Thursday, May 25, 2023

PREVIEW: Speedway regulars young and old rejoin the field in Charlotte triple-header

David Gilliland climbs back behind the wheel in this truck on Friday.

by Brock Beard Editor-in-Chief

Friday, May 26, 2023 (8:30 P.M. ET, FS1)
TRUCKS Race 11 of 23
North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte
2022 Last-Place Finisher: Brennan Poole

There are 36 trucks entered for as many spots, meaning all will qualify.

For the first time since May 7, 2021, David Gilliland will start a Truck Series race, this time piloting the #1 entry he co-owns under the TRICON Garage banner. Serial 1 E-Bikes will sponsosr Gilliland’s first Truck start at Charlotte since 2015, when he finished 27th for RAB Racing. Gilliland takes the place of Bubba Wallace, who enjoyed a tight battle with Kyle Larson for the win at North Wilkesboro en route to a 5th-place finish.

MISSING: #6-Norm Benning Racing
Among the teams not entered this week is that of Norm Benning, who after extensive upgrades to his truck joined his crew in rebuilding it a second time at the track following a hard crash in practice. Benning did not qualify.

MISSING: #7-Spire Motorsports
North Wilkesboro winner Kyle Larson is not entered along with the Spire #7 entry.

DRIVER CHANGE: #20-Young’s Motorsports
Matt Mills returns to the Truck Series for the first time since his hard crash with Dean Thompson at Texas, again carrying sponsorship from J.F. Electric on the #20 Chevrolet. Mills takes the place of Kaden Honeycutt, who despite a lack of sponsorship enjoyed back-to-back strong runs at Darlington and North Wilkesboro, taking 10th and 17th, respectively.

Mason Maggio will make his first Truck Series race since Kansas, where he ran 27th, and will run for his third different team in as many starts this season. After running both Randy Young’s #20 and Josh Reaume’s #33, he takes the place of 28th-place North Wilkesboro finisher Josh Williams in AM Racing’s #22 entry. ACE Hardware Rock Hill is the listed sponsor with HMY Yachts rejoining as associate.

DRIVER CHANGE: #30-On Point Motorsports
Following Chris Hacker’s strong 12th-place finish in North Wilkesboro, the On Point Motorsports team looks to keep the momentum going as Ryan Vargas returns for the first time since Darlington, where he 14th and 8th-place runs this year were followed by a challenging 27th. Rangeline Group remains as sponsor.

RETURNING: #34-Reaume Brothers Racing
Following his recent announcement that he’d step away from racing to move back to his native Alaska, it was surprising to see Keith McGee back on the entry list this week. He’s also entered in Josh Reaume’s second truck, the #34, which has not run since McGee drove it in Texas to a 33rd-place finish.

DRIVER CHANGE: #41-Niece Motorsports
Bayley Currey reunites with Al Niece’s team to make his 35th series start and first since Atlanta, where he earned his first series top-five finish with a 4th-place run. Unishippers, which backed Currey that day, is again sponsoring him as he takes the place of Ross Chastain, who took 9th in North Wilkesboro. 

Following a double-DNF due to early engine issues on both its trucks in Darlington, G2G had to withdraw from North Wilkesboro after a third engine failure in practice resulted in a fire that seriously damaged Akinori Ogata’s Toyota. Regardless, the team has pieced together another entry for Armani Williams, who last ran for the team in Texas.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Kyle Busch Motorsports
Jack Wood makes his 39th series start and first since Texas, where he finished a season-best 9th in Kyle Busch’s #51 Chevrolet. With sponsorship from Eberlestock, Wood takes the place of Cup regular William Byron, who finished 11th in North Wilkesboro.

DRIVER CHANGE: #56-Hill Motorsports
Tyler Hill swaps in for brother Timmy Hill, who struggled after multiple incidents damaged his #56 en route to a 31st-place finish in North Wilkesboro. Tyler and his sponsorship seek to improve on Tyler’s only Truck start this season, when he took 22nd in Kansas.

MISSING: #61-Hattori Racing Enterprises
The HRE team will not enter its second truck, which was brought back as a one-off in North Wilkesboro for Cup regular Christopher Bell, who took 16th.

MISSING: #66-ThorSport Racing
Conner Jones struggled in North Wilkesboro, ultimately dropping out with electrical issues just short of the finish that left him 29th. His part-time fourth ThorSport entry is not entered this week.

MISSING: #75-Henderson Motorsports
Parker Kligerman was a surprising DNQ last week after he turned fast laps in practice, ultimately making it a short weekend for the Charlie Henderson team. Driver and team are also not on this week’s list.

RETURNING: #90-Terry Carroll Motorsports
Following his series debut in Kansas, Justin S. Carroll will again be locked-in for Charlotte for his second series start. Carroll finished a solid 23rd, two laps down, in Kansas.

WITHDREW: #04-Roper Racing
After a freak alternator fire sent him out of the race in North Wilkesboro, both Johnny Sauter and the Roper Racing team were originally entered this week but were withdrawn at first posting of the list on Monday.

This is a “Triple Truck Challenge” race, so no Cup or XFINITY drivers.

Saturday, May 27, 2023 (1:00 P.M. ET, FS1)
XFINITY Race 13 of 33
Alsco Uniforms 300 at Charlotte
2022 Last-Place Finisher: Timmy Hill

There are 40 drivers entered for 38 spots, meaning two teams will fail to qualify.

MISSING: #3-Richard Childress Racing
Ty Dillon is not entered this week along with RCR’s iconic #3, which made its first XFINITY start of the year last time out in Darlington.

DRIVER CHANGE: #10-Kaulig Racing
It’s a lateral change of Cup regulars in the Kaulig #10 entry as Kyle Busch swaps in for Darlington winner Kyle Larson.

DRIVER CHANGE: #19-Joe Gibbs Racing
Another Cup regular is rookie Ty Gibbs, who takes the place of Ryan Truex, who was 35th in Darlington after he was collected in the race’s biggest pileup off Turn 4.

DRIVER CHANGE: #24-Sam Hunt Racing
After Corey Heim took home 10th in only his second career XFINITY Series start, Connor Mosack returns to the #24 for the sixth time this year and first since Martinsville, where he ran 33rd.

DRIVER CHANGE: #44-Alpha Prime Racing
Rajah Caruth will pull double-duty with his full-time Truck Series effort as he rejoins Alpha Prime Racing, taking the place of 31st-place Darlington runner Sage Karam. Winston Salem State University is the listed sponsor.

DRIVER CHANGE: #53-Emerling-Gase Motorsports
C.J. McLaughlin will make his 35th XFINITY start and fifth of the 2023 season, his first since Dover, where he ran 34th. Taking the place of Matt Mills, who will focus on Randy Young’s Truck Series ride following a 28th-place run in the “Herbie” scheme in Darlington, McLaughlin will again be sponsored by Sci-Aps.

DRIVER CHANGE: #66-Motorsports Business Management
MBM looks for a turnaround in a year that’s seen them start as many races – five – as they’ve failed to qualify. Taking the place of Darlington DNQ Chad Finchum is a returning Timmy Hill, who gave the team its most recent start at Dover and finished a season-best 30th.

After the preliminary entry list only indicated a “TBA,” the Gosselin team’s #91 will this week go to Kyle Weatherman, who we haven’t seen on track in the series since Dover, where he steered Our Motorsports’ #02 to a 14th-place finish in relief of Blaine Perkins. Weatherman this time takes the place of Ross Chastain, who ran 18th in Darlington. CreatiVets is the listed sponsor.

DRIVER CHANGE: #08-SS-Green Light Racing
Natalie Decker takes the place of Gray Gaulding and brings on Cracker Jack as sponsor of the #08 entry.

CUP INVADERS: #10-Kyle Busch, #19-Ty Gibbs

Sunday, May 28, 2023 (6:00 P.M. ET, FOX)
CUP Race 14 of 36
Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte
2022 Last-Place Finisher: Ryan Preece

There are 37 drivers entered for 40 spots, marking the 13th consecutive short field after 40 cars took the green in the Daytona 500.

NUMBER CHANGE: #4-Stewart-Haas Racing
After much anticipation, it was a rough evening for Kevin Harvick in what would be his final start running the #29. He finished 18th in North Wilkesboro, two laps down. This week, he returns to campaigning the #4 for the remainder of his final season.

MISSING: #13-Kaulig Racing
Not among the entrants this week is Kaulig Racing’s part-time third team with which Chandler Smith finished last in the All-Star Open following crash damage.

DRIVER CHANGE: #38-Front Row Motorsports
DRIVER SWAP: #51-Rick Ware Racing
The 600 marks the next race for Zane Smith to pilot FRM’s #38 in place of Todd Gilliland, who moves to Rick Ware Racing’s #51 in place of Ryan Newman. Gilliland finished a strong 11th in his most recent points race at Darlington while Smith took 37th in his most recent run in the #38 at Talladega.

DRIVER CHANGE: #78-Live Fast Motorsports
After Josh Bilicki drove in his place at North Wilkesboro, B.J. McLeod is back behind the wheel of the #78 B’laster Chevrolet for what will be his sixth start in the Coca-Cola 600. McLeod survived much of the chaos last year and finished a track-best 19th.

RETURNING: #84-Legacy Motor Club
The lone “open” team on this week’s entry list is that of four-time 600 winner Jimmie Johnson, who is back in the third Legacy Motor Club entry for the first time since a first-lap crash left him next-to-last in COTA. This is Johnson’s first start in the 600 since 2020, when he was classified last due to a disqualification.

TODAY IN LASTCAR HISTORY (May 25, 1985): Morgan Shepherd scored the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR Busch Grand National Series career when his #1 Advance Auto Parts Buick lost the engine after 3 laps of the Winn-Dixie 300. Across the seven seasons from 1982 through 1988, this 1985 season was the only one in which Shepherd did not score a Busch Series victory.

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