The Coke Zero Sugar 400 regular-season finale at Daytona International Speedway will feature the return of a NASCAR Cup Series veteran after a nearly two-year absence. Landon Cassill will join Gaunt Brothers Racing for the first of two races and will drive the No. 96 Toyota Camry.
The team issued a press release confirming the partnership on Monday, Aug. 23. Gaunt Brothers Racing also revealed that Cassill will return to the team for the YellaWood 500 playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway on Oct. 3 while working with sponsor Carnomaly, “the world’s leading automotive crypto company.” Carnomaly will serve as the primary sponsor for Cassill for both races.
“Landon and I have often talked about finding a way to work together. He’s a scrappy, determined racer and I’m thrilled to finally have him in our racecar,” said Marty Gaunt, President of Gaunt Brothers Racing, per “Jayski.” “Daytona and Talladega are two tracks where it’s supremely important to stay out of trouble and be there at the end for any chance at success, and that’s one of Landon’s strong suits. Being able to bring Landon back to the Cup Series while introducing Carnomaly to our sport is something we take a lot of pride in.”
Cassill will pull double-duty during the NASCAR race weekend in Florida. He will compete in the Wawa 250 on Friday, Aug. 27 (7:30 p.m. ET), and then take on the Coke Zero Sugar 400 on Saturday, Aug. 28 (7 p.m. ET).
Cassill Has Extensive Experience in the Cup Series
The 32-year-old is currently in the midst of a full-time Xfinity Series season with JD Motorsports, but he is no stranger to the Cup Series. He has 324 previous starts spanning 10 years.
Cassill kicked off his Cup career in 2010 by making a combined 16 starts for Phoenix Racing, TRG Motorsports, and Gunselman Motorsports. He then made another 32 starts in 2011 split between Phoenix Racing and Germain Racing before moving to a full-time schedule.
Cassill spent 2012-2019 competing for multiple teams, including Front Row Motorsports, StarCom Racing, Hillman Racing, BK Racing, and Circle Sport. He did not reach Victory Lane but turned in a career-best finish of fourth at Talladega Superspeedway on Oct. 19, 2014. Now he will strive to surpass this mark with two more Cup Series starts at superspeedways.
Gaunt Brothers Racing Has Limited Starts in 2021
When Cassill climbs into the No. 96 Toyota, he will only be the third driver to do so during the 2021 Cup Series season. The Gaunt Brothers Racing car has only competed in a limited number of events while featuring two drivers in a part-time schedule.
Ty Dillon has made the majority of the starts in the No. 96. He finished 19th at the Daytona Road Course on Feb. 21, 26th at Bristol Motor Speedway’s dirt track on March 29, 21 at Circuit of the Americas on May 23, and 26th at Road America on July 4. Dillon attempted to qualify for the season-opening Daytona 500 but was one of the multiple drivers that failed to post a fast enough time.
Xfinity Series driver Harrison Burton is the only other man to control the No. 96 Toyota in 2021. He joined the team for the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 25, finishing 20th overall while Brad Keselowski locked up the victory. This start served as Burton’s first foray into the Cup Series before he takes over the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford Mustang in 2022.
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