Last weekend's season finale at Phoenix Raceway wasn't the way MBM Motorsports wanted to end their 2021 season. Both of their cars fell out of the NASCAR Cup Series Championship race due to mechanical failures, and now the beginning of their offseason has been marked by a COVID outbreak on the small independent team.
During an appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, MBM Motorsports car owner Carl Long revealed that him and eight members of his team, including driver David Starr, all tested positive for COVID following last weekend's races at Phoenix. Long believes that the outbreak occurred on the trip back home.
"I'm survivin'. I've definitely had better weeks, that's for sure," Long said. "... It seems me and David Starr's the ones that are sufferin' the most. I'm not as bad as I was, but this is a rough disease."
MBM Motorsports fields cars in both the Cup Series and Xfinity Series, and their primary drivers in 2021 were Starr and Timmy Hill. After Starr finished 21st in the Xfinity Series finale, both MBM Motorsports cars fell out of the Cup Series finale due to mechanical failures: Hill dropped out due to handling issues after 57 laps, while Starr ended up playing an unwitting role in the outcome of the Cup Series Championship.
With 29 laps to go and Martin Truex Jr. leading comfortably on his way to a potential second title, Starr's car suffered a brake failure, dropping debris in turn 3 that brought out the final caution of the race. As Starr dropped out and finished 33rd, the ensuing final round of pit stops under caution allowed Kyle Larson to take the lead en route to the win and the Cup Series championship.
Long, 54, has spent over 20 years in NASCAR as an independent driver as well as a team owner. The COVID outbreak at MBM Motorsports threatens to set them behind on their preparations for 2022, which reportedly includes plans to attempt to qualify at least one car in the Daytona 500.