Sunday, June 22, 2014

N’WIDE: Kevin Lepage Finishes Last At Rain-Soaked Road America

SOURCE: Rubbin's Racin' Forums
Kevin Lepage picked up the 13th last-place finish of his NASCAR Nationwide Series career in Saturday’s wild Gardner Denver 200 at Road America when his unsponsored #93 JGL Racing Dodge broke the rear gear without completing a lap of the 53-lap race.

The finish was Lepage’s first of 2014 and his first in a Nationwide Series race since Charlotte in the spring of 2012, 69 races ago.  It is also Lepage’s second last-place finish in this event, joining his early exit in the inaugural race in 2010.

Lepage, a series veteran, was set to make his 345th Nationwide Series start on Saturday and his ninth of 2014.  The 52-year-old driver’s best finish of the season came with JD Motorsports, with whom he finished 19th at Darlington.  For Road America, Lepage would make his first start of the year for Gregg Mixon in the unsponsored #93 JGL Racing Dodge.  The team’s best finish of the year was a 16th with J.J. Yeley at Texas.  Yeley, pulling double-duty with the Cup race in Sonoma, drove the second JGL entry, #28, with sponsorship from Texas 28 Spirits Stage.

Just 37 cars were on the preliminary entry list, but 38 showed up at the track with the addition of a second Jimmy Means entry, #79, last seen at Fontana, this time driven by Michigan last-placer Tim Schendel.  Schendel qualified 32nd while Lepage timed in 37th, one of four drivers to not complete a qualifying lap on Saturday.  Lepage was 31st in the weekend’s only practice session.

Rain wreaked havoc with the entire race weekend.  During the early-race chaos, Lepage did not complete the opening lap and ended up with the last-place finish.  Both Schendel and LASTCAR record holder Jeff Green pulled out after the opening lap to take the next two spots.  Rounding out the Bottom Five were Carl Long in Rick Ware’s #15 and Ryan Ellis, driving in place of Matt DiBenedetto in the #46 The Motorsports Group entry.  With Josh Wise in Sonoma, DiBenedetto took a turn in TMG’s primary #40 and came home 11th.

DiBenedetto was one of many surprises in the final running order.  Not only had Brendan Gaughan scored his first Nationwide Series win in his 98th start, holding off a rallying Alex Tagliani who went from 23rd to 2nd in just two laps, but Ware’s second car driven by Corvette factory driver Kevin O’Connell nearly pulled the upset before finishing 3rd.  J.J. Yeley, Lepage’s teammate, finished a season-best 5th, his second top-ten finish of the year.  Road ringer Andy Lally gave the #55 its best finish since an 18th at Charlotte with a 7th-place run, and Landon Cassill finished 8th for his third top-ten finish of the year.

*This is the first last-place finish for the #93 in a Nationwide Series race since February 23, 2002, when Bill Hoff’s Pro-Mech USA Pontiac suffered a vibration after 4 laps of the 200 at Rockingham.
*This is the first time two consecutive Nationwide Series races had last-place finishers who did not complete a lap since July of 2005, when Shane Hall broke the rear end on his #28 Jay Robinson, Inc. Ford at Gateway, then Bryan Reffner lost the rear gear of his #67 Panasonic Dodge at Gateway.

38) #93-Kevin Lepage / 0 laps / rear gear
37) #79-Tim Schendel / 1 lap / water pump
36) #10-Jeff Green / 1 lap / vibration
35) #15-Carl Long / 2 laps / rear hub
34) #46-Ryan Ellis / 2 laps / ignition

1st) Blake Koch (6)
2nd) Jeff Green (3)
3rd) Tanner Berryhill, Ryan Ellis, Kevin Lepage, Tim Schendel, Jimmy Weller (1)

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, #87-Rick Ware Racing, #93-JGL Racing (1)

1st) Toyota (9)
2nd) Chevrolet (3)
3rd) Dodge (2)

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