Thursday, October 27, 2022

PREVIEW: Spooky paint schemes and a few returning drivers add to Martinsville storylines

IMAGE: Render by Michael Miceli Design LLC @raceartist, tweeted by @dgm_racing_

by Brock Beard Editor-in-Chief

Saturday, October 29, 2022 (3:00 P.M. ET, NBC)
XFINITY Race 32 of 33
Round of 8: Race 3 of 3
Dead On Tools 250 at Martinsville
2021 Last-Place Finisher: Tommy Joe Martins

There are 40 drivers entered for 38 spots, meaning two will be sent home.

DRIVER CHANGE: #6-JD Motorsports
NASCAR’s Halloween weekend features multiple holiday-themed paint schemes in both races. While Ryan Vargas’ Williamsburg Contracting paint scheme isn’t one of these, he and motorsports artist Harris Lue collaborated on a race day graphic inspired by “Stranger Things.” Vargas takes the place of current LASTCAR XFINITY Series leader Brennan Poole, who finished 14th last week in Homestead.

DRIVER CHANGE: #13-Motorsports Business Management
It’s been a challenging year for Chad Finchum, who has only qualified for one of his five attempts this year, taking 32nd back in Dover. Taking the place of Timmy Hill, who ran 29th in Homestead, Finchum has only one previous XFINITY start at Martinsville, which was a 37th-place run for MBM in this race two years ago. Finishing Touch and Food City are his sponsors.

DRIVER CHANGE: #18-Joe Gibbs Racing
Six-time ARCA race winner Sammy Smith returns to the XFINITY Series for the first time since his 14th-place showing at Bristol, again in the #18 with Pilot and Flying J as sponsors. He takes the place of Trevor Bayne, who made his last start of the year last week in Homestead, winning the pole and finishing 6th.

DRIVER CHANGE: #26-Sam Hunt Racing
Derek Griffith seeks his sixth career XFINITY Series start and first since his 23rd-place showing in the fall race at Talladega. As with his previous five, he drives for Sam Hunt Racing, this time taking the place of Chandler Smith, who finished a career-best 7th just hours after locking himself into the Truck Series’ Championship Four. Griffith ran the spring race at Martinsville, finishing 21st – his second-best finish to date.

MISSING: #28-RSS Racing
After a bizarre late-race wreck in Homestead involving brother Ryan Sieg and Stefan Parsons, the #28 team is not entered this week. Kyle finished 35th at Homestead after fender damage from the wreck.

DRIVER CHANGE: #34-Jesse Iwuji Motorsports
Jesse Iwuji is listed as the driver of the #34 for what would be the 12th time this year and first since Talladega, where he took 28th. Kyle Weatherman earned a 20th-place finish last week in Homestead. This would be Iwuji’s first XFINITY start at Martinsville, where he has one previous Truck Series start last fall, taking 30th for the Reaume Brothers.

Just as they did last year, Mario Gosselin’s team has a trio of Halloween-themed paint schemes designed by Michael Miceli Design, LLC. Among these are Alex Labbe and Josh Williams, who this week swap rides. Last week, Labbe failed to qualify in the #92 while Williams took 30th. This week, Williams is in the #92, whose graphics include a rendering of Williams as Beetlejuice.

DRIVER CHANGE: #44-Alpha Prime Racing
Rajah Caruth returns two weeks after his most recent start in Las Vegas, where he ran a career-best 20th in only his sixth series start. Taking the place of Julia Landauer, who was 28th in Homestead, Caruth will be making his first Martinsville start.

DRIVER CHANGE: #45-Alpha Prime Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #78-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Taking the helm of the second Alpha Prime entry is Howie DiSavino, who we last saw in this series at Talladega, taking 32nd. DiSavino made his XFINITY debut at this track this past spring, where a busted driveshaft left him 36th. Carrying sponsorship from the Travis Mills Foundation, DiSavino takes the place of Stefan Parsons. Parsons, 34th due to his aforementioned wreck with the Siegs, will race this Saturday as well, rejoining B.J. McLeod Motorsports in the #78. Carrying another Halloween-themed paint scheme with Rich Mar Florist as sponsor, Parsons takes the place of McLeod himself, who ran 36th with electrical woes in Homestead.

RETURNING: #47-Mike Harmon Racing
For the first time since the Charlotte Roval, where Gray Gaulding failed to qualify, Mike Harmon’s team is back on the entry list, looking to avenge their first-lap clutch failure that left them last here in the spring. No driver was originally listed until Dawson Cram reported he would drive. Cram seeks MHR’s first start since the fall Talladega race, where Harmon ran 34th, in what would be Cram’s third series start and second in 2022. He finished 30th for Emerling-Gase Motorsports last month in Darlington, having taken 35th at Loudon for MHR last year.

DRIVER CHANGE: #77-Bassett Racing
The Bassett team returns after Dillon Bassett missed the show in Homestead. This week, Ronnie, Jr. takes the wheel of the #77 Chevrolet, seeking his first Martinsville start.

DRIVER CHANGE: #02-Our Motorsports
Blaine Perkins makes his fifth start of the year for Our Motorsports and first since Talladega, where he ran 36th in the #02. Perkins, who carries Warrior Health Foundation as sponsor, has just one previous XFINITY start at Martinsville. In the spring race last year, he finished 35th in Our’s #23.

DRIVER CHANGE: #08-SS-Green Light Racing with Jeff Lefcourt
After he was not entered the last two races, Brandon Brown returns, this time taking the place of 21st-place Homestead finisher David Starr in the second Bobby Dotter entry. Solid Rock Carriers will be the sponsor for Brown, whose best of four XFINITY starts at Martinsville was an 18th in 2020.


Sunday, October 30, 2022 (2:30 P.M. ET, NBC)
CUP Race 35 of 36
Round of 8: Race 3 of 3
Xfinity 500 at Martinsville
2021 Last-Place Finisher: Joey Gase

There are 36 entries for as many spots, marking the 34th short field in 35 races this season.

DRIVER CHANGE: #45-23XI Racing
Following his one-race suspension for the Las Vegas wreck with Kyle Larson, Bubba Wallace returns to the #45 entry, one week after John Hunter Nemechek was fastest in practice, qualified 4th, then finished 27th after an early spin. Wallace makes his 10th Martinsville start in the Cup Series, where his best finish remains an 11th in 2020.

Friday, November 4, 2022
TRUCKS Race 23 of 23
Championship Race
Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix
2021 Last-Place Finisher: Lawless Alan

The Truck Series returns next week to kick off Championship Weekend in Phoenix, where Ty Majeski, Ben Rhodes, Chandler Smith, and Zane Smith will battle for the title.

TODAY IN LASTCAR HISTORY (October 27, 1991): Ricky Craven picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR Busch Series career in the Winston Classic at Martinsville when his #20 SpeeDee Oil Change Oldsmobile lost the engine after 19 laps. Craven had made his Winston Cup debut one week earlier at Rockingham, finishing 34th in a field of 40 after another engine problem.

No comments: