross Ford was involved in a crash with Brent Sherman after 5 laps. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

ARCA EAST: Benny Chastain’s practice crash leads to a last-minute ride swap for Nate Moeller

PHOTO: Nate Moeller, shared by Spencer Gogol, @spencergogol

by Ben Schneider Guest Contributor

Nate Moeller finished last for the first time in his ARCA Menards Series East career in Saturday’s Pensacola 200 at Five Flags Speedway when his #10 Fast Track Racing Ford fell out with clutch issues after completing 2 of 200 laps.

The finish came in Moeller’s East Series debut.

While Moeller always intended on making his first career start on Saturday night, he was originally entered in Wayne Peterson’s No. 06 Ford. In practice, however, veteran driver Benny Chastain suffered a hard crash in his No. 10 car owned by Andy Hillenburg. While Chastain was okay, his car was not, and the team found themselves without a backup car for the race. In a gentleman’s agreement, the Peterson team withdrew their entry, and Moeller’s No. 06 car was renumbered to the No. 10 to allow Hillenburg’s team to continue to score points in the series’ Owners’ Championship. Moeller replaced Chastain as the driver of the No. 10 entry, completing two laps before parking the car.

As was the case at New Smyrna, ARCA veteran Brad Smith was the second retirement from the race as he suffered brake issues after running 24 laps. Two more Fast Track Racing entries, Tim Monroe and Stephanie Moyer, followed up the order in thirteenth and twelfth respectively. Rounding out the Bottom Five was Steve Austin in an entry fielded by ARCA Daytona last-place finisher Eric Caudell, who crashed on the frontstretch at the midway point of the race.

Up front, defending series champion Sammy Smith scored his fifth career East Series win after leading 107 of 200 laps. Smith also won the season-opener at New Smyrna and is now 2-for-2 in ARCA East races this season.

15) #10-Nate Moeller / 2 laps / clutch
14) #48-Brad Smith / 24 laps / brakes
13) #12-Tim Monroe / 46 laps / handling
12) #01-Stephanie Moyer / 60 laps / transmission
11) #22-Steve Austin / 92 laps / crash

1st) Ford (2)
2nd) Toyota (0)
3rd) Chevrolet (0)

(EDITOR’S NOTE: While Racing-Reference currently lists Moeller’s No. 10 car as a Toyota, photos from the track indicate it was a Ford, as was the original No. 06 entry from Wayne Peterson Racing.)

1st) Wayne Peterson Racing (1), Fast Track Racing (1)


Monday, March 21, 2022

INDYCAR: Electrical issues add to Rossi's sluggish start to 2022

PHOTO: Luis Torres, @TheLTFiles

by William Soquet Staff Writer

Alexander Rossi finished last for the 2nd time in his NTT IndyCar Series career in Sunday’s XPEL 375 at Texas Motor Speedway when his #27 NAPA Auto Parts / Honda retired with electrical problems after completing 11 of the race’s 248 laps.

The finish came in Rossi’s 99th career start and was his first since Texas in 2017, 73 races ago.

After emerging as a consistent IndyCar contender in the waning years of the 2010s, the 2020s have not treated Alexander Rossi kindly. He failed to score a finish above 15th until the fourth race of the pandemic-adjusted 2020 season, and although he finished strong with four straight podiums in the last five races, the early hole doomed Rossi to a ninth-place points finish. The 2021 season was even more of a disaster, with three finishes of 20th or worse in the first six races. His sole podium finish came at Portland in September, and Rossi finished a dismal tenth in points. At first, 2022 looked to be a reversal of fortunes when he grabbed the pole position for the season-opener at St. Petersburg. But this time, pit sequencing dropped the newly-redesigned blue-and-pink car to a 20th-place finish, a less than satisfactory outcome to think about for the month leading up to Texas.

The entry list featured a few fresh faces that weren’t at St. Petersburg. J.R. Hildebrand took the place of Tatianna Calderon in A.J. Foyt Racing’s #11 car, part of his run as the team’s oval driver for the year. Ed Carpenter was another driver starting his oval slate for the year, driving the #33 for his own team.

It was a rough start to the weekend for the Foyt team; Hildebrand was the slowest in first practice and teammate Dalton Kellett was 26th. Both were about four-tenths off the top lap by session leader Simon Pagenaud. Kellett improved to 22nd in qualifying with Hildebrand 26th. In the final spot was Graham Rahal, the last of three Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing cars that all qualified 24th or worse. Rossi was incredibly average, clocking in 20th on the charts in first practice and 12th in qualifying. Hildebrand and Kellett again found themselves at the bottom of the charts for final practice, and directly ahead of them was Jack Harvey, who took a hard crash in this RLL Racing car during the session.

On Sunday morning, it was announced that Harvey had not been cleared for competition and that RLL would tap Santino Ferrucci to drive the #45. That late change dropped the #45 to the back of the field, and he was the only driver to incur a tail-end penalty on race day. At the start of the race, it was still Ferrucci in the back, although teammate Rahal made some quick moves and found himself knocking on the door of the top 20 after not too long. After six laps, Ferrucci was nine seconds back, although he hadn’t lost touch with Hildebrand nor Kellett.

About that time, Alexander Rossi became under investigation for jumping the start from the outside lane; soon afterwards, he was assessed a one-place penalty on the track. The driver was also complaining of the alternator light flashing, but with the crew in a holding pattern, Rossi continued running laps at pace. That didn’t last long, as he slowed on Lap 12. He brought the car to pit road, and while the pit crew initially planned to just replace the battery and call it good, the problem was soon discovered to be wider than that, and a frustrated Rossi exited the car, done for the day. Rossi reported that the battery just steadily lost voltage and that he didn’t really know the exact problem that ended his day.

Andretti teammate Romain Grosjean was 26th, done after smoke started trailing out of the exhaust at the 100-lap mark of the race. Kyle Kirkwood’s day ended in a solo crash after a handful of daring passes, the lone bright spot for Foyt in an otherwise forgettable weekend.

27) #27-Alexander Rossi / 11 laps / electrical
26) #28-Romain Grosjean / 103 laps / mechanical
25) #14-Kyle Kirkwood / 113 laps / crash

1st) Honda (2)

1st) Andretti Autosport, Dale Coyne Racing (1)


Sunday, March 20, 2022

CUP: Noah Gragson’s team debut with Kaulig ends early in Atlanta; NY Racing Team breaks through with best-ever finish

PHOTO: Feliz Vigil,, @felizgoesrawr

Noah Gragson picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR Cup Series career in Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at the Auto Club Speedway when his #16 Chevrolet was involved in a single-car accident after 23 of 325 laps.

The finish came in Gragson’s second series start. In the Cup Series’ last-place rankings, it was the 16th for the #16, the 628th from a crash, and the 821st for Chevrolet. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 36th for the #16, the 1,286th from a crash, and the 1,826th for Chevrolet.

This same Atlanta track was the site of a post-race scuffle between Gragson and Daniel Hemric, who tangled in the closing stages of last year’s XFINITY race. It was somewhat surprising, then, that Hemric and Gragson would become teammates at Kaulig Racing, sharing time in the #16 Chevrolet on the Cup side with A.J. Allmendinger. Gragson had already signed with Beard Motorsports for the Daytona 500, for which he qualified after he wrecked out of his qualifying race with them the previous year. Gragson locked himself in on speed, but was eliminated in a late-race wreck, leaving him 31st.

Atlanta marked Gragson’s first Cup start of the year in the #16, which had already earned a Top Ten this year with Hemric at Fontana. That day, Hemric made up seven laps after a broken shifter to finish 9th. With qualifying washed out for all three series, Gragson secured the 30th starting spot, and ranked just 33rd of the 37 entrants in the lone practice session, where he turned 36 laps. In the XFINITY race, he led 38 laps and was still contending for the top spot when he bounced off the wall. The run left him 26th, his first finish worse than 3rd all season, and one week after punching his Playoff ticket with a win in Phoenix.

Rolling off 37th and last was Greg Biffle, who along with the NY Racing Team returned to the circuit for the third time this year and the first time since Las Vegas. The only “open” team in the show, Biffle carried logos for a third different college, debuting a purple paint scheme for Stillman College. Joining him in the back would be 24th-place Brad Keselowski for unapproved adjustments on his #6 Kohler Generators Ford and 31st-place Harrison Burton for multiple inspection failures on his #21 Dex Imaging Ford. Burton would not have to serve a pass-through penalty after the green flag.

When the race started, Biffle was last across the stripe, 3.317 seconds back of the lead with Burton in 36th and the penalized Keselowski up to 32nd ahead of Corey LaJoie in the #7 Fraternal Order of Eagles Chevrolet, B.J. McLeod in the #78 Celsius Ford, and David Ragan in the #15 Select Blinds Ford. Biffle remained last at the end of Lap 1, 2.975 seconds back of the lead and 0.257 back of Ragan. Biffle remained within two-tenths of Ragan until Lap 5, when he dropped back a half-second.

The battle for last then intensified. On Lap 7, Biffle dropped Cody Ware to last in the #51 Nurtec ODT Ford, but the battle between both drivers and Ragan remained tight, each less than one-tenth of a second apart. The next time by, Cole Custer slipped to last in his #41 Dixie Vodka Ford with Ware now racing two other cars to his outside. Ragan slipped to 36th on Lap 12, when Custer pulled alongside to attempt a pass, 0.082 second apart at the stripe. Ragan escaped Custer’s grasp and put McLeod’s #78 between he and Custer. At the stripe, Custer was now just 0.001 back of McLeod. Custer completed the pass that time by, and McLeod took over last. But McLeod now caught Ragan, and the #15 was back to 37th on Lap 15. By then, McLeod had fallen a half-second back of Custer, and Ragan gradually lost touch with McLeod. By Lap 24, Ragan was still last, 0.903 behind McLeod, when the caution fell.


The reason for the yellow was Gragson, who broke loose in Turn 2 and slammed the outside wall nearly head-on. Gragson climbed out under his own power as he quickly took last on Lap 25, done for the afternoon. “It took off with no warning,” said someone on the team’s channel. “It got loose, and then it took off to the right.” After he was checked and released from the infield care center, Gragson said, in part, “I just got loose there through (turns) one and two. It was still early in the race, so I wasn’t pushing it. I was just trying to bide my time and stay patient. . .” NASCAR didn’t declare Gragson out of the race until Lap 88.

The next two retirees were brothers Austin and Ty Dillon, who were part of a pileup exiting Turn 4 on Lap 102. Entering the quad-oval, Austin’s #3 Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Off Road Chevrolet was running 3rd when he broke loose in front of Kyle Busch, putting both cars into the outside wall. Further back, Ty Dillon’s #42 Alsco Uniforms Chevrolet checked-up and spun, then collided with a passing Chase Briscoe. Austin went to the garage on Lap 103, followed by Ty on Lap 107, both eliminated under the “Damaged Vehicle Policy.” NASCAR declared the brothers out on Lap 112. Busch’ #18 M&M’s Toyota spent eight laps on pit road for repairs, but ultimately pulled behind the wall when his car broke loose on the backstretch, leaving him 33rd. By returning to the race, Busch passed Cole Custer, who was also eliminated with crash damage on Lap 154.

NY Racing Team’s 20th-place run with Biffle the highlight of race’s underdog contingent

Leading the underdog contingent was Corey LaJoie, who after a last-place run in Phoenix earned his first career Top Five finish by taking the checkered flag in 5th following the out-of-bounds penalty for runner-up Christopher Bell. LaJoie’s #7 Fraternal Order of Eagles Chevrolet successfully recovered from a mid-race spin through the grass where his car nearly caught air. It turned out to be a great day for Spire Motorsports as teammate Josh Bilicki came home 16th in the #77 Zeigler Auto Group Chevrolet, the second-best finish of his career outside of his 10th last summer in Daytona. B.J. McLeod, who joined Bilicki in earning his first Top 10 that night at Daytona, tied his second-best finish of 19th from the 2019 Daytona 500.

But the biggest standout had to be Greg Biffle, who finished 20th in just the third start of his return to the Cup Series with the NY Racing Team. After back-to-back races spoiled by faulty fuel pumps, Biffle climbed into the Top 20 in Stage 3, and narrowly averted disaster in a backstretch accident that ended Cody Ware’s own bid for a season-best finish. The result is by far the best finish for John Cohen’s NY Racing Team (formerly Team XTREME Racing), which since its debut in 2012 had never finished better than 32nd in a single Cup Series points race. That finish came with Reed Sorenson, who during the 2015 Daytona 500 had to enter a backup car following an accident in NASCAR’s short-lived and controversial group qualifying format. It also happens to be just the fifth race where Cohen’s car has crossed the finish line under power, the team having finished last four times. Congratulations to the #44 team as they continue to assemble their remaining schedule for 2022.

*This marked the first last-place finish for the #16 in a Cup points race since July 5, 2008, when Greg Biffle crashed his #16 3M Ford after 69 laps of the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona. The number had not finished last in a Cup race at Atlanta since April 4, 1971, when Dub Simpson turned 7 laps in his #16 1969 Chevrolet before he quit the Atlanta 500.

37) #16-Noah Gragson / 23 laps / crash
36) #42-Ty Dillon / 101 laps / crash
35) #3-Austin Dillon / 101 laps / crash
34) #41-Cole Custer / 150 laps / crash
33) #18-Kyle Busch / 171 laps / crash

1st) Trackhouse Racing (2)
2nd) Joe Gibbs Racing, Kaulig Racing, Spire Motorsports (1)

1st) Chevrolet (4)
2nd) Toyota (1)


Saturday, March 19, 2022

XFINITY: Jade Buford's strong Atlanta run spoiled by late-race crash

PHOTO: Mark J. Rebilas, @rebilasphoto

Jade Buford picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR XFINITY Series career in Saturday’s Nalley Cars 250 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway when his #48 Big Machine Spiked Coolers Chevrolet was collected in a multi-car accident after 105 of 172 laps.

The finish occurred in Buford’s 41st series start. In the XFINITY Series’ last-place rankings, it was the 7th for the #48, the 362nd from a crash, and the 588th for Chevrolet. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 30th for the #48, the 1,285th from a crash, and the 1,825th for Chevrolet.

The Tennessee-born Buford’s was one of the most surprising stories of the 2020 NASCAR XFINITY Series season. He arrived in the series without much fanfare, taking the wheel of SS-Green Light Racing’s #07 Chevrolet for the inaugural race on the Indianapolis Grand Prix Circuit. The result was a sterling 14th-place finish, which he followed up with a 19th in Road America, a 16th on the Daytona Infield Road Course, and in just his fourth series start, an 8th at the Charlotte “Roval.”

As it turned out, those four races matched Buford’s background in sports car racing, having competed in various series since he was a teenager. In fact, Austin Cindric, this year’s Daytona 500 champion, was his co-driver when the pair claimed a victory in Mosport. Similar to Matt Jaskol, Buford is also a bit of an adrenaline junkie, having parlayed his interest in rock climbing to an appearance on American Ninja Warrior.

After his strong 2020 debut, Buford signed with start-up XFINITY program Big Machine Racing Team, whose founder Scott Borchetta owned the same Big Machine Records company that sponsored Buford’s runs in 2020. Breaking out on their own with equipment from the Reaume Brothers and RSS Racing, it was unclear how Buford would perform on the series’ many ovals. After Danny Bohn drove in his place for the Daytona opener, Buford finished 20th in his oval debut at Homestead, contended for a Top Ten in the spring Phoenix event, and amid more strong road course performances, earned his season-best 9th at Michigan – just one spot shy of his career-best from a year earlier. He closed out the year 23rd in points.

Coming into Saturday’s race, the 2022 season has proved more of a challenge. While he qualified a stunning 3rd for his first start in the Daytona opener, the first of two back-to-back crashes left him 23rd at the finish. He then ran just 28th in the previous two rounds at Las Vegas and Phoenix, closing out a frustrating “West Coast Swing.” While he finished 26th and 17th in his first two Atlanta starts last year, the complete reconfiguration of the speedway would stand as still another challenge for the newcomer.

With qualifying rained out, Buford secured the 30th spot in the 38-car field. Five teams were sent home without turning a lap: David Starr in the #08 Ticket Smarter Ford, Brennan Poole in the #47 Mike Harmon Racing Chevrolet, Chad Finchum in the #13 Garrison Homes / Units Storage Toyota, and a returning Dillon Bassett in the #77 Honest Amish / Jerry Hunt Supercenter Chevrolet with Harrison Rhodes in the #52 Jimmy Means Racing Chevrolet. Buford then ranked 21st in Saturday’s postponed practice session, where he turned 23 laps.

Rolling off 38th and last on Saturday was Jesse Iwuji, who returned to the driver’s seat of his rainbow-painted #34 Equity Prime Mortgage Chevrolet. Prior to the start, five drivers were sent to the rear for unapproved adjustments: 9th-place Ryan Sieg in the #39 / A-Game Ford, 19th-place Jeffrey Earnhardt in the #26 ForeverLawn Toyota, 25th-place Stefan Parsons in the #99 Sokal Chevrolet, 33rd-place Matt Mills in the #5 J.F. Electric Chevrolet, and 34th-place Loris Hezemans in the #38 Hezeberg Systems Toyota. 

During the pace laps, Riley Herbst made an unscheduled four-tire stop for a tire issue, surrendering the 24th spot for his #98 Monster Energy Ford. He slotted in at the tail end of the line behind Jeffrey Earnhardt, but both crossed the stripe ahead of Hezemans, who was last at the green flag, 4.306 seconds back of the lead. Hezemans was entered in the same Reaume Brothers Racing Toyota that had yet to qualify for a race this season, this time with the numbers of RSS Racing’s locked-in #38 entry. The change got Hezemans into the race, but the car itself struggled badly. By Lap 5, he was 7.348 seconds back of the lead, but most critically already 0.937 back of 37th, which at the time belonged to Josh Williams in the #78 Coolray Chevrolet. By Lap 10, he was 3.109 back of the next car - now Jesse Iwuji’s - and 10.027 behind when the competition caution fell on Lap 21.

Under the competition yellow, Iwuji took over last on Lap 23, followed the next time by with Shane Lee in the #35 Kitty Kat Coin Ford. Matt Mills took over the spot on Lap 25 after a late pit road speeding call by NASCAR, one which did not say in which section he was caught. Mills was warned that Hezemans was slow as he raced him to the Lap 27 restart, dropping the #38 to last once more the next time by. Mills may have bounced off the wall after this as his 37th-place car now lost touch with the pack, dropping 2.388 seconds back of Lee on Lap 30 with Hezemans now just a couple tenths back of Mills. The two remained in touch with each other on Lap 39 when Mills was 5.037 seconds back of 36th-place Myatt Snider in the #31 Tax Slayer Chevrolet, and Hezemans was just 0.247 back of Mills’ #5. Still, all 38 drivers remained under power and on the lead lap when Stage 1 ended on Lap 41.

On Lap 43, Snider took his turn in last during pit stops, and Jeffrey Earnhardt took it on Lap 44 after the first of at least two stops for extensive adjustments. Earnhardt re-passed Snider on Lap 47, and the #31 remained last when the race restarted on Lap 48. Snider then caught Iwuji, dropping the #34 back to last on Lap 49, and Hezemans reassumed the spot on Lap 50. Once again, the #38 was struggling for speed, and after the Lap 50 pass was already 0.725 back of Iwuji. He’d lost another three-quarters of a second by Lap 53, when Noah Gragson made an unscheduled green-flag stop for hitting the Turn 2 wall with his #9 Bass Pro Shops / True Timber / BRCC Chevrolet. The next time by, Riley Herbst, who had recovered from his tire change on the pace laps, had the hood up, his #98 overheating. First Gragson, then Herbst returned to the track with Herbst shown three laps down in last place to 37th-place Gragson’s two laps down. By Lap 59, scoring reset to show Gragson just one lap down with Herbst down two.

Both Herbst and Gragson hoped for another caution, but the now 36th-place Hezemans was finally lapped on the 72nd circuit, followed by Bayley Currey in the #4 KSDT CPA Chevrolet. This gave Currey his lap back when the caution fell to end Stage 2 on Lap 80, and now put Hezemans in the next Lucky Dog spot on the same lap as 37th-place Gragson. As both Gragson and Herbst took the wave-around, Jeffrey Earnhardt lost a lap under yellow for more adjustments, incurring a tail-end penalty for pitting too soon. This placed Earnhardt back in 37th behind 36th-place Hezemans with 35th-place Gragson now on the lead lap and Herbst still one down in last place. With Herbst now on the same lap as Hezemans, the #98 made quick work of the #38 on the Lap 89 restart, dropping the #38 to last with all 38 drivers still running within a lap of the leader. But by Lap 104, both Hezemans and Earnhardt were about to fall two laps down.

It was not until this moment that Buford joined the last-place battle. By this point, Buford had run a strong race, finishing 3rd in Stage 2, and was still around the 10th spot on Lap 106. But moments after Sam Mayer came to pit road with a flat left-rear tire on his #1 Accelerate Pros Talent Chevrolet, Jeb Burton’s #27 International Championship Boxing Chevrolet made contact with Buford’s left-rear, sending him spinning into the path of a closing Jeremy Clements in the #51 Fly & Form Structures Chevrolet. Clements and Buford collided, destroying the rear track bar of Buford’s car and much of the left-front of Clements’ car. Buford drove to the garage on Lap 107, out under the “Damaged Vehicle Policy.” On Lap 108, Buford took last from Mayer, who briefly held the spot after his flat tire. Clements joined Buford in the garage on Lap 110, also eliminated under the DVP. 

Hezemans was eliminated soon after, his #38 destroyed in an off-camera accident through the quad-oval grass that ripped off his entire splitter and oil pan assembly. The 35th spot fell to Daniel Hemric, whose #11 AG1 – Athletic Greens Chevrolet came up into Joe Graf, Jr.’s #07 Gteching Ford, spoiling a solid run for Graf’s team. Justin Allgaier rounded out the Bottom Five after his #7 Axalta / Nalley Clicklane Chevrolet was destroyed in a late-race pileup down the backstretch.

Massey leads strong underdog contingent in Atlanta

After a long and challenging race, several underdogs earned solid runs. Topping the list was Mason Massey, who earned a career-best 6th-place finish in his #91 Anderson Power Services Chevrolet, turning around a year where he failed to qualify in Daytona and finished no better than 23rd in the three races since. His previous best finish was just 17th, which came last fall at Richmond.

Kyle Weatherman, one of Massey’s teammates at Mario Gosselin’s DGM Racing, earned some screentime during the race’s late stages as he held fast to a spot in the Top Ten. He crossed the line in 8th in the #92 LS Tractor Chevrolet, matching his career-best run two years ago in Kentucky, when he gave Mike Harmon Racing its first-ever Top Ten.

J.J. Yeley finished a season-best 11th in Carl Long’s #66 Work Pro Tools Ford, improving on his previous mark of 13th in this year’s Daytona opener. It stands as Yeley’s best XFINITY finish at Atlanta since 2006, when he finished 5th driving for Joe Gibbs Racing.

Ryan Vargas put up a season-best 12th in the #6 KSDT CPA Chevrolet, improving his own previous mark from Daytona when he took home 18th. His teammate Bayley Currey very nearly joined him in the Top Ten before he was felled by a loss of fuel pressure in the final laps.

After competing for last place earlier in the event, Jeffrey Earnhardt finished 13th, finally securing the strong finish he nearly scored in Fontana before alternator issues. Earnhardt, too, had his own previous best finish of the young season in Daytona, taking 15th.

*Buford is the first first-time XFINITY Series last-place finisher in 16 races, dating back to Brandon Brown’s crash at Michigan on August 21, 2021.
*This marked the first last-place finish for the #48 in a XFINITY race since October 14, 2005, when Jimmie Johnson picked up his first - and only - XFINITY last-place run after his #48 Lowe’s / Kobalt Chevrolet crashed after 29 laps of the Dollar General 300 at Charlotte. The number had never before finished last in a XFINITY race at Atlanta.

38) #48-Jade Buford / 105 laps / crash
37) #51-Jeremy Clements / 106 laps / crash
36) #38-Loris Hezemans / 112 laps / crash
35) #11-Daniel Hemric / 113 laps / crash
34) #7-Justin Allgaier / 152 laps / crash

1st) Alpha Prime Racing, Big Machine Racing, Kaulig Racing, SS-Green Light Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing (1)

1st) Chevrolet (3)
2nd) Ford (2)