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Honeyman Jr. ends wild day with approving Kansas finish

Leland Honeyman Jr. took a step toward approval Saturday at Kansas Speedway after a wild journey getting into MBM’s No. 66 Ford.

Alpha Prime Racing initially entered Honeyman to drive its No. 44 car. Kansas was going to be the biggest track Honeyman had ever raced on.

With the effort, the organization wanted to get him approved for big-track Xfinity/Truck and ARCA races in 2024.

Not having provisional to fall back on, Honeyman needed to make the race on speed.

Timmy Hill was in the same boat.

Hill, a series veteran, simply wanted to get MBM into the race. The No. 66 team had suffered 13 DNQs total coming into Kansas.

No. 14 looked inevitable Saturday until Hill rocketed the No. 66 to 28th in qualifying.

Meanwhile, Honeyman was 36th fastest. It wasn’t fast enough to make the race, thus netting him a DNQ — the fifth for the No. 44 Alpha Prime Racing team in 2023.Before the race, APR co-owner Tommy Joe Martins met with Hill and MBM owner Carl Long. They agreed to put Honeyman in the No. 66, so he could get his approval for 2024.

Honeyman was then fitted in the No. 66 car. Hill, meanwhile, played driver coach, giving Honeyman as much advice about Kansas as possible.

The advice did pay off as Honeyman took the No. 66 Coble Enterprise Ford to a solid 26th-place finish and his big track approval.

Many say the lower-tier teams in the Xfinity garage are one big family and are always willing to lend a helping hand. At Kansas, Tommy Joe Martins and Carl Long did just that for each other.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Bristol Motor Speedway next Friday. It is the start of the 2023 playoffs.

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