Thursday, March 17, 2022

PREVIEW: Bassett and Means teams rejoin regulars for a bid at transformed Atlanta

PHOTO: @TeamHill56

Saturday, March 19, 2022 (2:30 P.M. ET, FS1)
TRUCKS Race 3 of 23
Fr8 208 at Atlanta
2021 Last-Place Finisher: Norm Benning

There are 36 trucks entered for as many spots, so none will miss the show.

MISSING: #32-Bret Holmes Racing
Bret Holmes is not entered this week after he finished a strong 8th in Las Vegas, his first career top-ten finish in just nine Truck Series starts.

DRIVER CHANGE: #33-Reaume Brothers Racing
Chris Hacker makes his season debut this weekend and his first race since his last-minute effort with the Reaume Brothers last fall at Phoenix, where he ran 27th. “Hackerman” again drives for Reaume this week, taking the place of 20th-place Vegas finisher Loris Hezemans, and brings Dal Dirt as sponsor.

NEW TEAM: #41-Niece Motorsports
Al Niece’s team expands to a fifth truck this week with Ross Chastain – 3rd and 2nd in his last two Cup starts for Team Trackhouse – once again running the Watermelon paint scheme. Interestingly, Niece has entered the truck with the #41, the number campaigned last year by Dawson Cram.

TEAM UPDATE: #46-G2G Racing
TEAM UPDATE: #47-G2G Racing
Last time out in Las Vegas, Matt Jaskol failed to qualify the G2G team’s #47 while Brennan Poole made the show in the #46. The two then swapped rides, putting Jaskol in the show in Poole's #46. This week, the two maintain that arrangement with Jaskol again entered in the #46 and Poole in the #47.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Kyle Busch Motorsports
Corey Heim returns to the Truck Series for the first time since his rough night at Daytona, where a collision on pit road left him 32nd. He takes the place of Kyle Busch, who was bested by teammate Chandler Smith in Vegas.

TEAM UPDATE: #56-Hill Motorsports
Units Storage, once a primary sponsor for StarCom Racing’s Cup team, will this week back Timmy Hill’s #56 Toyota and serve as an associate for Chad Finchum in XFINITY (see below).

MISSING: #62-Halmar Friesen Racing
Todd Bodine’s next race of his six-race slate will be Darlington in May. He finished 21st in his return after a pair of incidents in Vegas.

DRIVER CHANGE: #02-Young’s Motorsports
Last week, Jesse Little was a last-minute substitute who came up just short of qualifying Jesse Iwuji’s #34 into the XFINITY race at Phoenix. This week, he returns to the Truck Series in place of Kaz Grala, 30th after engine issues in Vegas, with Sim Seats as sponsor. Little’s only Truck start this year yielded a strong 6th-place finish in the Daytona opener.

CUP INVADERS: #41-Ross Chastain

Saturday, March 19, 2022 (5:00 P.M. ET, FS1)
XFINITY Race 5 of 33
Nalley Cars 250 at Atlanta
2021 Last-Place Finisher: Brett Moffitt

There are 43 drivers entered for 38 spots, meaning five teams will be sent home.

DRIVER CHANGE: #5-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
As at Las Vegas, Matt Mills will pull double-duty with the Trucks and XFINITY Series, and this time do so on the same afternoon. After running Randy Young’s #20 in the first part of the day (after no driver was listed at first), he will reunite with the B.J. McLeod team, replacing debut driver Nick Sanchez, who ran 26th in Phoenix last Saturday.

DRIVER CHANGE: #13-Motorsports Business Management
Welcome back Chad Finchum, who will attempt to make his first XFINITY start since last August at Bristol, again with MBM. This time, he takes the wheel of the #13 entry, replacing Stan Mullis, who failed to qualify in Phoenix. Garrison Homes and Units Storage are the listed sponsors.

DRIVER SWAP: #26-Sam Hunt Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #35-Emerling-Gase Motorsports
Shane Lee returns to the XFINITY Series for the first time since the Daytona opener, where he ran 33rd after a late-race crash. He again takes the wheel of the #35 Kitty Cat Coin Ford for the Emerling-Gase team, moving Jeffrey Earnhardt back to the #26 Sam Hunt Racing entry in place of John Hunter Nemechek. Nemechek led at the halfway point of last week’s race en route to a 5th-place finish with Earnhardt in 34th.

MISSING: #33-Reaume Brothers Racing
For the second time in three races, the Reaume team has not entered their #33 Toyota on the XFINITY side following Loris Hezemans’ frustrating DNQ in Phoenix. Hezemans will still attempt to qualify this week as he takes the place of newcomer Parker Retzlaff – 36th after a promising start at Phoenix – in RSS Racing’s #38 Ford.

DRIVER CHANGE: #34-Jesse Iwuji Motorsports
Following Jesse Little’s aforementioned driver change in Phoenix, Jesse Iwuji is again listed as driver of the #34 this week with Equity Prime Mortgage as sponsor.

DRIVER CHANGE: #44-Alpha Prime Racing
Sage Karam returns to the XFINITY Series for the first time since last fall’s Phoenix finale, taking the place of Ryan Ellis in Alpha Prime’s #44 Chevrolet with sponsorship from The Driveway Company. Ellis finished a strong 16th last week in Phoenix. This car had no driver name listed on the preliminary entry list.

DRIVER CHANGE: #45-Alpha Prime Racing
Tommy Joe Martins will rejoin the Alpha Prime team, taking the place of Kaz Grala as he now drives the #45 for the first time in 2022. AP Regimen Legacy Series is the listed sponsor for Martins, whose most recent start was a 31st-place finish in Fontana driving the #44.

RETURNING: #52-Jimmy Means Racing
Harrison Rhodes and Jimmy Means are back in action for the first time since the Daytona opener, looking to make their first start of the season. Rhodes actually made his Cup debut at Atlanta (under its previous configuration) in 2018, finishing 33rd for Rick Ware Racing.

RETURNING: #77-Bassett Racing
The Bassett Brothers are back as well with Dillon Bassett trying to get their #77 into its own first race of 2022. The team was looking for a new sponsor to adorn the blank hood of their orange-and-white Chevrolet, which carries Jerry Hunt Supercenter on the quarter-panels.


Sunday, March 20, 2022 (3:00 P.M. ET, FOX)
CUP Race 5 of 36
Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta
2021 Last-Place Finisher: Kurt Busch

There are 37 drivers entered for 40 spots, up one entry from Phoenix, but still the fourth short field in five races this season.

DRIVER CHANGE: #15-Rick Ware Racing
Georgia native David Ragan returns to the Cup Series for the first time since the Daytona 500, and will again pilot the #15 for RWR. Ragan takes the place of Garrett Smithley, who completed the “West Coast Swing” with a 32nd-place finish in Phoenix.

DRIVER CHANGE: #16-Kaulig Racing
For the first time this season, Noah Gragson will take the wheel of Matthew Kaulig’s #16 Cup car, taking the place of A.J. Allmendinger, who was 20th in Phoenix. This will be Gragson’s second Cup start of the season, following his run for Beard Motorsports in the Daytona 500, and comes a week after his first XFINITY win of the year in Phoenix.

RETURNING: #44-NY Racing Team
John Cohen’s team is back in action for the first time since Las Vegas, this time with a deep blue paint scheme in place of the previous black, representing Stillman College. Greg Biffle is again the driver as the team hopes to overcome the fuel pump issues that stopped them in their previous two races. As at Las Vegas, theirs is the only “open” car on the entry list.

DRIVER CHANGE: #77-Spire Motorsports
Josh Bilicki and his Zeigler Auto Group sponsorship are back with the Spire team this week, looking to follow up their 30th in Fontana and 29th in Las Vegas with their first lead-lap performance of the year. Bilicki takes the place of Landon Cassill, who ran 30th with the team in Phoenix.

TODAY IN LASTCAR HISTORY (March 17, 2001): Morris Coffman picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series career in the OSH 250 at the Mesa Marin Raceway when his #71 Turbines, Inc. Chevrolet lost the engine after 3 laps. For the 46-year-old Coffman, an ARCA veteran from Illinois with 41 starts dating back to 1984, this was to be his first of only two Truck Series starts. He finished next-to-last at South Boston later that year, this time with fuel pump issues.

No comments: