Friday, July 20, 2018

#JD70: How To Get Your Copy of "J.D.," And How To Get It Signed

Waldorf Publishing, 2018

Includes tax and shipping, to anywhere in the U.S.
Make payment by PayPal at
Be sure to include your shipping address and whether you want yours signed.
For international shipping, contact me at first for the price.
$20.00 for each additional copy.
Copies signed upon request for no additional charge.


(Book IS in stock, Waldorf fills orders on a 48-hour turnaround)
*Available in both paperback and digital Kindle edition on Amazon.


Mail your copy along with a stamped and addressed return 8" x 11.5" envelope to:
Brock Beard
3240 Lone Tree Way, Suite 101
Antioch, California 94509-5559



Saturday, July 21, 2018
1:00 P.M. - 3:00 P.M. Pacific
Railroad Book Depot
650 Railroad Avenue
Pittsburg, CA 94565
(925) 427-2334

Saturday, August 4, 2018
Watkins Glen, New York
Time and Location TBD

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

TRUCKS: Norm Benning’s strong night in Eldora ends just short of the finish

Richard Allen, (@RichardAllenIDR)
Norm Benning picked up the 12th last-place finish of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career in Wednesday’s Eldora Dirt Derby at the Eldora Speedway when his #6 Zomongo / H&H Transport Chevrolet was collected in a multi-truck accident after 144 of 153 laps.

The finish, which came in Benning’s 197th series start, was his first since October 14, 2017 at Talladega, 17 races ago. In the Truck Series last-place rankings, it was the 11th for the #6, the 144th because of a crash, and the 356th for Chevrolet. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 58th for the #6, the 1,153rd for a crash, and the 1,612th for Chevrolet.

Benning has become synonymous with the Eldora track. Earlier on the day of the race, he was photographed next to his bright red #57 Chevrolet, a truck that in 2013 became famous for a no-holds-barred battle with Clay Greenfield for the final transfer spot in the Dirt Derby’s inaugural Last Chance Qualifier. That day, Benning reminded everyone of his prowess on the dirt tracks, where he’d also been fielding ARCA Racing Series entries on the dirt of DuQuoin, Springfield, and Mineral Wells since 1997.

Coming into this year’s Eldora race, Benning looked to improve on his track-best finish of 13th in last year’s Derby. After some difficulty qualifying for races the last two seasons, he’s made every race in 2018 with a season-best 14th in the Daytona opener. But seven DNFs, including three times being flagged off the track or parked for his speed, placed him just 21st in the point standings.

Benning began his weekend 30th in Tuesday’s opening practice session and matched that rank in Happy Hour. He picked up some in qualifying, ranking 28th with a lap of 83.149 mph (21.648 seconds), lining him up 6th in the field of 8 for Heat Race 3. Much like in the LCQ in 2013, Benning stole the show, speeding past the fleet KBM truck of Noah Gragson after Gragson slipped up the track in Turn 2. The FS1 crew remarked at how stable Benning’s truck looked, and the veteran snagged the 4th spot, locking himself into the main. He’d line up 18th in the field of 32. Track owner Tony Stewart was the first to congratulate Benning in the paddock, and Kenny Wallace interviewed him for FS1.

As it turned out, the other four heat races also saw underdogs prevail over fully-funded efforts. In Heat Race 1, contact between John Hunter Nemechek and Braden Mitchell opened the door for Austin Hill, who joined his other two Young’s Motorsports teammates Ty Dillon and Tanner Thorson in the main event. Heat Race 2 saw Max McLaughlin get Al Niece’s second truck into the show, beating Dillon to the line for 4th. Heat Race 4’s star was Nick Hoffman, whose run in D.J. Copp’s #83 Chevrolet saw him run fast laps in the very upper lane for a 3rd-place finish. And in Race 5, after his teammate Mitchell’s #33 was sent to the LCQ, Jeffrey Abbey got the Reaume Brothers’ new second truck into the main event, building a two-second cushion and taking the final transfer spot in the #34 Chevrolet.

With 39 drivers entered, seven missed the show, and they happened to finish in the final seven spots in the Last Chance Qualifier:

First among them was John Provenzano, who was looking to make his first start in a national touring series since 1997, since he ran an ARCA Racing Series event at Salem. Driving Mike Affarano’s #03 Calumet City Auto Parts / Stop Bullying Chevrolet, Provenzano was the first to pull off the track after 4 laps of Heat Race 5. The problem proved terminal, as the driver didn’t start the LCQ.

Slowest in qualifying, Mike Harmon missed out in a battered #50 Motorsport Safety Group Chevrolet for Beaver Motorsports, as did his crewman Trevor Collins, who attempted to make his debut in Harmon’s #74 Solid Rock / Southern National Chevrolet. So did Jennifer Jo Cobb and her teammate Ray Ciccarelli, whose identical black Driven2Honor Chevrolets nearly missed the race when their hauler broke down. Ciccarelli had a particularly difficult time, spinning out several times in both his heat and the qualifier.

The aforementioned Braden “Big Papa” Mitchell banged fenders with John Hunter Nemechek in Heat Race 1, spinning out twice in the process in the Reaume Brothers’ #33 Sparks Energy, Inc. Chevrolet. He was about to transfer in on the final lap of the heat before he and Nemechek collided once more, sending both into the LCQ. Nemechek won that round while Mitchell spun out and finished 8th.

Fellow “dirt ringer” R.J. Otto, Jr. had the biggest heartbreaker of all. After starting alongside Nemechek in the LCQ in JJL Motorsports’ tribute to Red Farmer, Otto was holding fast to the second spot until the final laps, when he slid out of a transfer spot into 3rd. Otto was still digging when he slammed the wall in Turn 2, then spun down the backstretch with two laps to go. He parked the #97 S&S Express Ford after that, ending his night.

With the field for the 150-lap main set, starting last was Dalton Sargeant, one of several full-time drivers who found themselves having to scrounge for positions in the Last Chance Qualifier. He came into the race 11th in points, 98 markers behind the bubble. Joining him at the back was Wendell Chavous, sent to the rear for unapproved adjustments on the #49 Sobriety Nation Chevrolet.

At the end of the first lap, Noah Gragson fell to the rear in the #18 Safelite Auto Glass Toyota, apparently struggling with damage suffered in his Turn 2 hit during his heat race. Gragson fell more than 8 seconds back before he reeled in Jeffrey Abbey on Lap 5. Abbey’s #34 was still trailing on Lap 10 when Johnny Sauter spun his #21 Allegiant Chevrolet in Turn 2 and stalled, losing a lap as he tried to get rolling again.

On Lap 21, Justin Fontaine was running 31st in his #45 ProMatic Automation / Superior Essex Chevrolet when he spun and slammed the Turn 3 wall with the driver’s side. The caution allowed Sauter to get the Lucky Dog, and Fontaine managed to narrowly stay on the lead lap. Fontaine took last place from Sauter under the ensuing yellow on Lap 25.

Three circuits later on Lap 28, the spot fell to Cody Coughlin, whose #2 Coughlin Chevrolet-backed Chevrolet spun in a chain reaction started after a four-wide battle for the lead caused Stewart Friesen to be bumped into a spin by Chris Windom exiting Turn 4. Like Sauter before him, Coughlin lost a lap as a result, and was still running last at the end of Stage 1. Fontaine re-took the last spot on Lap 42.

On Lap 46, another frontrunner had a sudden misfortune. Race leader Ben Rhodes claimed the pole and led 44 of the first 45 laps, taking Stage 1 in the process. On Lap 46, something broke entering Turn 1 and the #41 The Carolina Nut Co. Ford slammed into the wall with the right-front.

Then, on the 54th lap, the battle for 4th went sideways when Tyler Dippel’s #17 Hue Jackson Foundation / Caruso Logistics Ford crossed the nose of Matt Crafton’s #88 Menards / Ideal Door Ford, sending both trucks sliding up the track. Trapped with nowhere else to go was Ryan Newman, driving in place of team owner Jordan Anderson in the #3 Ryan Newman VR Experience / MotoShield Pro Chevrolet. Newman ran into the back of Crafton, damaging the right-front of the #3 and knocking out FS1’s onboard camera. Newman lost a total of four laps as the crew worked on the right-front, and he returned returned to action for the Lap 61 restart.

Newman remained last through the rest of Stage 2 and for most of Stage 3, even as several other altercations bent fenders and stirred tempers. With 12 laps to go in the race, Coughlin spun and stalled once again, dropping him to 31st, but just one lap short of taking the spot from Newman. By then, Rhodes’ night had also deteriorated as he spun, but didn’t draw a caution, putting him on the same lap as Coughlin.

Benning didn’t enter the last-place picture until just three laps to go, when trouble broke out on the backstretch. Contact between Dalton Sargeant and J.R. Heffner caused a chain reaction. Benning spun and was apparently struck by the closing #63 G-Style Transportation / Cedar Peaks Chevrolet of Kyle Strickler. The contact sheared the door from Benning’s truck and destroyed the right-front suspension on the Strickler machine. Both trucks made it to pit road, but were done for the night. Benning, classified one lap behind Strickler, fell down the rankings first, and took the spot on Lap 149 as the field prepared for a green-white-checkered finish. Strickler, Newman, Rhodes, and Coughlin rounded out the Bottom Five, their first bottom-five runs of 2018.

The race was won by Chase Briscoe, who impressed in his first Truck Series start since he won last fall’s Homestead finale, his last ride in ThorSport’s #27 machine. Joining him in the Top 10 was 10th-place Nick Hoffman, who fell outside the Top 20 early in the event, then clawed his way back up the rankings. It was team owner D.J. Copp’s only second top-ten finish, matching the team’s best of 10th by Bayley Currey last fall at Phoenix. Max McLaughlin came just two spots short of a Top 10 of his own, finishing 12th – the third-best finish by Niece Motorsports.

*This marked the first time the #6 finished last in a dirt track NASCAR race since July 17, 1962, when Rock Harn’s 1960 Ford crashed after 2 laps at the Augusta (Georgia) Speedway – almost 56 years to the day.
*The 144 laps Benning completed stands as the fourth-most by a last-place finisher in Truck Series history, and the most by any Truck Series last-placer since May 24, 2008, when Tim Cowen’s #42 Cowen Truck Lines Ford overheated after 140 laps of the Ohio 250 at Mansfield. The record belongs with Ken Butler, who at Mansfield the year before on May 26, 2007 ran 167 of 250 laps before the engine let go on his #00 Aaron’s Lucky Dog Toyota in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Ohio 250.
*Benning is the first last-place finisher of this event to have not also earned the first last-place finish of his Truck Series career.

32) #6-Norm Benning / 144 laps / crash
31) #63-Kyle Strickler / 145 laps / crash
30) #3-Ryan Newman / 149 laps / running
29) #41-Ben Rhodes / 150 laps / running
28) #2-Cody Coughlin / 150 laps / running

1st) MB Motorsports (4)
2nd) Beaver Motorsports (3)
3rd) Copp Motorsports (2)
4th) Mike Harmon Racing, NEMCO Motorsports, Norm Benning Racing, TJL Racing (1)

1st) Chevrolet (13)


PREVIEW: A stacked field of dirt track ringers in Eldora followed by two series debuts in Loudon

PHOTO: @jrheffnerracing
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
TRUCKS Race 13 of 23
Eldora Dirt Derby 150 at Eldora
2017 Last-Place Finisher: Caleb Holman

There were originally 40 trucks entered for this season’s annual dirt track round. But by the time the preliminary list was posted, Kyle Busch Motorsports withdrew the #46 without selecting a driver, leaving 39 trucks for the grid of 32. Seven drivers will not transfer into the main event.

DRIVER CHANGE: #0-Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing
Ray Ciccarelli returns to action this week, making his second attempt of the season following a DNQ at Dover for TJL Racing. He takes the place of Camden Murphy, next-to-last in Kentucky, and brings with him sponsorship from Stealth Belt.

DRIVER CHANGE: #3-Jordan Anderson Racing
As announced on July 12, Ryan Newman will drive in place of Jordan Anderson with sponsorship from the VRX Ryan Newman VR Experience, MotoShield Pro, and Newman’s Rescue Ranch foundation. It will be Newman’s first start in the event since the 2013 inaugural, when he finished 3rd for Turner Motorsports.

RETURNING: #12-Young’s Motorsports
The third Young’s Motorsports entry returns for a second time this year, the first since Iowa in June when Reid Wilson finished 28th. This time around, Cup regular Ty Dillon takes the wheel. Ty’s brother Austin won the first running of this race in 2013.

DRIVER CHANGE: #15-Premium Motorsports
J.R. Heffner’s long wait is over. After a blown engine during qualifying for the 2017 race forced he and the Martins Motorsports team to withdraw, J.R. Heffner is back, looking to make the main for a third time. He again runs sponsorship from A. Colarusso with new associate Upstate Utilities, though this time on the quarter-panels of Jay Robinson’s #15 Chevrolet. He takes the place of Robby Lyons, who ran 22nd in his series return at Kentucky.

Tyler Dippel won his second and most recent K&N Pro Series East race at the Langley Speedway this past April. Currently second in the standings, just 22 markers behind Tyler Ankrum, Dippel and team owner David Gilliland turn their attention to Eldora. Dippel eyes his Truck Series debut as he drives in place of Chris Eggleston. He brings with him sponsorship from the Hue Jackson Foundation and Caruso Logistics.

DRIVER CHANGE: #20-Young’s Motorsports
Nevada’s Tanner Thorson prepares to make his third Truck Series start of the year and first since a 13th at Iowa. He takes the place of Tate Fogleman, 28th after suspension issues at Kentucky. It will be Thorson’s first attempt at this race.

RETURNING: #27-ThorSport Racing
Before he heads north to the XFINITY race in New Hampshire, Chase Briscoe will return to the site of his 3rd-place finish at Eldora last year for Brad Keselowski Racing. He drives ThorSport’s #27 truck, a ride we haven’t seen since the entry was scrubbed at the end of last season. Ben Rhodes, who ran the #27 last year and now campaigns ThorSport’s #41, had his worst finish of last season in this race, finishing 30th after a crash.

DRIVER CHANGE: #33-Reaume Brothers Racing
Ever since he was 13, Alabama’s Braden Mitchell has been running dirt late models. Currently runner-up in the standings at the North Alabama Speedway, Mitchell makes his NASCAR debut in Josh Reaume’s #33 Chevrolet. He carries sponsorship from Sparks Energy, Inc., a brand more closely identified with Joey Gase in Cup and XFINITY.

NEW TEAM: #34-Reaume Brothers Racing
In addition to Mitchell’s debut, the Reaume Brothers expand to two trucks for the first time in 2018. Driving the second truck, the #34, is Jeffrey Abbey, 14th here last year for Niece Motorsports. Abbey eyes his first series start since last fall at Martinsville, where he ran 22nd, one lap down.

RETURNING: #38-Niece Motorsports
The Niece team also expands to two trucks for the first time since last fall at Las Vegas. Driving the #38 this time is “Mad” Max McLaughlin. The son of veteran XFINITY racer “Magic Shoes” Mike McLaughlin, Max has followed his father’s path through the dirt tracks, starting in UMP Modifieds and now running Super DIRT Car Big Block Modifieds. Al Niece’s full-time driver Justin Fontaine remains in the team’s primary truck, the #45.

DRIVER CHANGE: #50-Beaver Motorsports
RETURNING: #74-Mike Harmon Racing
Mike Harmon takes the place of Timmy Hill, who DNQ’d at Kentucky, in the #50 Motorsport Safety Group Chevrolet. He climbs from the seat of his #74, not entered last week in Kentucky, to make way for a member of his crew, dirt racer Trevor Collins. Collins, who celebrated his 30th birthday on Sunday, runs a slightly different look on the Harmon truck with italicized dirt track-style numbers on the doors.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Kyle Busch Motorsports
Like Jeff Gordon before him, Logan Norman Seavey moved from California to Indiana, and has been electric in USAC midgets. With sponsorship from Mobil 1, Seavey trades his traditional #67 for the fleet KBM #51, taking the place of Brandon Jones. Seavey’s ride was announced by current XFINITY Series driver Christopher Bell, Eldora’s defending winner, on July 11.

Joining Tyler Dippel on the Gilliland team is Chris Windom, who we last saw attempt a number of races with Mike Mittler’s MB Motorsports. He finished 19th in his series debut in this race last year. This time around, Windom and his Baldwin Brothers sponsorship move to the #54, taking the place of Bo LeMastus.

DRIVER CHANGE: #63-MB Motorsports
After three heartbreaking near-misses at victory lane, Bobby Pierce is not entered in this year’s Dirt Derby. Taking his place in Mike Mittler’s #63 Chevrolet is “The High Side Tickler,” two-time Supernational Champion and Renegades of Dirt National Champion Kyle Strickler. This week, he trades in his black-and-gold #8 dirt modified for what could be another strong bid at getting Mittler’s team into victory lane.

RETURNING: #80-Jacob Wallace Racing
For the third-straight year, Justin Shipley and the Wallace team’s #80 Ford return to Eldora with sponsorship from Roger’s. Shipley made the last two runnings of this race, but has yet to come home under power. He finished 31st with overheating issues in 2016, then 25th after engine woes last year.

DRIVER CHANGE: #83-Copp Motorsports
Welcome back Nick Hoffman, who is set to make his first attempt at a Truck Series race since June 4, 2011, when he ran 25th for MB Motorsports at Kansas. This time around, he drives for Mittler’s sister team owned by D.J. Copp, taking the place of Tyler Matthews. And he’ll do it on dirt, where in his absence he’s cut his share of laps in dirt modifieds, driving the blue Elite Chassis #2.

RETURNING: #97-JJL Motorsports
Dirt track racing is just as much a throwback as the Darlington Raceway, and the #97 will pay homage to a legend of both. The blue Ford will this week be decorated white with gold stripes, resembling the machines piloted by ageless Red Farmer. Behind the wheel is R.J. Otto, Jr., another driver from the UMP Modifieds. The truck carries sponsorship from S&S Express.

RETURNING: #99-MDM Motorsports
Sliding in under the radar is MDM Motorsports, a team we’ve seen only once this season, finishing 21st at Martinsville with Tyler Matthews. Driving the #99 this week is Sheldon Creed, a two-time starter of this race with a best finish of 16th two years ago for SS-Green Light Racing. The Miller team finished 12th in this race last year with Ty Dillon, who this year runs for Young’s Motorsports (see above).

RETURNING: #03-Mike Affarano Motorsports
After an earlier withdrawal, the Affarano team returns to the circuit at a track where they finished last in 2014. Driving the truck, sponsored by Calumet City Auto Parts and a Stop Bullying initiative, is Illinois driver John Provenzano. If he qualifies, it will be not only the driver’s NASCAR debut, but his first in a national touring series since April 20, 1997, when he finished 28th out of 31 starters in an ARCA Racing Series round in Salem.

CUP INVADERS: #3-Ryan Newman, #12-Ty Dillon

Saturday, July 21, 2018
XFINITY Race 18 of 33
Lakes Region 200 at New Hampshire
2017 Last-Place Finisher: John Jackson

Despite reports of a possible short field this weekend, exactly 40 cars are entered in Saturday’s XFINITY Series race.

DRIVER CHANGE: #8-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Angela Ruch is set for her first XFINITY start of the season, taking the place of Ray Black, Jr. in the second McLeod machine. It will be Ruch’s first series start at Loudon since 2011, when she finished a series-best 25th for TriStar Motorsports.

MISSING: #12-Penske Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #60-Roush-Fenway Racing
The Penske / Roush game of musical chairs continues in Loudon, where the #12 isn’t entered, and driver Austin Cindric dusts himself off from Eldora to take Ty Majeski’s place in the #60 Pirtek Ford. It will be Cindric’s first series start at this track, following an 8th in the Truck Series last year.

RETURNING: #13-Motorsports Business Management
MANUFACTURER CHANGE: #66-Motorsports Business Management
One of the teams keeping the field at 40 cars is MBM, which brings the #13 back to the track for the first time since Chicago. While Timmy Hill was the listed driver the previous three times this car has run in 2018, Carl Long is the entered driver of this OCR Gaz Bar Toyota. Hill remains in the #66, which the list shows as a Chevrolet in place of last week’s Dodge.

DRIVER CHANGE: #18-Joe Gibbs Racing
Ryan Preece had a short night in Daytona, and will look for a rebound on the “Magic Mile” as Kyle Busch steps out of the #18 Toyota. Out of his four previous Loudon starts in this series, his best finish by far came last year, where he ran runner-up to Busch. With Busch not entered, Preece must certainly be considered a favorite – if he can dispense with two other Cup invaders.

DRIVER CHANGE: #22-Penske Racing
Brad Keselowski has won both of the only XFINITY races he’s run this year, taking the checkers at Phoenix and Charlotte. This week, he returns in place of Paul Menard to compete in Loudon, a track where he’s won twice in XFINITY (and never finished worse than 10th in all 9 of his previous series starts at the track), and won in Cup in 2014.

DRIVER CHANGE (?): #23-GMS Racing
After Spencer Gallagher’s return to action last week yielded a 20th-place finish, the preliminary entry list showed Johnny Sauter driving the #23 this week. Sauter has five previous starts in this series at Loudon, but none since 2006, when he finished 6th for HAAS-CNC Racing, three years before Tony Stewart acquired the Gene Haas-owned team.

RETURNING: #61-Fury Race Cars, LLC
As Kaz Grala indicated, the Fury team has landed sponsorship from both the IT Coalition and, allowing the #61 team to return from their one-week hiatus. With the pressure of a championship bid effectively off, Grala and team look to keep their momentum going in driver and team’s first XFINITY start at the track. Grala has performed well in the Truck Series here, running 7th two years ago and 10th last year, both for GMS Racing.

DRIVER CHANGE: #78-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Tommy Joe Martins, who was swapped out Blake Jones at Kentucky, returns this week to make his 12th start of the season. He finished 29th in his series debut at this track last year, and again drives B.J. McLeod’s #78 Chevrolet. Jones, meanwhile, will make his Cup debut for BK Racing and the NY Racing Team (see below).

Making his XFINITY Series debut this week is 51-year-old Donald Theetge of Canada, who enters this race 8th in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series standings. Taking the place of Josh Williams, who moves over into a crew chief role this week, Theetge drives for fellow Canadian Mario Gosselin in a #90 Chevrolet sponsored by two dealerships: Mercedes-Benz St-Nicolas and Circuit Acura. Theetge has also been active in ACT Late Models for 12 years, winning back-to-back races at the Circuit Riverside Speedway in Quebec in 2006 and 2007.

CUP INVADERS: #3-Ty Dillon, #22-Brad Keselowski

Saturday, July 22, 2018
CUP Race 20 of 36
Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire
2017 Last-Place Finisher: Erik Jones

There are 39 drivers entered for 40 spots. It’s the second-straight short field and the 16th out of 20 races in 2018.

MISSING: #7-Premium Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #15-Premium Motorsports
Perhaps due to their two-truck effort at Eldora, Premium Motorsports scales back from two entries to just one for the first time since Sonoma. As on the road course, the driver of the #15 will be Justin Marks, who takes the place of Ross Chastain. The team staying in the shop is the #7 Chevrolet, which was driven last Saturday by Jesse Little in his series debut, finishing 35th with all four fenders straight.

DRIVER CHANGE: #23-BK Racing / NY Racing Team
Making his own Cup debut is Blake Jones, who moves over from B.J. McLeod’s XFINITY Series team to racing alongside him in the Cup Series. Jones takes the place of J.J. Yeley, who lost an engine at Kentucky and finished next-to-last. In place of Yeley’s Steakhouse Elite sponsorship, the #23 Toyota carries backing from Tennessee Shine Company and KBM Commercial Properties.

MISSING: #66-Motorsports Business Management
MBM is again focusing exclusively on their three XFINITY Series cars this week, and have left the Cup car home after Timmy Hill’s 34th-place run in Kentucky. Hill will run the #66 on in Saturday’s race instead (see above).

DRIVER CHANGE: #99-StarCom Racing
Garrett Smithley made it much further in his second Cup start, finishing the last car under power in 36th. This week, he and sponsor Victory Lane Quick Oil Change are out of the car, and Kyle Weatherman is back in. As at Chicagoland, both Weatherman’s #99 and Landon Cassill’s #00 will run inverted versions of the gold-and-black StarCom Fiber paint scheme.

On June 19, 1949, the last-place battle of NASCAR’s first-ever Cup race, also run on the dirt, was ultimately decided by the rulebook. Glenn Dunaway was flagged the winner, but disqualified for illegal rear shocks. Until that happened, NASCAR’s first points race was about to have the sport’s first polesitter finish last. Bob Flock led the opening five laps in his #7 Hudson, only to blow the engine after 38 laps. Among the recorded results from that season, a polesitter wouldn’t finish last in NASCAR until that October, when Al Bonnell blew up after 28 laps around the Heidelberg (Pennsylvania) Raceway.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

K&N EAST: Colin Garrett can’t quite replicate the success of Russ Wheeler

PHOTO: @Team_HSR18
by William Soquet Guest Contributor

Colin Garrett finished last for the second time in his NASCAR K&N Pro Series East career in Saturday night’s King Cadillac GMC Throwback 100 at the Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park when his #18 Propel GPS / Russ Wheeler Throwback / Hunt-Sellers Racing Toyota crashed out after 26 of 100 laps.

The finish came in Garrett’s sixth series start and was his first since the second South Boston event, three races ago.

Garrett and his #18 Hunt-Sellers Racing team have come into their own lately, shifting from a part-time operation to running every race since Langley. Unfortunately, while the #18 upped its commitment to the series, it is still struggling for cars.

The rest of the field faced a similar issue. A mere 14 cars showed up on the entry list, making it the leanest field of the season. The list did, however, bring changes - lots of them. On the driver's side, Rette Jones Racing switched drivers for the second time this year, parting ways with Grant Quinlan (who replaced Tyler Dippel) to Tristan van Wieringen, whose sister Dominique also races. Marsh Racing tapped Modified ace Chase Dowling for a return to the K&N Pro Series after one race in 2016.

Other changes focused on the “Throwback” theme for the weekend, as paint scheme and number changes galore could be seen. Spencer Davis, himself a modified racer, honored the late Ted Christopher by running "T.C.'s" iconic #13. Chase Cabre switched to number 15 for a Geoffrey Bodine throwback, and his Rev Racing teammate Ruben Garcia Jr. switched to number 12 for Ruben Pardo. Ryan Vargas completed the trio with a “terrible” Tommy Ellis scheme. Other throwback schemes included Anthony Alfredo honoring Sterling Marlin’s iconic Silver Bullet car and Brandon McReynolds running a paint scheme driven decades ago by Cookie Visconti, patriarch of the Visconti Motorsports family.

Garrett's was one of the most distinctive of these "throwbacks," referencing the 1990 film "Days of Thunder." The Propel GPS sponsorship was altered to make the car resemble the gold-and-blue Hardee's Chevrolet driven in the film by Cary Elwes' antagonist Russ Wheeler.

Bill Hoff was on the initial entry list, but his #71 never turned a lap all day and wound up being listed as a withdrawal, unlike the DNS he was listed as at NJMP. According to Hoff's Twitter, the car started smoking and misfiring after something broke under the hood. If you want to support his team, a link to his Kickstarter campaign can be found here.

Dowling and van Wieringen trailed the two practice sessions, but both were within four-tenths of the leader, making the sessions some of the most competitive of the year. Tyler Ankrum, the championship point leader coming in to the event, started last after his time in qualifying was disallowed. Ankrum went in the style of Martin Truex Jr., going from last to first with a disallowed car to eventually win.

Unfortunately, one of the fan-favorite throwback cars wound up finishing last. Colin Garrett reported fighting a loose condition early in the race, falling from his third starting position to ninth within the first 20 laps before finding the wall in turns three and four on lap 27. His Hunt-Sellers Racing team determined the damage was terminal, and "Russ Wheeler’s" night ended early.

Ronnie Bassett, Jr. fell out with brake troubles after 69 laps, the only other car not to finish the race. Van Wieringen, Vargas and Garcia rounded out the Bottom Five, all on the lead lap.

13) #18-Colin Garrett / 26 laps / accident
12) #04-Ronnie Bassett Jr. / 69 laps / brakes
11) #30-Tristan van Wieringen / 100 laps / running
10) #2-Ryan Vargas / 100 laps / running
9) #12-Ruben Garcia Jr. / 100 laps / running

1st) Toyota, Chevrolet (4)

1st) Hunt-Sellers Racing (2)
2nd) Bill McAnally Racing, Ronald Bassett Jr., Chuck Buchanan Jr., Carroll Motorsports, Danny Watts Racing, Hoff Racing (1)