by Brock Beard
Friday, July 29, 2022 (9:00 P.M. ET, FS1)
TRUCKS Race 17 of 23
Round of 10: Race 1 of 3
TSport 200 at Lucas Oil Raceway (IRP)
2011 Last-Place Finisher: Mike Garvey
The Truck Series kicks off their Playoffs on Friday night with their first race at Indianapolis Raceway Park in 11 years. There are 36 drivers for as many spots, meaning all will qualify.
MISSING: #5-Hill Motorsports
Multiple teams from Pocono’s entry list will not be making the trip to Indianapolis, including the second Hill Motorsports entry, which Tyler Hill drove to a 30th-place finish last Saturday.
MISSING: #6-Norm Benning Racing
Norm Benning is likewise not entered following his third DNQ in as many attempts this year, this time due to rain.
MISSING: #7-Spire Motorsports
Austin Hill is not entered along with the Spire entry with which he took 6th at Pocono. Hill will instead focus on his full-time XFINITY ride for Saturday’s race at the Indianapolis Grand Prix Circuit.
DRIVER CHANGE: #17-David Gilliland Racing
Taylor Gray will make his 10th series start on Friday as he takes the place of 10th-place Pocono finisher Ryan Preece in David Gilliland’s #17 Ford.
DRIVER CHANGE: #20-Young’s Motorsports
As of this writing, there is no driver yet listed for the #20 Chevrolet for Randy Young’s team. Last week, Jesse Little took home 26th with the team in Pocono.
DRIVER CHANGE: #22-AM Racing
Austin Wayne Self swaps back in for Max Gutierrez, who finished 21st last week in Pocono. Self will also run the more familiar AM Technical Solutions paint scheme on his #22 Chevrolet.
Tate Fogleman is not entered following his 20th-place finish in the second Rackley entry.
MISSING: #28-FDNY Racing
Bryan Dauzat and the Jim Rosenblum team are not running on Friday after rain washed them out of the Pocono field along with Norm Benning.
DRIVER CHANGE: #30-On Point Motorsports
Chris Hacker rejoins the Truck Series for the first time since Nashville, and this time drives for a third different team in just eight starts. He’ll run On Points’ #30 in place of former G2G Racing driver Kaden Honeycutt, who was 25th in Pocono. TJ’s Team Foundation will sponsor Hacker’s Toyota.
RETURNING: #35-McAnally-Hilgemann Racing
Jake Garcia returns for his second career Truck Series start following a 29th-place finish in his Gateway debut, and will again run the McAnally team’s part-time third entry.
RETURNING: #41-Niece Motorsports
Chad Chastain will likewise make just the second start of his Truck Series career, his first since Watkins Glen last year, when he ran 34th in Al Niece’s #45. This time, he run’s Niece’s part-time fifth team, the #41, with sponsorship from AGVantageConsulting.com.
DRIVER CHANGE: #43-Reaume Brothers Racing
Still another second-time series starter is Blake Lothian, who ran 28th in his debut at Martinsville earlier this year. He again drives Josh Reaume’s second entry, this time in place of 31st-place Pocono finisher Armani Williams.
DRIVER CHANGE: #62-Halmar Friesen Racing
Friday will see the NASCAR national series debut of Layne Riggs, son of NASCAR veteran Scott Riggs, who this year has been racking up victories at South Boston in the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series. As with his late model, Puryear Tank Liners will be Riggs’ sponsor as he drives the #62 HFR entry with which Todd Bodine made his 800th – and potentially final – NASCAR start.
CUP INVADERS: None
Saturday, July 30, 2022 (3:30 P.M., NBC)
XFINITY Race 20 of 33
Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard at the Indianapolis Grand Prix Circuit
2021 Last-Place Finisher: Brandon Jones
There are 42 drivers entered for 38 starting spots, meaning four will fail to qualify.
DRIVER CHANGE: #5-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Road course racing means a return to action for Scott Heckert, who ran 13th earlier this summer at Portland. Malco will again sponsor his #5 entry as he this time takes the place of Stefan Parsons, Pocono’s 23rd-place finisher. Heckert did not run this race last year.
DRIVER CHANGE: #6-JD Motorsports
The first of no less than six full-time Cup drivers participating in this race is Ty Dillon, who rejoins JD Motorsports for the first time since Road America. He again takes the place of Ryan Vargas in the #6, but unlike the previous two times Vargas was swapped out, he is not this week entered in the #47 for Mike Harmon Racing, and will not run on Saturday. Black Hole Ammunitions is the listed sponsor.
DRIVER CHANGE: #13-Motorsports Business Management
Seeking his XFINITY debut is Brad Perez, who looks to follow-up his two Truck Series starts this year on the road courses in Austin and Sonoma. Perez takes the place of Timmy Hill, the 30th-place finisher in Pocono, and carries sponsorship from Apex Coffee Roasters and AutoRepairVinStickers.com.
RETURNING: #17-Hendrick Motorsports
Cup regular Alex Bowman seeks his first XFINITY Series start since 2018, when he took home 21st at Michigan for GMS Racing. This time, he’s entered in Hendrick Motorsports’ fleet #17 entry, which made its debut at Road America where defending Cup champion started on pole only to lose to Ty Gibbs on the final lap.
DRIVER CHANGE: #18-Joe Gibbs Racing
Bubba Wallace and sponsor Door Dash make the jump to JGR for Wallace’s first XFINITY start since his 28th-place finish at COTA earlier this year. He takes the place of Sammy Smith, who was eliminated in a late single-car crash at Pocono and finished in 31st.
TEAM UPDATE: #34-Jesse Iwuji Motorsports
Jesse Iwuji hands the wheel back to Kyle Weatherman for both qualifying and racing this week, putting Weatherman into what would be his 75th series start. Weatherman ran 19th last week in Pocono, and this would be his first road course start of the season.
DRIVER CHANGE: #35-Emerling-Gase Motorsports
Mid-Ohio Truck Series race winner Parker Kligerman is back in action on the other side of pit road this week, his first XFINITY race since he ran 12th at COTA earlier this year with the same team. In place of the unsponsored entry at COTA, Kligerman’s car carries sponsorship from ProMaster. Kligerman takes the place of Patrick Emerling, who ran 29th in Pocono.
DRIVER CHANGE: #38-RSS Racing
Patrick Gallagher seeks his fourth XFINITY start following a steady improvement in the previous three, taking 23rd in Mid-Ohio in 2019 before this year’s 22nd at COTA and 19th in Road America. As in his previous two starts, Gallagher drives for RSS Racing, this time bringing his sponsor Belle Haven to the #38 in place of 22nd-place Pocono finisher Kyle Sieg.
DRIVER CHANGE: #44-Alpha Prime Racing
Ryan Ellis and sponsor KeenParts.com is back in the XFINITY Series for the first time since Nashville, where he took home 24th. Ellis takes the place of Rajah Caruth, who finished last at Pocono after a Lap 2 tangle with Alex Labbe. Ellis has one previous XFINITY start at Indianapolis – on the oval – when he ran 30th for Obaika Racing in 2016.
DRIVER SWAP: #47-Mike Harmon Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #68-Brandonbilt Motorsports
News broke this week that Brandon Brown, 13th last week in Pocono, will only drive for his family’s Brandonbilt team part-time going forward, citing sponsorship issues. The change begins immediately as this week, the #68 Chevrolet changes hands to still another Cup regular in Austin Dillon. It is thus Brown and not Ryan Vargas who moves to the #47 at Mike Harmon Racing this week in place of Brennan Poole, who failed to qualify at Pocono last week. Brown is expected to run the #68 again in Michigan and perhaps the season’s remaining superspeedway races.
DRIVER CHANGE: #48-Big Machine Racing
Despite a return to road course competition, Scott Borchetta has not enlisted the aid of Jade Buford, the team’s driver in Portland, and remains committed to keeping drivers with Cup experience in his #48 entry. This week, he shifts gears from full-timer Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., who wrecked at Pocono and finished 34th, to part-timer Kaz Grala. This would be Grala’s 40th series start and first since Dover, when he last drove the #48 to a 24th-place finish.
MISSING: #77-Bassett Racing
The big pileup at Pocono proved costly for the Bassett team as it destroyed the front of their Chevrolet, yielding only a 36th-place finish for Ronnie Bassett, Jr. Both driver and team are not entered this week.
RETURNING: #88-JR Motorsports
Following a 9th in COTA and a 26th in Road America, Miguel Paludo makes his third start of this year in the part-time JR Motorsports entry, again with Brandt as a sponsor. Paludo did not race in this event last year.
RETURNING: #90-DGM Racing
Mason Filippi and a friend drove their Hyundai from San Francisco to Indianapolis in three days this week in anticipation of his first XFINITY start since his 25th-place run in rainy Portland. This time, Filippi drives Mario Gosselin’s #90 Chevrolet, which so far has only failed to qualify at Daytona and was withdrawn the next week in Fontana. OpenFender.com and Motorized Shade join some fan sponsors on his update of Brett Bodine’s “Brick Car” from 2003.
DRIVER CHANGE: #91-DGM Racing
Preston Pardus returns to the track where he started 10th last year and finished 10th in 2020, looking for another strong finish with DGM Racing. In his two previous XFINITY starts this year, Pardus took 14th at COTA and 11th at Road America. He takes the place of Mason Massey, the 24th-place runner in Pocono.
RETURNING: #92-DGM Racing
Ross Chastain is yet another Cup regular pulling double-duty, bringing DGM Racing’s #92 back to the track for the first time since Chastain started outside-pole at COTA and finished 17th. Farmer’s Promise backs Chastain’s Chevrolet, two years after Chastain took 6th in this race for Kaulig Racing.
DRIVER CHANGE: #07-SS-Green Light Racing
Chase Briscoe was one off-course excursion away from scoring his first Cup win at this track last summer. This year, he runs both races, taking the place of his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Cole Custer, the 10th-place runner at Pocono.
DRIVER CHANGE: #08-SS-Green Light Racing
Last year at this track, road race ace Andy Lally took home 10th for B.J. McLeod. He now returns with SS-Green Light Racing, looking to follow up his 14th-place run with this team at Road America.
CUP INVADERS: #6-Ty Dillon, #17-Alex Bowman, #18-Bubba Wallace, #68-Austin Dillon, #92-Ross Chastain, #07-Chase Briscoe
Sunday, July 31, 2022 (2:30 P.M. ET, USA)
CUP Race 22 of 36
Verizon 200 at the Brickyard at the Indianapolis Grand Prix Circuit
2021 Last-Place Finisher: Cody Ware
There are 38 drivers entered in Sunday’s Cup race – the biggest field since Talladega, 12 races ago, but still the 21st short field in the year’s 22 races.
ANOTHER FIRST-TIME WINNER?
The last three NASCAR Cup Series races scheduled to be run on this date – July 31st – have each seen a first-time winner. These were Chris Buescher at Pocono (rain delayed from July 31, 2016 to August 1, 2016), Paul Menard at the Brickyard 400 (July 31, 2011), and Ken Schrader at Talladega (July 31, 1988). In a season with five first-time winners already, there are just 11 drivers entered in Sunday’s race who are still eligible:
DRIVER CHANGE: #15-Rick Ware Racing
Joey Hand will make his fifth career Cup start, following a career-best start of 9th at Road America and a season-best finish of 20th in Sonoma. Hand makes his first NASCAR start at Indianapolis, and takes the place of J.J. Yeley, who ran 28th last week in Pocono.
DRIVER CHANGE: #16-Kaulig Racing
Defending race winner A.J. Allmendinger returns to the site of Kaulig Racing’s first Cup Series win in place of 24th-place Pocono finisher Noah Gragson, again with Gold Fish Casino Slots as sponsor.
NEW TEAM: #26-Team Hezeberg
RETURNING: #27-Team Hezeberg
Back at Road America, where Loris Hezemans had a short afternoon in his most recent Cup Series start, news broke of Daniil Kvyat’s interest in running some NASCAR races. That moment comes this weekend as the veteran of 110 Formula One Grands Prix is entered in a second Team Hezeberg entry, a #26 Toyota against Hezemans’ #27 Ford. Kvyat becomes the first Russia-born driver to start a NASCAR Cup Series race. He will also run a Dutch-built APP Racing engine, the first foreign-built engine in Cup since foreign car companies competed occasionally in the 1950s and 60s.
TEAM UPDATE: #45-23XI Racing
While Kurt Busch was on the preliminary entry list, news on Wednesday was that Busch had still not been cleared to race this weekend. This puts Ty Gibbs, 16th in his unexpected Cup debut last week, back on board the #45 Toyota. Amid growing rumors over Busch’s future, Gibbs’ second start will just happen to be in a car sponsored by Monster Energy, his sponsor in XFINITY.
DRIVER CHANGE: #78-Live Fast Motorsports
Sunday’s race sees Josh Williams make his second Cup start - and first on pavement – following his 25th-place finish in the Bristol Dirt Race this past spring. Williams runs in place of B.J. McLeod, who ended a streak of two straight last-place finishes with a 30th-place showing in Pocono.
TODAY IN LASTCAR HISTORY (July 28, 1990): Jeff Berry picked up the 3rd last-place finish of his NASCAR Busch Grand National Series career in the Granger Select 200 at the New River Valley (Virginia) Speedway when his #61 Armstrong Racing Buick lost the engine after 23 laps. This was the last of the Tennessee-born driver’s 14 career starts in what is now the XFINITY Series. His best career finish was a 7th at Bristol in 1983.