Thursday, August 4, 2022

PREVIEW: Expanding teams and returning part-timers dot both grids at Michigan

PHOTO: @j66anderson

by Brock Beard Editor-in-Chief

Saturday, August 6, 2022 (3:30 P.M. ET, USA)
XFINITY Race 21 of 33
New Holland 250 at Michigan
2021 Last-Place Finisher: Brandon Brown

There are 41 drivers entered for 38 spots, meaning three will fail to qualify.

DRIVER SWAP: #5-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #78-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Matt Mills rejoins the XFINITY Series field for the first time since Loudon, and just like he did that day, he’ll drive the McLeod team’s flagship #78. Mills takes the place of Josh Williams, who failed to qualify last Saturday, and now moves to the #5 in place of Scott Heckert, who ran 31st last week.

DRIVER CHANGE: #13-Motorsports Business Management
Akinori Ogata seeks his 2nd XFINITY start of the season and first since his 25th-place performance in Loudon, once again driving MBM’s #13 Toyota. This time, he takes the place of Brad Perez, who came close to making his series debut last week at Indy. Ogata has yet to make a start at Michigan in any of his XFINITY or Truck Series starts.

MISSING: #17-Hendrick Motorsports
Not among this week’s entrants is the Hendrick Motorsports entry, which took 2nd last week with Alex Bowman.

DRIVER CHANGE: #18-Joe Gibbs Racing
Sammy Smith started 8th and 5th in his first two XFINITY Series starts at Road America and Pocono, but both times failed to finish, taking 24th and 31st. He now looks to tackle Michigan in place of Bubba Wallace, who had engine issues with this team at Indy, taking 35th.

DRIVER CHANGE: #26-Sam Hunt Racing
With the Truck Series off this week following IRP’s Playoff opener, John Hunter Nemechek takes the wheel of Sam Hunt’s Toyota, taking the place of Santino Ferrucci, 17th on the Indy road course. Nemechek’s most recent XFINITY race in Road America yielded an 18th-place finish, but his most recent series race at Michigan saw him take 8th for GMS Racing.

Kyle Sieg’s most recent XFINITY start came two rounds ago at Pocono, where he drove the #38 team to a 22nd-place finish. He now runs the team’s returning part-time #28 effort for the first time since Charlotte, where DNQ’d in a Davey Allison throwback, and Richmond, where he ran next-to-last due to engine issues which gave him his only DNF of 2022.

NEW TEAM: #32-Jordan Anderson Racing
For the first time, Jordan Anderson’s team will enter a second XFINITY Series entry – and Anderson himself will drive it. Both he and teammate Myatt Snider in the full-time #31 will run near-identical paint schemes sponsored by Anderson’s car has a different sponsor on the hood in Sefton Steel.

DRIVER CHANGE: #34-Jesse Iwuji Motorsports
Once again, Jesse Iwuji is the listed driver for the #34 in place of Kyle Weatherman, who started 28th and finished 30th in Indy. But will there be a driver swap, as there was at Pocono, where Weatherman took over driving duties? Weatherman has two XFINITY starts at Michigan while Iwuji has yet to start a series race there.

DRIVER CHANGE: #35-Emerling-Gase Motorsports
Patrick Emerling takes the wheel of the #35 he co-owns, a car he most recently ran to a 29th-place finish in Pocono. He takes the place of Parker Kligerman, who suffered a litany of mechanical issues before he collided with Ryan Ellis in the early laps at Indy.

C.J. McLaughlin rejoins the XFINITY circuit for the first time since his career-best 13th-place showing at Loudon. He drives the #38 in place of Patrick Gallagher, who took 28th on the Indy road course.

DRIVER CHANGE: #45-Alpha Prime Racing
Josh Bilicki will pull double-duty this weekend at Michigan, starting with his first XFINITY effort since he took home 13th at Road America. Bilicki takes the place of Sage Karam, who likewise took 13th last week in Indy.

DRIVER CHANGE: #47-Mike Harmon Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #68-Brandonbilt Motorsports
After late-race suspension issues left him 34th in Mike Harmon’s car last week, Brandon Brown will swap back into his family’s #68 Brandonbilt Foundations Chevrolet as the race’s defending last-place finisher. This opens the seat of the #47 for a returning Brennan Poole, who last started at Atlanta in July, finishing a season-best 31st.

RETURNING: #77-Bassett Racing
The #77 is back after the Bassett team’s car suffered heavy front-end damage in the pileup at Pocono. Behind the wheel is Dillon Bassett, who finished 30th in his most recent start at Nashville.

MISSING: #88-JR Motorsports
Miguel Paludo is not entered after his 24th-place showing in Indy.

MISSING: #90-DGM Racing
MISSING: #92-DGM Racing
Mario Gosselin's team has not entered their two part-time entries, which were both entered at Indianapolis for Mason Filippi in the #90 and Ross Chastain in the #92. While Filippi failed to qualify, Chastain finished 4th.

Mason Massey reassumes the #91 entry for the Gosselin team, taking the place of Preston Pardus, who was 29th at Indy.

DRIVER CHANGE: #02-Our Motorsports
On Monday, news broke that Brett Moffitt had parted ways with Chris Our's team, the organization Moffitt helped stabilize during their challenging 2020 season. In his place comes Truck Series regular Blaine Perkins, who carries sponsorship from Detroit Taco Company.

DRIVER CHANGE: #07-SS-Green Light Racing
As of this writing, Michigan will see the return of Joe Graf, Jr., who has been absent from the last two rounds since his 12th at Loudon due to a family matter. Graf takes the place of Cup regular Chase Briscoe, who took home 5th at Indy.

DRIVER CHANGE: #08-SS-Green Light Racing
Teamed with Graf is a returning David Starr, seeking his 245th XFINITY Series start and first since Pocono where he finished 27th with this same #08 team. He takes the place of “road ringer” Andy Lally, who ran 25th on the Indy road course.


Sunday, August 7, 2022 (3:00 P.M. ET, USA)
CUP Race 23 of 36
FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan
2021 Last-Place Finisher: Joey Gase

There are 37 drivers entered for 40 spots, marking the second-straight race with at least one “open” team entered, but still the 22nd short field in 23 races this season.

DRIVER CHANGE: #15-Rick Ware Racing
J.J. Yeley returns to the RWR team for his 10th start of the 2022 season, following his 28th-place run at Pocono, which was tied with Nashville for his second-best run on the Cup side this year. He takes the place of Joey Hand, who after an early spin took the checkers in 29th.

DRIVER CHANGE: #16-Kaulig Racing
Michigan will also be the 9th Cup start for Noah Gragson following his 24th-place finish at Pocono – his first Cup race where he came home under power since Kansas. Gragson takes over for A.J. Allmendinger, who battled heat and dehydration en route to a 7th-place finish.

MISSING: #26-Team Hezeberg
MISSING: #27-Team Hezeberg
Both Loris Hezemans and Daniil Kvyat are not entered after their solid mid-pack run in the Indy road course event turned into a test session after multiple mechanical issues, leaving them 37th and 36th.

RETURNING: #33-Richard Childress Racing
Sunday’s race sees the Cup debut of Daytona and Atlanta XFINITY race winner Austin Hill, who brings with him sponsorship from Bennett Transportation and Logistics. This marks the first time Richard Childress Racing has fielded the #33 entry since November 22, 2015, when Ty Dillon took 23rd at Homestead.

TEAM UPDATE: #45-23XI Racing
Although Kurt Busch was still entered in the #45, Busch will miss his third straight race, per a report Wednesday. Ty Gibbs will make his third-straight Cup start. Busch is a three-time Cup winner at Michigan with one win each for three different teams: Roush Racing (2003), Penske Racing (2007), and Stewart-Haas Racing (2015).

DRIVER CHANGE: #78-Live Fast Motorsports
Following Josh Williams’ rebound from a XFINITY DNQ by matching the 25th-place run from his Cup debut in the Bristol Dirt Race, B.J. McLeod reassumes driving duties. McLeod’s best of four Cup races at Michigan was just last year, when he took home 28th.

Saturday, August 13, 2022
TRUCKS Race 18 of 23
Round of 10: Race 2 of 3
Worldwide Express 250 for Carrier Appreciation at Richmond
2021 Last-Place Finisher (April): Ryan Truex

The Truck Series is off this week and will return in Richmond for the second race of their opening round of the Playoffs.

TODAY IN LASTCAR HISTORY (August 4, 1984): Bobby Allison picked up the 2nd last-place finish of his NASCAR Busch Grand National Series career in the Kroger 200 at Indianapolis Raceway Park when his #23 Miller High Life Pontiac had rear end issues after 42 laps. Allison stated 9th in a race won by 3rd-place starter Morgan Shepherd.

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