Sunday, July 21, 2013

N’WIDE: Joey Gase’s Green-Flag Engine Failure Leaves Him Last at Chicago

SOURCE: Rubbin's Racin' Forums
Joey Gase picked up the 3rd last-place finish of his NASCAR Nationwide Series career in Sunday’s STP 300 at the Chicagoland Speedway when his #52 Donate Life Toyota lost the engine after he completed just the opening lap of the 200-lap race.

The finish was Gase’s second of 2013 and his first since Fontana, thirteen races ago.  He now becomes just the second repeat last-place finisher this season, joining Jeff Green and his season-leading eight last-place runs.

Gase, who was running a Toyota for the first time since Michigan in June, qualified 26th for Sunday’s race at an average speed of 172.546 mph.  It was Gase’s best qualifying run of the year - prior to the event, he had qualified no better than 32nd in 2013 - and was just one spot shy of his career-best 25th-place starting spot at Iowa in August of last year.

The only car that missed the race belonged to Tim Schendel, who was taking a turn in The Motorsports Group’s #46.  Schendel’s teammates Reed Sorenson (#40) and T.J. Bell (#42) both made the race.  Yeley pulled out after 13 laps and finished 36th.  Sorenson lost an engine on his #40 Swisher e-Cigarettes Chevrolet for the third-straight race and came home 30th.

Unfortunately for Gase, his run on Sunday was extremely short.  Coming to the green flag, the belt on his oil pump slipped, and a tremendous plume of white smoke shot from the back of his car.  He managed to keep control of his Toyota entering Turn 1 and got to the apron when the caution came out.  The damage to his engine turned out to be terminal, however, and he was done for the afternoon.

Rounding out the Bottom Five were four drivers who drove for four different teams. Matt DiBenedetto, driving the second Vision Racing entry, #37, pulled his Dodge out of the race during Gase’s caution flag.  A Butler brother finished in the Bottom Five for the second-straight race with Ken Butler III falling out after ten laps in the #00 Toyota fielded by SR2 Motorsports.  All-time last-place leader Jeff Green, who finished last in the 2012 running, fell out one lap after Butler with a vibration, followed two laps later by Yeley in 36th.

LASTCAR STATISTICS
*This was the first last-place finish for both Gase and the #52 in a Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland.

THE BOTTOM FIVE
40) #52-Joey Gase / 1 lap / engine
39) #37-Matt DiBenedetto / 6 laps / electrical
38) #00-Ken Butler III / 10 laps / wheel
37) #10-Jeff Green / 11 laps / vibration
36) #42-T.J. Bell / 13 laps / vibration

LASTCAR N'WIDE SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Jeff Green (8)
2nd) Joey Gase (2)
3rd) Tanner Berryhill, Blake Koch, Johanna Long, Eric McClure, Michael McDowell, Robert Richardson, Jr., Morgan Shepherd, Dexter Stacey (1)

LASTCAR N'WIDE SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) #10-TriStar Motorsports (8)
2nd) #52-Jimmy Means Racing (2)
3rd) #14-TriStar Motorsports, #17-Vision Racing, #23-R3 Motorsports, #27-SR2 Motorsports, #70-ML Motorsports, #89-Shepherd Racing Ventures, #92-KH Motorsports, #00-SR2 Motorsports (1)

LASTCAR N'WIDE SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Toyota (14)
2nd) Chevrolet (2)
3rd) Dodge, Ford (1)

NOTE: Due to the significance of this Wednesday’s Mudsummer Classic at the Eldora Speedway, the LASTCAR article for that Truck Series race will be posted on late Wednesday night instead of next Sunday night.

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