The NASCAR season continues on Saturday and Sunday with Xfinity Series and Cup Series races at Dover International Speedway. Unfortunately for two teams, they have to make last-minute adjustments to the lineup due to COVID-19. Justin Haley will miss the Xfinity Series and Cup Series races.
According to a statement from Kaulig Racing, full-time Truck Series driver Zane Smith will replace Haley in the No. 11 Chevrolet Camaro for Saturday’s race. He will have to drop to the rear of the field during the pace laps due to a last-minute driver change penalty. JR Motorsports driver Josh Berry will then make his Cup Series debut while replacing Haley in the Spire Motorsports No. 77 Chevrolet Camaro.
“In accordance with NASCAR’s COVID-19 protocols, Justin Haley will not compete in this weekend’s Xfinity Series race at Dover International Speedway,” Kaulig Racing said in a statement. “Kaulig Racing continues to fully adhere to NASCAR’s safety protocols, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, to ensure the safety of its employees and fellow competitors.”
Berry will complete the ‘Triple Monster Challenge’ at Dover
When the JR Motorsports driver makes his Cup Series debut on Sunday, he will officially complete the Triple Monster Challenge at Dover International Speedway. This challenge tasks a driver with starting three races in three days at one track. Berry will compete in Friday’s ARCA Menards Series race, Saturday’s Xfinity Series race, and Sunday’s Cup Series race.
Berry did not initially plan on completing the challenge at the Monster Mile. He agreed to race in the ARCA Menards Series race in order to gain some experience at the unique track before getting behind the wheel of his No. 8 JRM Chevrolet Camaro. Now he will have even more experience before competing in the Cup Series.
“It’s all happened rather quickly,” Berry said, per JRM. “To make my first Cup start…I hate the circumstances with Justin, but I’m incredibly grateful that they (Spire) thought of me. I’m excited to go and do a good job for them.
“I’m obviously excited that I was able to put the ARCA deal together with Bruce Cook, and that will help build a few things and give me some more laps,” Berry added. “I’m going to try to do the best I can.”
The JRM driver will also join two of his teammates in the final Dash 4 Cash race at Dover. Justin Allgaier, Noah Gragson, and Berry, as well as Joe Gibbs Racing’s Brandon Jones, are all eligible for the $100,000 bonus in Saturday’s Xfinity Series race. The driver with the best finish will walk away with the money. Gragson has swept the first three races.
Zane Smith has Xfinity Series experience
While Haley’s replacement for Saturday’s race is a full-time Truck Series driver, he has experience behind the wheel of an Xfinity Series ride. Smith started 10 races for JR Motorsports during the 2019 season. He drove the No. 8 Chevrolet at several fan-favorite tracks, including two starts at Dover.
While Smith’s Xfinity Series season started with a crash at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, he turned in strong performances the remainder of the season. He drove the No. 8 to seven top-10 finishes and two top-fives. He finished ninth during both trips to Dover, fifth at Iowa, and fifth at Phoenix.
Smith will now have another opportunity to turn in a strong performance at Dover. Though he will have to do so after dropping to the rear of the field on the pace laps. The Xfinity Series race takes place on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. and airs on FS1. The Cup Series race featuring Berry takes place the following day at 2 p.m. ET and also airs on FS1.
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