Thursday, September 8, 2022

PREVIEW: Several XFINITY and Truck Series part-timers set to battle the regulars in Kansas

PHOTO: @AkinoriOgata

by Brock Beard Editor-in-Chief

Friday, September 9, 2022 (7:30 P.M. ET, FS1)
TRUCKS Race 19 of 23
Round of 10: Race 3 of 3
Kansas Lottery 200 at Kansas
2021 Last-Place Finisher (May): Ryan Reed

Following a three-week hiatus, the Round of 10 concludes for the Truck Series, meaning two drivers will be eliminated from Playoff contention. Before that comes qualifying, where 38 drivers are entered for 36 spots, meaning two other drivers will fail to qualify.

MISSING: #6-Norm Benning Racing
No less than five teams entered last time out at Richmond are not making the trip to Kansas this week, beginning with veteran Norm Benning. Shut out of all four of his attempts this season, Benning has made 14 Truck starts at Kansas with a best finish of 18th in 2014, one of only five where he finished under power.

MISSING: #7-Spire Motorsports
Rajah Caruth is not entered in this week’s Truck race along with the #7 entry with which he ran 25th at Richmond. However, Caruth will be running Saturday’s XFINITY race for Alpha Prime (see below).

DRIVER CHANGE: #17-David Gilliland Racing
Stewart-Haas Racing reserve driver Ryan Preece rejoins the Truck circuit for the first time since Pocono, where he finished runner-up to Chandler Smith. He takes the place of Taylor Gray, who ran a season-best 6th his last time out at Richmond, and has recently finished runner-up to Sammy Smith in the ARCA race at Milwaukee.

DRIVER CHANGE: #20-Young’s Motorsports
Jesse Little seeks his 12th Truck Series start of the year and first since IRP, where he also drove Randy Young’s #20 and finished in 15th. Little finished 22nd at Kansas earlier this year, and he returns with sponsorship from NCS Wash and Randco. Little takes the place of Joey Gase, who like Rajah Caruth turns his attention to XFINITY this week (see below).

Brett Moffitt prepares to run double-duty with the XFINITY Series this week, starting with only his second Truck Series start of the year, his first since driving this same AM Racing entry to a 32nd-place finish at Knoxville. Concrete Supply and Destiny Homes rejoin as sponsor as Moffitt takes the place of Austin Wayne Self, who finished 27th in Richmond.

DRIVER CHANGE: #33-Reaume Brothers Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #43-Reaume Brothers Racing
MISSING: #96-Peck Motorsports
Last time out at Richmond, Mason Maggio failed to qualify in Peck Motorsports’ #96 Toyota, then took over for Josh Reaume in his #43, earning a 33rd-place finish. With Peck’s team not entered this week, Maggio again runs the #43, and this time will do so alongside Reaume, who takes the place of Richmond last-place finisher Nick Leitz in the #33. UPDATE: Armani Williams returns to the #43 with Maggio in the #33.

MISSING: #35-McAnally-Hilgemann Racing
Also not making the trip this week is the part-time third entry from the Bill McAnally effort – the #35 Chevrolet of Jake Garcia, who ran 20th last time out in Richmond.

DRIVER CHANGE: #44-Niece Motorsports
Like Brett Moffitt, Bayley Currey seeks to run both Trucks and XFINITY as he seeks his first Truck start of the season. His last came June 26, 2021 at Pocono, where he finished 37th after early engine problems. In all but two of his last 13 starts dating back to 2019, Currey has driven for Al Niece, and will again on Friday. This time, he runs the #44 in place of Chad Chastain, who finished 30th in Richmond.

MISSING: #62-Halmar Friesen Racing
The second HFR truck will not be in Kansas along with surprising upstart Layne Riggs, who qualified 4th his last time out at Richmond and finished 19th.

RETURNING: #75-Henderson Racing
Back in action for the first time since Parker Kligerman’s breakthrough victory at Mid-Ohio is the Charlie Henderson effort, a driver and team pairing that finished 15th here in 2020.

MISSING: #90-Terry Carroll Motorsports
Justin S. Carroll is not entered in his family’s #90 following their fourth DNQ in as many attempts back at Richmond.


Saturday, September 10, 2022 (3:00 P.M. ET, USA)
XFINITY Race 25 of 33
Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas
2021 Last-Place Finisher: Joey Gase

With one race left until the regular season finale at Bristol, 39 drivers arrive in Kansas to attempt the XFINITY race, meaning one will be sent home.

DRIVER CHANGE: #5-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
One week after a stray piece of debris punctured Tommy Joe Martins’ radiator at Darlington, Matt Mills returns to his familiar #5 entry with J.F. Electric – the first time Mills has run that car number since Atlanta in July. Mills looks for a solid finish after back-to-back crashes ended his most recent starts at Michigan and Daytona. UPDATE: Due to illness reported Thursday, Mills will not run on Saturday, and has handed the wheel to Garrett Smithley.

DRIVER CHANGE: #13-Motorsports Business Management
Akinori Ogata is back to attempt his first race since Michigan, where he failed to qualify, seeking his first start since Loudon, where he ran 25th. Once again, he runs MBM’s #13 entry, taking the place of lone Darlington DNQ Chad Finchum. The result would be Ogata’s first XFINITY start at a track longer than one mile in length.

MISSING: #17-Hendrick Motorsports
Kyle Larson and the Hendrick team will not compete on the XFINITY side this weekend.

DRIVER CHANGE: #18-Joe Gibbs Racing
Taking the place of Christopher Bell – whose relief driver role for Denny Hamlin netted a 7th-place finish at Darlington – is a returning Sammy Smith. Smith looks to bounce back from his most recent start at Daytona, where an early mistake left him last following a crash. It will be Smith’s first XFINITY start on a 1.5-mile oval, and will be a double-duty effort with the ARCA Menards Series.

DRIVER CHANGE: #26-Sam Hunt Racing
Derek Griffith will make just the fourth XFINITY start of his career and his first on a track longer than one mile in length, carrying sponsorship from SpotOn as he takes the place of 9th-place Darlington finisher John Hunter Nemechek. Griffith has improved in all three of his prior finishes, taking 26th at Richmond, 21st at Martinsville, then 18th last time out in Loudon.

DRIVER CHANGE: #34-Jesse Iwuji Motorsports
As of this writing, Jesse Iwuji is entered in the #34 in place of Kyle Weatherman, who drove Darlington’s Wendell Scott “throwback” scheme to a 16th place finish after starting in the same position. Weatherman finished 21st here last year for Mike Harmon while Iwuji took 20th here in 2020 for B.J. McLeod. UPDATE: As of Thursday, Weatherman will drive. UPDATE: In practice and qualifying, that is - Iwuji will drive the car in the race.

DRIVER CHANGE: #35-Emerling-Gase Motorsports
Joey Gase and his sponsorship from the Branson, Missouri tourism department – previously seen on two of Gase’s Cup rides with Rick Ware Racing last year – now rejoin the #35 entry, taking the place of 30th-place Darlington runner Dawson Cram.

C.J. McLaughlin is back in the XFINITY garage for the first time since Michigan, where an early tangle with Matt Mills left him next-to-last. He takes the place of Kyle Sieg, who finished 23rd last time out in Darlington. Sci Aps is again the sponsor.

DRIVER CHANGE: #44-Alpha Prime Racing
Howie DiSavino III will make only his third career XFINITY start and first since Loudon, where he ran 17th. As in his prior starts, he drives for Alpha Prime in the #44, taking the place of Ryan Ellis, who ran 22nd in Darlington. Clear Cryptos is the sponsor of DiSavino’s Chevrolet.

DRIVER CHANGE: #45-Alpha Prime Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #78-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
DRIVER SWAP: #02-Our Motorsports
Teamed with DiSavino is the aforementioned Rajah Caruth, who’s back in the XFINITY Series for the first time since his Lap 2 wreck at Pocono left him in last place. Carrying sponsorship from iRacing, Caruth looks to bounce back in the Alpha Prime #45, taking the place of 17th-place Darlington runner Stefan Parsons, who moves to the B.J. McLeod #78 driven last week by Brandon Brown to a 29th-place finish. Brown himself moves to the #02 at Our Motorsports, replacing Ty Dillon, who’s not entered. 

RETURNING: #77-Bassett Racing
Dillon Bassett returns for his first XFINITY Series race attempt since Michigan, where he qualified his and brother Ronnie, Jr.’s #77 Chevrolet a strong 14th and finished 34th. 

DRIVER CHANGE: #07-SS-Green Light Racing
The second half of Brett Moffitt’s planned double-duty effort comes with the Bobby Dotter team as he takes the place of Joe Graf, Jr. in the #07 Ford, and carries sponsorship from Graf finished 33rd last week in Darlington after a crash.

CUP INVADERS: #48-Ross Chastain

Sunday, September 11, 2022 (3:00 P.M. ET, USA)
CUP Race 28 of 36
Round of 16: Race 2 of 3
Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas
2021 Last-Place Finisher: Chad Finchum

For the 15th time in 28 points-paying Cup races, only the 36 Chartered entries are set to run on Sunday, which also marks the 27th short field in 28 races.

DRIVER CHANGE: #16-Kaulig Racing
The lone change on the Cup Series entry list this week is the return of last week’s Darlington XFINITY race winner Noah Gragson for what will be his 12th career Cup start – his first since a career-best 5th for Beard Motorsports at Daytona, and his first in the Kaulig #16 since Richmond, where he ran 24th. Gragson takes the place of Daniel Hemric, who ran 23rd at Darlington last week, site of his 45th career Cup start.

TODAY IN LASTCAR HISTORY (September 8, 1951): Tim Flock picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR Grand National Series career when his #91 Black Phantom 1951 Oldsmobile started outside-pole in a 22-car field at the Central City Speedway in Macon Georgia, only to fall out in an unrecorded number of laps. The eventual two-time series champion would only finish last two more times in his 187 career starts. 

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