Sunday, April 14, 2013

TRUCKS: Mike Harmon’s Late Exit Gives Ford 100th Truck Series Last-Place Finish

SOURCE: Rubbin's Racin'

Mike Harmon picked up the 4th last-place finish of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career in Sunday’s North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at the Rockingham Speedway when his #84 Dave Novak Ford fell out with crash damage after 131 of the race’s 205 laps.

The finish was Harmon’s first of 2013 and his first in a Truck Series race since Chicagoland in 2011, thirty-two races ago.  It was also the 100th last-place finish for Ford in Truck Series history, dating back to World of Outlaws champion Sammy Swindell’s run in the #38 Channellock Tools Ford at Saugus exactly eighteen years ago on April 15, 1995.

After fellow owner-driver Chris Fontaine finished 34th in the season opener at Daytona, Fontaine’s #84 team merged with Harmon’s #74, resulting in a single Ford team running #84 trucks.  The union debuted last week at Martinsville, where Robert Bruce drove their flat black machine to a 28th-place finish.  At Rockingham, Harmon would take over the ride.

Harmon qualified 33rd in Sunday’s field with a lap of 134.665 mph, making him the fastest of three trucks to have to fall back on Owner Points in order to make the field, joining Jennifer Jo Cobb and Norm Benning.  Three more drivers, including ARCA racer Spencer Gallagher, attempting to make his Truck Series debut in the #21 Allegiant Air Chevrolet, missed the show despite running faster laps than Harmon, Cobb, and Benning.

Early in the race, Cobb looked set to score her second-consecutive last-place finish as her Dodge RAM was the first to be lapped.  However, there were no early exits from the race, although several trucks spent many laps behind the wall.  Tops among these was Jeff Agnew, whose unsponsored #27 Chevrolet owned by Mike Hillman took 36th from Cobb after spending more than twenty laps in the garage.  On Lap 144, Mike Harmon suffered damage in a two-truck accident with James Buescher, and he became the race’s first retiree.  Agnew returned to the track around that time, and with six laps to go, bumped Harmon to last place.

Agnew has yet to finish last in 17 Truck Series starts.

LASTCAR STATISTICS
*This was the first Truck Series last-place finish for the #84 since last fall at Martinsville, when Chris Fontaine’s #84 Stingray Chevrolet / Glenden Enterprises Chevrolet burned the clutch after 5 laps of the Kroger 200.
*The 131 laps completed by Harmon were the most by a Truck Series last-place finisher since early 2011, when defending NASCAR Truck Series Champion James Buescher’s #31 Wolfpack Rentals Chevrolet completed 134 laps of the Kroger 250.

THE BOTTOM FIVE
36) #84-Mike Harmon / 131 laps / crash
35) #27-Jeff Agnew / 141 laps / handling
34) #93-Chris Jones / 167 laps / crash
33) #57-Norm Benning / 175 laps / running
32) #13-Todd Bodine / 180 laps / crash

LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Mike Harmon, Jennifer Jo Cobb, Scott Riggs (1)

LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) #10-Jennifer Jo Cobb, #84-Chris Fontaine, #92-Ricky Benton (1)

LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford (1)

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