|SOURCE: Fox Sports 1, NASCAR.com|
With the sole exception of last week’s run for Randy Young’s second team at Texas, Jennings has only driven for Mike Mittler, the only team owner to have entered at least one Truck Series race every season since its inception in 1995. This season, he’s improved his career-best finish with a pair of 16th-place runs at Daytona and Kansas, and he entered the weekend a solid 15th in points.
The site of Saturday’s race was Gateway Motorsports Park, a track that had been off the NASCAR schedule since 2010 Thirty-two trucks showed up to qualify, the biggest field since Dover, but the fifth-straight short field for the series guaranteed all would start.
Jennings timed in 19th in the opening practice, 21st in the second, and 21st again in Happy Hour. He stayed 21st in qualifying with a lap of 132.159 mph, where he would start for Saturday’s race. It was a solid starting spot given that Jennings was one of at least a half-dozen drivers to run a truck with a pre-2014 body on it, giving him an aerodynamic disadvantage on the track’s long straights.
Just three laps into the race, Jennings tangled with Charles Lewandoski in Turn 4 and slapped the outside wall, then stopped abruptly against the inside retainer. It was a hard hit, but he climbed out of the truck without serious injury. During the ensuing caution, Caleb Roark parked the #0 Th Parkway Hotel / Grimes Irrigation & Construction Chevrolet owned by Jennifer Jo Cobb, followed the next lap by Lewandoski. Adam Edwards, making his first Truck start since 2012, brought back Norm Benning’s second entry #75 and pulled out after 6 laps. Rounding out the Bottom Five was Kansas last-placer Scott Stenzel in the same Mittler-owned RAM Blake Koch trailed the field with at Dover.
*This is the first last-place finish for the #63 in a Truck Series race since July 8, 2006, when while driving for Mittler, Justin Allgaier’s #63 Dave Porter Truck Sales Ford was involved in a three-truck crash with Kraig Kinser and Wayne Edwards after 2 laps of the Built Ford Tough 225 at Kentucky.
*This marks the fourth-consecutive last-place finish by a Chevrolet in a Truck Series race at Gateway, joining Butch Miller (2008), John Jackson (2009), and Johnny Chapman (2010).
*Jennings is the fifth first-time Truck Series last-place finisher in seven races run so far in 2014.
THE BOTTOM FIVE
32) #63-Justin Jennings / 2 laps / crash
31) #0-Caleb Roark / 3 laps / vibration
30) #42-Charles Lewandoski / 4 laps / vibration
29) #75-Adam Edwards / 6 laps / clutch
28) #36-Scott Stenzel / 22 laps / vibration
LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Alex Guenette, Ryan Ellis, Justin Jennings, Blake Koch, Charles Lewandoski, Scott Stenzel, Jason White (1)
LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) #36-Mike Mittler (2)
2nd) #0-Jennifer Jo Cobb, #42-Randy Young, #63-Mike Mittler, #74-Mario Gosselin, #93-RSS Racing (1)
LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Chevrolet (6)
2nd) RAM (1)