Thursday, April 28, 2022

PREVIEW: Preece returns to Cup at Dover, where many XFINITY newcomers also rejoin the field

IMAGE: @UnitedRentals

Saturday, April 30, 2022 (1:30 P.M. ET, FS1)
XFINITY Race 10 of 33
A-Game 200 at Dover
2021 Last-Place Finisher: David Starr

There are 39 drivers entered for 38 spots, meaning only one team will fail to qualify.

MISSING: #3-Richard Childress Racing
RCR has not entered their #3 entry after Jeffrey Earnhardt’s sterling runner-up finish with crew chief Larry McReynolds in Talladega, a new career-best for the driver. Earnhardt is also not entered in this week’s race.

TEAM UPDATE: #6-JD Motorsports
Ryan Vargas will race with a heavy heart this weekend as he carries the name of young Brentley Ehmann, who passed away two days ago. Like Vargas, Ehmann grew up with Craniosynostosis, a birth defect caused by the premature fusing of bones in the human skull. Vargas' car will carry Ehmann's name above the passenger side window of his #6, and foundation Cranio Care Bears on each side of the rear bumper. The foundation previously sponsored Vargas' earlier rides with Johnny Davis' team in the #15. 

DRIVER CHANGE: #13-Motorsports Business Management
MISSING: #28-RSS Racing
Last week, both MBM’s #13 and RSS’ #28 were among the three DNQs at Talladega. This week, the #28 has swapped points positions with the #13, which has yet to start a race all year. This should secure a start for Chad Finchum in the #13 with Garrison Homes and Units Storage as returning sponsors. The #28, now scaled back to a part-time schedule, was driven last week by C.J. McLaughlin.

DRIVER CHANGE: #18-Joe Gibbs Racing
John Hunter Nemechek makes his fourth XFINITY start of the year and 60th of his career this Saturday, driving the fleet JGR #18 in place of Drew Dollar, who took 13th in Talladega. Nemechek’s most recent XFINITY start this year also came with this team, where he was leading in the final stages at Richmond before he was bumped out of the spot by teammate Ty Gibbs.

DRIVER CHANGE: #34-Jesse Iwuji Motorsports
Following another costly DNQ in Talladega, Kyle Weatherman is again behind the wheel of the #34 SELE Foundation Chevrolet. Weatherman eyes his 8th XFINITY start of the year and first since Martinsville, where he gave the Iwuji effort its best-ever finish in 16th.

DRIVER CHANGE: #35-Emerling-Gase Motorsports
MISSING: #53-Emerling-Gase Motorsports
After he was swapped out of the ride for Parker Kligerman at COTA, Patrick Emerling will attempt to make his first XFINITY start of the season, replacing Joey Gase in the #35 Ford. It was Gase who clocked in the fastest lap in last week’s race in Talladega en route to a 16th-place finish. Emerling eyes his first XFINITY start since October 23, 2021, when he finished 24th for Our Motorsports. This would be Emerling’s first series start at Dover. The team’s #53 entry, driven to a 14th-place showing by Shane Lee, is not entered this week.

Dover marks the latest challenge for a surprising Parker Retzlaff, who will make his fourth series start after an impressive partial schedule so far. Retzlaff will again drive the #38, moving Ryan Sieg back to the flagship #39 in place of Kyle Sieg, who isn’t entered at the track where he made his series debut in 2021.

DRIVER CHANGE: #44-Alpha Prime Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #45-Alpha Prime Racing
Rajah Caruth is back in the XFINITY garage for the first time since his 24th-place series debut in Richmond, and just days after coming close to his first ARCA Menards Series win in Talladega. Caruth’s second series start, where he brings sponsor Circle, moves Ryan Ellis to the #45 in place of Caesar Bacarella, who finished 25th after a crash. Ellis nearly recovered from a costly spin in the early laps last week before a second wreck left him 32nd.

DRIVER CHANGE: #47-Mike Harmon Racing
Last week, Gray Gaulding stepped in as a last-minute substitution and earned a solid 21st-place finish in Talladega with new sponsor Safe Hedge on the #47. This week, Brennan Poole returns to the Harmon effort to attempt his sixth career XFINITY start at Dover and first since 2017, when he finished a track-best 5th with Chip Ganassi. In all five of those starts – both for Ganassi and Harry Scott, Jr. – Poole finished no worse than 15th and completed all but four of the combined 920 laps.

RETURNING: #99-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
As Stefan Parsons returns to the XFINITY Series for the first time since his team scaled back to a partial schedule to help teammate Josh Williams in the #78, news has also broken that Parsons will make some starts for Alpha Prime Racing, starting with a drive in the #45 in Texas.

Sunday, May 1, 2022 (3:00 P.M. ET, FS1)
CUP Race 11 of 36
Duramax Drydene 400 at Dover
2021 Last-Place Finisher: Aric Almirola

It’s back to the 36 Chartered entries this week as not a single “open” team is entered in Dover. This marks the 10th short field out of 11 races this season.

DRIVER CHANGE: #15-Rick Ware Racing
Ryan Preece will make his first points-paying Cup Series start of 2022, following a one-off for Rick Ware Racing back in this year’s Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum. United Rentals will this time be the sponsor of Preece’s #15 Ford as he takes the place of veteran David Ragan, who earned a 24th-place finish in Talladega. Preece’s last start in a Cup Series points race was the 2021 finale at Phoenix, where he ran 20th for the closing second team out of JTG-Daugherty Racing.

DRIVER CHANGE: #16-Kaulig Racing
A.J. Allmendinger will pull double-duty this weekend in Dover, rejoining the Kaulig team’s Cup effort for the first time since his 24th-place showing in Martinsville. Action Industries, Allmendinger's primary sponsor for his previous four series starts this year, will again back his Chevrolet. This will be Allmendinger’s 23rd series start at Dover and first since 2018, when he finished 22nd in the fall race driving the flagship #47 for JTG-Daugherty Racing. He replaces Daniel Hemric, whose untimely engine failure in Talladega left him wrecked in 36th.

MISSING: #44-NY Racing Team
MISSING: #55-Motorsports Business Management
MISSING: #62-Beard Motorsports
None of the three “open” teams from Talladega are entered this week, including the NY Racing Team, which is trying to diagnose a persistent issue with metal shavings in their brand-new fuel cells that’s causing the fuel pump to fail. J.J. Yeley and Noah Gragson, who ran last week’s Cup race, will compete in Saturday’s XFINITY race. Gragson seeks his second-straight victory.

DRIVER CHANGE: #77-Spire Motorsports
Josh Bilicki and sponsor Zeigler Auto Group are back in the Cup garage, taking the place of 19th-place Talladega finisher Landon Cassill. Bilicki will make his 6th Cup start of the season and first since Martinsville, where he ran 35th. This will be Bilicki’s fourth series start in Dover, where his best finish is 32nd during both races of the 2020 double-header.

Friday, May 6, 2022
TRUCKS Race 7 of 23 200
2021 Last-Place Finisher: Cory Roper

The Truck Series returns next week to kick off “Throwback” weekend in Darlington.

TODAY IN LASTCAR HISTORY (April 28, 2001): Mike Chase, age 49, picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR Busch Series career in the Auto Club 300 at California Speedway when his #91 Kingsford / Glad Chevrolet had a vibration after 3 laps. Chase, who became the lone Winston West competitor to qualify for the inaugural Brickyard 400 in 1994, was entered in a second car fielded by Tad Geschickter alongside Rich Bickle, who finished 29th in the team’s flagship #59. Chase made two more starts in the #59 at Gateway and Pikes Peak – the last of his Busch career.

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