The entry list for this Saturday night’s NASCAR Cup Series race was released on Monday, and there was one notable omission that many expected.
One team and driver were notably left off of the entry list for Saturday night’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway, the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500, when it was released on Monday, but this wasn’t completely unexpected.
The entry list for this 500-lap race around the four-turn, 0.526-mile (0.847-kilometer) oval in Ridgeway, Virginia features 37 cars, including the 36 chartered entries and the non-chartered #37 Chevrolet of JTG Daugherty Racing’s Ryan Preece.
But that number would usually be 38 at the lowest, as one non-chartered team won’t be competing.
MBM Motorsports, which made their Cup Series debut in the 2017 season, became a full-time team in the 2020 season, and they ran the full 36-race schedule with Timmy Hill.
The Carl Long-owned team returned to the series again in 2021 with plans to compete in a full-time capacity, again with Hill behind the wheel.
Through the first seven races of the year, they hadn’t missed a race, although Hill did fail to qualify for the season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.
Hill was also replaced by Mike Marlar for the dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway, but this was a planned move given Marlar’s dirt track racing experience.
However, they won’t be competing this weekend.
They had planned to package their real life racing to the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series when it came to sponsorship, considering how much exposure Hill got in last year’s eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series when there was no live racing during the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
While the #66 car is a backmarker car in real life competition, Hill reeled off six top three finishes, including a win in the race at virtual Texas Motor Speedway, in seven eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series races last season, and that helped him and the team gain tons of attention from a sponsorship standpoint which they wouldn’t have otherwise gotten.
But he was not invited to compete in this year’s eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series since the #66 car isn’t a chartered entry, and he was not added into one of the remaining open slots either, even after he and the team inquired about the matter.
He did end up competing in the series opener on dirt at virtual Bristol Motor Speedway, but only because of a kind gesture by Austin Cindric, Brad Keselowski and Team Penske to put him in the virtual #2 Ford.
Sure, it was a feel-good story — for about a day.
But a lot of good it did MBM Motorsports for Hill to drive a Discount Tire-sponsored Ford for Roger Penske’s team…
When he found out that MBM Motorsports wouldn’t be able to field their #66 car in the virtual opener, Hill immediately knew that it could cost them in real-life due to a lack of sponsorship, and sure enough, they will not compete in this Saturday night’s race, likely the first of several races they will end up missing.
The Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 is set to be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1 from Martinsville Speedway this Saturday, April 10 beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET.