Thursday, March 30, 2023

PREVIEW: Series debuts and returns to action pepper entry lists for Richmond and Texas

PHOTO: @PatrickEmerling

by Brock Beard Editor-in-Chief

Saturday, April 1, 2023 (1:00 P.M. ET, FS1)
XFINITY Race 7 of 33
Toyota Care 250 at Richmond
2022 Last-Place Finisher: Brennan Poole

There are 40 drivers entered for 38 spots, but no Cup regulars as it’s the season’s first Dash 4 Cash race.

DRIVER CHANGE: #10-Kaulig Racing
After 74 career Truck Series starts, Derek Kraus will make his NASCAR XFINITY Series debut this weekend, taking the place of COTA winner A.J. Allmendinger in the #10 Chevrolet. Kraus carries sponsorship from The International Order of T. Roosevelt, a wildlife conservation foundation named for the 26th president of the United States.

MISSING: #17-Hendrick Motorsports
Not among the entrants is Hendrick’s XFINITY entry with Cup regular William Byron, who finished 2nd to Allmendinger in COTA.

DRIVER SWAP: #19-Joe Gibbs Racing
Joe Graf, Jr. makes his second run for Joe Gibbs Racing on Saturday, his first since Fontana, and takes the place of Cup rookie Ty Gibbs, who finished 3rd in COTA. Graf’s reunion opens the #38 ride with which he finished 30th in Austin, and brings on Truck Series part-timer Chris “Hackerman” Hacker. Hacker brings his sponsorship from injury law firm Morgan & Morgan to the RSS Racing effort.

DRIVER CHANGE: #35-Emerling-Gase Motorsports
For the first time since the first-lap tangle with Caesar Bacarella at Atlanta, Joey Gase is back in the #35 entry, taking the place of Parker Chase, who failed to qualify at COTA. Gase will run the familiar blue-and-green colors of another organ donation service, this time Donate Life VA.

DRIVER SWAP: #44-Alpha Prime Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #45-Alpha Prime Racing
Jeffrey Earnhardt swaps rides again, moving from the #45 with which he finished 25th to rejoin the #44 entry, substituting Sage Karam whose engine failure left him 35th. Into the #45 comes Phoenix driver Leland Honeyman, who ran 27th in his XFINITY debut at Phoenix earlier this month. Big Green Egg is the listed sponsor of the Honeyman car.

MISSING: #50-Pardus Racing, Inc.
Preston Pardus and his family’s team are not entered this week after they successfully qualified in their first attempt and finished 36th with suspension issues.

DRIVER CHANGE: #53-Emerling-Gase Motorsports
Brad Perez was the lone standard-bearer for Emerling-Gase at COTA, and this time secured a 29th-place finish. This week, he’s on the other side of pit wall for team co-owner Patrick Emerling, who runs the #53 Ford with associate sponsorship from Bonesteel Aerospace. The white, black, and yellow paint scheme resembles Emerling’s #07 he’s campaigned in NASCAR modified ranks.

DRIVER CHANGE: #66-Motorsports Business Management
MBM looks to turn around their streak of bad luck, most recently a DNQ from COTA with Cameron Lawrence, and this week brings back Mason Maggio to run the #66 Rock Hill, SC / ACE Hardware Toyota. This is the Floridian’s second attempt to qualify this car, following a DNQ in Las Vegas. Timmy Hill had originally been listed as the driver of this car earlier in the week.

Dawson Cram reunites with the Harmon effort in place of Argentinian road racer Baltazar Leguizamon, who missed out on his NASCAR debut in COTA. Seeking just the fifth start of his XFINITY career, Cram looks to improve from a last-place showing due to fuel pump issues in Phoenix.

MISSING: #88-JR Motorsports
Miguel Paludo is not entered as he continues his exclusive road-course schedule. He finished 13th last week in COTA.

Back from a one-race suspension for his climbing from the car at Atlanta is Josh Williams, who appropriately has acquired a new sponsor from Parking Guidance, Systems, Inc. The sponsor will not only back Williams, but also teammate Alex Labbe, Williams’ substitute from COTA, who after a 15th-place finish will take the place of 28th-place Josh Bilicki in the #91.

NEW TEAM: #96-FRS Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #02-Our Motorsports
This week sees the debut of FRS Racing, owned by Matt Weber, and consisting of the assets of the shuttered Brandonbilt Motorsports. BrewHaha Brewing Company is the listed sponsor. Kyle Weatherman comes over from Our Motorsports to drive the #96 car, opening the door for Blaine Perkins’ reunion with the Our team, one week after he parted ways with SS-Green Light Racing. Weatherman will rejoin the Our #02 team in Martinsville.

DRIVER CHANGE: #07-SS-Green Light Racing
As of this writing, there is no driver listed in place of Truck Series regular Carson Hocevar, whose XFINITY debut at COTA was cut short by transmission issues after just seven laps. UPDATE: Stefan Parsons will drive with his sponsor SOKAL.

DRIVER CHANGE: #08-SS-Green Light Racing
Following a 24th-place finish by Cup regular Aric Almirola in the #08, Gray Gaulding is back behind the wheel for the first time since his 20th-place showing at Atlanta, which tied his season-best finish from Daytona.


Saturday, April 1, 2023 (4:30 P.M. ET, FS1)
TRUCKS Race 5 of 23 250 at Texas
2022 Last-Place Finisher (May, 220 miles): Derek Kraus

There are 36 drivers entered for as many spots, meaning no teams will be sent home from this support race for the NTT IndyCar Series.

MISSING: #7-Spire Motorsports
MISSING: #8-NEMCO Motorsports
MISSING: #75-Henderson Motorsports
No fewer than four teams from COTA aren’t making the trip to Texas this week. This will be the first race without TRICON’s #1 entry with which Kaz Grala earned a solid 9th-place finish on the road course. Spire Motorsports hasn’t entered the #7 which failed to qualify after Cup regular Alex Bowman cut down a tire. The NEMCO effort isn’t entered after Samuel LeComte suffered his fourth DNQ in three seasons. Also not attending is the Charlie Henderson effort with which Parker Kligerman ran 31st in COTA due to electrical issues.

RETURNING: #14-Trey Hutchens Racing
One team that is returning to action is that of underdog Trey Hutchens, who loaded up his blue #14 Quality Roof Seamers Chevrolet on Tuesday. Hutchens seeks his 11th series start, his first since last summer at Kansas, where he finished 29th in his only start from 2022.

DRIVER CHANGE: #20-Young’s Motorsports
The driver rotation at the third Randy Young entry continues as Matt Mills rejoins the program for the first time since his 26th-place showing in Las Vegas, again with familiar sponsorship from J.F. Electric. Mills takes the place of IndyCar’s Ed Jones, who failed to complete a lap at COTA after a suspension issue cut down the left-rear tire.

After not driving at COTA, Josh Reaume returns to drive for the fourth time this season, his third with AM Racing in the #22 with which he most recently took 23rd in Atlanta. Reaume takes the place of Logan Bearden, who finished 22nd on the road course.

DRIVER CHANGE: #30-On Point Motorsports
Texas marks the second career Truck Series start for Ryan Vargas, who takes the place of 20th-place COTA finisher Colin Garrett in the #30 Rangeline Toyota. It was this same Texas track that saw Vargas score the first top-ten finish of his XFINITY career, taking home 8th in the fall of 2020.

DRIVER CHANGE: #34-Reaume Brothers Racing
Keith McGee will make his 10th career Truck Series start and second of this season, looking to improve on his last-place finish in Atlanta. He again drives the #34 for the Reaume effort, taking the place of 26th-place COTA finisher Mason Filippi. McGee last ran at Texas in 2021, when he finished 29th in Reaume’s #33 entry.

DRIVER CHANGE: #41-Niece Motorsports
Chad Chastain swaps in for older brother Ross, the polesitter from COTA, and carries sponsorship from GlobalTranz on his #41 Chevrolet. This will be Chad’s fifth career Truck Series start and first of the season. He most recently ran last fall’s race at Homestead, where he drove Niece’s #44 entry to a 30th-place finish.

Like the Young’s #20, the G2G effort continues to rotate drivers this season. For Texas, they bring on Armani Williams, who will make his first Truck Series start since last fall at Phoenix, where an early wreck with Keith McGee left him in last place. Williams, who is also expected to drive for the team at IRP, will take the place of Dale Quarterley, who finished 28th after a late-race penalty in his Truck Series debut at COTA. Williams failed to qualify for this race last year.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Kyle Busch Motorsports
With COTA runner-up Kyle Busch joining the other Cup regulars in Richmond, Jack Wood is back at the controls of the #51 Sevwins Chevrolet, marking his third start of the season and first since a 10th-place showing in Atlanta.

DRIVER CHANGE: #56-Hill Motorsports
Tyler Hill is back to sharing the #56 entry with brother Timmy Hill, and this week makes his first Truck Series start of the season with sponsorship from MF1 Fantasy Racing. As with Armani Williams, this will be Tyler’s first start since last fall’s Phoenix finale, where he ran 23rd in what was the most recent start for the second Hill Motorsports entry, the #5. 


Sunday, April 2, 2023 (3:30 P.M. ET, FS1)
CUP Race 7 of 36
Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond
2022 Last-Place Finisher: Greg Biffle

There are 37 drivers entered for 40 spots, marking the sixth short field in seven races this season.

DRIVER CHANGE: #9-Hendrick Motorsports
After Jordan Taylor qualified 4th and finished 24th in his rough-and-tumble debut in COTA, Josh Berry resumes his role as Chase Elliott’s oval-track substitute. Berry’s sixth Cup start will be his first at Richmond, where he’s scored a pair of 7th-place finishes in the XFINITY Series.

RETURNING: #13-Kaulig Racing
With a short field, Chandler Smith will not fail to qualify as he had in the Daytona 500, and will this time run double-duty as he makes his Cup Series debut in Kaulig’s #13 Quick Tie Products, Inc. Chevrolet. Driving the lone “open” entry in the field, Smith will compete at a track where he won last year’s Truck Series race with Kyle Busch Motorsports.

DRIVER CHANGE: #15-Rick Ware Racing
Taking the place of Formula One’s Jenson Button, who earned an 18th-place run in his NASCAR debut at COTA, J.J. Yeley is back in the Rick Ware #15. This will be Yeley’s 18th Cup start at Richmond, where he finished 10th in the fall of 2007.

DRIVER CHANGE: #78-Live Fast Motorsports
Dude Wipes will double-up their sponsorship of Anthony Alfredo, who is off to a strong start in this year’s XFINITY Series with B.J. McLeod Motorsports. On Sunday, Alfredo will make his first Cup start since November 2021 and the conclusion of his rookie campaign with Front Row Motorsports. Alfredo continues with McLeod to the Live Fast effort, taking the place of Josh Bilicki, who finished 26th after a solid performance in COTA.

MISSING: #84-Legacy Motor Club
MISSING: #91-Trackhouse Racing (Project 91)
Not running this week are Jimmie Johnson, who finished next-to-last after his first-lap tangle with Ty Dillon, and the “Project 91” entry of Formula One ace Kimi Raikkonen, the 29th-place finisher.

TODAY IN LASTCAR HISTORY (March 30, 1969): Dick Brooks picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR Cup Series career in the Atlanta 500 at Atlanta when his #32 1969 Plymouth started 11th but made it just 38 laps before the engine let go. Brooks would ultimately finish last six times in his career, including a second time at Atlanta in 1972.

1 comment:

Rob Redline said...

Hey Brock Joe Graf Also Ran The #19 At Las Vegas, While Alex Labbe Ran The #28 With G-Coin / Larue Sponsorship