Thursday, July 14, 2022

PREVIEW: Loudon entry lists include debuts for Landauer and McCarty

IMAGE: @TeamAlphaPrime

by Brock Beard Editor-in-Chief

Saturday, July 16, 2022 (2:30 P.M. ET, USA)
XFINITY Race 18 of 33
Crayon 200 at New Hampshire
2021 Last-Place Finisher: Mason Massey

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

DRIVER SWAP: #5-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
DRIVER SWAP: #78-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
It’s a game of musical chairs at the McLeod team, where Josh Williams will move from the flagship #78 to the #5 with Sleep Well as sponsor, bringing Matt Mills and his J.F. Electric sponsorship back to the #78. Williams finished 25th last week in Atlanta, where Mills took 37th with engine issues.

DRIVER CHANGE: #13-Motorsports Business Management
When we last saw Akinori Ogata, he’d tangled with teammate Josh Reaume in the early laps of the Truck Series race at Darlington, ultimately leading to a last-place finish. This week, Ogata makes his return to NASCAR’s top three series for the first time since, this time making his first XFINITY start since he ran 26th last October in Martinsville. His ride this time is MBM’s #13 entry, taking the place of 27th-place Atlanta finisher Natalie Decker. Ogata will run a blue Supra with sponsorship from BlabaBooth.

DRIVER CHANGE: #18-Joe Gibbs Racing
Trevor Bayne and his Devotion Nutrition sponsorship are back with the JGR #18 this week following Ryan Truex’s solid 3rd-place finish with this team in Atlanta, where he led 8 laps. This will be Bayne’s first XFINITY start at Loudon since 2014, when he ran 9th for Roush-Fenway Racing. He’s come home no worse than 13th in his four series starts here.

DRIVER CHANGE: #26-Sam Hunt Racing
Derek Griffith will make his third career XFINITY Series start on Saturday following a 26th-place debut at Richmond and a 21st at Martinsville. As in the previous two starts, Griffith will run Sam Hunt’s Supra, which this week carries sponsorship from Hudson Speedway. He takes the place of Jeffrey Earnhardt, who contended for a Top Five in Atlanta before crash damage left him 19th.

DRIVER CHANGE: #35-Emerling-Gase Motorsports
New Hampshire sees a swap between team co-owners at the #35 shop as Patrick Emerling seeks his 10th career XFINITY start and first since Nashville, where he took home 26th. Emerling takes the place of Joey Gase, who likewise finished 26th last Saturday in Atlanta.

Also back behind the wheel is C.J. McLaughlin, who has finished 28th and 37th in his only two previous XFINITY starts at Loudon. Looking to make his fifth start of the year and first since Charlotte, where he ran 23rd, McLaughlin and his SciAps sponsorship will take the place of Kyle Sieg, who finished 16th at Atlanta, one spot behind brother Ryan.

DRIVER CHANGE: #44-Alpha Prime Racing
Howie DiSavino III returns to the XFINITY Series for the first time since his series debut at Martinsville earlier this year, where a driveshaft failure left him a disappointing 36th. This week, he takes the place of Sage Karam, Atlanta’s last-place finisher with engine trouble, and carries new sponsorship from Clear Cryptos.

DRIVER CHANGE: #45-Alpha Prime Racing
Saturday is also set to be the NASCAR national series debut for Julia Landauer. The New York native was the first female champion of the Skip Barber Racing Series and has also competed in regional stock car competition with Bill McAnally Racing. She’s also competed internationally in both the Pinty’s Series in Canada and across the Atlantic in the Whelen Euro Series. This weekend, she will be teamed with DiSavino in the second Alpha Prime entry, taking the place of 28th-place Atlanta finisher Caesar Bacarella. Boss Beauties and GarageXYZ are her listed sponsors.

DRIVER CHANGE: #47-Mike Harmon Racing
Also seeking a NASCAR debut is Bobby McCarty, who finds himself as the lone “go-or-go-homer” in Mike Harmon Racing’s #47 Chevrolet. The late model ace with 24 wins and three CARS Tour championships takes the place of Brennan Poole, who finished under power in the 31st spot in his return at Atlanta.

DRIVER CHANGE: #48-Big Machine Racing
The first of two Cup Series invaders in Saturday’s field again drives for the Big Machine team as Ty Dillon takes the place of Tyler Reddick, who made news Tuesday with his surprising announcement of moving to 23XI Racing in 2024. Ty Dillon finished 37th after mechanical issues driving for JD Motorsports at Road America, his only XFINITY start so far this season. He has not started a XFINITY race at Loudon since 2017, when he finished 8th for Richard Childress Racing, and seeks his fifth start at the track.

RETURNING: #88-JR Motorsports
JR Motorsports takes its turn fielding a Cup Series race winner with as sponsor with no less than William Byron behind the wheel. Byron finished 2nd to Reddick at Texas in his lone XFINITY start this past May.

CUP INVADERS: #48-Ty Dillon, #88-William Byron

Sunday, July 17, 2022 (3:00 P.M. ET, USA)
CUP Race 20 of 36
Ambetter 301 at New Hampshire
2021 Last-Place Finisher: Kyle Busch

For the 19th time in a row, there will be a short field for Sunday’s Cup race, and for the 12th of those times, the list contains only the 36 Chartered entries. After three 37-car fields in the last four Cup races at Loudon, this will be the track’s smallest Cup field in history.

DRIVER CHANGE: #15-Rick Ware Racing
J.J. Yeley is set to make his eighth Cup start of the year and first since Nashville, where he came home 28th. This will be his 16th Cup start at Loudon, where he’s twice finished last, but also took home 3rd in a rain-shortened 2008 race driving for Hall of Fame Racing. Yeley takes the place of Garrett Smithley, who ran as high as 11th with this team in Atlanta before an apparent tire issue sent him into a spin that triggered a multi-car crash. Smithley came home 27th.

DRIVER CHANGE: #16-Kaulig Racing
It’s A.J. Allmendinger back to pull double-duty this weekend, looking for another strong run in the Gold Fish Casino Slots Chevrolet. This will be Allmendinger’s 20th Cup start at Loudon, where he has a single top-ten finish – a 10th for Richard Petty Motorsports back in 2010. His most recent start came in 2018, when he ran next-to-last for JTG-Daugherty Racing after a crash. He takes the place of Noah Gragson, whose suspension issues at Atlanta left him 34th in the running order.

DRIVER CHANGE: #77-Spire Motorsports
Josh Bilicki is back behind the wheel of the Zeigler Auto Group / Ditec Marine Chevrolet for his 13th Cup start of the season and first since Road America, where mechanical issues left him next-to-last, 10 laps down. This will be only his third Cup start at Loudon, following a 36th in 2017 and a 34th last year, both driving for Rick Ware Racing. He takes the place of Landon Cassill, who finished a lap down in 24th in Atlanta.

Saturday, July 23, 2022 
TRUCKS Race 16 of 23
CRC Brakleen 150 at Pocono
2021 Last-Place Finisher: Jack Wood

The Truck Series takes this weekend off and will return at Pocono, where Todd Bodine will make his 800th and final NASCAR start, and where we could see a record 10th consecutive first-time Truck Series last-place finisher.

TODAY IN LASTCAR HISTORY (July 14, 1991): Tommy Hirschman picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR Busch Grand National Series career when his #18 SKF Bearings Oldsmobile busted the camshaft after 11 laps of the Budweiser 300 at the New Hampshire International Speedway. This was the third race for what is now the XFINITY Series at the “Magic Mile,” and featured a 44-car starting grid, down from the 46-car grids from both 1990 events. For the Pennsylvania-born Hirschman, this was his third of seven series starts.

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