Thursday, February 16, 2023
CUP Exhibition Races
Bluegreen Vacations Duel at Daytona
2022 Last-Place Finishers: Noah Gragson (Race 1), Jacques Villeneuve (Race 2)
There are 42 drivers entered to attempt Sunday’s Daytona 500, meaning the race will see the first 40-car starting lineup since this same race last year, 36 races ago. Two of the six “open” teams entered will be sent home after the Duel races on Thursday night.
NEW TEAM: #13-Kaulig Racing
First on track for tonight’s qualifying session will be Chandler Smith, who seeks his first Cup Series start. Smith made his first three XFINITY Series races last year with a best finish of 7th at Homestead for Sam Hunt Racing, and days later closed out a three-win season in the Truck Series with a 3rd-place finish in the Championship Four. Smith drives a new third team for Kaulig Racing, the first of four Chartered teams to field an additional “open” car this week. Smith will also pull double-duty in the XFINITY Series, where he drives Kaulig’s #16 in place of A.J. Allmendinger (see below).
DRIVER CHANGE: #15-Rick Ware Racing
After his third full season in the XFINITY Series, where he’s still winless after 109 starts, Riley Herbst will make his Cup debut in this week’s Daytona 500, driving Rick Ware Racing’s #15 Ford in place of Clash driver J.J. Yeley. Herbst trades sponsors this week, swapping Monster Energy for SunnyD.
RETURNING: #36-Front Row Motorsports
Entering a third car of their own is Front Row Motorsports, which brings back the #36 entry for the first time since David Ragan’s 37th-place showing in the 2021 Daytona 500. This time, the driver is defending NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Champion Zane Smith, who steered FRM’s Ford to a convincing win in last November’s Phoenix finale. Recall that this would not be Smith’s Cup debut – last summer at Gateway, he was a last-minute relief driver for Chris Buescher following a positive COVID-19 test. Smith parlayed this to an impressive 17th-place finish. Wellcare will sponsor Smith’s Ford.
RETURNING: #50-The Money Team
Also seeking his second Cup start is Conor Daly, who took his first laps in a Cup car last fall on the “Roval,” yielding a 34th-place finish. As in that race, Daly drives for The Money Team, which made its series debut in last year’s 500 after Kaz Grala’s last-lap pass on J.J. Yeley during his qualifying race. If Daly qualifies, this will be just his fifth start across NASCAR’s top three series.
RETURNING: #62-Beard Motorsports
Joining The Money Team as the only “open” entry not fielded by another team is Beard Motorsports. Continuing their focus on the superspeedways, the #62 entry returns with last year’s XFINITY Series standout on these tracks – Austin Hill. Hill finished a strong 18th in his Cup debut last summer at Michigan, and brings his sponsor Bennett Transportation on board. He takes the place of Noah Gragson, who has since become the full-time driver of Legacy Motor Club’s #42.
NEW TEAM: #67-23XI Racing
The third expansion team among the Chartered cars belongs to 23XI Racing, which has landed extreme sports superstar Travis Pastrana. A full decade after his full-season XFINITY effort with Roush-Fenway Racing in 2013, Pastrana will take his first laps in NASCAR’s top three series since 2020, when he ran his fifth and most recent Truck Series start in Las Vegas. Black Rifle Coffee is the sponsor of his plaid-decorated Toyota. The #67, made famous by the late Buddy Arrington, has not attempted a Cup Series race since November 2002 at Homestead, has not started one since Watkins Glen on August 11, 2002, and has not started the Daytona 500 since 1989 with Mickey Gibbs.
NEW TEAM / WITHDREW: #80-Finishline Motorsports Marketing
Late-breaking news this month was that of Finishline Motorsports Marketing, which at first appeared to be entering their #80 Safelite AutoGlass Chevrolet for driver J.J. Yeley in the Daytona 500. Serving as crew chief was Josh Reaume, who last year was part of the Team Hezeberg effort that is not entered this year. But those plans have since changed, and the team has withdrawn, planning a partial schedule this year. As of this writing, their first attempt will instead be Las Vegas on March 7th.
NEW TEAM: #84-Legacy Motor Club
The fourth and final “open” entry entered by a Chartered team belongs to Legacy Motor Club – the #84 Carvana Chevrolet to be driven by team investor Jimmie Johnson. This will be the seven-time series champion’s first Cup attempt since the conclusion of his “One Last Ride” tour in November 2020, the day Chase Elliott secured his first title at Phoenix in front of a COVID-19-reduced crowd. For the first time since his rookie season in 2002, Johnson enters the 500 without a guaranteed starting spot. But that year, he won the pole, the first of his career. If he qualifies, this will be the first start for the #84 in a Cup race since November 20, 2011 with Cole Whitt at Homestead. The number hasn’t started the Daytona 500 since 1989, when Mike Alexander drove for the Stavola Brothers in the Miller High Life Buick.
Friday, February 17, 2023
TRUCKS Race 1 of 23
NextEra Energy 250 at Daytona
2022 Last-Place Finisher: Dean Thompson
Craftsman rejoins the Truck Series as title sponsor, where 42 drivers are entered in Daytona’s season opener, meaning six teams will fail to qualify.
TEAM UPDATE / DRIVER CHANGE: #1-TRICON Garage
RETURNING / DRIVER SWAP: #13-ThorSport Racing
David Gilliland Racing and businessman Johnny Gray have joined forces to create TRICON Garage, swapping from Ford to become the flagship Toyota team in the series. TRICON boasts four entries this week, first of them the #1 formerly driven by Hailie Deegan under DGR and now driven by the first of two drivers named Jason White on the entry list. Jason A. White – the series veteran from Richmond, Virginia with 156 Truck starts dating back to 2001 – now pilots the #1 with Celsius as sponsor. Deegan, meanwhile, moves to ThorSport, where the #13 returns to full-time competition after running part-time last year with Johnny Sauter. Sauter gave the #13 its most recent start last fall at Talladega, yielding a 25th-place finish.
NEW TEAM: #2-Rev Racing
TEAM CLOSED: #18-Kyle Busch Motorsports
On the heels of Kyle Busch’s departure from the #18 Cup Series team at Joe Gibbs Racing, the third KBM entry, the #18, is as gone from the series as it is in Cup. Chandler Smith, the team’s driver, has moved to Kaulig Racing in a combined Cup and XFINITY Series bid. Kyle Busch Motorsports has since formed an alliance with ARCA Series team Rev Racing, which brings last year’s champion Nick Sanchez into a full-time Truck Series ride. Sanchez, who also ran impressively for Big Machine Racing’s XFINITY team late last season, will continue to run the #2 he ran in ARCA, and carries sponsorship from Gainbridge.
DRIVER SWAP: #4-Kyle Busch Motorsports
MISSING: #61-Hattori Racing Enterprises
With John Hunter Nemechek rejoining the XFINITY Series with Joe Gibbs Racing as a full-time driver (see below), the #4 entry at KBM remained open for Chase Purdy. Purdy’s previous ride, the second entry at Hattori Racing Enterprises, is not on the entry list this week, and Purdy brings his sponsorship from Bama Buggies to the #4.
NEW TEAM: #5-TRICON Garage
MISSING: #5-Hill Motorsports
TEAM CLOSED: #40-Niece Motorsports
The five-truck TRICON team includes the #5, which last year belonged to Hill Motorsports’ second team, most often driven by Tyler Hill. Under its new branding as a Toyota, the driver is Dean Thompson, whose #40 entry at Niece Motorsports is likewise not entered this week, and returns for his second full-time season in Trucks.
DRIVER CHANGE: #7-Spire Motorsports
NEW TEAM / DRIVER SWAP: #11-TRICON Garage
DRIVER SWAP: #24-GMS Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #51-Kyle Busch Motorsports
Seeking only his third Truck Series start and first since 2014 is Cup regular Corey LaJoie, who will pilot the part-time #7 Schluter Systems Chevrolet once again fielded by his Cup team, Spire Motorsports. LaJoie takes the place of Rajah Caruth, who closed out his part-time season with Spire last fall in Phoenix. Caruth has since landed a full-time ride at GMS Racing, where he will carry logos for the Wendell Scott Foundation on the #24 entry, and will also continue to run part-time for Alpha Prime Racing in XFINITY (see below). Caruth takes the place of Jack Wood, who takes the place of Corey Heim in KBM’s #51 Toyota. In turn, Heim has become the third member of TRICON Garage, where he will join Dean Thompson in piloting a new entry, running the #11.
DRIVER CHANGE: #9-CR7 Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #35-McAnally-Hilgemann Racing
TEAM CLOSED: #91-McAnally-Hilgemann Racing
NEW TEAM: #97-CR7 Motorsports
CR7 Motorsports expands from one truck to two this season, and Codie Rohrbaugh returns to the driver’s seat in time for the race where he finished 3rd in 2020, this time running the new #97 entry. Running CR7’s primary #9 is Colby Howard, who takes the place of Blaine Perkins, who has returned to the XFINITY Series (see below). Howard’s 2022 ride in the #91 for McAnally-Hilgemann Racing was shut down, but his sponsorship from Gates Hydraulics remains as sponsor of the team’s part-time #35, which is driven this week by Cup invader Chase Elliott instead of Phoenix starter Jake Garcia.
TEAM UPDATE / DRIVER CHANGE: #17-TRICON Garage
Completing the TRICON Garage lineup (along with the #15, still piloted by Tanner Gray) is the #17, one of the two original David Gilliland Racing entries. This week, the truck passes from Taylor Gray, who scored three ARCA Racing Series wins last year and made the most recent eight of his 13 Truck Series starts, to Joe Gibbs Racing’s XFINITY rookie Sammy Smith. Mobil 1 is the listed sponsor this week.
DRIVER CHANGE: #19-McAnally-Hilgemann Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #20-Young’s Motorsports
MISSING: #66-ThorSport Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #98-ThorSport Racing
Hailie Deegan’s arrival at ThorSport in the #13 isn’t the only shake-up on that team. After coming up just short of the Truck Series title last year, Ty Majeski moves from the #66 to the #98, taking the place of Christian Eckes. Eckes, in turn, moves to the flagship entry at McAnally-Hilgemann Racing, taking Derek Kraus’ place in the #19 Toyota. Kraus has now landed with Young’s Motorsports in the #20 Chevrolet, replacing Phoenix starter Armani Williams, who’s not entered. The ThorSport #66 will return later this year as a part-time entry with newcomer Conner Jones.
DRIVER CHANGE: #22-AM Racing
As AM Racing expands their presence in the XFINITY Series, Josh Reaume is entered in the #22 in place of Austin Wayne Self, who’s not entered this week. JAG Metals is the listed sponsor.
RETURNING: #28-FDNY Racing
Amidst tumultuous change, Jim Rosenblum’s FDNY Racing effort returns with its same lineup, again putting veteran Bryan Dauzat behind the wheel. Dauzat finished 23rd in this race last year and ran 35th after mid-race damage at Talladega.
DRIVER CHANGE: #30-On Point Motorsports
DRIVER SWAP / NUMBER CHANGE: #34-Reaume Brothers Racing
NEW TEAM: #43-GMS Racing
RETURNING / DRIVER SWAP: #04-Roper Racing
Joining Nick Sanchez and Rajah Caruth in ascending from ARCA is Daniel Dye, who unlike the other two racers has yet to make a start in any of NASCAR’s top three series. Dye will run the #43, which this season will be fielded by GMS Racing instead of Reaume Brothers Racing. The Reaume team, still rebuilding from a terrible shop fire over the winter, brings back the #34, which honors the Mooresville Fire Department for saving their shop. Driving is the second Jason White – Jason M. White – the Canadian who finished 10th in this race in 2020. Chris Hacker, who ran the #34 (formerly #43) last fall at Phoenix, moves to On Point’s #30 Toyota this week with Morgan & Morgan P.A. as sponsor. “Hackerman” moves Kaden Honeycutt, 9th in just his 9th career start with On Point last fall at Phoenix, to the returning Roper Racing #04 entry, which carries FlyAllianceCar Quest as sponsor. Team owner Cory Roper nearly won this Daytona race two years ago before he finished 3rd.
RETURNING: #32-Bret Holmes Racing
Bret Holmes returns to action for the first time since last fall at Homestead, and this time carries Pate Holdings as sponsor of his #32 Chevrolet.
DRIVER CHANGE: #33-Reaume Brothers Racing
Coming down from the XFINITY Series is Mason Massey, who last year drove DGM Racing’s #91 Chevrolet, which this year goes to Cup part-timer Josh Bilicki (see below). Massey lands in Josh Reaume’s primary #33 entry, a truck driven most recently by Keith McGee last fall at Phoenix. While McGee is not entered, Massey seeks his first Truck Series start since 2019, when he drove this same entry to a 32nd-place finish in Talladega.
RETURNING: #41-Niece Motorsports
While the team’s #40 has scaled back, Al Niece has brought back their #41 entry for the first time since last summer at IRP, where Chad Chastain finished 30th. This “all-star” entry will feature multiple drivers this season, starting with Travis Pastrana, who looks to turn more laps before his first bid at the Daytona 500 with 23XI Racing. Worldwide Express and BRCC are the listed sponsors.
RETURNING / DRIVER SWAP: #46-G2G Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #02-Young’s Motorsports
The preliminary entry list first indicated that Johnny Sauter would reunite with G2G Racing for the first time since his run in this same race last year, where electrical woes left him a distant 34th. That news changed by Tuesday, when word broke that Norm Benning would drive in his place. Seeking his 245th Truck Series start, and his first at any track since 2021, this would be Benning’s first start for a team not his own since November 2016, when he raced for Mike Mittler at Phoenix. Driving the #02 Young’s Motorsports entry that Johnny Sauter most recently ran in last fall’s Phoenix race is Kris Wright, who rejoins the Truck Series after a challenging stretch of XFINITY races with Brandonbilt Motorsports (see below).
MISSING: #62-Halmar Friesen Racing
Not among the entrants this week is Layne Riggs, who turned heads in his part-time effort driving a second HFR truck last fall, most recently a 13th last November in the Phoenix finale.
RETURNING: #75-Henderson Motorsports
Last summer’s Mid-Ohio winner Parker Kligerman rejoins the Henderson team for the first time since his 9th-place showing at Homestead last fall, and this time arrives pulling double-duty with Big Machine Racing in the XFINITY Series (see below).
RETURNING: #84-Cook Racing Technologies
After a pair of DNQs, Clay Greenfield finally got his Cook Racing Technologies entry into its first race last fall in Talladega, where he was rewarded with a 12th-place finish. Now he returns to Daytona looking to make his first start in the race since 2019, when he also ran 12th.
RETURNING: #96-Peck Motorsports
Also looking to break through is Todd Peck, who has not started a Truck Series race since 2021 at Pocono, and returns with his persistent #96 team.
CUP INVADERS: #7-Corey LaJoie, #35-Chase Elliott
Saturday, February 18, 2023
XFINITY Race 1 of 33
Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. 300 at Daytona
2022 Last-Place Finisher: Caesar Bacarella
There are 44 drivers entered for 40 spots in Saturday’s XFINITY Series opener, meaning four will fail to qualify.
MISSING: #5-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
NEW TEAM: #5-Big Machine Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #48-Big Machine Racing
When we last saw B.J. McLeod’s #5 team, Matt Mills was the only DNQ for last November’s Phoenix finale. This week, McLeod has not entered the #5, and Mills is not among the entrants. Instead, Big Machine Racing has fielded a second car for Jade Buford, reuniting him with the Scott Borchetta team for the first time since Portland last summer. Appropriately, Buford will carry sponsorship from “Double Spiked Coolers.” After a mix of Cup regulars and a surprising Nick Sanchez took Buford’s place in the #48, the ride goes to Parker Kligerman, who finally earns a full-time ride after more than a decade of effort.
DRIVER CHANGE: #9-JR Motorsports
DRIVER SWAP: #19-Joe Gibbs Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #31-Jordan Anderson Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #02-Our Motorsports
David Starr returns to the XFINITY Series for the first time since last fall at Homestead, and this time takes the controls of Our Motorsports’ single entry, the #02 Chevrolet, bringing with him previous sponsor Special Report with Bret Baier. Starr takes the place of last year’s surprising part-timer Parker Retzlaff, 21st last fall at Phoenix, who this year joins Jordan Anderson Racing’s primary entry, the #31, retaining Funkaway as sponsor. Retzlaff’s full-time effort moves Myatt Snider and sponsor Tree Top to Joe Gibbs Racing’s new “star car,” the #19 formerly driven by Brandon Jones and now shared with multiple drivers. This ride became available as Jones had already committed to JR Motorsports’ #9 Chevrolet, replacing Noah Gragson after Gragson’s promotion to Legacy Motor Club’s #42 in the Cup Series.
DRIVER CHANGE: #10-Kaulig Racing
Last year, Landon Cassill came up just short of both his first win and a spot in the XFINITY Series Playoffs, and was originally expected to continue his full-time effort with Kaulig Racing in 2023. That changed over the winter with news that Cassill would only run part-time this year. The first of these openings is this week as Justin Haley comes down from Kaulig’s Cup team to run the #10 on Saturday. Five more races later this season will go to Kyle Busch, thanks to his move to Richard Childress Racing and Chevrolet.
DRIVER CHANGE: #13-Motorsports Business Management
DRIVER CHANGE: #66-Motorsports Business Management
Last summer at Daytona, Timmy Hill was either inches or seconds from pulling off an incredible upset, ultimately scoring a career-best runner-up finish to Jeremy Clements. Hill rejoins MBM and the #13 team this week with Klutch Vodka as sponsor of his Ford, looking to go one spot better. He takes the place of Dawson Cram, who’s not entered after he drove to a 31st-place finish with this team last fall at Phoenix. Running the second MBM entry in the #66 is a returning Dexter Stacey, whose most recent of 25 XFINITY starts came in 2016. Taking the place of J.J. Yeley, who’s not entered, Stacey rejoins the series after competing in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series in his native Canada. Just last year, he earned a career-best 3rd at Mosport.
DRIVER CHANGE: #16-Kaulig Racing
Now that A.J. Allmendinger has returned to full-time Cup duties for the first time since 2018, claiming the entirety of the previously shared #16 Cup effort’s starts, the ride is open for a new challenger. That challenger is former KBM Truck Series driver Chandler Smith, who will run full-time in this car and also attempt the Daytona 500 in Kaulig’s “open” #13.
RETURNING: #20-Joe Gibbs Racing
Joe Gibbs Racing resurrects the #20 team, which we last saw piloted by Harrison Burton in 2021. This time, the ride goes to former KBM driver John Hunter Nemechek, his first full-time XFINITY season since 2019. Nemechek carries Mobil 1 as a sponsor this week, and looks to set the tone early in his bid for the Playoffs.
MISSING: #23-Our Motorsports
DRIVER SWAP: #78-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
RETURNING: #99-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Our Motorsports has scaled back their #23 entry to part-time, freeing up Anthony Alfredo to take up a different full-time effort in the #78 at B.J. McLeod’s team, replacing McLeod himself. McLeod has also brought back his third entry, the #99, which Garrett Smithley will drive this week. The #99 hasn’t been entered in a race since last summer at Nashville, and hasn’t started one since Nick Sanchez took the green at Charlotte in May. Smithley’s most recent XFINITY start came in McLeod’s #78 last fall in Las Vegas, yielding a 25th-place finish.
RETURNING: #24-Sam Hunt Racing
Parker Chase made his first two XFINITY Series starts last year with Sam Hunt Racing’s flagship #26 team, taking 19th at COTA and 27th in Portland. This time, Chase tackles Daytona, where he finished runner-up to Corey Heim in last year’s ARCA 200. He now drives SHR’s second entry, the #24, a team whose only start last year was in the Daytona opener, yielding a 15th-place finish with Jeffrey Earnhardt.
RETURNING: #25-AM Racing
AM Racing expands to the XFINITY Series with the #25, but as on the Truck Series side, Austin Wayne Self is not entered. Last year, Self failed to qualify for the XFINITY race sat Watkins Glen and the Charlotte “Roval” during a combined effort between AM Racing and Jordan Anderson Racing. This year, taking the full-time ride is Brett Moffitt, who parted ways with Our Motorsports’ #02 team midway through last season, and made only a few starts after.
MISSING: #27-Our Motorsports
NEW TEAM: #27-Jordan Anderson Racing
Speaking of Anderson’s team, his XFINITY effort expands to a second car, bringing Jeb Burton over from Our Motorsports. As Our closes down his struggling third team, Anderson picks up its car number, keeping both the #27 and sponsor State Water Heaters with the Burton family. Burton joins Parker Retzlaff as teammates this season.
RETURNING / DRIVER SWAP: #28-RSS Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #38-RSS Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #39-RSS Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #07-SS-Green Light Racing
Coming up from CR7’s Truck Series team is Blaine Perkins, who rejoins the XFINITY Series in SS-Green Light Racing’s #07. Perkins takes the place of Joe Graf, Jr., who will not only run some races in Joe Gibbs Racing’s #19, but this week pilots the flagship RSS Racing entry, the #39, with Getcoverseal.com as sponsor. Graf bumps Ryan Sieg to RSS’ #38, which moves Kyle Sieg to their returning third entry, the #28. Graf’s future starts with RSS will be in the #38 as Ryan Sieg resumes his ride in the #39.
DRIVER CHANGE: #34-Jesse Iwuji Motorsports
Amidst a lawsuit against founding sponsor Equity Prime Mortgage, Jesse Iwuji takes the wheel of the #34 in place of Kyle Weatherman, who closed out the 2022 season with a 14th-place finish in Phoenix.
DRIVER CHANGE: #35-Emerling-Gase Motorsports
RETURNING / DRIVER SWAP: #53-Emerling-Gase Motorsports
The Emerling-Gase team makes another bid at fielding two full-time entries. This time, they bring C.J. McLaughlin from his part-time efforts with RSS Racing to pilot the flagship #35 Sci Aps Ford, bumping Joey Gase to the returning #53 National Crime Prevention Ford. Brad Perez, Natalie Decker, and team co-owner Patrick Emerling are among the drivers expected to fill out the schedule this year.
DRIVER SWAP: #36-DGM Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #91-DGM Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #92-DGM Racing
Over at the Mario Gosselin team, Josh Williams and Alex Labbe have swapped rides, putting Labbe back in his familiar #36 and Williams back in the #92. Mason Massey, last year’s driver of the #91, moves back to the Truck Series, opening a seat for Josh Bilicki and his sponsorship from Zeigler Auto Group and Insurance King – at least on a part-time basis.
NEW TEAM: #43-Alpha Prime Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #44-Alpha Prime Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #45-Alpha Prime Racing
After a tumultuous transition year with multiple drivers, Alpha Prime Racing expands to three teams with an equally deep lineup. The new entry, the #43, goes to Ryan Ellis, who has brought multiple sponsors to expand what would have been a part-time deal into a full-season bid. The #44 goes to Jeffrey Earnhardt, who last year split time with three different teams, and continues to build on his relationship with sponsor ForeverLawn. The #45 stands as the team’s “star car,” beginning with team co-owner Caesar Bacarella this week and continuing with Sage Karam, Stefan Parsons, Leland Honeyman, Jr., and Rajah Caruth. Last fall at Phoenix saw Caruth and Parsons run the team’s two cars.
MISSING: #68-Brandonbilt Motorsports
With Kris Wright moving back to the Truck Series after a difficult final weeks in 2022, both Brandonbilt Motorsports and their former driver Brandon Brown are conspicuously absent from the entry list.
RETURNING / TEAM UPDATE: #74-CHK Racing
Gary Keller, previously a partner at JD Motorsports, now joins forces with Mike Harmon Racing, which rebrands itself as CHK Racing. After a rough 2022 season where the #74 team was sidelined after a testing penalty and the #47 suffered a litany of mechanical failures, CHK fields just one car, and brings back Harmon’s #74. Serving as anchor driver is Ryan Vargas – also formerly of JD Motorsports – who ran for Harmon last summer at Portland, yielding a 23rd-place finish.
MISSING: #77-Bassett Racing
The Bassett brothers are not making the trip to Daytona after Dillon Bassett qualified an impressive 12th in last fall’s Phoenix finale.
RETURNING: #00-Stewart-Haas Racing
Ousted from Stewart-Haas Racing’s #41 Cup Series entry late this offseason in favor of “reserve driver” Ryan Preece, Cole Custer makes his return to the XFINITY Series in the #00 that brought him to Cup in the first place. Like John Hunter Nemechek, Custer promises to be a strong Playoff contender in 2023, having finished 11th or better in three of his five XFINITY starts last year with SS-Green Light Racing, including the team’s first ever win at Fontana.
DRIVER CHANGE: #08-SS-Green Light Racing
Speaking of SS-Green Light Racing, Gray Gaulding reunites with the team that brought him the most success of his young NASCAR career, when he ranked 13th in points during the 2019 campaign. Taking the place of Brandon Brown, who drove the car last fall at Phoenix, Gaulding brings his longtime sponsor Panini and looks to reignite his competitiveness on the superspeedways.
CUP INVADERS: #10-Justin Haley
Sunday, February 19, 2023
CUP Race 1 of 36
Daytona 500 at Daytona
2022 Last-Place Finisher: Ross Chastain
TODAY IN LASTCAR HISTORY (February 15, 1981): Blackie Wangerin picked up the 2nd last-place finish of his NASCAR Winston Cup Series career when his #39 Wangerin / Clements Ford crashed in the tri-oval after 17 laps of the Daytona 500. This was Wangerin’s third and last start in the “Great American Race.”
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