MBM Motorsports outline 2020 plans

by Justin Nguyen

On Wednesday, MBM Motorsports announced their plans for the 2020 NASCAR Xfinity and Cup Series seasons. In addition to signing Stephen Leicht, Timmy Hill and Chad Finchum will run the full Xfinity schedule with others expected to join in for sporadic starts; Hill and Finchum are also scheduled for Cup starts. However, Leicht will miss the season opener at Daytona International Speedway as the team lacks the resources to run the race, so he will instead début in the following weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“We have a car ready for [Leicht] to race at Daytona but do not have the people and $ to add a 4th Xfinity car,” team owner Carl Long posted on Facebook. “So you will see him in the spotters stand at Daytona and he will make his 1st start in the #13 at Las Vegas. We have several races Stephen will carry the JaniKing logo on his car in racing for a top 15 or better finish.”

Leicht ran all thirty-three Xfinity races in 2019, his first full-time campaign since 2007, with JD Motorsports. He finished eighteenth in points with a best finish of fifth at Daytona’s July race, his first top-ten run since 2009 and first top five since 2007.

Hill and Finchum have been with MBM since 2015 and 2017, and they started racing full-time for the team in 2017 and 2018. In 2019, Finchum finished twenty-sixth in the standings with a best run of fifteenth at Texas Motor Speedway, while Hill tailed him in twenty-seventh. In August’s Bristol Motor Speedway race, Hill scored a seventh-place finish for the team’s first top ten since Hill’s seventh at Daytona in 2018.

The two will also run the 2020 Daytona 500, with Finchum in the #49 and Hill in the #66. The #49 was previous the #46, which débuted at Kansas Speedway in 2019 with Joey Gase.

Hill has raced at NASCAR’s top level since 2012, recording a best finish of fourteenth with MBM at the chaotic 2017 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Hill’s lone Daytona 500 attempt came in 2017, where he missed the race with Rick Ware Racing. His crew chief for the 500 has not been confirmed, though Long added he is “still in negotiations and at [worst] case I will do it myself right after I park the hauler…”

Finchum has one Cup start in his career, a thirty-third at Bristol Motor Speedway with MBM in 2018. Doug Richert will serve as his crew chief on the #49, while Ryan Bell will do so on the Xfinity #66.

“We have drivers Timmy Hill, Chad Finchum, and Stephen Leicht doing our weekly grunt of the work,” Long wrote. “We also expect to have Austin Hill, John Jackson, Bobby Earnhardt, Stan Mullis, Harold Crooms, Tyler Hill, Max Tullman, Tim Veins [sic] and me Carl Long with room for possibly others to race with us some this season.

“This makes it tough and fun in doing what we do to survive for the 2020 season.”

A longtime NASCAR veteran who has operated MBM since 2014, Long’s time in the driver’s seat decreased in 2019 as he ran just two races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Dover International Speedway.

Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

In 2019, his first season with Hattori Racing Enterprises, Austin Hill barely missed out on the 2019 NASCAR Truck Series Championship Round as he finished fifth in the standings with four wins. Hill and HRE partnered with MBM for his Xfinity début at Daytona’s July race, but he failed to qualify due to technical issues; his second attempt at Indianapolis resulted in a ninth-place finish.

Jackson, a Scotland native, has raced in NASCAR’s national series since 2009. He began making part-time runs for MBM in 2014, with a best finish of thirtieth at Auto Club Speedway in 2019. The latest Xfinity season saw him make seven starts.

Earnhardt has seven Xfinity starts to his name since 2017, all with MBM. The grandson of the famed Dale Earnhardt, his highest placement is twenty-seventh at Kansas Speedway in 2018. Like Earnhardt, Mullis has been part of MBM since 2017, with the Las Vegas native Mullis having ten career races. In summer 2019, he scored his best finish of twenty-third at Iowa Speedway.

Tyler Hill, Timmy’s younger brother, has four races in the Xfinity Series since 2018, with a highest run of twentieth at Phoenix Raceway in 2019. The brothers have also raced together under the family-run Hill Motorsports in the Truck Series, with Tyler nearly scoring a top ten when he finished eleventh at Kentucky Speedway.

Tullman joined MBM to start the 2019 season, where he finished twenty-eighth. He eventually improved his best finish to twentieth at Talladega Superspeedway before signing with Jimmy Means Racing for the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course race; he finished thirty-eighth.

Viens will be a new addition to the MBM stable. His lone Xfinity race came in 2015 with Mike Harmon Racing at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where he finished thirty-third. A former college and indoor football kicker, he sat out the 2019 season before joining Affarano Motorsports for the 2020 Truck Series.

Of the twelve drivers mentioned, Crooms is the only one with no NASCAR national series experience. The Lakeland, Florida resident currently races in late models, and participated in ARCA Menards Series testing at Daytona in early January.

Outside of the cockpit, the team hired former Rick Ware Racing general manager Bryan Clodfelter. The hiring was spurred by Long noting he has “a tough job running the business and competition side,” meaning Clodfelter will “step in and handle this side of our team.”

Long concluded his Facebook post by stating his intentions to purchase a Cup car for the 2021 season. With the Cup Series scheduled to switch to the Next Gen car that year, the announcement confirms MBM’s commitment to the new era.

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