NASCAR Cup Series

B.J. McLeod debuting Cup team at Darlington

2 Mins read
Credit: Rick Ware Racing

17 May’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway will see a new team on the grid. On Tuesday afternoon, Xfinity Series team owner/driver B.J. McLeod announced he will take his B.J. McLeod Motorsports organisation to the Cup level beginning with Sunday’s race.

He will drive the #78. The number has not been used at the Cup level since Furniture Row Racing‘s final season in 2018. FRR fielded the number for much of its fourteen-year history, enjoying great success in its later years as it won the 2017 Cup championship with Martin Truex Jr.

“The number is important to me,” McLeod said. “I’ve been driving the #78 since my karting days and been able to run the number at every level of my career. I am excited to expand the team with the #78 into the Cup Series as a driver and an owner. As a team, our goal was to eventually move into the Cup Series, so when the opportunity presented itself, we decided it was time to take the next step. We are excited to go Cup racing!”

BJMM currently fields the #5 for Matt Mills, the #78 for Vinnie Miller, and the #99 for a variety of drivers including Josh Bilicki, Mason Massey, and J.J. Yeley. After four races in 2020, the #78 is twenty-first in the owners’ points, followed by the #99 in thirty-fourth and the #5 in thirty-seventh. Founded in 2010 as a part-time Truck Series stable, the team began Xfinity racing in 2016 with McLeod running the full Xfinity schedule in the #78; he finished twentieth in points that year.

In addition to running the three-car operation, McLeod races for JD Motorsports, whom he joined in 2019 with occasional starts for his own team if needed. In 2019, he ran all but three races en route to another twentieth-place points finish. Although he has never recorded a top-ten finish, he came close in 2017 when he finished eleventh in the July race at Daytona International Speedway with BJMM.

Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images

The Florida native began racing part-time at the Cup level in 2015, while all of his premier series starts since 2017 have been with Rick Ware Racing. In forty-two career Cup starts, his best finish is nineteenth in the 2019 Daytona 500. His lone Cup start of 2020 so far is a thirty-eighth at Daytona.

Talking with Dustin Albino of Frontstretch.com, McLeod revealed the circumstances caused by COVID-19 played a major role in his decision to expand BJMM’s operations. For example, the Next Gen car’s postponement to 2022 effectively gave two “full years” to work with the current generation of equipment, while the condensed race days (with qualifying and practices being cancelled for most races) reduce costs and wear on tyres and fuel.

McLeod also added he intends to run the next four Cup races (both Darlington dates and the two Charlotte Motor Speedway rounds). While further races were not disclosed, he noted the team is capable of contesting the full schedule and “easily 15” races.

1269 posts

About author
History major at San Jose State University and lifelong motorsports fan who covers NASCAR and the Stadium Super Trucks.
Articles
Related posts
NASCAR Cup Series

GMS Racing acquires majority interest, charters from Richard Petty Motorsports

2 Mins read
In a stunning development, Richard Petty Motorsports has sold off its two charters and a majority interest to new NASCAR Cup team GMS Racing. The legendary #43 car will likely still remain as RPM instead of rebranding to GMS.
NASCAR Cup SeriesNASCAR Truck Series

Front Row promotes Todd Gilliland, signs Zane Smith

2 Mins read
Front Row Motorsports’ NASCAR Truck driver Todd Gilliland will move up to the team’s Cup programme in 2022, driving the #38 as a team-mate to Michael McDowell. Zane Smith takes over the team’s truck.
NASCAR Cup SeriesNitro Rallycross

Chase Elliott running Nitro Rallycross at FIRM

1 Mins read
2020 NASCAR Cup champion Chase Elliott will make his Nitro Rallycross début at the FIRM on 4/5 December. He follows 2015 champ Kyle Busch in being the newest NASCAR/rallycross crossover.