Saturday, August 23, 2014

CUP: Dave Blaney Extends 2014 LASTCAR Lead At Bristol

SOURCE: @TBR_Racing
Dave Blaney picked up the 24th last-place finish of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career in Saturday’s IRWIN Tools Night Race at the Bristol Motor Speedway when his #37 Accell Construction Inc. Chevrolet fell out with overheating problems after he completed 37 of the race’s 500 laps.

The finish was Blaney’s third of the 2014 season and his first since June at Pocono, ten races ago (LINK).  Blaney, the 2009 LASTCAR Champion, remains the only driver to finish last more than once this season, and in so doing extends his lead to two finishes over the field with twelve races to go.

Following Blaney’s most recent last-place run, the #77 Ford fielded by Randy Humphrey Racing suspended operations to reorganize, and planned to return to the series at Indianapolis.  However, when the #77's hiatus continued past Indy, Blaney reunited with Tommy Baldwin, for whom Blaney qualified in three consecutive Daytona 500s.  Blaney drove the #37, a third team Baldwin debuted at Indianapolis with Bobby Labonte, and finished 26th at Pocono, then 33rd at Michigan.  In between those races, Humphrey’s team returned at Watkins Glen with Nelson Piquet, Jr. behind the wheel.

Blaney and the #37 returned at Bristol, where 43 drivers showed up for as many spots.  In Friday’s opening practice, he turned in the 30th-fastest time, skipped Happy Hour, and put up the 35th-fastest time in qualifying with a speed of 127.081 mph.

In the race itself, Blaney fell to the back and around Lap 10, was the first driver to lose a lap.  He was then unseated by Brett Moffitt, back in the #66 Identity Ventures Racing entry that was originally slated to be driven by Joe Nemechek.  Moffitt lost four laps due to an unscheduled stop after making contact with Aric Almirola.  By Lap 36, however, Blaney had gone to the garage area, done for the night.  Moffitt, who damaged the front valence of his Toyota after rear-ending J.J. Yeley, lost the engine forty laps later and ended up 42nd.

Finishing 41st was Almirola, whose STP Ford was involved in a hard crash on Lap 126 when a spinning Brian Vickers turned him into the inside wall.  The next wreck on Lap 162 filled out the Bottom Five when a spinning Denny Hamlin slid directly into the path of Dale Earnhardt, Jr., ripping off the driver’s side sheet metal of Earnhardt’s #88.  Earnhardt returned to the track on Lap 284, 106 laps in arrears, with duct-tape numbers on the driver’s door.  He only completed one lap before pulling out once more, ending his night.

LASTCAR STATISTICS
*This is Blaney’s first last-place finish in a Cup race at Bristol since August 22, 2009, when his #66 PRISM Motorsports Toyota started 4th, scraped the wall early, then fell out after 8 laps of the Sharpie 500.  Blaney swept both last-place finishes that season on his way to the LASTCAR title.
*This is the first last-place finish for the #37 in a Cup race at Bristol since August 28, 2004, when Kevin Lepage and his Carter’s Royal Dispos-All Dodge fell out with a vibration after he completed 11 laps.
*This is the first time a Cup driver finished last at Bristol due to overheating issues since March 25, 2001, when Joe Nemechek’s #33 Oakwood Homes Chevrolet fell out after 108 laps of the Food City 500.

THE BOTTOM FIVE
43) #37-Dave Blaney / 37 laps / overheating
42) #66-Brett Moffitt / 78 laps / engine
41) #43-Aric Almirola / 123 laps / crash
40) #11-Denny Hamlin / 160 laps / crash / led 28 laps
39) #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. / 176 laps / crash

LASTCAR CUP SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Dave Blaney (3)
2nd) A.J. Allmendinger, Aric Almirola, Trevor Bayne, Mike Bliss, Clint Bowyer, Landon Cassill, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., David Gilliland, Denny Hamlin, Timmy Hill, Travis Kvapil, Kyle Larson, Michael McDowell, Joe Nemechek, Johnny Sauter, Morgan Shepherd, Tony Stewart, Martin Truex, Jr., Ryan Truex, Brian Vickers, Cole Whitt (1)

LASTCAR CUP SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) #77-Randy Humphrey Racing, #93-BK Racing (2)
2nd) #11-Joe Gibbs Racing, #14-Stewart-Haas Racing, #15-Michael Waltrip Racing, #21-Wood Brothers Racing, #26-BK Racing, #32-Go FAS Racing, #33-Circle Sport, #37-Tommy Baldwin Racing, #38-Front Row Motorsports, #40-Hillman Racing, #42-Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, #43-Richard Petty Motorsports, #47-JTG-Daugherty Racing, #55-Michael Waltrip Racing, #66-Michael Waltrip Racing / Identity Ventures Racing, #78-Furniture Row Racing, #83-BK Racing, #87-Identity Ventures Racing, #88-Hendrick Motorsports, #95-Leavine Family Racing (1)

LASTCAR CUP SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Toyota (9)
2nd) Chevrolet (8)
3rd) Ford (7)

N’WIDE: Jeff Green Scores Toyota’s 200th NASCAR Last-Place Finish

SOURCE: @TriStarRaceTeam
Jeff Green picked up the 57th last-place finish of his NASCAR Nationwide Series career in Friday’s Food City 300 at the Bristol Motor Speedway when his #91 Heroes Behind the Camo / SupportMilitary.org Toyota fell out with a vibration afer he completed 3 of the race’s 300 laps.

The finish was Green’s fourth of 2014 and his first since Fontana, eighteen races ago.  It is the
eleventh for TriStar Motorsports this season.  With ten races to go, the all-time LASTCAR leader now trails teammate Blake Koch by three finishes.  It is the 200th last-place finish by Toyota across all three of NASCAR’s top divisions.

Since Fontana, Green has made ten of the eighteen races with a season-best 18th at Dover in one of three starts driving in relief of teammate Eric McClure in TriStar’s #14 Hefty Ultimate / Reynolds Wrap Toyota.  His other starts came in TriStar’s “start-and-park” entries, #10 and #91, he has shared with Blake Koch.

Bristol would be Green’s 385th Nationwide start and the first for the #91 since Green’s 38th-place run at Talladega in May.  As of Tuesday, he was one of 46 entries for the race - the biggest entry list since 45 showed up at Daytona in July.  John Jackson had been added as the 45th entry, but withdrew by Thursday.  The remaining 45 waged battle for the remaining 40 spots.

Green was the only driver to not participate in the opening practice session, then jumped to 35th in Happy Hour, besting seven “go-or-go-homers.”  In qualifying, he improved further, jumping to 29th with an average speed of 120.588 mph.  Among the five DNQs were LASTCAR Truck Series co-leader Ryan Ellis in Vision Racing’s #37, Iowa last-placer Matt Frahm in The Motorsports Group’s #46, and Milka Duno, who was attempting her first NASCAR start with RAB Racing.

The first 42 laps of Friday’s race were run under the green flag, with Green leading two other drivers to the garage during that stretch.  Green beat Morgan Shepherd by thirteen laps in what was Shepherd’s first start since Iowa, and one lap afer came Kevin Lepage in Mike Harmon’s unsponsored #74 Dodge.  Finishing 37th was Chad Boat, whose #84 Billy Boat Performance Exhaust / CorvetteParts.net Chevrolet was wrecked in a three-car accident on Lap 112.  Rounding out the Bottom Five was Tanner Berryhill in the Vision Racing team car to Ellis’ #37, after Berryhill’s #17 NationalCashLenders.com Dodge was damaged in the Boat wreck.

LASTCAR STATISTICS
*This is Green’s first last-place finish in a Nationwide Series race at Bristol since this race in 2011, when a vibration after 4 laps left him with his record-setting fourth consecutive last-place finish while driving TriStar’s #44 Chevrolet.
*This is the first last-place finish by the #91 in a Nationwide race at Bristol since this race in 2008, when Justin Hobgood’s MSRP Motorsports Chevrolet had ignition problems after he completed just one lap.

LASTCAR N'WIDE SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Blake Koch (7)
2nd) Jeff Green (4)
3rd) Matt DiBenedetto, Kevin Lepage (2)
4th) Tanner Berryhill, Ryan Ellis, Matt Frahm, Roger Reuse, Robert Richardson, Jr., Tim Schendel, Jimmy Weller, Josh Wise (1)

LASTCAR N'WIDE SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) #10-TriStar Motorsports (8)
2nd) #46-The Motorsports Group (5)
3rd) #91-TriStar Motorsports (3)
4th) #17-Vision Racing, #23-R3 Motorsports, #55-VIVA Motorsports / SS Green Light Racing, #74-Mike Harmon Racing, #77-Mike Harmon Racing, #87-Rick Ware Racing, #93-JGL Racing (1)

LASTCAR N'WIDE SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Toyota (11)
2nd) Chevrolet (8)
3rd) Dodge (4)

TRUCKS: Modified Driver Bryan Dauzat Trails First Truck Series Start

SOURCE: CIA Stock Photo
Bryan Dauzat picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career in Thursday’s UNOH 200 Presented by ZLOOP at the Bristol Motor Speedway when his #28 O.B. Builders Door & Trim / FDNY Racing Chevrolet fell out with suspension trouble after he completed 4 of the race’s 200 laps.

Though making his Truck debut, the 54-year-old driver from Alexandria, Lousiana is by no means a stranger to NASCAR.  Since 2008, he’s made 49 combined starts in the Whelen Modified Tour and Whelen Southern Modified Tour.  The Southern division saw both his best career finish of 5th at Bowman-Gray Stadium in 2009 and his best points ranking of 11th just ast year.  He’s competed as an owner-driver in each of those starts, carrying sponsorship from O.B. Builders on his #97.

This year, Dauzat and O.B. made the move to stock cars with a 26th-place finish in the ARCA race at Talladega this past May.  For his NASCAR debut, Dauzat looked to the trucks and the #28 fielded by Jim Rosenblum.  Rosenblum, a part-time Cup and Truck Series owner since 1983, started the year with Ryan Ellis, who finished 18th in the opener at Daytona - the team’s best finish since 2008.  Following a crash at Charlotte, Rosenblum and his FDNY Racing team looked to rebuild their truck while Ellis drove for other teams, moving into a tie for the LASTCAR lead in Jennifer Jo Cobb’s #0.  Rosenblum and Ellis reunited at Pocono earlier this month, finishing 19th.

At Bristol, Dauzat drove in place of Ellis, whose ride in the #0 withdrew before qualifying, leaving 37 entries for 36 spots.  Dauzat’s week began on Wednesday afternoon, where he finished 9th in his division (18th overall) during the 39-car combination race for the modified series.  He trailed the only practice session, but managed to beat Eldora last-placer Mike Affarano in qualifying, bumping Affarano out of the field.  Dauzat timed in 36th with an average speed of 111.955 mph, edging Affarano by less than three tenths.

At the start of the race, delayed by rain from Wednesday night to Thursday morning, Dauzat exited the race after 4 laps, followed one lap after by LASTCAR Nationwide Series leader Blake Koch, giving Mike Mittler’s #36 RAM its first start since Gateway.  Finishing 34th was B.J. McLeod in Bobby Dotter’s ThunderExhaust.com Chevrolet, followed by Jake Crum and Bryan Silas, who both backed into the Turn 2 wall after 14 laps.

LASTCAR STATISTICS
*This is the first last-place finish for the #28 in a Truck Series race since February 26, 2000, when Kenny Allen’s Chevrolet broke a transmission after 19 laps of the Florida Dodge Dealers 400K at the Homestead-Miami Speedway.  Allen was also driving for owner Jim Rosenblum in an unsponsored truck.  It was Allen’s only start for the team and the last of his career.
*The #28 had never before finished last in a Truck Series race at Bristol.

THE BOTTOM FIVE
36) #28-Bryan Dauzat / 4 laps / suspension
35) #36-Blake Koch / 5 laps / vibration
34) #07-B.J. McLeod / 7 laps / ignition
33) #01-Jake Crum / 14 laps / crash
32) #99-Bryan Silas / 14 laps / crash

LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Ryan Ellis, Justin Jennings (2)
2nd) Mike Affarano, Bryan Dauzat, Alex Guenette, Blake Koch, Charles Lewandoski, Tommy Regan, Caleb Roark, Scott Stenzel, Jason White (1)

LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) #0-Jennifer Jo Cobb (3)
2nd) #36-Mike Mittler, #63-Mike Mittler / Randy Young (2)
3rd) #28-FDNY Racing, #42-Randy Young, #45-Regan Motorsports, #74-Mario Gosselin, #93-RSS Racing, #03-Mike Affarano Motorsports (1)

LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Chevrolet (12)
2nd) RAM (1)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

CUP: Kyle Larson Finishes Last As Teams Race Out Of Michigan Garage

SOURCE: ESPN
Kyle Larson picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career in Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 at the Michigan International Speedway when his #42 Target Chevrolet was involved in a hard single-car crash that ended his race after he completed 94 of 200 laps.  The finish came in Larson’s twenty-seventh series start.

Larson, who just turned 21 last month, has enjoyed a spectacular rise through the racing ranks.  In less than three years, the native of Elk Grove, California has gone from finishing 10th in his first Truck Series start at Kentucky in 2012 to leading this year’s battle for Cup Series Rookie of the Year.  He’s scored five top-five finishes and ten top-tens in Cup in 2014, scored his first pole at Pocono and earned a career-best 2nd to Kyle Busch at Fontana.

Larson came to Michigan 10th in points after a 4th-place finish at Watkins Glen, a run that moved him into the third of four spots for winless drivers to transfer into the 2014 Chase for the Sprint Cup.  With an 8th-place run at Michigan in June on top of his weekend at Fontana, hopes were high for another strong finish.

Larson was 17th-fastest in the opening practice session, then narrowly missed transferring into the final round of qualifying.  His lap of 204.082 mph was still good enough to put him 13th on the starting grid, and he improved to 7th in the second practice and 2nd to polesitter and eventual race winner Jeff Gordon in Happy Hour.

Sunday’s race featured a surprising amount of changes in the Bottom Five as several contenders faced early problems.  Sonoma last-place finisher Landon Cassill started 43rd in Hillman Racing’s #40, one of four drivers sent to the back before the start for driver and mechanical changes.  This included J.J. Yeley, driving in relief of rookie Ryan Truex, who suffered a concussion in a scary practice accident exiting Turn 2 on Saturday morning.

On Lap 2, Joe Nemechek took the 43rd spot from Cassill, then both were passed by Kyle Busch, who tagged the wall in Turn 4, then hit it again in Turn 2, bringing out the first caution of the day.  With track-record-breaking speeds all weekend adding to the severity of the hit, Busch’s car required 25 laps of repairs in the garage area.  No sooner did Busch return to the track when a multi-car accident on Lap 26 sent four more back in his place - Justin Allgaier, Matt Kenseth, Martin Truex, Jr., and Trevor Bayne.  Truex returned to the track first, eight laps down, shuffling Allgaier, Kenseth, and Bayne to 40th through 42nd.

Busch passed Bayne on Lap 50, dropping Bayne to last, and Kenseth returned to the track on Lap 52, moving him past Allgaier.  Now in 43rd, Bayne seemed on his way for his second last-place finish in four races, but he too returned on Lap 69, dropping Allgaier to last on Lap 71.  Seven laps later, Jeff Burton, driving in relief of Tony Stewart, went to the garage for smoke in the cockpit, and also seemed done for the day.  However, with so many cars multiple laps down, Burton was still not in the Bottom Five when the caution flew on Lap 98.

By that lap, Larson’s promising start to the weekend had taken a frustrating turn.  During the competition caution on Lap 22, Larson collided with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. while leaving pit road, tearing up the left-front fender of Larson’s car.  This required a second stop that left him 42nd when the Lap 26 wreck occurred in the middle of the pack.  While Larson avoided that accident, his car’s aerodynamics were compromised, leaving him toward the back of the pack.  Then, on Lap 98, Larson lost a right-front tire, sending him hard into the outside wall in Turn 4.  Uninjured, but with his car on fire, Larson climbed out - the first driver to do so under NASCAR’s new post-crash regulations instituted in response to the death of Kevin Ward, Jr.

Larson was the first car out of the race, but it still appeared that Allgaier would remain in 43rd with Burton’s smoking car eventually joining him in 42nd.  However, Allgaier returned to the track during Larson’s caution on Lap 100, his #51 now 73 laps down.  Burton returned to the race around the same time, meaning that six cars behind Larson were all 24 or more laps down with less than 100 to go.

One final contender joined in when Michael Annett, damaged in the multi-car crash, spent several laps in the garage repairing his #7 Chevrolet.  However, when he returned to the race, Larson fell to the rear unopposed.  He took 42nd on Lap 139, then 43rd on Lap 170.  Allgaier, Bayne, Annett, and Kyle Busch rounded out the Bottom Five with Kenseth, Burton, and Truex each ten-plus laps ahead of the group.

Larson’s last-place finish has dropped him to 14th in points.  With three races to go before the cutoff to the Chase, he now must either win his way in or pass at least three of the six winless drivers now ranked ahead of him in points: Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman, Clint Bowyer, Greg Biffle, Kasey Kahne, and Austin Dillon.

LASTCAR STATISTICS
*This is the first last-place finish for the #42 in a Cup Series race since November 2, 2008, when Juan Pablo Montoya’s Texaco / Havoline Dodge was involved in a crash that ended his run in the Dickies 500 at Texas.  Montoya also scored the number’s most recent last-place finish at Michigan, which took place one week before his first Cup Series win at Sonoma in 2007.
*This marks the first time that three driver scored their first last-place finishes in their respective NASCAR divisions on the same weekend since September 21-23, 2012: Blake Koch (Trucks at Kentucky), Charles Lewandoski (Nationwide at Kentucky), and Kelly Bires (Cup at New Hampshire).
*This also marks the first time that three drivers scored their first-ever last-place finishes in any of NASCAR’s top three divisions on the same weekend since February 13-15, 2009: Landon Cassill (Trucks at Daytona), Chrissy Wallace (Nationwide at Daytona), and Joey Logano (Cup at Daytona 500).

THE BOTTOM FIVE
43) #42-Kyle Larson / 94 laps / crash
42) #51-Justin Allgaier / 97 laps / crash
41) #21-Trevor Bayne / 153 laps / running
40) #7-Michael Annett / 155 laps / vibration
39) #18-Kyle Busch / 159 laps / running

LASTCAR CUP SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Dave Blaney (2)
2nd) A.J. Allmendinger, Aric Almirola, Trevor Bayne, Mike Bliss, Clint Bowyer, Landon Cassill, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., David Gilliland, Denny Hamlin, Timmy Hill, Travis Kvapil, Kyle Larson, Michael McDowell, Joe Nemechek, Johnny Sauter, Morgan Shepherd, Tony Stewart, Martin Truex, Jr., Ryan Truex, Brian Vickers, Cole Whitt (1)

LASTCAR CUP SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) #77-Randy Humphrey Racing, #93-BK Racing (2)
2nd) #11-Joe Gibbs Racing, #14-Stewart-Haas Racing, #15-Michael Waltrip Racing, #21-Wood Brothers Racing, #26-BK Racing, #32-Go FAS Racing, #33-Circle Sport, #38-Front Row Motorsports, #40-Hillman Racing, #42-Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, #43-Richard Petty Motorsports, #47-JTG-Daugherty Racing, #55-Michael Waltrip Racing, #66-Michael Waltrip Racing / Identity Ventures Racing, #78-Furniture Row Racing, #83-BK Racing, #87-Identity Ventures Racing, #88-Hendrick Motorsports, #95-Leavine Family Racing (1)

LASTCAR CUP SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Toyota (9)
2nd) Chevrolet, Ford (7)

N’WIDE: Short Tracker Roger Reuse Exits Early In Harmon’s Post-Entry

SOURCE: @rogreu
Roger Reuse picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR Nationwide Series career in Saturday’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course when his #77 DubZ Thermal Products / wciparts.com Dodge fell out with transmission problems after he completed 3 of the race’s 90 laps.  The finish came in Reuse’s second series start.

This season, the 47-year-old Roger and his younger brother Bobby were selected to drive the road courses for owner-driver Mike Harmon in 2014.  Bobby made his NASCAR debut at Road America in June, finishing 29th in Harmon’s #74.  Roger’s came next when he climbed into the same car last week at Watkins Glen and came home 30th.

While technically “road course ringers,” the Reuse brothers are actually accomplished short track racers from Alabama.  According to The Third Turn, Bobby has competed in at least four different divisions since 2009, and big brother Roger’s career goes back even further.

Roger cut his teeth at his home track, the Birmingham International Raceway, finishing 5th in the Pure Stock division in 1984.  From 1986 through 1991, he competed in five seasons in the NASCAR Goody’s Dash Series, finishing a career-best 9th in points his final season.  Since then, he’s competed in everything from late models to the 2007 Snowball Derby, where he finished 23rd.  Just last year, he made three starts in the Southern Super Series and one in the Sunoco Gulf Coast Championship Series, the latter a series Chase Elliott won in 2010.

Last Sunday was the second-consecutive road course race on the Nationwide Series calendar.  With just 37 cars on the preliminary entry list, two post-entries were added using the backup cars of two single-car teams.  John Jackson climbed aboard the #79, the Jimmy Means Racing backup for full-time driver Joey Gase.  Mike Harmon followed suit by entering both Reuse brothers.  With Bobby already slated to drive the #74, Harmon changed the numbers on his backup Dodge to #77, putting Roger in that car.

Roger did not participate in the opening practice session on Friday, then completed just one lap at reduced speed in Happy Hour.  He also put up the slowest speed in qualifying with a lap of 76.267 mph, nearly 20 mph slower than polesitter Sam Hornish, Jr.’s lap of 95.873 mph.

At the start of the race, John Jackson briefly held the 39th spot before Reuse took it back on Lap 2, then pulled off the track two laps later.  The first caution fell seconds later for Jeffery Earnhardt, whose #4 Bandit Chippers Chevrolet lost the brakes in Turn 4 and narrowly avoided a hard hit into the tires.  Earnhardt held the 38th spot for much of the race, but returned to finish the race 18 laps down.  He came home 28th, passing the rest of the Bottom Five in the process.

Finishing 38th was Josh Reaume, the road course driver of The Motorsports Group’s #46, who fell out four laps after Reuse.  Finishing 37th was Timmy Hill, making his first Nationwide start since Dover in May, driving the #55 Hopek Hardware Plus / Engine Parts Plus Chevrolet.  36th went to Carl Long, his first start since Iowa and third of the year for Rick Ware.  Rounding out the Bottom Five was Blake Koch, whose run in TriStar’s #10 Toyota ended after 12 laps.

Jeff Green, still four finishes behind Koch in the 2014 LASTCAR Nationwide Series rankings, made his third start of the year filling in for Eric McClure in the #14 Reynolds Wrap / Hefty Ultimate Toyota.  Green ran in the Top 5 briefly during a round of pit stops, but crashed out after 70 laps, leaving him 29th.

LASTCAR STATISTICS
*This is the first last-place finish for the #77 in a Nationwide race since November 17, 2007, when Bobby Labonte’s Dollar General Chevrolet was involved in a crash that ended his run in the Ford 300 at Homestead after 4 laps.

THE BOTTOM FIVE
39) #77-Roger Reuse / 3 laps / transmission
38) #46-Josh Reaume / 7 laps / electrical
37) #55-Timmy Hill / 10 laps / brakes
36) #15-Carl Long / 11 laps / suspension
35) #10-Blake Koch / 12 laps / vibration

LASTCAR N'WIDE SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Blake Koch (7)
2nd) Jeff Green (3)
3rd) Matt DiBenedetto, Kevin Lepage (2)
4th) Tanner Berryhill, Ryan Ellis, Matt Frahm, Roger Reuse, Robert Richardson, Jr., Tim Schendel, Jimmy Weller, Josh Wise (1)

LASTCAR N'WIDE SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) #10-TriStar Motorsports (8)
2nd) #46-The Motorsports Group (5)
3rd) #91-TriStar Motorsports (2)
4th) #17-Vision Racing, #23-R3 Motorsports, #55-VIVA Motorsports / SS Green Light Racing, #74-Mike Harmon Racing, #77-Mike Harmon Racing, #87-Rick Ware Racing, #93-JGL Racing (1)

LASTCAR N'WIDE SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Toyota (10)
2nd) Chevrolet (8)
3rd) Dodge (4)

TRUCKS: Caleb Roark Scores First Last-Place Finish

SOURCE: @ryanellisracing
Caleb Roark picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career in Saturday’s Careers For Veterans 200 at the Michigan International Speedway when his #0 Grimes Irrigation & Construction Chevrolet broke the rear gear after he completed 2 of the race’s 100 laps.  The finish came in Roark’s ninth series start.

The 21-year-old short tracker from Abingdon, Virginia made his Truck Series debut driving for Ken Smith at Martinsville on April 2, 2011.  Roark finished 19th that day, which is still his career best.  After running part-time for Smith for the next two seasons, Roark moved to Jennifer Jo Cobb’s team to share the #0 Chevrolet with Ryan Ellis and Willie Allen.  He’s also made his Nationwide debut, finishing 32nd at Iowa in May driving Bobby Dotter’s #55.

Michigan saw just 28 trucks on the preliminary entry list.  The short field grew by one more after the post-entry by Adam Edwards, driving Norm Benning’s old #57 Chevrolet while Benning remained in his #6.  Roark bested Edwards in the opening pracitce with the 27th-fastest time and did not participate in the final practice session.  He secured the 27th starting spot with an average speed of 161.146 mph.

In the race itself, Roark pulled behind the wall under green, followed a lap later by Edwards.  One lap behind them was Todd Peck, making his third start of the season and his first in Bobby Dotter’s #07 ThunderExhaust.com Chevrolet.  Travis Kvapil qualified 6th as the relief driver for John Wes Townley, but lost the engine on his #05 Zaxby’s Toyota after just even laps, bringing out the only caution of the race.  Rounding out the Bottom Fie was T.J. Bell, whose #50 Drivin’ For Linemen / KnowledgeVine Chevrolet broke an oil line.

LASTCAR STATISTICS
*This is the first last-place finish for the #0 in a Truck Series race at Michigan since 2012, when T.J. Bell’s transmission gave out on his Driven2Honor.org Ford after one lap of the VFW 200.

THE BOTTOM FIVE
29) #0-Caleb Roark / 2 laps / rear gear
28) #57-Adam Edwards / 3 laps / electrical
27) #07-Todd Peck / 4 laps / handling
26) #05-Travis Kvapil / 7 laps / engine
25) #50-T.J. Bell / 20 laps / oil line

LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Ryan Ellis, Justin Jennings (2)
2nd) Mike Affarano, Alex Guenette, Blake Koch, Charles Lewandoski, Tommy Regan, Caleb Roark, Scott Stenzel, Jason White (1)

LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) #0-Jennifer Jo Cobb (3)
2nd) #36-Mike Mittler, #63-Mike Mittler / Randy Young (2)
3rd) #42-Randy Young, #45-Regan Motorsports, #74-Mario Gosselin, #93-RSS Racing, #03-Mike Affarano Motorsports (1)

LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Chevrolet (11)
2nd) RAM (1)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

CUP: Cole Whitt’s Last-Place Finish Is First For #26 At The Glen Since 1995

SOURCE: Rubbin's Racin' Forums
Cole Whitt picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career in Sunday’s Cheez-It 355 at the Glen at Watkins Glen International when his #26 Bully Hill Vineyards Toyota was involved in a hard single-car crash after he completed 9 of the race’s 90 laps.  The finish came in Whitt’s 36th career start.

The 23-year-old native of Alpine, California is competing in his first full Cup Series season.  He climbed quickly from a full season in the K&N East Series in 2010, one in Trucks in 2011, and one in Nationwide in 2012, finishing top-ten in points each year.  Whitt made his Cup debut at Phoenix in the fall of 2011, looking to drive for Team Red Bull.  However, when the team collapsed, Whitt ran on a part-time basis for Stacy Compton and Joe Falk in 2012 before joining Swan Racing in late 2013.

A single-car effort at the time, Swan Racing had grown steadily from its roots as the start-up Inception Motorsports in 2011.  Veteran driver David Stremme helped transition the team into a full-season effort, following a transition from Chevrolet to Toyota and ownership to Brandon Davis.  However, at the start of the 2013 Chase, Stremme was released so Whitt could share the ride with Kevin Swindell and Parker Kligerman.  Whitt’s best finish of 27th at Dover fell short of Kligerman’s best of 18th at Texas, but both were signed for the team’s expansion to two cars in 2014 - Kligerman in the #30 and Whitt in the new #26.

Unfortunately, a combination of sponsorship troubles and a series of costly crashes forced Swan Racing to shut down heading into Richmond, leaving Kligerman without a ride.  Whitt’s #26 was absorbed by the two-car team BK Racing, a team itself formed from the shutdown of Team Red Bull.  To date, Whitt has yet to improve on his career-best finish of 18th in Swan’s car at Fontana earlier this year.  However, he had failed to finish just two Cup races in 2014 - both due to late-race crashes at Daytona.

Since the Swan-BK merger, Whitt’s car has run nine different primary sponsors.  For Watkins Glen, he carried the bright gold and purple shades of local restaurant Bully Hill Vineyards, a fixture at The Glen since road course specialist Ron Fellows carried the colors in the late 1990s and early 2000s.  Whitt turned in the 35th-fastest speed in Friday’s first practice, improved to 26th in Happy Hour at the end of his last run, then jumped to 18th in qualifying with a lap of 127.715 mph.  The lap made Whitt the second-fastest rookie in the field, trailing only 15th-place Justin Allgiaer, and was his best Cup start since his career-best 17th at Daytona last month.

In the race itself, the 43rd spot on the grid belonged to Danica Patrick, who was having a particularly frustrating weekend.  In the opening practice, Patrick lost the engine, forcing her to start in the back regardless of her timed run.  Then, with less than three minutes left in Happy Hour, she cut a tire and slammed the Turn 9 wall, sending her to a backup which was the slowest car in qualifying.  By the chicane on the first lap, however, she had passed a handful of cars along with Regan Smith, the last-minute replacement of the #14 Stewart-Haas Racing entry following Stewart’s withdrawal after the tragic accident of the night before.

Slipping to 43rd after the moves by Patrick and Smith was Joe Nemechek, making his first Cup start at Watkins Glen in two years.  Then on Lap 4, Nemechek and his #66 Land Castle Title Toyota suddenly found themselves ahead of Kevin Harvick, forced to pit on Lap 4 for bean bags the crew mistakenly left in his #4 after pre-race inspection.  Justin Allgaier pitted with Harvick, putting the two in the final two spots.  The first car to lose a lap, however, was Paul Menard, who on Lap 5 went behind the wall after a lengthy stop for an early brake issue.

Menard’s crew was just finishing repairs when the first caution of the afternoon fell on Lap 10.  Whitt, running 19th at the time, suffered either a brake or throttle failure (or the combination of both) and completely missed the first corner.  His #26 shot off the track, then plowed head-on into the tire barrier separating the track from the grandstands.  Whitt climbed out unhurt, but his half-buried Toyota was done for the afternoon.  Menard returned to the track under the caution, dropping Whitt to last by the restart.

The remainder of the race was a slugfest, featuring several changes in the Bottom Five.  First Kyle Busch, then Jeff Gordon and Brad Keselowski spent time behind the wall, but all three returned to the track.  Busch suffered the biggest setback of the three.  Frustrated by a pit miscue for taking his gas can out of his stall, he banged doors with Martin Truex, Jr. in Turn 9, forcing more than twenty laps of repairs.  When Busch returned to the race in 42nd, a frightening crash on Lap 56 between Ryan Newman and Michael McDowell forced a nearly 90-minute red flag.  Busch managed to pass Newman and McDowell, but not Ryan Truex, whose #83 Burger King Toyota suffered a suspension failure in the closing laps.

LASTCAR STATISTICS
*This is the first last-place finish for the #26 in a Cup race since October 7, 2012, when Josh Wise’s MDS Transport Ford overheated after 5 laps of the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 at Talladega.  It is the first last-place finish for the #26 in a Cup race at Watkins Glen since 1995, when Hut Stricklin’s Quaker State Ford broke a valve after 20 laps.
*This is the second-straight last-place finish for BK Racing at Watkins Glen.  Last year, David Reutimann’s #83 Burger King Toyota lost the engine after four laps.

THE BOTTOM FIVE
43) #26-Cole Whitt / 9 laps / crash
42) #95-Michael McDowell / 55 laps / crash
41) #31-Ryan Newman / 55 laps / crash
40) #18-Kyle Busch / 69 laps / running
39) #83-Ryan Truex / 69 laps / suspension

LASTCAR CUP SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Dave Blaney (2)
2nd) A.J. Allmendinger, Aric Almirola, Trevor Bayne, Mike Bliss, Clint Bowyer, Landon Cassill, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., David Gilliland, Denny Hamlin, Timmy Hill, Travis Kvapil, Michael McDowell, Joe Nemechek, Johnny Sauter, Morgan Shepherd, Tony Stewart, Martin Truex, Jr., Ryan Truex, Brian Vickers, Cole Whitt (1)

LASTCAR CUP SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) #77-Randy Humphrey Racing, #93-BK Racing (2)
2nd) #11-Joe Gibbs Racing, #14-Stewart-Haas Racing, #15-Michael Waltrip Racing, #21-Wood Brothers Racing, #26-BK Racing, #32-Go FAS Racing, #33-Circle Sport, #38-Front Row Motorsports, #40-Hillman Racing, #43-Richard Petty Motorsports, #47-JTG-Daugherty Racing, #55-Michael Waltrip Racing, #66-Michael Waltrip Racing / Identity Ventures Racing, #78-Furniture Row Racing, #83-BK Racing, #87-Identity Ventures Racing, #88-Hendrick Motorsports, #95-Leavine Family Racing (1)

LASTCAR CUP SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Toyota (9)
2nd) Ford (7)
3rd) Chevrolet (6)