|SOURCE: Rubbin's Racin'|
Joey Gase picked up the 2nd last-place finish of his NASCAR Nationwide Series career in Saturday’s Royal Purple 300 at the Auto Club Speedway of Southern California when his unsponsored #52 Jimmy Means Racing Toyota fell out with engine problems after he completed four of the race’s 150 laps.
The finish was Gase’s first of the 2013 season and his first in a Nationwide Series race since last fall at Atlanta, fourteen races ago.
Gase and the Jimmy Means team have had more than their share of adversity this season. After failing to qualify at Daytona, Gase scored back-to-back DNFs at Phoenix and Las Vegas, finishing 30th and 33rd. The following week, the team’s short-course car was destroyed in a freak accident at Bristol when he lost control and was struck by the #5 Chevrolet of Brad Sweet. Without a backup car, Means withdrew Gase from the Bristol race and prepared for Fontana.
At Fontana, Gase drove what appeared to be the same #52 Toyota that missed the field for the Daytona race, though with many of its decals removed. This time, Gase made the field, bumping Tony Raines and Chase Miller from the field with a lap of 169.839 mph, good enough for 32nd in the 40-car field.
Gase’s car was the first out of the race, and for the second-straight week, two cars from The Motorsports Group quickly followed to finish 38th and 39th. Defending LASTCAR Nationwide Series Champion Jeff Green finished 37th while last week’s Bristol last-placer Michael McDowell rounded out the Bottom Five.
*This was the first time the last-place finisher of a Nationwide race at Fontana fell out due to engine trouble since 2007, when Johnny Borneman III’s #44 Super Series Chevrolet fell out two laps into the Camping World 300.
*This was the first last-place finish for both Gase and the #52 in a Nationwide Series race at Fontana.
THE BOTTOM FIVE
40) #52-Joey Gase / 4 laps / engine
39) #47-Scott Riggs / 5 laps / rear gear
38) #42-J.J. Yeley / 7 laps / vibration
37) #10-Jeff Green / 18 laps / vibration
36) #27-Michael McDowell / 19 laps / handling
LASTCAR N'WIDE SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Joey Gase, Jeff Green, Johanna Long, Eric McClure, Michael McDowell (1)
LASTCAR N'WIDE SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) #10-TriStar Motorsports, #14-TriStar Motorsports, #27-SR2 Motorsports, #52-Jimmy Means Racing, #70-ML Motorsports (1)
LASTCAR N'WIDE SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Toyota (4)
2nd) Chevrolet (1)