Thursday, May 5, 2022

PREVIEW: Several drivers return to action for "throwback" weekend at Darlington

Myatt Snider's tribute to Ken Schrader among the many "throwback" schemes this weekend.
PHOTO: @j66anderson

Friday, May 6, 2022 (7:30 P.M. ET, FS1)
TRUCKS Race 7 of 23 200 at Darlington
2021 Last-Place Finisher: Cory Roper

For the first time since Atlanta, there are just 36 trucks entered for 36 spots, meaning all will qualify.

MISSING: #6-Norm Benning Racing
After a disappointing DNQ on the Bristol Dirt, Norm Benning announced that he and sponsor Circle B Diecast will return to action in Knoxville. The team is currently selling fan sponsorships with diecasts of the #6 Chevrolet expected to be produced.

MISSING: #7-Spire Motorsports
Chase Elliott is not entered in the Truck Series race following a 7th-place finish in Bristol, but will run double-duty with the XFINITY Series and the same sponsorship, this time with JR Motorsports (see below).

DRIVER CHANGE: #17-David Gilliland Racing
Following his return to the Cup Series last week in Dover, Ryan Preece and sponsor United Rentals is back in the Truck Series for a third time this year and first since his 7th-place showing in Atlanta. Preece takes the place of Harrison Burton, who finished 20th in Bristol’s dirt race.

DRIVER CHANGE: #20-Young’s Motorsports
Danny Bohn is back in the Truck Series for the first time since his 8th-place run in the Daytona opener, again driving Randy Young’s #20, this time with as sponsor. Bohn takes the place of Cup regular Austin Dillon, who finished 14th in Bristol.

DRIVER CHANGE: #33-Reaume Brothers Racing
Josh Reaume makes his first Truck Series start of the season in his flagship #33 Toyota, this week painted in the black-and-silver colors of Dale Earnhardt’s GM Goodwrench Chevrolet, sponsored by Hardy Boys Consulting. Reaume, who ran 25th here last fall, takes the place of Mike Marlar, who finished 17th in the Bristol Dirt Race.

RETURNING: #41-Niece Motorsports
Al Niece brings back his fifth team this week, and the hottest driver on the Cup tour – Ross Chastain – will again drive it. Chastain will carry sponsorship from Worldwide Express, the main brand of teammate Dean Thompson in the #40. Chastain had previously run the #41 earlier this year in Atlanta, where tire troubles left him 23rd.

DRIVER CHANGE: #43-Reaume Brothers Racing
Fresh off his first late model win in Hickory, Akinori Ogata makes his first Truck Series start of the year, taking the place of 34th-place Bristol finisher Keith McGee in the second Reaume truck, the #43 Toyota. Ogata, whose most recent Truck Series start came last summer in Charlotte, finished 34th in this event last year after a late-race crash. 

RETURNING: #46-G2G Racing
MISSING: #49-CMI Motorsports
After confusion on the Bristol dirt where Andrew Gordon’s Chevrolet was still registered to Ray Ciccarelli and not G2G Racing, forcing a late number change, the #46 team is back with Brennan Poole behind the wheel of a G2G Ford. Poole will attempt to pull double-duty with the XFINITY Series as he rejoins Mike Harmon Racing in a bid for Saturday’s field.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Kyle Busch Motorsports
After a successful weekend where he took 4th with the Nitro team in Trans-Am TA2 competition at Sonoma, Atlanta winner Corey Heim rejoins Kyle Busch Motorsports in the #51 Toyota with JBL as sponsor. Heim takes the place of Buddy Kofoid, whose debut on the dirt yielded a 27th-place finish, last on the lead lap.

MISSING: #54-David Gilliland Racing
Joey Logano is not entered, and neither is the part-time #54 team from David Gilliland’s team, which started on pole in Bristol and finished in 6th.

DRIVER CHANGE: #62-Halmar Racing
Continuing his march toward 800 NASCAR starts, Todd Bodine rejoins the Truck Series tour for the first time since his return to competition earlier this year in Las Vegas, where he ran 21st. He again drives the second Halmar entry, #62, with sponsorship from Camping World. He takes the place of Jessica Friesen, who failed to qualify for the Bristol dirt race, and is expected to return in Knoxville.

DRIVER CHANGE: #02-Young’s Motorsports
Darlington marks Jesse Little’s fourth Truck Series start of the year and first since Martinsville, where he finished a season-worst 27th. Little, who ran 6th in the Daytona opener, takes the place of Kaz Grala, who ran 26th under the lights in Bristol.

CUP INVADERS: #41-Ross Chastain

Saturday, May 7, 2022 (1:30 P.M. ET, FS1)
XFINITY Race 11 of 33
Mahindra Roxor 200 at Darlington
2021 Last-Place Finisher: Matt Mills

There are 40 drivers entered for 38 spots, meaning two will fail to qualify.

DRIVER CHANGE: #13-Motorsports Business Management
Timmy Hill will run a “throwback” scheme in honor of the late Ricky Hendrick, his #13 Coble Enterprises Toyota resembling Hendrick’s Busch Series car sponsored by DuPont. Hill takes the place of Chad Finchum, who ran 32nd in his first start of the season at Dover.

DRIVER CHANGE: #18-Joe Gibbs Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #26-Sam Hunt Racing
Ryan Truex returns to run the #18, his first start since Martinsville, but does not have a sponsor on his Toyota. This moves John Hunter Nemechek to the #26 in place of Chandler Smith, who’s not entered following a 21st-place finish in Dover. Stillhouse Vodka will sponsor the Nemechek effort.

Kyle Sieg will rejoin brother Ryan at the RSS camp, replacing Parker Retzlaff who finished a solid 17th, the final car on the lead lap, in Dover. Carrying sponsorship from H&W Electrical, Kyle seeks his 10th series start and first since Talladega, where he ran 18th.

DRIVER CHANGE: #44-Alpha Prime Racing
Josh Bilicki honors Bill Elliott with one of his lesser-known paint schemes, the Burger King colors Elliott campaigned for Michael Waltrip Racing in 2006. Bilicki and his Insurance King sponsorship take the place of Rajah Caruth, whose strong start at Dover ended with mechanical issues and a last-place finish.

DRIVER CHANGE: #45-Alpha Prime Racing
Welcome back Tommy Joe Martins, who will make just his fourth XFINITY start of the year and first since Atlanta, running a retro paint scheme on his #45 Capital City Hauling Chevrolet. Martins takes the place of Ryan Ellis, who finished 20th last week in Dover.

DRIVER CHANGE: #48-Big Machine Racing
It’s a Bobby Allison Coca-Cola throwback for the Big Machine team, and another familiar face behind the wheel. After back-to-back races with Kaz Grala, the team has brought on Cup regular Tyler Reddick to make his first XFINITY start since last September’s race at this same track, when he ran 7th for Our Motorsports.

RETURNING: #88-JR Motorsports
In a rather controversial decision given Kyle Busch is just now becoming a less frequent presence in the lower series, JR Motorsports has followed the model of Spire Motorsports’ Truck Series team in bringing even more top Cup drivers into the XFINITY Series in cars sponsored by The three-driver lineup includes the last two Cup Series champions – Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson – plus William Byron, who has just received a three-year contract extension in Cup while tied for the most wins this season. Elliott takes the wheel on Saturday for the first of several races by this team over the next few weeks.

CUP INVADERS: #48-Tyler Reddick, #88-Chase Elliott

Sunday, May 8, 2022 (3:30 P.M. ET, FS1)
CUP Race 12 of 36
Goodyear 400 at Darlington
2021 Last-Place Finisher: Aric Almirola

For the second-straight race, only the 36 Chartered entries will run the Cup event, marking the 11th short field in 12 races this season.

DRIVER CHANGE: #15-Rick Ware Racing
J.J. Yeley rejoins the Rick Ware team for the first time since the Bristol Dirt Race, where a strong run was spoiled by a late crash, leaving him in 30th. Yeley takes the place of Ryan Preece, who was 25th in his series return last week, and carries a “throwback” scheme to Clint Bowyer’s 5-hour Energy Toyota fielded by Michael Waltrip Racing. Yeley’s version carries sponsorship from Ollie’s Bargain Outlet.

DRIVER CHANGE: #16-Kaulig Racing
Daniel Hemric takes the place of A.J. Allmendinger this week as the Kaulig team has surprisingly not entered “throwback” schemes for either of its teams. Hemric’s Chevrolet is sponsored by AG1 by Athletic Greens.

DRIVER CHANGE: #77-Spire Motorsports
Landon Cassill is also not running a “throwback” on his #77 Voyager: Crypto for All Chevrolet as he takes the place of Josh Bilicki, who struggled to a 32nd-place finish in Dover. Cassill makes his 5th Cup start of the year and first since Talladega, where his 19th-place performance was second-best of the season behind his 15th in the Daytona 500.

TODAY IN LASTCAR HISTORY (May 5, 1985): Canada’s own Trevor Boys picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR Winston Cup Series career in the Winston 500 at Talladega when his #98 McCaig Racing Chevrolet, fielded by Ron Benfield, lost the engine after 6 laps. Both Rusty Wallace and Harry Gant lost their own engines the next time by and finished 37th and 38th, respectively.

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