Thursday, April 7, 2022

PREVIEW: Six newcomers seek to make their name in NASCAR at Martinsville

PHOTO: @TeamTrackhouse

Thursday, April 7, 2022 (8:00 P.M. ET, FS1)
TRUCKS Race 5 of 23
Blue Emu Maximum Pain Relief 200 at Martinsville
2021 Last-Place Finisher (October): Chase Purdy 

There are 39 drivers entered for 36 spots, meaning three will not qualify. There are also six drivers each seeking their first NASCAR Truck Series start, meaning at least half of them will do so.

MISSING: #3-Jordan Anderson Racing
Jordan Anderson’s Truck team is not entered this week after they withdrew from COTA to reorganize.

MISSING: #5-Hill Motorsports
Also not on the list this week is the second Hill Motorsports entry, whose debut with Tyler Hill will have to wait for another day following a DNQ.

DRIVER CHANGE: #7-Spire Motorsports
Atlanta race winner William Byron will take his turn in the #7 Chevrolet, replacing Las Vegas winner Alex Bowman. Byron joins a returning Kyle Busch among Thursday’s Cup Series invaders.

RETURNING: #13-ThorSport Racing
When we last saw Johnny Sauter in the Daytona opener, he debuted G2G Racing’s #47 entry, which was plagued by electrical issues that left him a disappointing 34th. This week, Sauter reunites with ThorSport in the season debut for the now part-time #13 entry. The four-time Martinsville winner carries sponsorship from Protect The Harvest.

DRIVER CHANGE: #20-Young’s Motorsports
Back in COTA, Sheldon Creed was handed his first career Truck Series last-place finish when his pole-winning #20 suffered an early mechanical issue. Taking Creed’s place this week is Dillon Steuer, who seeks his NASCAR national touring series debut. On September 16, 2017, as a rookie from the nearby town of Bohemia, Steuer finished 7th in the Miller Lite 200 at Riverhead, New York, the event overshadowed by Ted Christopher’s tragic death in a plane crash earlier that day.

RETURNING: #32-Bret Holmes Racing
Bret Holmes returns to action for the first time since Las Vegas, where he ran a career-best 8th this past March. Holmes ran here last fall, finishing 22nd in his #32 Chevrolet.

DRIVER CHANGE: #33-Reaume Brothers Racing
Fort Wayne, Indiana native Chase Janes looks to break into NASCAR’s top three series as he takes the wheel of Josh Reaume’s flagship #33 in place of Will Rodgers, carrying sponsorship from Butler Built on his Toyota.

NEW TEAM: #35-McAnally Hilgemann Racing
Still another newcomer on the Truck Series entry list is Georgia’s Jake Garcia, a late model racer with a single ARCA West Series start at Phoenix, where he ran 6th for David Gilliland Racing. Garcia will this week take the wheel of a new third entry for the McAnally team, partnered with teammates Derek Kraus and Colby Howard.

MISSING: #37-AM Racing
Logan Bearden is not entered after his own Truck debut at COTA, where he finished 28th in the second AM Racing entry.

DRIVER CHANGE: #43-Reaume Brothers Racing
Following Brad Perez’ 20th-place run in his series debut at COTA, “Drive for Diversity” alumni Blake Lothian looks to do the same as he takes a turn in Reaume’s #43 Toyota. A race winner at Hickory just last season, Lothian carries sponsorship from The Texas Lawbook as sponsor. Incidentally, both Reaume entrants of Lothian and Chase Janes (in the #33) do not have a single start in their driver profiles.

A late driver swap by Wednesday was Kaden Honeycutt from Texas, who replaces Matt Jaskol as driver of the G2G #46. A two-time race winner in the CARS Late Model Stock Car Tour, Honeycutt seeks his NASCAR debut. He has five ARCA Menards Series starts on his resume with a best finish of 7th at the Nashville Fairgrounds in 2019.

WITHDREW: #47-G2G Racing
The G2G team withdrew their #47 entry at the entry list’s first publication. The truck was originally set for Tim Viens, who took the place of Samuel LeComte, a DNQ in Austin.

MISSING: #79-Atwell Racing
Also missing from the list is John Atwell, whose own #79 missed the cut in COTA.

NEW TEAM: #90-Terry Carroll Motorsports
Williamsburg, Virignia native Justin S. Caroll brings with him more experience in ARCA regional and national competition. Just last year, his family’s team finished 13th in Kansas and 16th in the ARCA races Bristol, plus a 5th-place finish in the East race at Southern National Motorsports Park. Both driver and team now attempt their first NASCAR national series start. The #90 has not made a Truck start since November 19, 2010, when Brad Sweet ran 25th at Homestead.

DRIVER CHANGE: #02-Young’s Motorsports
Jesse Little reunites with the Randy Young team for the first time since Atlanta, where he ran 15th following a 6th-place showing in the Daytona opener. Little looks to make his first Truck start at Martinsville with returning sponsor Skuttle Tight. He swaps in for Kaz Grala, who ran 14th in COTA.

CUP INVADERS: #7-William Byron, #51-Kyle Busch

Friday, April 8, 2022 (7:30 P.M. ET, FS1)
XFINITY Race 8 of 33
Call 811 Before You Dig 250 at Martinsville
2021 Last-Place Finisher: Ryan Vargas

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

DRIVER SWAP: #5-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
MISSING: #55-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
With Matt Mills returning to the #5 entry for the McLeod team, the #55 that Mills failed to qualify in Richmond will not be entered. Mills takes the place of Ryan Preece and the Stewart-Haas Racing support that claimed a 16th-place finish in Richmond. 

RETURNING: #13-Motorsports Business Management
MBM’s #13 team looks to break through after three consecutive DNQs in Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Atlanta. As in their most recent start, Chad Finchum is the driver with Garrison Homes and UNITS Storage as sponsor. Engine issue left him 37th of 39 starters in his only XFINITY start at Martinsville in 2020.

DRIVER CHANGE: #18-Joe Gibbs Racing
Ryan Truex climbs aboard the JGR #18 entry for the first time since Las Vegas, where a crash left him in 30th place. Taking the place of John Hunter Nemechek, who lost a close contest with Ty Gibbs for the win in Richmond, Truex carries sponsorship from

Last week in Richmond, Kyle Sieg very nearly matched the speed of his teammates Ryan Sieg and Parker Retzlaff, who each finished in the Top 10. Kyle was running inside the Top 20 when a series of misfortunes ultimately led to an engine failure, leaving him 37th. This week, Natalie Decker slips into the #28 entry with returning sponsor Nerd Focus. Decker enjoyed perhaps her best XFINITY run to date here last fall, finishing 25th for Our Motorsports. Her career-best remains a 24th at Talladega. The Reaume Brothers team will help prepare Decker’s car, continuing the same partnership between Reaume and RSS that led to Chris Our acquiring the #23 last year.

DRIVER CHANGE: #35-Emerling-Gase Motorsports
Shane Lee picked up a season-best 17th-place finish in his most recent XFINITY outing this year in Atlanta. This week, he returns to the #35 for the first time since, taking place of team co-owner Joey Gase, who ran 34th in Richmond.

DRIVER SWAP: #44-Alpha Prime Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #45-Alpha Prime Racing
Ryan Ellis rejoins the Alpha Prime team for a third time this season, looking to follow up his solid 13th-place run in Las Vegas and 16th in Phoenix at a track where he ran 23rd for B.J. McLeod last year. Ellis will this time run the #45, bumping Howie DiSavino III to the #44. DiSavino, who failed to qualify for his XFINITY debut at Richmond in the #45, takes the place of Rajah Caruth, who took 24th in his own series debut.

DRIVER CHANGE: #77-Bassett Racing
As the Bassett brothers continue their search for their team’s first start since COTA in 2021, Ronnie Bassett, Jr. takes the place of Dillon Bassett in the bright orange Honest Amish Chevrolet. Ronnie’s most recent XFINITY start was last summer in Atlanta, where he ran 27th for DGM Racing.

RETURNING: #88-JR Motorsports
Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s lone start of the season with Hellmann’s Fridge Hunters as sponsor will come this Friday, pending the outcome of qualifying. This will be Earnhardt’s first XFINITY start at Martinsville, where he won the 2014 Cup race in the fall.

CUP INVADERS: None (technically)

Saturday, April 9, 2022 (7:30 P.M. ET, FS1)
CUP Race 8 of 36
Blue Emu Maximum Pain Relief 400 at Martinsville
2021 Last-Place Finisher (500 laps): Corey LaJoie

There are 36 teams entered, one fewer than at Richmond – only the Chartered teams. Saturday's race becomes the seventh short field in eight races this season.

DRIVER CHANGE: #77-Spire Motorsports
The lone driver change on the Cup side is the return of Josh Bilicki to the #77, making his fifth start of the year and first since his 22nd-place showing in COTA. Landon Cassill finished 32nd with this team last week in Richmond.

TODAY IN LASTCAR HISTORY (April 7, 2001): Morgan Shepherd picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series career in the Advance Auto Parts 250 at Martinsville when his #21 Genzman Racing Ford had brake issues after 31 laps. Shepherd, who won his first Cup race at the same track two decades earlier, was making just his sixth series start.

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