|SOURCE: Popular Speed|
It’s Berryhill’s first last-place finish of the season and his first in the series since last year at Darlington, 35 races ago.
Following the Darlington race, Berryhill and his family’s Vision Racing team ran four more races in 2013, but couldn’t quite improve upon the youngster’s career-best 28th-place finish in his series debut at Richmond.
This season, with new sponsorship from BWP Bats, Berryhill has competed in nine of the season’s eleven races, missing only the plate races at Daytona and Talladega, and falling from the latter only because of a qualifying crash that destroyed the team’s only car. In that stretch, Berryhill has improved his series-best finish to a 25th at Las Vegas, all despite running non-factory-supported Dodges.
At Charlotte, Berryhill timed in 31st of 40 cars in the opening practice, 31st of 37 in Happy Hour, and secured the 40th and final starting spot in qualifying without completing a qualifying lap. A tweet by Chris Knight reported Berryhill’s team couldn’t get the car through inspection in time due to the nose of the car being too narrow.
No drivers were sent home after qualifying day as LASTCAR contenders Blake Koch in TriStar’s #10 Toyota and Matt DiBenedetto in the TMG #46 both withdrew their entries prior to the weekend. With both Ryan Ellis and Jimmy Weller without cars in Saturday’s field as well, this guaranteed a fifth different last-place finisher this Nationwide Series season.
At first, it appeared the finish would go to Chris Cockrum, who was originally slated to make his Nationwide debut driving a NEMCO #87 Ford prepared by Rick Ware racing. Cockrum backed into the outside wall in practice, however, and it first appeared that he would withdraw. However, on race day, Cockrum entered a #87 Chevrolet fielded by JD Motorsports and started right next to Berryhill in the final row. After the green flag, Berryhill moved forward while Cockrum was driver to lose a lap.
In the end, Cockrum finished 35th as three drivers in Dodges retired while two others in Chevrolets lost several laps. Berryhill dropped out with engine trouble after 81 laps, securing the last-place finish. In 39th was the Mike Harmon-owned #74 Fryin’ Saucer Guys / 30 Days Foundation entry driven by series veteran Kevin Lepage, fourteen laps behind Berryhill, followed in 38th by Harrison Rhodes in the Voxer.com-backed JGL Racing machine, which also lost an engine. In 37th was two-time winner Chase Elliott, who lost several laps after an early mechanical failure, while 36th went to 1990 Daytona 500 winner Derrike Cope in his #70.
*This is the first last-place finish for the #17 in a Nationwide Series race at Charlotte.
*This is the first last-place finish for Dodge in a Nationwide Series race since last July at Daytona, when Morgan Shepherd’s #89 Racing With Jesus Dodge broke a rear gear after 21 laps of the Subway Jalapeno 250. Next week at Dover, Shepherd is expected to make his first Nationwide Series attempt of the season.
*It’s the first last-place finish for a Dodge at Charlotte since October 15, 2010, when Parker Kligerman’s #26 Dodge crashed after 3 laps of the Dollar General 300.
THE BOTTOM FIVE
40) #17-Tanner Berryhill / 81 laps / engine
39) #74-Kevin Lepage / 95 laps / rear gear
38) #93-Harrison Rhodes / 135 laps / engine
37) #9-Chase Elliott / 174 laps / running
36) #70-Derrike Cope / 184 laps / running
LASTCAR N'WIDE SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Blake Koch (5)
2nd) Jeff Green (3)
3rd) Tanner Berryhill, Ryan Ellis, Jimmy Weller (1)
LASTCAR N'WIDE SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) #10-TriStar Motorsports (6)
2nd) #91-TriStar Motorsports (2)
3rd) #17-Vision Racing, #46-The Motorsports Group, #55-VIVA Motorsports / SS Green Light Racing (1)
LASTCAR N'WIDE SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Toyota (8)
2nd) Chevrolet (2)
3rd) Dodge (1)