Saturday, August 22, 2015

CUP: Michael Annett’s No. 46 Travels A Quarter-Mile In First Cup Series Last-Place Finish

SOURCE: @MichaelAnnett
Michael Annett picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career in Saturday’s Irwin Tools Night Race at the Bristol Motor Speedway when his #46 Pilot / Flying J Chevrolet fell out with engine problems which prevented him from completing a lap of the 500-lap race.  The finish occurred in Annett’s 60th series start.

Annett is in his first full season driving for HScott Motorsports, which expanded to two full-time teams in 2015.  Annett began the year with a 13th-place finish in a backup car in the Daytona 500, improving on his career-best 16th at Talladega in 2014 when he drove for Tommy Baldwin Racing.  However, he missed the next race at Atlanta after a controversially slow inspection process and had to buy Circle Sports’ #33 for the race.  He finished 38th or worse in the next five straight races and came to Bristol 35th in points.  However, the Bristol track also saw Annett finish 23rd in the spring, which was tied with Kansas for his second-best finish behind Daytona.

Annett timed in 24th in Friday’s opening practice and 28th in Happy Hour, but could only manage 35th in qualifying with a lap of 127.241 mph.  Still, the lap was more than enough to keep him from using a provisional in the biggest entry list since Indianapolis.  Missing the race were Travis Kvapil, who was driving the #30 Chevrolet in The Motorsports Group’s first Cup attempt since Kentucky in July, rookie Jeb Burton, who spun in practice driving the #26 Rocky Ridge Estes Toyota for BK Racing, and Reed Sorenson’s unsponsored #62 Premium Motorsports Chevrolet.

The 43rd starting spot on Saturday went to Mike Bliss, who was making his first Cup start since Michigan in June and his first of the year for Circle Sport.  Bliss’ unsponsored black #33 Chevrolet only held the spot for a few seconds as on the first lap Annett’s #46 slowed so suddenly with a transmission issue that he was already on the apron of Turn 2 and making his way to pit road.  The crew tried to make repairs, but then found the #46 wouldn’t re-fire and the battery only read 13 volts.  Around Lap 32, Annett pulled behind the wall, but by Lap 66 he was officially out with engine trouble as the listed reason.

42nd went to spring Bristol winner Matt Kenseth, who had worked his way from 13th to 4th on Lap 110 when his car suddenly blew smoke going into Turn 1, dropping him out of the race with engine failure.  Several cars were already lapped by this point, so it wasn’t until Lap 115 that he slipped to his final finishing position.

41st went to Kyle Larson, who first cut a left-front tire and hit the Turn 3 wall on Lap 126, worked his way to 21st, then hit the Turn 4 wall much harder on Lap 359, knocking his #42 Target Chevrolet out of the event.

40th went to 4th-place starter David Ragan, who was still in the Top 5 on Lap 371 when he was turned into the inside wall after contact from Jimmie Johnson and teammate Clint Bowyer. Ragan returned to the track 45 laps down with the front valence removed, but finally fell out when he couldn’t catch the lapped #98 of last week’s last-placer Timmy Hill, who was this time in Premium Motorsports’ Ford with last-minute sponsorship from BigDaddyRVs.com.

LASTCAR STATISTICS
*This is the first time a Cup Series last-placer at Bristol failed to complete the opening lap since August 26, 1978, when Bill Green’s series debut ended after his #36 B&G Chevrolet was involved in an opening-lap crash in the Volunteer 500, won by Cale Yarborough.  Green a 33-year-old driver from Edgewood, Kentucky, made just one other start when he came home 34th at Michigan on June 17, 1979.  He passed away in 2001.
*This is the first last-place finish for the #46 in a Cup Series race since September 10, 2011, when Scott Speed’s #46 T&T Performance Ford fielded by Whitney Motorsports was involved in an early crash during the Wonderful Pistachios 400 at Richmond.  The #46 had never before finished last in a Cup race at Bristol.
*This marks the first time a Cup Series last-placer failed to complete a single lap since October 6, 2013, when Danica Patrick’s #10 GoDaddy Breast Cancer Awareness Chevrolet was involved in an opening-lap crash during the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas.

THE BOTTOM FIVE
43) #46-Michael Annett / 0 laps / engine
42) #20-Matt Kenseth / 110 laps / engine
41) #42-Kyle Larson / 356 laps / crash
40) #55-David Ragan / 443 laps / crash
39) #98-Timmy Hill / 476 laps / running

2015 LASTCAR CUP SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Alex Bowman, Landon Cassill (3)
2nd) J.J. Yeley (2)
3rd) Justin Allgaier, A.J. Allmendinger, Aric Almirola, Michael Annett, Trevor Bayne, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Joey Gase, David Gilliland, Timmy Hill, Sam Hornish, Jr., Kasey Kahne, Bobby Labonte, Brian Scott, Tony Stewart, Josh Wise (1)

2015 LASTCAR CUP SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Hillman Smith Motorsports, Tommy Baldwin Racing (3)
2nd) BK Racing, Go FAS Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, HScott Motorsports, Phil Parsons Racing / Premium Motorsports, Richard Petty Motorsports (2)
3rd) Front Row Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, JTG-Daugherty Racing, Richard Childress Racing / Circle Sport, Roush-Fenway Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing (1)

2015 LASTCAR CUP SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Chevrolet (14)
2nd) Ford (7)
3rd) Toyota (3)

XFINITY: Jeff Green Scores Seven Lasts In A Row, Clinches Fifth LASTCAR Title

SOURCE: Kris Branch
Jeff Green picked up the 74th last-place finish of his NASCAR XFINITY Series career in Friday’s Food City 300 at the Bristol Motor Speedway when his unsponsored #19 TriStar Motorsports Toyota fell out with a vibration after he completed 3 of the race’s 302 laps.

The finish was Green’s 14th of 2015 and occurred in his 409th series start.  It was his 7th in a row, breaking his own consecutive last-place finish record of 6 he set last week at Mid-Ohio.  By preventing both Carl Long and Morgan Shepherd from finishing last by 19 and 25 laps, respectively, Green also clinched his fifth LASTCAR XFINITY Series championship and fourth out of the last five.  In addition, if Green finishes last in at least 2 of the 11 remaining races in 2015, he will break his own single-season record of 15 last-place finishes set in 2013.

Green joined TriStar Motorsports as a “start-and-park” driver at Indianapolis Raceway Park on July 24, 2010, and in the next race at Iowa scored his 9th career XFINITY Series last-place finish in the #36 Long John Silver’s Chevrolet.  In his 144 series starts since the Iowa race, Green has finished last 65 times - a rate of nearly one out of every two starts.  Combined with 5 career last-place runs in Cup, Green now has 79 finishes across NASCAR’s top three divisions, 40 more than second-place Joe Nemechek.

40 drivers showed up to make the 40-car field, and Green secured the 31st starting spot with an average speed of 121.029 mph, defending his 32nd-fastest lap in Friday’s only practice session.

At the start of the race, it first appeared a first-lap skirmish would prevent Green from taking the spot.  Veteran part-timer and pit reporter Hermie Sadler timed in a strong 25th in JGL Racing’s #26 Virginia Lottery Toyota, but faltered at the start and was loose on the apron, dropping him to the tail end of the field behind the #40 Grafoid Dodge of Carl Long in 39th.  Then on Lap 3, the 40th spot went to Jordan Anderson, who replaced Mike Harmon in Harmon’s unsponsored #74 Dodge following Anderson’s DNQ for Wednesday’s Truck Series race.  However, the next time by, Green pitted from the 34th spot and pulled behind the wall, securing the last spot.

As mentioned, Long and Morgan Shepherd in the #89 Racing With Jesus Chevrolet also pulled out during the opening green-flag run.  37th went to owner-driver Benny Gordon, who also lost laps around the time Green pulled out after a battery issue on his #66 VSI / Somerset Regional Water Resources Toyota.  Gordon, making his first XFINITY Series start since Daytona in July, completed 65 laps before the electrical issue ended his night.  Anderson made several trips to pit road due to a similar electrical issue in his #74 and completed only 170 laps, but he still finished his first XFINITY Series race under power.

Finishing 26th on Friday night was 67-year-old series veteran Brad Teague, who ended his NASCAR XFINITY Series career at his home track.  Teague made his series debut with a 5th-place run at Bristol in 1982, his final top-ten there thirteen years later, and in between earned his lone series victory at Martinsville in 1987.  He made 241 XFINITY starts in addition to 9 in the Truck Series and 44 in Sprint Cup, where Martinsville and Bristol were again the scene of his two best finishes - an 11th and 12, respectively - in 1982.  Teague retires with 14 last-place finishes across all three of NASCAR’s top divisions - 12 in XFINITY and 2 in Cup - tying him for 16th-most all-time with six other drivers including Terry Labonte, Mark Martin, and Ken Schrader.  Teague hadn’t finished last in NASCAR since July 4, 2008, when a vibration stopped his #0 SponsorDavis.com Chevrolet after 4 laps of the Winn-Dixie 250 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona.

LASTCAR STATISTICS
*This is Green’s fourth last-place finish in the previous six XFINITY Series night races at Bristol and his second in row.
*The #19 had never before finished last in an XFINITY Series race at Bristol.

THE BOTTOM FIVE
40) #19-Jeff Green / 3 laps / vibration
39) #40-Carl Long / 22 laps / handling
38) #89-Morgan Shepherd / 28 laps / brakes
37) #66-Benny Gordon / 65 laps / electrical
36) #74-Jordan Anderson / 170 laps / running

2015 LASTCAR XFINITY SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Jeff Green (14) - 2015 CHAMPION
2nd) Dexter Bean (2)
3rd) C.J. Faison, Mike Harmon, Charles Lewandoski, Carl Long, Morgan Shepherd, Derek White (1)

2015 LASTCAR XFINITY SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) TriStar Motorsports (15)
2nd) King Autosport, Motorsports Business Management (2)
3rd) JGL Racing, Mike Harmon Racing, Shepherd Racing Ventures (1)

2015 LASTCAR XFINITY SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Toyota (17)
2nd) Chevrolet (3)
3rd) Dodge (2)

TRUCKS: Tyler Tanner Makes Tough Field, But Brakes Give Out At Bristol

SOURCE: ElvisOnFire, Rubbin's Racin' Forums
Tyler Tanner picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career in Wednesday’s UNOH 200 presented by ZLOOP at the Bristol Motor Speedway when his #36 Mittler Bros Machine & Tool Chevrolet fell out with brake problems after he completed 12 of the race’s 202 laps.  The finish occurred in Tanner’s 9th series start and was the second in a row for MB Motorsports’ #36 team.

Bristol was set to be the 23-year-old Auburn, Washington driver’s seventh start of the 2015 season, a year which began with a season-best 15th at Kansas that improved on his previous career-best of 21st.  Curiously, that 21st-place run came while driving the same MB Motorsports-owned #36 RAM that Blake Koch parked at Dover earlier that season.  This year, Tanner has scored three top-20 finishes for Mittler’s team while parking for him at Dover and for MAKE Motorsports at Michigan.  Last week’s last-placer Justin Jennings was tabbed as driver of Mittler’s primary #63, so it fell to Tanner to park the #36.

Tanner as one of 39 trucks on the preliminary entry list for the 32-truck Bristol event, and even after Clay Greenfield, Brandon Brown, and Chuck Buchanan, Jr. withdrew, speed in practice was still critical.  Tanner timed in 28th of 36 drivers in Tuesday’s opening practice and improved to 26th of 34 in Wednesday’s Happy Hour.  In qualifying, Tanner just avoided having to use a provisional with the 27th-fastest lap of 120.885 mph.

Missing the race were Jordan Anderson in Mike Harmon’s #74, defending LASTCAR Truck Series Champion Caleb Roark for Jennifer Jo Cobb in the #0, B.J. McLeod, whose Christopher Long-owned #45 had made every Truck Series start it had attempted since the fourth round at Kansas, and 19-year-old Cody Lane in his first Truck Series attempt.

Tanner missed driver introductions, keeping him sending him to the back of a field he already trailed, and he left the race under green after 12 circuits.  Caleb Holman, the next retiree, completed 112 laps on the night before his #75 Fuel In A Bottle / Food Country USA Chevrolet tangled with Ray Black, Jr., ending a night that began with a strong 8th-place starting spot.  In 30th was Daniel Suarez, driving for polesitter Kyle Busch, who had an overheating issue on his Arris Toyota with less than 50 laps to go that resulted in the #51 team’s only third finish worse than 9th all season.  29th went to Mason Mingus, whose unsponsored #15 Billy Boat Motorsports Chevrolet had brake issues, while MAKE Motorsports rounded out the Bottom Five with Ryan Ellis in the #1 Hutch Chevrolet-Buick-GMC sponsored Chevrolet.

For more on Tanner, check out his website at http://www.tylertanner.com/

LASTCAR STATISTICS
*This marks the first last-place finish for the #36 in a Truck Series race at Bristol.

THE BOTTOM FIVE
32) #36-Tyler Tanner / 12 laps / brakes
31) #75-Caleb Holman / 112 laps / crash
30) #51-Daniel Suarez / 154 laps / overheating
29) #15-Mason Mingus / 158 laps / brakes
28) #1-Ryan Ellis / 176 laps / running

2015 LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Norm Benning, Caleb Roark (3)
2nd) Adam Edwards, Joey Gattina, Stew Hayward, Justin Jennings, Jennifer Jo Cobb, Travis Kvapil, Justin Marks, Tyler Tanner (1)

2015 LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing (5)
2nd) Norm Benning Racing (4)
3rd) MB Motorsports (2)
4th) MAKE Motorsports, Mike Harmon Racing, Win-Tron Racing (1)

2015 LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Chevrolet (12)
2nd) RAM, Toyota (1)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

CUP: Timmy Hill’s Leaking Chevrolet Parked After “Tough Day” At Michigan

SOURCE: @TimmyHillRacer
Timmy Hill picked up the 3rd last-place finish of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career in Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 at the Michigan International Speedway when his unsponsored #98 Premium Motorsports Chevrolet was parked due to a recurring oil leak after he completed 9 of the race’s 200 laps.

The finish was Hill’s first of the 2015 season and his first in a Cup race since last September at Dover, 30 races ago.

Michigan was Hill’s fifth Cup start of the season, all of them coming for Jay Robinson’s Premium Motorsports.  Hill joined the team at Loudon as the substitute for the departing Josh Wise, who disagreed with plans for the future of the #98 team after Robinson acquired it from Phil Parsons.  Hill would be teamed with Reed Sorenson, who was also a replacement driver following Brendan Gaughan’s departure from Premium’s #62 after Daytona two weeks before.  Hill finished 38th in his Ford at Loudon, eight laps down, while Sorenson failed to qualify the #62 Chevrolet.

Sorenson missed the show again at Indianapolis, but Hill snagged the 42nd starting spot only to crash in practice, then in the backup break an axle coming to the green and spend the first 42 laps in the garage area.  Sorenson and Hill swapped rides the next week at Pocono, where that week’s short entry list allowed both cars to start and come home 34th and 36th.  At Watkins Glen, however, T.J. Bell couldn’t get the #62 into the show while Hill could only manage a 38th-place finish in the team’s other Chevrolet.

At Michigan, Premium brought a Ford to the track for the first time since Indianapolis, but once again Sorenson couldn’t get the #62 into the show.  Hill squeaked his way in to the 43rd starting spot with an average speed of 183.043 mph.  Hill was 42nd in the opening practice, 43rd and slowest in Saturday’s second session, and did not participate in Happy Hour.

On Sunday, Hill’s troubles began the very moment the cars rolled off of pit road.  Reports indicate the oil pump on his Chevrolet cracked right along the weld, causing the car to hemorrhage oil along the apron between Turns 1 and 2.  Hill pulled behind the wall as the field continued under the pace car for crews to dust the track with absorbent, and he was still there when the field took the green flag.  As at Indy, the Premium Motorsports crew managed to make repairs and Hill made it onto the track on Lap 7.  The efforts kept Hill from becoming the first driver to finish last in a Cup points race due to a “did not start” since September 5, 1993, when Bob Schacht’s #85 Burger King Ford fielded by the late Thee Dixon had mechanical issues during the pace laps of the Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington.

Just three laps after Hill returned to the track, however, the caution flew for a large piece of debris near the entrance to Turn 3.  Replays revealed that the debris was an oil drain pan the crew mistakenly left beneath the car.  Still fighting to make it to the competition caution on Lap 20, Hill started leaking oil again and was black flagged on Lap 14, sending him to the garage with just 3 laps completed in the event.  This time, the repairs took much longer, costing him more than 50 laps in total.

On Lap 52, with all other cars still running, Casey Mears made an unscheduled stop in his #13 GEICO Chevrolet.  The crew raised the hood and found the engine was overheating so bad that a radiator line had burst.  The team took the car behind the wall for further examination, but never returned to the track, retiring with overheating issues.  Three laps later on Lap 55, Hill returned to the track yet again, this time 52 laps down.  If Hill managed to complete at least a quarter distance of the race, Mears would have been left with his first last-place finish in Cup since June 11, 2006, when his #42 Texaco / Havoline Dodge crashed after 1 lap of the Pocono 500.

Unfortunately, on Lap 60, Hill’s car started trailing smoke and was black flagged for the final time.  This time, Hill’s car was parked by NASCAR, ending his afternoon.  NBC’s leaderboard officially listed Hill as “OUT” by Lap 94.

With Mears and Hill the only official retirees, the Bottom Five included a couple surprises.  41st went to Clint Bowyer, whose #15 5-Hour Energy Toyota crashed after contact with Ryan Newman’s Chevrolet on Lap 127.  The two made contact on the backstretch, sending Bowyer’s car hard into the outside wall before it backed into the inside retainer.  40th went to Travis Kvapil, who was making just his third start of the season and first for Circle Sport in the #33 Little Joe’s Autos Chevrolet.  10 laps down with Kvapil was Jimmie Johnson, who endured a miserable afternoon where his #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet spun three times, the last sending him into the grass and tearing up his front valence.

LASTCAR STATISTICS
*Hill becomes just the third last-place finisher in Cup Series history to be parked by NASCAR.  The other two occurrences were due to single-car teams failing to bring pit crews to the track for race day: Joe Ruttman’s #09 Phoenix Racing Dodge at Rockingham in 2004 and Mike Wallace’s #64 Gunselman Motorsports Toyota at Pocono in 2009.
*This is the first last-place finish for both Hill and the #98 in a Cup race at Michigan.

THE BOTTOM FIVE
43) #98-Timmy Hill / 9 laps / parked
42) #13-Casey Mears / 51 laps / overheating
41) #15-Clint Bowyer / 164 laps / running
40) #33-Travis Kvapil / 190 laps / running
39) #48-Jimmie Johnson / 190 laps / running

2015 LASTCAR CUP SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Alex Bowman, Landon Cassill (3)
2nd) J.J. Yeley (2)
3rd) Justin Allgaier, A.J. Allmendinger, Aric Almirola, Trevor Bayne, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Joey Gase, David Gilliland, Timmy Hill, Sam Hornish, Jr., Kasey Kahne, Bobby Labonte, Brian Scott, Tony Stewart, Josh Wise (1)

2015 LASTCAR CUP SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Hillman Smith Motorsports, Tommy Baldwin Racing (3)
2nd) BK Racing, Go FAS Racing, Hendrick Motorsports,  Phil Parsons Racing / Premium Motorsports, Richard Petty Motorsports (2)
3rd) Front Row Motorsports, HScott Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, JTG-Daugherty Racing, Richard Childress Racing / Circle Sport, Roush-Fenway Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing (1)

2015 LASTCAR CUP SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Chevrolet (13)
2nd) Ford (7)
3rd) Toyota (3)

XFINITY: Jeff Green Extends Last-Place Record To Six Straight Races, In Position To Claim LASTCAR Title With 12 Races Remaining

SOURCE: Mansfield NewsJournal,
Submitted By Sam Laughlin
Jeff Green picked up the 73rd last-place finish of his NASCAR XFINITY Series career in Saturday’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course when his unsponsored #19 TriStar Motorsports Toyota fell out with a vibration after he completed 3 of the race’s 75 laps.

The finish was Green’s thirteenth of the season and his sixth in a row, beating his own NASCAR record streak of five he set last week at Watkins Glen.  With just twelve races to go on the XFINITY Series schedule, Green is already a virtual lock for his fifth LASTCAR XFINITY Series title and his fourth in five years.

All drivers who have yet to finish last in an XFINITY Series race have now officially been eliminated from LASTCAR title contention as a last-place run in all 12 remaining races would still be one short of Green’s current mark of 13.  Among the one-timers, C.J. Faison, Mike Harmon, and Charles Lewandoski are also eliminated as they have fewer than 4 bottom-five finishes and thus in 12 races cannot match Green’s current mark of 16 to force a bottom-ten tiebreaker.

Derek White, Carl Long, and Morgan Shepherd can only claim the title if any one of them doubles Green’s current streak and finishes last in all 12 remaining races, but can still lose depending where Green finishes.  This is because Green already has 16 bottom-five finishes - one in each of his starts - while all three drivers have fewer starts and Bottom Fives than Green this season.  Thus, White will be eliminated if Green gets just one more Bottom Five, Long if Green gets 4 more, and Shepherd if Green gets 8 more - even if any one of them sweeps all 12 last-place runs.

Dexter Bean, the only other driver besides Green to finish last twice in 2015, is the only driver who can claim the 2015 LASTCAR XFINITY Series title by finishing last in all 12 of the remaining races this season, no matter what Green does.  However, unlike White, Long, and Shepherd, this is the only way Bean can win the title.  Bean has only two starts and thus cannot rely on any tiebreakers against Green.

Long story short: Derek White, Carl Long, Morgan Shepherd, and Dexter Bean are the only title challengers that remain.  Three will be eliminated at Bristol if one of them finishes last in Friday’s race.  The fourth will be eliminated if he fails to trail all 11 races after, subject to where Green finishes.  If anything else happens, all four will be eliminated and Green will win the title.

UPDATE (Monday August 17): Derek White and Dexter Bean are not on the entry list for Bristol while Morgan Shepherd (#89) and Carl Long (#40) are, so Shepherd and Long are now the only two title contenders remaining.

So this Friday at Bristol, Green can not only extend his consecutive last-place streak to an unprecedented seven races, but can also clinch the title in the very race he set his four-race streak in 2011.

Last week at Mid-Ohio, Green turned laps in the weekend’s opening practice session for the first time in several races, clocking in the 24th-fastest time of 36 drivers after 11 laps around the course.  He instead was one of two drivers to sit out Happy Hour on Friday afternoon, then turned in the 33rd-fastest time in qualifying with a lap of 91.758 mph.

The 40th starting spot in Saturday’s race went to Scottish driver John Jackson, who became the fourth driver in five 2015 starts to drive Jimmy Means’ second car, #79.  Coming to the green flag, Jackson was joined by JD Motorsports teammates Landon Cassill and Michael Self, whose #01 and #0 Chevrolets were sent to the rear for unapproved adjustments.  Cassill was sent to the back as he was pulling double-duty with the Cup race in Michigan, and Ryan Ellis turned in a sterling 20th-place starting spot for Cassill in qualifying.

At the completion of the first lap, Cassill, Self, and then Jackson moved their way through the field, dropping Josh Reaume and the unsponsored #40 Dodge from Motorsports Business Management to the back of the field.  By the time Reaume passed Jackson on Lap 3, the two were racing in their own pack 39 seconds behind the field along with the #74 WCIParts.com Chevrolet of Mike Harmon.  The next time by, Green was a the back of the field, 4 seconds behind 39th-place Jackson and 54 seconds behind leader Alex Tagliani.  It was at that moment Green pulled behind the wall and out of the race.  The NBC leaderboard was updated by Lap 7 showing Green “OUT” for the record-breaking sixth week in a row and second-straight road course.

Reaume lost a lap early and followed Green three laps later while Jackson raced toward the 30th spot and was still on the lead lap when he exited with brake issues after 18 circuits.  Morgan Shepherd, who rebounded from his DNQ at Watkins Glen to start next to the Reaume’s team car he replaced that same day, left after 33 laps with fuel pump issues.  Dylan Kwasinewski lost several laps early with mechanical issues on his #97 Vroom! Brands Chevrolet, but on Lap 59 was passed for the 36th spot by Carlos Contreras, whose first XFINITY start since Richmond ended with a busted suspension with 25 to go.

LASTCAR STATISTICS
*This is the first last-place finish for both Green and the #19 in an XFINITY Series race at Mid-Ohio.

THE BOTTOM FIVE
40) #19-Jeff Green / 3 laps / vibration
39) #40-Josh Reaume / 6 laps / fuel pump
38) #79-John Jackson / 18 laps / brakes
37) #89-Morgan Shepherd / 33 laps / fuel pump
36) #15-Carlos Contreras / 50 laps / suspension

2015 LASTCAR XFINITY SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Jeff Green (13)
2nd) Dexter Bean (2)
3rd) C.J. Faison, Mike Harmon, Charles Lewandoski, Carl Long, Morgan Shepherd, Derek White (1)

2015 LASTCAR XFINITY SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) TriStar Motorsports (14)
2nd) King Autosport, Motorsports Business Management (2)
3rd) JGL Racing, Mike Harmon Racing, Shepherd Racing Ventures (1)

2015 LASTCAR XFINITY SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Toyota (16)
2nd) Chevrolet (3)
3rd) Dodge (2)

TRUCKS: Justin Jennings Continues Silent Work For Mittler Team At Michigan

SOURCE: Rubbin's Racin' Forums
Justin Jennings picked up the 4th 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 #36 Mittler Bros. Machine & Tool Chevrolet fell out with handling issues after he completed 6 of the race’s 100 laps.

The finish was Jennings’ first of the season and his first in a Truck Series race since last fall at Phoenix, 14 races ago.

Last year’s finish at Phoenix put Jennings in a tie with Caleb Roark for the 2014 LASTCAR Truck Series Championship, a battle won by Roark when his #0 Chevrolet trailed the field in the season finale at Homestead.  This year, coming into Michigan, Jennings had made eight Truck Series starts, splitting time between the team’s primary #63 and the “start-and-park” #36.  One of those co-drivers, dirt tracker Bobby Pierce, stunned at Eldora in July by winning the pole and finishing a close 2nd to Christopher Bell, earning MB Motorsports its first-ever top-five finish in its twenty years on the circuit.

At Michigan, Jennings would run the #36 for the second-straight race as the primary #63 went to Garrett Smithley.  Smithley, a 23-year-old rookie from Georgia who made his series debut earlier this year at Atlanta, finished a strong 16th two weeks ago at Pocono and the decision was made to keep him in the truck.  Jennings, meanwhile, would have to wait until next Wednesday’s race at Bristol to try and improve on his season-best 22nd at Kentucky - the only race this season he’s finished under power.

Jennings and Smithley were among the 34 trucks on Michigan’s preliminary entry list, but the field was shortened to 33 following the withdrawal of open-wheel driver Shigeaki Hattori’s #18 Goodyear Toyota.  Hattori, whose 10th and most recent start as a Truck Series driver came at Nashville in 2005, looked to debut his own team, but the truck was withdrawn before a driver was announced.

Jennings, meanwhile, timed in 25th of 29 trucks in Friday’s opening practice and 27th of 32 in Happy Hour.  He then secured the 24th starting spot with an average speed of 175.268 mph, well ahead of Timothy Viens, the lone DNQ in Mike Affarano’s #03 RaceDaySponsor.com Chevrolet.  Viens, still looking to make his first Truck start since Dover in May, was faster than Jennings in Happy Hour, but was 5 mph slower in qualifying.

The 32nd starting spot went to fourth-year driver Tyler Tanner, another of the drivers sharing Jennings’ #63 ride at MB Motorsports.  At Michigan, Tanner drove for MAKE Motorsports in the #50 Shane Duncan Band “Life’s Snooze Bar” Chevrolet which fell out after 16 circuits and came home 29th.  By then, Jennings had already exited six laps into the race followed by part-timer Todd Peck in his family-owned #40 Arthritis Foundation / OSS Health Chevrolet and B.J. McLeod, his sixth bottom-five finish in seven starts in 2015 driving the #45 Tilted Kilt Chevrolet.  Rounding out the Bottom Five was Caleb Roark, who remains tied with 27th-place finisher Norm Benning for the 2015 LASTCAR Truck Series lead.  Roark now matches Bennings’ 4 bottom-five finishes, but still trails Benning in the title hunt in a bottom-ten tiebreaker of 10-4.

Smithley, Jennings’ teammate, finished a career-best 14th in Mittler’s #63 BRUH / SegPay Chevrolet.

LASTCAR STATISTICS
*This is the first last-place finish for the #36 in a Truck Series race since last fall at Texas, when defending LASTCAR XFINITY Series Champion Blake Koch drove Mittler’s #36 Mittler Bros. Machine & Tool Chevrolet 3 laps into the Winstar World Casino and Resort 350 at Texas before rear axle issues.
*This is the first last-place finish for both Jennings and the #36 in a Truck Series race at Michigan.
*Jennings is the first Truck Series last-placer to fall out with handling issues since September 8, 2013, when Chris Lafferty’s #0 Koma Unwind / Driven2Honor.org Chevrolet fell out after 5 laps of the Fan Appreciation 200 presented by New Holland at the Iowa Speedway.

THE BOTTOM FIVE
32) #36-Justin Jennings / 6 laps / handling
31) #40-Todd Peck / 12 laps / rear gear
30) #45-B.J. McLeod / 15 laps / electrical
29) #50-Tyler Tanner / 16 laps / clutch
28) #0-Caleb Roark / 19 laps / vibration

2015 LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Norm Benning, Caleb Roark (3)
2nd) Adam Edwards, Joey Gattina, Stew Hayward, Justin Jennings, Jennifer Jo Cobb, Travis Kvapil, Justin Marks (1)

2015 LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing (5)
2nd) Norm Benning Racing (4)
3rd) MAKE Motorsports, MB Motorsports, Mike Harmon Racing, Win-Tron Racing (1)

2015 LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Chevrolet (11)
2nd) RAM, Toyota (1)

Sunday, August 9, 2015

CUP: Tony Stewart’s First Watkins Glen Start In Three Years Ends With Mechanical Issues

SOURCE: Todd Warshaw, Getty Images
Tony Stewart picked up the 7th 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 #14 Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1 Chevrolet fell out with a busted rear gear after he completed 58 of the race’s 90 laps.

The finish was Stewart’s first of the 2015 season and his first in a Cup race since last November’s season finale at Homestead, 23 races ago.  The finish occurred in Stewart’s 576th series start.

Sunday’s race at Watkins Glen was Stewart’s first start in the event since 2012, the absences the result of a pair of tragic dirt-track accidents that brought both a physical and emotional toll on the veteran racer.  2015 had not been a kind season to the three-time series champion with no wins and only two top-ten finishes: a 6th at Bristol and a 9th last week at Pocono.  Three times in the first nine races, including the season-opening Daytona 500, Stewart had fallen out due to crashes, and he came to the road course mired in 25th in points.

However, on Saturday, Watkins Glen saw Stewart earn his third-straight top-five start in qualifying with a season-best 3rd at an average speed of 127.481 mph.  The car had improved steadily from practice, where it was 14th and 10th in Friday’s two sessions.  Following a strong showing at Sonoma in June, where Stewart contended for the win before a pit stop left him 12th, hopes were high that Stewart could get a much-needed boost at the track where he’d won five times previous.

The 43rd starting spot belonged to Timmy Hill, back in what appeared to be the same white #98 Chevrolet that Josh Wise ran at Sonoma, though this time with blue numbers and without the Dogecoin and Reddit logos.  Hill was the only Premium Motorsports entry in Sunday’s field as T.J. Bell’s qualifying crash in the XFINITY Series was followed with a DNQ for the #62 Tuctite Hosters Chevrolet that kept Bell from his first Cup start since Dover in September 2012.  Hill only held the spot briefly as Chris Buescher, making his first Cup race since Talladega in May, struggled with transmission issues on his #34 Bully Hill Vineyards Ford.  Buescher was more than 90 seconds behind the leader after the first circuit and was the first to go down a lap on Lap 3.

Buescher held the 43rd spot for most of the race’s first half as the race for 42nd intensified.  J.J. Yeley’s #23 Dr. Pepper Toyota lost touch with the field on Lap 5, then was passed for the spot on Lap 10 by Aric Almirola, whose #43 Smithfield Ford had to make an unscheduled stop following a spin and contact with Paul Menard in Turn 1.  On Lap 28, four circuits after Buescher lost his second lap, Jeff Gordon’s ailing #24 Axalta Chevrolet made an unscheduled stop to replace a faulty brake line.  The next time by, Gordon took 43rd from Buescher, and for the second time in three races seemed set to score his first last-place finish in Cup since 2008 and his first on a road course.

On Lap 31, Gordon returned to the track 4 laps back and still in the 43rd spot.  Buescher began to climb through the standings on Lap 47 when Austin Dillon’s #3 Dow Chevrolet cut down a left-rear tire on the backstretch following an earlier Turn 1 spin with Kyle Larson, the resulting stop dropping Dillon off the lead lap and down to 42nd.  When Dillon rejoined Gordon on track with all 43 competitors still running no more than 4 laps in arrears, the last-place battle was still anyone’s to claim when the race went green on Lap 50.

At that moment, Sam Hornish, Jr., running wit the leaders in his #9 Medallion Bank Ford, missed a shift and piled up the inside line, causing a chain reaction that damaged several cars.  Most badly damaged was the #5 Time Warner Cable Chevrolet of last week’s last-place finisher Kasey Kahne, whose machine rear-ended another car before he was rear-ended by the #32 Genesee Brewing Company Ford of Boris Said.  Kahne went to the garage while both Said and Jamie McMurray received large patches of tape to the noses of their cars.  By Lap 54, Kahne had taken 43rd from his teammate Gordon and looked poised to become the first driver to score his first two Cup last-place finishes in consecutive races since September 2003, when Christian Fittipaldi went back-to-back at Darlington and Richmond driving the #43 Cheerios Dodge for Richard Petty.

Heading down the backstretch on Lap 58, Stewart was running around the 15th spot when his #14 slowed suddenly, then pulled off into the infield grass just before the Inner Loop.  The fifth and, ultimately, final caution came out to move his car back to the garage area.  Stewart’s radio communications indicated both rear axles were broken, but he was soon listed out of the race with a broken rear gear.  Under the caution on Lap 60, Kahne returned to the track 10 laps in arrears.  The #14 did not return to the race and, along with Yeley last month at Loudon, became the only retiree of a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.  Kahne finally bumped Stewart to last on Lap 68.

Kahne came home 42nd with Gordon 41st and McMurray’s damaged #1 McDonald’s Chevrolet four laps back in 40th.  Rounding out the Bottom Five was rookie Jeb Burton, whose #26 Maxim Toyota suffered right-front damage in an earlier incident and ended up two laps back, just behind Hill, Buescher, and Dillon.

LASTCAR STATISTICS
*This marks Stewart’s first-ever last-place finish in a NASCAR road course race and the first for the #14 since June 24, 2007, when the engine of Sterling Marlin’s Wiley-X Chevrolet let go after 12 laps of the Toyota / Save Mart 350.  The #14 had never finished last in a Cup race at Watkins Glen.
*Stewart’s 3rd-place starting spot makes him the highest-qualified last-place finisher at Watkins Glen since August 12, 2001, when Rusty Wallace started 5th in the Global Crossing at The Glen before his #2 Miller Lite Ford lost the engine after 14 laps.

THE BOTTOM FIVE
43) #14-Tony Stewart / 56 laps / rear gear
42) #5-Kasey Kahne / 78 laps / running
41) #24-Jeff Gordon / 86 laps / running
40) #1-Jamie McMurray / 86 laps / running
39) #26-Jeb Burton / 88 laps / running

2015 LASTCAR CUP SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Alex Bowman, Landon Cassill (3)
2nd) J.J. Yeley (2)
3rd) Justin Allgaier, A.J. Allmendinger, Aric Almirola, Trevor Bayne, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Joey Gase, David Gilliland, Sam Hornish, Jr., Kasey Kahne, Bobby Labonte, Brian Scott, Tony Stewart, Josh Wise (1)

2015 LASTCAR CUP SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Hillman Smith Motorsports, Tommy Baldwin Racing (3)
2nd) BK Racing, Go FAS Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, Richard Petty Motorsports (2)
3rd) Front Row Motorsports, HScott Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, JTG-Daugherty Racing, Phil Parsons Racing / Premium Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing / Circle Sport, Roush-Fenway Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing (1)

2015 LASTCAR CUP SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Chevrolet (12)
2nd) Ford (7)
3rd) Toyota (3)