|SOURCE: Twitter @ScottStenzel|
Stenzel, the 33-year-old founder of an advertising and marketing company, has been making his way from go-karts and dirt tracks into the elite divisions of stock car racing. He’s made a pair of starts in ARCA, finishing 7th in his series debut at Talladega, and finished 21st at Loudon running the K&N Pro Series East. Stenzel made the move to the Truck Series in 2012, where he finished 23rd in his series debut at Kansas.
Then, as on Friday, Stenzel would drove for Mike Mittler, the only owner whose trucks have qualified for at least one race in every Truck Series season since 1995. In a combined 169 starts over that time, several Cup drivers cut their teeth in Mittler’s trucks including Jamie McMurray, Regan Smith, Justin Allgaier, Brad Keselowski, and Carl Edwards, who scored Mittler’s only top-ten finish with an 8th at the Kansas track on July 6, 2002. Edwards also earned one of Mittler’s fourteen previous last-place finishes in the series, which came at Las Vegas later that year.
Friday, Stenzel drove a second entry for Mittler, a #36 that was making its season debut alongside teammate Justin Jennings in the #63. Stenzel did not participate in the opening practice, but came in 28th of 29 drivers in the second session. Just 31 trucks showed up to qualify, so Stenzel made the field along with everyone else, scoring the 31st starting spot without posting a qualifying speed.
In Friday’s race, Stenzel pulled behind the wall with electrical problems as the listed issue. At the exact same time, Ron Hornaday spun exiting Turn 4, triggering a multi-truck accident that involved Timothy Peters, German Quiroga, and Spencer Gallagher. Gallagher’s #23 Allegiant Travel Chevrolet received the most severe damage, and his night was done as well.
The two trucks finishing ahead of Gallagher were two more team trucks like Stenzel’s: Charles Lewandoski made his first Truck Series start since 2009 driving the #42, a team truck to Tyler Young’s #02, and Ryan Ellis brought back the #0, the LASTCAR-contending teammate to Jennifer Jo Cobb’s #10. Rounding out the Bottom Five was 4th-place starter Brian Ickler, who suffered crash damage in the night’s second caution after 9 laps.
For more on Scott Stenzel, check out his website and follow him on Twitter @ScottStenzel.
*This is just the second last-place finish by the #36 in a points-paying Truck Series race. The only other finish was earned by Lonnie Cox, who on May 25, 1996 lost the engine on his #36 DuPont Thompson PBE Chevrolet after 64 laps of the NAPA 200 at the Tucson Raceway Park in Arizona.
THE BOTTOM FIVE
31) #36-Scott Stenzel / 0 laps / electrical
30) #23-Spencer Gallagher / 0 laps / crash
29) #42-Charles Lewandoski / 3 laps / vibration
28) #0-Ryan Ellis / 8 laps / vibration
27) #7-Brian Ickler / 9 laps / crash
LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Alex Guenette, Scott Stenzel, Jason White (1)
LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) #36-Mike Mittler, #74-Mario Gosselin, #93-RSS Racing (1)
LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Chevrolet (3)