Brandon Brown‘s 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series playoff bid is still alive.
The primary driver of the No. 86 Chevrolet Camaro for his family-owned Brandonbilt Motorsports will not be behind the wheel of the car at Richmond Raceway this weekend, as Mason Diaz will be making his season debut.
“What an amazing season 2019 has been for our team Bandonbilt Motorsports,” Brown said in a statement posted on Twitter. “As part of my management role within the organization, I am assisting in building our driver development program in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. This being said, I am proud to announce that our first drivers of the season, Mason Diaz, will take the season for BMS this weekend at Richmond Raceway in the No. 86.”
Brown will still be racing though, which is important because NASCAR rules state that to be eligible for the playoffs, a driver must start every race.
The RSS Racing No. 93, primarily driven by Josh Bilicki, will be Brown’s ride in the ToyotaCare 250 on Friday night (7 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1). Sponsorship will come from Brown’s longtime partners WG Speeks, Carrier and Coastal Carolina University.
“Although I will not be driving the DMS 86 car, thanks to a multitude of people beginning with longtime partner for Richmond, W.G. Speeks/Carrier, Coastal Carolina University, good friend Josh Bilicki, Ryan Sieg and everyone at RSS Racing, I will be able to keep my eligibility for the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series playoffs piloting the RSS No. 93 in Friday night’s ToyotaCare 250.”
Bilicki will still be at the track, as he will be spotting for teammate Jeff Green‘s No. 38 this weekend.
@BrandonBrownRac has a sponsor this weekend and I did not so this move only made sense for both sides. Brandon’s a good friend and I’m excited to see what he will do in my car!
— Josh Bilicki (@joshbilicki) April 10, 2019
Brown is currently 14th in the standings with 141 points, two spots outside the cutoff spot for the playoffs. He has top-20 finishes in all but one race, with three top-15s and a career-best finish of 13th at Atlanta. Also, he led his first career laps at Daytona this year.
He has 27 career NXS starts since 2016, and 22 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series starts from 2014-2017, with a best finish of fourth at Daytona in 2016.
The No. 86 is currently 16th out of 41 cars in the Xfinity Series owner standings, while the No. 93 is 33rd.