Tanner Berryhill picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR Nationwide Series career in Friday’s VFW Sport Clips 200 at the Darlington Raceway when his #17 Keller Williams Realty Toyota fell out with rear gear problems after he completed 3 of the race’s 147 laps. The finish came in Berryhill’s seventh series start.
A short tracker with a handful of starts in ARCA, the K&N Pro Series East, and the X-1R Pro Cup Series, the nineteen-year-old driver from Bixby, Oklahoma made his Nationwide Series debut at Richmond in the spring of 2012, coming home 29th in the Jason Sciavicco-owned #24 Chevrolet. His family has since started up its own Nationwide Series team, Vision Racing, resulting in a career-best 26th at Chicagoland last summer.
Friday’s race at Darlington would be just the second start of the year for both driver and team, following a 28th-place run at Richmond last month. Unconfirmed reports of Matt Dibenedetto running the car did not come to fruition, and Berryhill remained in his #17. Berryhill qualified 29th for the race at an average speed of 165.877 mph. The lap was more than enough to bump from the field Jason Bowles in The Motorsports Group’s #47 and the #73 of Derrike Cope. Cope, the three-time LASTCAR Cup Series Champion, was unsuccessful in his first attempt of the season following a wreck in qualifying.
Berryhill fell out of Friday’s race during the opening green-flag run, followed one lap later by the lowest-finishing The Motorsports Group Chevrolet of Chase Miller in the #46. Miller’s teammate J.J. Yeley finished 38th while Jeff Green’s streak of three consecutive Nationwide last-place finishes ended with a 37th-place run.
For more information on Berryhill and team, check out his team’s website at http://tannerberryhill.com
*This is the first last-place finish for the #17 in a Nationwide Series race since 2002, when Matt Kenseth’s Jani-King Ford lost the engine after 13 laps of the Sam’s Town 300. Kenseth’s car was still owned by his racing rival and future crew chief Robbie Reiser, who gave the #17 its most recent Nationwide last-place run at Darlington in 1995 when his #17 FDP Brakes Chevrolet lost the engine 29 laps into the Mark III Vans 200. Kenseth scored his first Cup win at Darlington on Saturday night in the Bojangles’ Southern 500.
THE BOTTOM FIVE
40) #17-Tanner Berryhill / 3 laps / rear gear
39) #46-Chase Miller / 4 laps / overheating
38) #42-J.J. Yeley / 7 laps / rear gear
37) #10-Jeff Green / 16 laps / vibration
36) #24-Bryan Silas / 21 laps / crash
LASTCAR N'WIDE SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Jeff Green (4)
2nd) Tanner Berryhill, Joey Gase, Johanna Long, Eric McClure, Michael McDowell (1)
LASTCAR N'WIDE SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) #10-TriStar Motorsports (4)
2nd) #14-TriStar Motorsports, #17-Vision Racing, #27-SR2 Motorsports, #52-Jimmy Means Racing, #70-ML Motorsports (1)
LASTCAR N'WIDE SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Toyota (8)
2nd) Chevrolet (1)