Thursday, May 11, 2023

PREVIEW: Throwback schemes and drivers mixed with young stars in all three Darlington races

Hill Motorsports will run a Jerry Hill truck next week in North Wilkesboro.
PHOTO: @TeamHill56

by Brock Beard Editor-in-Chief

Friday, May 12, 2023 (7:30 P.M. ET, FS1)
TRUCKS Race 9 of 23
Buckle Up South Carolina 200 at Darlington
2022 Last-Place Finisher: Akinori Ogata

There are 37 drivers entered for 36 spots, meaning one will fail to qualify.

No fewer than four Cup regulars are entered in Friday’s return of the Truck Series, starting with Bubba Wallace, who will make his 50th career Truck Series start and first since the Bristol Dirt Race in 2021, when he ran 11th. Carrying sponsorship from Annie Bosko, Wallace takes the place of Toni Breidinger, who finished 15th in her series debut last week in Kansas.

RETURNING: #7-Spire Motorsports
Corey LaJoie will pull double-duty as Spire brings back their Truck Series entry for the first time since this year’s Bristol Dirt Race, where Jonathan Davenport finished 14th. LaJoie gave the team its only other start in 2023, finishing 23rd in the Daytona opener.

DRIVER CHANGE: #20-Young’s Motorsports
After the preliminary entry list had no driver listed, it was then announced that Kaden Honeycutt would run the #20 this week, the 15th start of his career and first since he parted ways with Roper Racing following his 28th-place showing in Martinsville. Honeycutt takes the place of Nick Leitz, who ran 21st in Kansas.

WITHDREW: #22-AM Racing
After Josh Reaume ran 24th in last week’s Kansas race, the AM Racing entry was withdrawn by the first posting of the list on Monday with no driver listed.

RETURNING: #30-On Point Motorsports
The On Point team is back in action for the first time since Martinsville, and Ryan Vargas is back driving for the first time since his career-best 8th-place run in Texas. This time, Vargas drives a “throwback” scheme honoring 1999 NASCAR Winston West Series champion Sean Woodside with his #30 KSDT CPA Toyota.

DRIVER CHANGE: #33-Reaume Brothers Racing
As of this writing, there is no driver listed for the Reaume team’s #33 entry, which Mason Maggio steered to a 27th-place finish in Kansas. Hoonicorn is the listed sponsor of the Ford. UPDATE: The late update on Thursday is that Josh Reaume will drive one of two tribute schemes to the late Ken Block. This scheme was designed by Keith McGee, who recently moved back to Alaska. The other scheme is Riley Herbst's in XFINITY.

The G2G team will again enter two trucks this week. Joining Brennan Poole in the #46 this week is Dawson Cram, who takes the place of team co-owner Tim Viens in the #47. This would be Cram’s first Truck start since October 30, 2021 at Martinsville, which was also the last start for his Cram Racing Enterprises #41 team (which failed to qualify for its last attempt in the Phoenix finale). Cram will also attempt the XFINITY race for CHK Racing, which will run a special throwback scheme to the late Bob Keselowski and his ARCA Chrysler. There, Cram seeks a rebound from his DNQ in Dover.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Kyle Busch Motorsports
It’s a 1-to-1 Cup driver swap in the flagship KBM entry as William Byron will pilot the #51 Chevrolet, marking his own return to the Truck Series for the first time since the Bristol Dirt Race. He takes the place of Kyle Busch, who finished 7th in Kansas.

DRIVER CHANGE: #56-Hill Motorsports
Timmy Hill takes the place of 22nd-place Kansas finisher Tyler Hill as they run a "throwback" scheme honoring Ted Musgrave and his Mopar Dodge. This will be the first of two consecutive classic themes, to be followed by the Jerry Hill truck in North Wilkesboro. 

RETURNING: #75-Henderson Motorsports
Parker Kligerman is back for his fourth Truck start of the season and first since the Bristol Dirt Race, this time with Haagen-Dazs ice cream as sponsor of Charlie Henderson’s #75 Chevrolet. Kligerman, who runs double-duty with his full-time XFINITY effort for Big Machine Racing, ran 6th and 5th in his last two Truck starts at Darlington.

MISSING: #90-Terry Carroll Motorsports
Justin S. Carroll is not entered after his 23rd-place series debut in Kansas. Carroll will instead participate in the opening of a new Dodd RV and Marine in Yorktown, Virginia – one of his sponsors – where he’ll be giving away hero cards of his #90 truck.

CUP INVADERS: #1-Bubba Wallace, #7-Corey LaJoie, #41-Ross Chastain, #51-William Byron

Saturday, May 13, 2023 (1:30 P.M. ET, FOX)
XFINITY Race 12 of 33
Shriners Children’s 200 at Darlington
2022 Last-Place Finisher: Sheldon Creed

There are 41 drivers entered for 38 spots, meaning three will fail to qualify.

RETURNING: #3-Richard Childress Racing
In addition to a Joe Lee Johnson “throwback” scheme he’s running for Spire Motorsports in the Cup Series, Ty Dillon will bring the #3 back to the XFINITY Series for the first time in 2023. Ferris Mowers will follow him as sponsor from Cup, and the “throwback” scheme will resemble the company’s first sponsored entry in 2003. When the #3 last ran in XFINITY, Jeffrey Earnhardt won the pole at Talladega last spring and finished runner-up to Noah Gragson.

DRIVER CHANGE: #10-Kaulig Racing
Kyle Larson will make his first XFINITY start of the season and first since this same track last September, where his late-race battle with Sheldon Creed cost Creed both a shot at victory and a spot in the Playoffs. Larson takes the place of Derek Kraus, who finished 20th last time out in Dover.

DRIVER CHANGE: #44-Alpha Prime Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #45-Alpha Prime Racing
Sage Karam makes his third XFINITY start of the season and first since COTA, where he finished 35th. Karam will again run the #44, this time in place of Jeffrey Earnhardt, who moves to the #45 in place of Rajah Caruth, who finished 26th in Dover. Earnhardt, Karam, and the #43 of Ryan Ellis will all run different “throwback” schemes run by Richard Childress Racing. Ellis runs an alternate of Kevin Harvick’s GM Goodwrench Chevrolet from 2005, joining Ellis’ CRC Chemicals car run by Childress in 1980 and Jeffrey in Dale Earnhardt’s 1997 Wheaties paint scheme.

DRIVER CHANGE: #53-Emerling-Gase Motorsports
A head-turning “throwback” scheme in the XFINITY garage is the second Emerling-Gase entry driven by Matt Mills, whose only previous XFINITY start of 2023 was a 22nd in Martinsvile. This time around, Mills runs the iconic colors of “Herbie” on his J.F. Electric Ford. Unlike the “Herbie: Fully Loaded” paint schemes run by Dale Jarrett and Scott Riggs in 2005, Mills will actually have the #53 as the team’s car number.

DRIVER CHANGE: #66-Motorsports Business Management
Chad Finchum seeks a rebound from his DNQ at Martinsville, and runs a special “throwback” paint scheme honoring the late Eric McClure on the #66 Wild Willies Ford. Finchum takes the place of Timmy Hill, who ran 30th in Dover, as Hill focuses on his Truck Series effort for Friday.

NEW TEAM / RETURNING: #77-Spire Motorsports
After withdrawing from Dover due to weather, Carson Hocevar will get to try and qualify Spire’s new XFINITY entry with Premier Security as sponsor.

Ross Chastain brings back the colors of the Florida Watermelon Association as he runs his second XFINITY start of the season, his first since a 24th-place showing at Fontana. He takes the place of brother Chad Chastain, who finished 32nd in Dover.

DRIVER CHANGE: #02-Our Motorsports
Welcome back Blaine Perkins who is back behind the wheel of a XFINITY Series car for the first time since his terrible tumble down the Talladega backstretch. This time, he will get to run still another Kevin Harvick “throwback” scheme – this one a Ryan Daley creation in conjunction with PayDay candy bars to recreate Harvick’s Busch car from 2003. Perkins takes the place of 14th-place Dover finisher Kyle Weatherman, who’s not entered.

CUP INVADERS: #3-Ty Dillon, #10-Kyle Larson, #91-Ross Chastain

Sunday, May 14, 2023 (3:00 P.M. ET, FS1)
CUP Race 13 of 36
Goodyear 400 at Darlington
2022 Last-Place Finisher: Kyle Larson

Only the 36 Chartered entries will run in Darlington, marking the 12th consecutive short field following a 40-car Daytona 500.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Rick Ware Racing
Rick Ware Racing goes the extra mile with their “throwback” scheme, not only recreating Ryan Newman’s #12 Mobil 1 Ford with which he won his first race at New Hampshire, but bringing Newman back for his first Cup start since the conclusion of the 2021 season. Newman selected this race to become eligible for next week’s All-Star event in North Wilkesboro. His remaining 2023 schedule will be only part-time on short tracks. Newman takes the place of J.J. Yeley, who ran 23rd in Kansas.

DRIVER CHANGE: #78-Live Fast Motorsports
After news of a business partnership with Affliction Clothing, B.J. McLeod returns to the #78 in place of 33rd-place Kansas finisher Josh Bilicki. In place of a “throwback” scheme, McLeod will run a special scheme for The Daily Down Force, featuring multiple NASCAR content creators including Eric Estepp, Black Flags Matter, DannyBTalks, The Iceberg, The Garage Guys, and The Scene Vault Podcast.

TODAY IN LASTCAR HISTORY (May 11, 1996): Mike Hulbert picked up the 2nd last-place finish of his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series career when his #11 Bud Light Ford lost the engine after 29 laps of the Jerr-Dan Nelson Truck Equipment 200 at the Evergreen Speedway. This was one of five last-place finishes Hurlbert earned that season en route to the LASTCAR Truck Series Championship.

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