BJ McLeod

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Tommy Joe Martins closes Truck team, to focus on Xfinity Series in 2018

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NASCAR Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series driver Tommy Joe Martins announced Saturday that he has ceased operations of the Truck Series team he owns and drives for, effective immediately.

Martins tweeted the announcement about Martins Motorsports, saying “It was a hard decision, a frustrating decision, but the right one for me and my family.”

The Como, Mississippi native has competed in 28 Truck races between 2009 and 2017. His best finish to date over that time was 15th at Michigan International Speedway in 2016.

Martins had planned to go forward with another part-time schedule in the Truck Series in 2018, as well as potentially field trucks for other drivers, but according to an interview he had with Frontstretch.com, two handshake deals for sponsorship fell through.

Martins will focus on returning to Team McLeod in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2018. He has 20 career starts in the Xfinity Series, with 11 starts in 2014 and nine in 2017. He earned his best overall NASCAR finish last season (11th) in an Xfinity race at Iowa Speedway.

“I’m in a position now where my driving career isn’t tied to this race team,” Martins told Frontstretch.com. “I’ve got a deal for 10 races with BJ McLeod next year and he’s already been open to upping that to about 15 races. So I’m getting to run half the year in Xfinity anyway.”

Ray Black Jr. to race full-time in Cup in 2018 with Rick Ware Racing

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Ray Black Jr. will race full-time for Rick Ware Racing in the Cup Series next year and compete against William Byron for Rookie of the Year honors

Black, 26, will make the move from the Xfinity Series to Cup to drive the No. 51.

Rick Ware told frontstretch.com his team purchased a charter for next season, guaranteeing the No. 51 a starting spot in every race. Ware did not disclose which team he purchased the charter from.

Black, native of Flagler Beach, Florida, made his Cup debut this year in the No. 51 at Chicagoland Speedway. He qualified 39th and finished last, 16 laps down.

He made two more starts, at Texas Motor Speedway (finished 34th) and Miami, where he placed 38th after being parked by NASCAR for not meeting minimum speed.

Black has 55 Xfinity starts since 2015 with a best finish of 12th in last July’s Daytona race. In 31 Camping World Truck Series starts his only top five and top 10 was a fifth-place finish in the 2015 season opener at Daytona.

Black was one of six drivers to pilot the No. 51 in 2017. Rick Ware Racing has fielded 418 Xfinity starts since 1995, but only made 30 Cup starts, its first coming in 2012 at Las Vegas with Timmy Hill.

The team didn’t make another Cup start until this season.

Ware also told fronstretch.com he would run a part-time No. 52 car with the expectation of it being driven by BJ McLeod, Cody Ware, Kyle Weatherman and John Graham.

Updated entry lists for NASCAR at Dover, Las Vegas

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NASCAR’s three national series are once again in separate locations this weekend with the Cup and Xfinity Series making their return trip to Dover International Speedway.

The Camping World Truck Series heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Here are the preliminary entry lists for all three races.

Cup – Apache Warrior 400

There are 40 cars entered into the race.

Ross Chastain will make his second Cup start driving the No. 15 for Premium Motorsports.

Brett Moffitt has been entered in the No. 83 Toyota for BK Racing.

Derrike Cope was entered in the No. 00 for StarCom Racing, but the team announced it had withdrawn in order to “ensure a fully staffed quality crew” for its eventual first start.

In the last visit to Dover in June, Jimmie Johnson won over Kyle Larson in an overtime finish.

Martin Truex Jr. won the playoff race last year, leading 187 of 400 laps to beat Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott and Brad Keselowski.

Click here for the entry list.

Xfinity – Use Your Melon. Drive Sober 200

There are 39 cars on the entry list, including six Cup regulars.

Ty Dillon, Austin Dillon, Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones, Daniel Suarez and Corey LaJoie are entered.

The No. 96 Chevrolet driven by Ben Kennedy has been withdrawn from the event by GMS Racing.

Josh Bilicki has replaced BJ McLeod in the No. 78 Chevrolet.

Kyle Larson won the last race at Dover in June from the pole after leading 137 of 200 laps.

Suarez won this race last year over Ty Dillon and Justin Allgaier after leading 123 of 200 laps.

Click here for the entry list.

Truck Series – Las Vegas 350

There are 28 trucks entered into the race.

Travis Pastrana makes his return to the Truck Series in the No. 45 Chevrolet.

Jordan Anderson is now entered in the No. 1 Chevrolet.

Last year Tyler Reddick won this race over Brad Keselowski Racing teammate Daniel Hemric after leading 70 of 146 laps.

This is the last standalone race of the year for the Truck Series.

Click here for the entry list.

Six Xfinity teams will lose practice time Friday at Chicagoland Speedway

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JOLIET, Illinois – Seven Xfinity teams will be docked 15 minutes of practice Friday at Chicagoland Speedway for inspection issues last weekend at Richmond Raceway.

The teams of Ross Chastain, JJ Yeley, Spencer Gallagher and Josh Bilicki will miss 15 minutes because they were late for inspection at Richmond.

The teams of Erik Jones and Mike Harmon will miss 15 minutes because they failed template inspection twice before qualifying at Richmond.

Xfinity teams practice Friday from 2-2:55 p.m. ET on NBCSN and 4 – 4:50 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports app and online.

 

Preliminary entry lists for NASCAR at Chicagoland Speedway

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All three of NASCAR’s national series will be racing this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway.

While the Cup Series begins its playoffs, both the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series end their regular seasons at the 1.5-mile track.

Here are the preliminary entry lists for each race.

Cup – Tale of the Turtles 400

There are 39 cars entered into the race.

Brett Moffitt will drive the No. 83 for BK Racing. Corey LaJoie will drive the No. 23 for BK Racing.

Gray Gaulding will drive the No. 55 for Premium Motorsports.

Last year Martin Truex Jr. opened the playoffs with a win after a two-lap shootout to end the race. Truex beat Joey Logano and Chase Elliott to the checkered flag.

Click here for the full entry list.

Xfinity – Chicagoland 300

There are 40 cars entered into the race.

Six Cup regulars are entered into the race: Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones, Daniel Suarez, Ty Dillon and Austin Dillon.

Darrell Wallace Jr. will drive the No. 98 Ford in his first Xfinity start since June at Pocono.

The No. 96 of Ben Kennedy has been withdrawn from the event by GMS Racing.

There is no driver attached yet to the No. 78 for BJ McLeod Motorsports.

Last year Jones led the final nine laps to score a win over Larson and Elliott Sadler.

Click here for the full entry list.

Truck – Chicagoland 225

There are 30 trucks entered into the race.

Drivers are not attached to the No. 0 owned by Jennifer Jo Cobb and the No. 36 owned by MB Motorsports.

Last year Kyle Busch won after leading 95 of 151 laps. He beat Daniel Hemric and Cameron Hayley.

Click here for the full entry list.