This was Hamilton Means Racing’s second last-place finish of the 2012 season, the other coming with Kevin Lepage sixteen races ago at Talladega.
The nineteen-year-old Gase was making his 13th start of the 2012 season and his seventh for Hamilton Means Racing. His best finish of the year has been 25th, first with Archie St. Hillaire’s #39 at Phoenix, then again with Means at Charlotte.
At Atlanta, Gase secured the 43rd and final starting spot in the field at an average speed of 164.956 mph. He was fast enough to best four other drivers, including John Jackson, who was the only driver unable to make the show. In the early laps, Gase was moving through the pack when something broke on his Chevrolet, slamming him into the turn two wall. Gase was uninjured, but his car was too damaged to continue.
2012 LASTCAR Nationwide Series leader Jeff Green ran inside the top 30 through the early laps, then parked after 25 laps to come home 35th. One position behind him was the #00 of Blake Koch, who briefly held 43rd before Gase’s retirement.
*This was the first last-place finish for the #52 in a Nationwide race at Atlanta since 2001, when Brad Teague’s Means Racing Ford lost the transmission after eight laps of the Aaron’s 312. Teague also started in the 43rd spot. Jeff Green left as the point leader that day, leading Greg Biffle by five points. The race was won by Joe Nemechek, who finished 43rd in the Cup race last Sunday.
*Team owner Jimmy Means scored his first last-place finish at Atlanta on November 6, 1977 when his #52 Bell Brothers Auto Parts Chevrolet had ignition problems seven laps into the 1977 Dixie 500.
THE BOTTOM FIVE
43) #52-Joey Gase / 2 laps / crash
42) #47-J.J. Yeley / 3 laps / overheating
41) #71-Carl Long / 4 laps / fuel pressure
40) #42-Josh Wise / 5 laps / electrical
39) #74-Mike Harmon / 6 laps / overheating
LASTCAR N'WIDE SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Jeff Green (11)
2nd) Mike Harmon, Kevin Lepage, Chase Miller (2)
3rd) Ryan Blaney, Joey Gase, Stephen Leicht, Danica Patrick, Tony Raines, Scott Speed, Josh Wise (1)
LASTCAR N'WIDE SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) #10-TriStar Motorsports (11)
2nd) #46-The Motorsports Group, #47-The Motorsports Group, #52-Means Racing, #74-Mike Harmon (2)
3rd) #7-JR Motorsports, #36-Tommy Baldwin Racing, #42-The Motorsports Group, #70-ML Motorsports, #91-TriStar Motorsports (1)
LASTCAR N'WIDE SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Chevrolet, Toyota (12)