Thursday, September 15, 2022

PREVIEW: Jesse Little's finale, Means team's return, and McCarty and Honeyman's debuts just some of many Bristol storylines

Jesse Little's #02 Chevrolet for tonight's race.
IMAGE:, posted on @youngsmtrsports

by Brock Beard Editor-in-Chief

Thursday, September 15, 2022 (9:00 P.M. ET, FS1)
TRUCKS Race 20 of 23
Round of 8: Race 1 of 3
UNOH 200 Presented by Ohio Logistics at Bristol
2021 Last-Place Finisher: Josh Reaume

There are 37 drivers entered for 36 spots, meaning one will fail to qualify.

MISSING: #5-Hill Motorsports
The first of four teams which attempted the most recent race at Kansas but will not be in Bristol is the second Hill Motorsports entry with which Tyler Hill earned a 29th-place finish.

RETURNING: #7-Spire Motorsports
One week after running the XFINITY race at Kansas, taking 25th for Alpha Prime Racing, Rajah Caruth is back to attempt his third career Truck Series start and first since Richmond, where he finished 25th. As in that race – the most recent by the Spire #7 entry – Caruth carries sponsorship from Circle, and is the first of six drivers running both this week’s ARCA Menards Series race and at least one of the NASCAR national series races at Bristol this weekend.

MISSING: #14-Trey Hutchens Racing
Trey Hutchens III is not entered following his DNQ in Kansas, site of his lone Truck start this year in the spring, where he finished 29th.

DRIVER CHANGE: #17-David Gilliland Racing
Taking the place of Stewart-Haas Racing reserve driver Ryan Preece is Taylor Gray, who returns for the first time since his career-best 6th-place showing in Richmond. Dead On Tools is the listed sponsor for Gray, who will also run the ARCA race. Gray ranks 2nd in the East Series and 10th nationally.

DRIVER CHANGE: #20-Young's Motorsports
DRIVER SWAP: #02-Young's Motorsports
Two of Randy Young’s teams will represent career beginnings and endings. Driving the #20 – which until Wednesday had only “TBA” on the entry list – is 17-year-old Phoenix native Leland Honeyman, Jr. Running part-time in Young’s ARCA entries, Honeyman finished 6th earlier this year at Iowa and 11th on the Milwaukee Mile. LH Waterfront Construction, his ARCA sponsor, follows him to the #20. Honeyman takes the place of Jesse Little, who finished 28th in Kansas and this week takes the place of Kaz Grala in the #02 with sponsorship from David’s Electric. Little tweeted Wednesday evening that this will be his final race as a driver, following eight years of making a combined 104 Cup, XFINITY, and Truck Series starts (tonight will mark #105). He twice finished a career-best 6th in Trucks, twice finished a series-best 10th in XFINITY, and claimed 35th in a pair of Cup races back in 2018. The 25-year-old wrote, in part, “I’ll still be at the track, and I look forward to seeing you all there.”

Austin Wayne Self returns to the driver’s seat for the first time since his 27th-place run at Richmond, taking the place of Kansas last-place finisher Brett Moffitt.

MISSING: #26-Rackley-W.A.R.
The second Rackley entry of Tate Fogleman will not be in Bristol following their DNQ in Kansas.

DRIVER CHANGE: #32-Bret Holmes Racing
Connor Mosack seeks just the second Truck Series start of his career and first since his 34th-place series debut at Mid-Ohio, where he also drove Bret Holmes’ #32 with Nic Tailor as sponsor. Mosack reunites with both team and sponsor following a 15th-place finish in his most recent NASCAR outing – the XFINITY race at Watkins Glen. Mosack will also run the ARCA race in the #23 for Stacy Holmes.

DRIVER CHANGE: #33-Reaume Brothers Racing
“Hackerman,” Chris Hacker, returns for his ninth Truck Series start and first since IRP, where he ran 24th for On Point Motorsports. This time, he reunites with Reaume Brothers Racing for the first time since Nashville, and pilots the flagship #33 with sponsorship from Hacker takes the place of Mason Maggio, who finished 32nd last week in Kansas. The Bristol track holds a special place in Hacker’s life, as just seven years ago, his parents surprised him with tickets to Bristol as a birthday present.

RETURNING: #35-McAnally-Hilgemann Racing
Jake Garcia returns in the part-time third entry for the McAnally team with returning sponsor Quanta Services. This would be Garcia’s fourth series start and first since Richmond, where he earned a career-best 20th.

DRIVER CHANGE: #43-Reaume Brothers Racing
After Josh Reaume took over for Armani Williams during the early laps at Kansas, where he ultimately took home 35th, Reaume will run the #43 from the start this week. He is the defending last-place finisher of this race.

MISSING: #46-G2G Racing
Not among the entries is G2G Racing, who during the dirt race here in the spring had a paperwork fowl-up, ultimately forcing their #46 to be entered as the #49 under the now-defunct CMI Motorsports. Brennan Poole, who finished 34th for the team last week in Kansas, is not entered and instead focuses on XFINITY (see below).

RETURNING: #90-Terry Carroll Motorsports
Justin S. Carroll continues his search for an elusive NASCAR national touring series debut in what will be his fifth attempt of the year in the #90 Carrroll’s Automotive Toyota. He is also entered in the ARCA race, where he’ll campaign the #91.


Friday, September 16, 2022 (7:30 P.M. ET, USA)
XFINITY Race 26 of 33
Regular Season Finale
Food City 300 at Bristol
2021 Last-Place Finisher: Brett Moffitt

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

DRIVER SWAP: #5-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #45-Alpha Prime Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #78-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #02-Our Motorsports
A game of musical chairs unfolded this week among four different Chevrolet teams. Kicking things off is a returning Sage Karam, back in a XFINITY car for the first time since his career-best 5th-place finish at Daytona. This time, Karam drives the #02 for Our Motorsports, replacing Brandon Brown, who was 17th in Kansas. Brown lands back in the #5 for B.J. McLeod, replacing Garrett Smithley, himself a last-minute substitute at Kansas for a flu-suffering Matt Mills. Mills was slated to run the #78 for McLeod this week, but on Wednesday reported he’s still feeling the after effects of his illness, putting McLeod himself in the #78. Mills hopes to be back for the upcoming race at Texas. The Mills / McLeod swap already replaced Stefan Parsons, the 26th-place runner in Kanas, who has landed in the Alpha Prime #45 in place of Rajah Caruth. Caruth will not run this week’s XFINITY race as he focuses on both ARCA and the Truck Series.

DRIVER CHANGE: #6-JD Motorsports
When we last saw late model driver Bobby McCarty, he’d failed to qualify at Loudon driving for Mike Harmon Racing. Now, McCarty makes his second attempt with JD Motorsports, replacing 33rd-place Kansas finisher Ryan Vargas. Vargas is excited about the next few races he has coming up in October, including the paint schemes.

DRIVER CHANGE: #13-Motorsports Business Management
Chad Finchum returns to his home track, looking to bounce back from his DNQ in his last attempt at Darlington in the #13, which also failed to qualify last week at Kansas with Akinori Ogata. Finchum carries sponsorship from Finishing Touch and longtime Bristol sponsor Food City on Carl Long’s white Toyota.

DRIVER CHANGE: #26-Sam Hunt Racing
We haven’t seen Jeffrey Earnhardt in a XFINITY car since the July race at Atlanta, where he finished 19th in Sam Hunt Racing’s #26 Toyota. This week, he returns, taking the place of 27th-place Kansas finisher Derek Griffith. Earnhardt has eight previous XFINITY starts at Bristol with a best finish of 12th in 2014.

TEAM UPDATE: #34-Jesse Iwuji Motorsports
Kyle Weatherman is entered in the #34, which he practiced and qualified 18th last week in Kansas before Jesse Iwuji took over and finished 36th. This week, Weatherman will be wearing a pair of the iconic Skeleton Gloves in support of the Dale Jr. Foundation – gloves that will be signed by both Weatherman and Earnhardt before they are auctioned off for charity. This will be only the fourth Bristol XFINITY start for Weatherman – a track where he earned a track-best 28th in his 2019 debut for Rick Ware Racing.

DRIVER CHANGE: #35-Emerling-Gase Motorsports
Patrick Emerling is back in the #35 for the first time since his 25th-place showing at Michigan, and returns to the site of a controversial crash in his only previous XFINITY start here in 2020. During the early days of Our Motorsports, Emerling’s XFINITY debut that evening came to an abrupt end when contact from Bayley Currey put him into the inside wall, leaving him 29th.

Mario Gosselin brings back its part-time #92 entry for Josh Williams to run, moving over from the #36 with which he took 24th last week in Kansas for a returning Alex Labbe. Labbe brings returning sponsor Can-Am onto his Chevrolet for his first XFINITY start since his season-best 8th in the August race at Daytona. For Williams, this is a return to the site of his Cup Series debut this past spring, when he ran on the dirt surface for Live Fast Motorsports.

DRIVER CHANGE: #44-Alpha Prime Racing
Ryan Ellis rejoins the Alpha Prime team for the first time since his 22nd-place finish at Darlington in the Jeff Gordon “throwback” paint scheme. is again the sponsor as Ellis takes the place of Howie DiSavino III, who ran 28th with this team in Kansas. This will be Ellis’ third XFINITY start at Bristol and first since 2016, when he ran 35th for Obaika Racing.

DRIVER CHANGE: #47-Mike Harmon Racing
RETURNING / DRIVER SWAP: #52-Jimmy Means Racing
Also returning to XFINITY for the first time since Darlington is Dawson Cram, who this time takes the wheel of Mike Harmon’s #47 with sponsorship from Michael Waltrip’s brewery. This would be just the third career XFINITY start for Cram and his first for Harmon since his 2021 debut at Loudon. Brennan Poole, who has run for MHR for much of this year, moves over to a returning Jimmy Means Racing, whose #52 has been absent from the series since Martinsville in April. The #52 team was entered in six of the season’s first eight races, failing to qualify for seven and withdrawing from Fontana.

DRIVER CHANGE: #48-Big Machine Racing
Current ARCA Menards Series point leader Nick Sanchez – a three-time winner on the circuit this year – will make his third career XFINITY start this week. Unlike his prior two with B.J. McLeod Motorsports at Phoenix and Charlotte, he will this time run for Big Machine Racing, taking the place of Cup regular Ross Chastain in the #48 Chevrolet.

TEAM UPDATE: #51-Jeremy Clements Racing
On Tuesday came news that Jeremy Clements’ L2 penalty from his Daytona win has been overturned, locking his underdog team back into next week’s Playoffs.

DRIVER CHANGE: #77-Bassett Racing
Ronnie Bassett, Jr. looks to make his first XFINITY start since his 36th-place finish after he was collected in Pocono’s multi-car crash off Turn 3. Dillon Bassett timed into the last two races for the #77 team, taking 34th at Michigan and 29th last week in Kansas.

DRIVER CHANGE: #07-SS-Green Light Racing w/ Jeff Lefcourt
Joe Graf, Jr. returns to the #07 this week in place of Brett Moffitt, who finished a strong 10th in the rain-shortened Kansas race. Two of Graf’s three XFINITY starts at Bristol saw him finish in the Top 20 with a 13th in 2020 and a 17th last summer.


Saturday, September 17, 2022 (7:30 P.M. ET, USA)
CUP Race 29 of 36
Round of 16: Race 3 of 3
Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol
2021 Last-Place Finisher: Ryan Newman

For the first time since August 26, 1995 - the night of Terry Labonte and Dale Earnhardt’s first of two last-lap tangles - only 36 cars will take the green in the Bristol Night Race. But unlike that 1995 race, which saw 43 drivers attempt to qualify, sending seven fully-funded teams home, only the Chartered teams fill the field. This marks the 28th short field in 29 races this season, and will determine the first four drivers eliminated from the Cup Series Playoffs.

DRIVER CHANGE: #16-Kaulig Racing
Defending XFINITY race winner at Bristol A.J. Allmendinger takes the place of 18th-place Kansas finisher Noah Gragson as he pulls double-duty for the Kaulig team.

DRIVER CHANGE: #77-Spire Motorsports
Josh Bilicki makes his 17th Cup start of the season and first since his 21st-place finish at Bristol as he takes the place of 24th-place Kansas finisher Landon Cassill. Zeigler Auto and LoJack return as sponsor as Bilicki seeks to improve his track-best finish of 31st here last summer – his only one of three career Cup starts at Bristol where he finished under power.

TODAY IN LASTCAR HISTORY (September 15, 1985): Bennie Davis of Canton, North Carolina picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR Busch Grand National Series career in the Coca-Cola 300 at North Wilkesboro when his #66 Davis Racing Pontiac lost the engine after 12 laps. Davis made just 14 series starts, and this was his only race at North Wilkesboro. His best finish was 7th at Hickory on June 11, 1983.

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