|SOURCE: Twitter @TriStarRaceTeam|
The finish is Koch’s sixth of the 2014 season and his first since Talladega, three races ago. Koch now holds a three-finish lead over TriStar Motorsports teammate Jeff Green in the LASTCAR Nationwide Series standings.
In doing so, Koch also became the first driver to sweep the Nationwide and Truck Series last-place finishes at the same track on the same weekend since February 23 and 24, 2007, when Morgan Shepherd matched Koch’s feat at Fontana driving for Curtis Key and Johnny Davis, respectively. Shepherd made his first Nationwide Series start of the season on Saturday, coming home 37th after early engine trouble in his black-and-silver #89 King’s Tire Chevrolet.
Koch qualified 34th for Saturday’s race at an average speed of 145.974 mph, fifth-fastest of the ten “go-or-go-homers.” He didn’t participate in the opening practice session and timed in 30th of 39 drivers in Happy Hour, but with just 40 drivers on the entry list, everyone made the starting lineup.
Following their withdrawal from last Saturday’s race at Charlotte, Koch and Matt DiBenedetto finished in the final two positions for the fourth time in 2014. This time, Koch edged DiBenedetto’s #46 The Motorsports Group entry by two laps. Ryan Ellis, who trailed the Iowa field in TMG’s #46, climbed back inside the #15 Rick Ware Racing entry withdrawn that weekend to finish 38th, citing wheel bearing trouble. Rounding out the Bottom Five behind Ellis and Morgan Shepherd was Todd Bodine, making his first Nationwide start since his 28th-place run with the SS-Green Light Racing team at Darlington. Bodine’s engine failure brought out the first caution on Lap 18.
*This is Koch’s third last-place finish in this event. The previous two finishes occurred with two different teams. On May 14, 2011, his #82 Daystar.com Dodge crashed with MacDonald Motorsports teammate Donnie Neuenberger on the second lap of the race. On June 1, 2013, his SR2 Motorsports-owned #00 SuportMilitary.org Toyota had brake trouble after 4 laps.
THE BOTTOM FIVE
40) #10-Blake Koch / 8 laps / vibration
39) #46-Matt DiBenedetto / 10 laps / vibration
38) #15-Ryan Ellis / 13 laps / wheel bearing
37) #89-Morgan Shepherd / 13 laps / engine
36) #55-Todd Bodine / 15 laps / engine
LASTCAR N'WIDE SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Blake Koch (6)
2nd) Jeff Green (3)
3rd) Tanner Berryhill, Ryan Ellis, Jimmy Weller (1)
LASTCAR N'WIDE SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) #10-TriStar Motorsports (7)
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 (9)
2nd) Chevrolet (2)
3rd) Dodge (1)