Thursday, June 2, 2022

PREVIEW: Road ringers and familiar faces populate fields in both Gateway and Portland

PHOTO: @StartAndParkCar

Saturday, June 4, 2022 (1:30 P.M. FS1)
TRUCKS Race 11 of 23
Toyota 200 Presented by CK Power at World Wide Technology Raceway (Gateway)
2021 Last-Place Finisher: Jennifer Jo Cobb

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

RETURNING: #3-Jordan Anderson Racing
Among the teams returning to action this week is Jordan Anderson’s #3, which did not run in Charlotte following a 14th-place showing in Texas. With returning sponsorship from Bommarito Automotive Group, Anderson eyes his 8th Gateway start, a track where he ran 11th in 2016 for Bolen Motorsports.

RETURNING: #5-Hill Motorsports
The second Hill Motorsports entry returns with Tyler Hill carrying sponsorship from Hair Club and Capilus on the #5 Toyota. Tyler finished a strong 11th in this race last year, just his second Gateway start, while driving the team’s flagship #56.

RETURNING: #7-Spire Motorsports
Spire’s entry returns, but since this is a Triple Truck Challenge race, it won’t be run by a Cup regular this time. The team had no driver listed until Thursday, when news broke that ARCA upstart Rajah Caruth will attempt his Truck Series debut with sponsorship from the Confluence Music Festival. Caruth enters the race following his first two XFINITY starts for Alpha Prime Racing, which yielded a 24th in Richmond before mechanical issues left him last after a strong start in Dover.

RETURNING: #13-ThorSport Racing
One to watch will certainly be Johnny Sauter, who besides a last-place finish due to a vibration in 2020 has finished no worse than 5th in his other eight series starts at this track. What’s more, Sauter will again pilot his familiar #13 for ThorSport, whose scaled-down part-time schedule has kept it off the grid in every race this year except Martinsville – where Sauter finished 2nd.

DRIVER CHANGE: #17-David Gilliland Racing
Taylor Gray takes the place of Charlotte triple-header Ryan Preece, and shares the Ford Performance sponsorship with brother and teammate Tanner Gray in the #15. The result is Taylor’s eighth series start and first since Martinsville, where he matched his 26th-place finish from COTA. Taylor finished 12th in this race last year.

DRIVER CHANGE: #33-Reaume Brothers Racing
The Reaume team has brought on Florida late model driver Mason Maggio, who has earned a development driver deal with Rick Ware Racing. This week, Maggio seeks his NASCAR national series debut in the #33 Toyota with HMY Yacht Sales as primary sponsor, joined by associated backers Viblock and Dry Shine, among others.

RETURNING: #35-McAnally-Hilgemann Racing
RETURNING: #90-Terry Carroll Motorsports
Back at Martinsville, persistent rain kept two drivers from attempting to qualify for their Truck Series debuts. For the first time since then, both are back. Jake Garcia will again pilot the part-time third entry from the McAnally effort, the black #35 Chevrolet. Along with him comes Justin S. Carroll with his family-owned #90 team.

MISSING: #37-AM Racing
Not among this week’s entrants is the part-time entry from AM Racing, with which Max Gutierrez earned a 26th-place finish last week in Charlotte.

MISSING: #41-Niece Motorsports
Also not entered due to the “Triple Truck Challenge” event is 2019 Gateway winner Ross Chastain, who inherited the win from teammate Carson Hocevar last week in Charlotte.

DRIVER CHANGE: #43-Reaume Brothers Racing
The struggling second Reaume entry goes this week to Blake Lothian, who finished 28th in his series debut earlier this year at Martinsville, two laps down to the leader. Lothian takes the place of Keith McGee, whose broken shock ended a challenging weekend in Charlotte.

WITHDREW: #47-G2G Racing
The G2G team originally had Brennan Poole entered in both its #46 and #47 entries, but by Thursday has since withdrawn the #47. Poole will remain in the #46, looking to bounce back from his last-place showing at Charlotte, caused by a sudden driveshaft failure.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Kyle Busch Motorsports
Atlanta winner Corey Heim is back in the KBM #51 for the first time since Texas, where he finished in 7th. This will be Heim’s first Truck Series start at Gateway as he takes the place of Kyle Busch, 7th last week in Charlotte.

CUP INVADERS: None

Saturday, June 4, 2022 (4:30 P.M., FS1)
XFINITY Race 14 of 33
Pacific Automation 147 at Portland
2021 Last-Place Finisher: Inaugural Race

ENTRY LIST
For the first time in 46 races, there will be no DNQs from the XFINITY Series garage this week as there are exactly 38 drivers entered for as many spots in the inaugural XFINITY event at the Portland road course.

DRIVER CHANGE: #5-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
MISSING: #55-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Road course racing means Scott Heckert rejoining the McLeod team, once again piloting the #5 Malco Chevrolet he drove to a 32nd-place finish earlier this year in COTA. Heckert takes the place of Ryan Preece, who finished 5th in the second leg of his Charlotte triple-header. Matt Mills, who was moved to McLeod’s part-time #55 by Preece last week, is not entered in Portland as he will again drive for Randy Young in the Truck Series race at Gateway.

DRIVER CHANGE: #6-JD Motorsports
DRIVER SWAP: #47-Mike Harmon Racing
A business decision at Johnny Davis’ team has this week moved Ryan Vargas from his familiar #6 to the #47 entered by Mike Harmon Racing, replacing Brennan Poole who will be in Gateway for G2G’s Truck team. This will be Vargas’ first XFINITY start for a team other than JD Motorsports. Taking Vargas’ place is part-timer Gray Gaulding, who brings with him backing from JT Marine.

DRIVER CHANGE: #13-Motorsports Business Management
With Timmy Hill joining his Truck Series team in Gateway, Matt Jaskol returns to competition in the #13 with AutoParts4Less rejoining as sponsor. This will be Jaskol’s first XFINITY start of the year, following his departure from G2G Racing’s Truck team earlier this season. His most recent series start was last fall in Las Vegas, where he famously skydived into the track on race day. The preliminary entry list had no driver listed for the #13, though MBM’s Facebook page mentioned Jaskol much earlier.

DRIVER CHANGE: #18-Joe Gibbs Racing
With six ARCA starts under his belt, most recently a 5th in Kansas and 4th last week in Charlotte, Connor Mosack will make his NASCAR XFINITY Series debut with the high-powered #18 JGR entry, replacing 9th-place Charlotte finisher Trevor Bayne. Open Eyes is the listed sponsor for Mosack, who last year ran road courses full-time, winning a Trans-Am TA2 race at Watkins Glen.

DRIVER CHANGE: #26-Sam Hunt Racing
Parker Chase rejoins the XFINITY Series following his debut at COTA this year, where he finished 19th in this same Sam Hunt Racing #26. Taking the place of Jeffrey Earnhardt, whose crash in Charlotte left him next-to-last, Chase carries sponsorship from the Tower Family Foundation.

MISSING: #28-RSS Racing
Not making the long trip west is the third part-time entry from RSS Racing, which Kyle Sieg was unable to qualify in Charlotte while running a Davey Allison “throwback” scheme.

DRIVER CHANGE: #34-Jesse Iwuji Motorsports
Jesse Iwuji will again step in for Kyle Weatherman, seeking his first XFINITY start on a road course since his series debut in 2020 at Road America, where he ran 26th for Carl Long. Weatherman, who was involved in an early crash at Charlotte, lost his full-time ride at DGM Racing just before this year’s previous road course race in COTA.

DRIVER CHANGE: #35-Emerling-Gase Motorsports
Patrick Emerling – and not 12th-place COTA finisher Parker Kligerman – takes the place of Shane Lee in the car he co-owns, placing him into his fourth XFINITY race of the season and first since his 28th-place run in Texas. Shane Lee finished 24th last week, four laps down.

DRIVER CHANGE: #36-DGM Racing
Speaking of DGM, Alex Labbe is back behind the wheel of his familiar #36, looking to continue his string of strong performances on the road courses. He takes the place of Garrett Smithley, whose one-off in Charlotte yielded a 21st-place finish. Labbe qualified a strong 5th in this year’s race at COTA, but rear gear troubles left him 36th in the final laps. Longtime backer Larue Industrial Snow Blowers returns as sponsor.

DRIVER CHANGE: #38-RSS Racing
The second RSS Ford, previously driven by 23rd-place Charlotte finisher C.J. McLaughlin, will this week give Oregon native Darren Dilley his first NASCAR national series start. The 55-year-old Dilley is a throwback to the gentleman racers of the past, a schoolteacher turned amateur racer in SCCA. According to TheCheckeredFlag.co.uk, Dilley was hired due to his familiarity with the Portland track.

DRIVER CHANGE: #44-Alpha Prime Racing
Portland will also be the latest start for road race ace Andy Lally, who makes his first XFINITY start of 2022. Lally’s most recent green flag in a XFINITY car came last summer on the Indianapolis Grand Prix Circuit, where he took 10th for B.J. McLeod. This time around, he drives the lead Alpha Prime entry, taking over for 13th-place Charlotte finisher Ryan Ellis.

DRIVER CHANGE: #48-Big Machine Racing
After he was ousted by Cup Series full-timers Tyler Reddick and Austin Dillon – the former winning at Texas and the latter triggering a pileup at Charlotte – Jade Buford will make his only remaining start of this year’s regular season on Saturday, returning to the #48 Chevrolet he last piloted at Martinsville. Buford will need to capitalize on his road course background if he has a shot at claiming any of the team’s remaining starts in this year’s Playoffs.

MISSING: #77-Bassett Racing
Ronnie Bassett, Jr. is not entered as the #77 team awaits its next opportunity to rejoin the XFINITY Series field.

DRIVER CHANGE: #91-DGM Racing
Joining Alex Labbe in Mario Gosselin’s stable is Mason Filippi, who on Saturday will make his own NASCAR national touring series debut. Filippi has several years’ experience running sprint races in the sports cars of the Pirelli World Challenge, then two-to-four-hour endurance races in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge. Filippi takes the place of Mason Massey, who failed to qualify last week in Charlotte. OpenFender.com is the listed sponsor of the #91 this week.

MISSING: #99-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Nick Sanchez is not entered this week after his 28th-place showing following ignition troubles in Charlotte, and neither is McLeod’s part-time #99 entry.

DRIVER CHANGE: #08-SS-Green Light Racing
Welcome back Spencer Pumpelly, who made his first three XFINITY starts with JD Motorsports last year, taking a 19th in COTA, 24th at Indianapolis, and a last-place run at Road America after a hard crash in Turn 1. This time, Pumpelly takes the place of Charlotte DNQ David Starr in the #08, which retains Starr’s sponsorship from Ticket Smarter.

CUP INVADERS: None

Sunday, June 5, 2022 (3:30 P.M., FS1)
CUP Race 15 of 36
Enjoy Illinois 300 at World Wide Technology Raceway (Gateway)
2021 Last-Place Finisher: Inaugural Race

ENTRY LIST
The inaugural Cup race at Gateway sees only the 36 Chartered entries populate the grid, marking the 14th short field in 15 races.

DRIVER CHANGE: #15-Rick Ware Racing
RWR had no driver listed to take the place of last-place Charlotte finisher Ryan Preece until just yesterday, when Parker Kligerman was shown getting adjusted behind the wheel. The result is Kligerman’s first Cup start of the season, and his first in the series since his impressive 20th-place showing in Kansas with the now-defunct Fast.co as sponsor of his Gaunt Brothers Toyota.

DRIVER CHANGE: #16-Kaulig Racing
While A.J. Allmendinger will return to the #16, taking the place of 24th-place Charlotte finisher Noah Gragson, Allmendinger will also be running Saturday’s XFINITY race in Portland. Thus, he is expected to have another driver – believed to be a Truck Series competitor – on hand to practice and qualify his #16 for Sunday.

DRIVER CHANGE: #17-RFK Racing
Chris Buescher tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, which has put Zane Smith into his first Cup race.

MISSING: #50-The Money Team Racing
Kaz Grala is not entered after The Money Team managed a 23rd-place finish. While 13 laps down at the checkered flag, due to overtime, Grala ironically completed all 400 laps of the scheduled distance.

TODAY IN LASTCAR HISTORY (June 2, 1968): David Mote of Siler City, North Carolina picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR Grand National Series career in the Macon 300 at the Middle Georgia Raceway when his #69 1966 Chevrolet had a fuel pump failure after 8 of 300 laps. This was Mote’s second of his seven total career starts that year, each driving for Ken Cline. His best finish was 14th, which he earned at Fonda, New York on July 11th. That day, Mote was last of the 25 starters to still be running at the finish.

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