|SOURCE: CIA Stock Photo|
Though making his Truck debut, the 54-year-old driver from Alexandria, Lousiana is by no means a stranger to NASCAR. Since 2008, he’s made 49 combined starts in the Whelen Modified Tour and Whelen Southern Modified Tour. The Southern division saw both his best career finish of 5th at Bowman-Gray Stadium in 2009 and his best points ranking of 11th just ast year. He’s competed as an owner-driver in each of those starts, carrying sponsorship from O.B. Builders on his #97.
This year, Dauzat and O.B. made the move to stock cars with a 26th-place finish in the ARCA race at Talladega this past May. For his NASCAR debut, Dauzat looked to the trucks and the #28 fielded by Jim Rosenblum. Rosenblum, a part-time Cup and Truck Series owner since 1983, started the year with Ryan Ellis, who finished 18th in the opener at Daytona - the team’s best finish since 2008. Following a crash at Charlotte, Rosenblum and his FDNY Racing team looked to rebuild their truck while Ellis drove for other teams, moving into a tie for the LASTCAR lead in Jennifer Jo Cobb’s #0. Rosenblum and Ellis reunited at Pocono earlier this month, finishing 19th.
At Bristol, Dauzat drove in place of Ellis, whose ride in the #0 withdrew before qualifying, leaving 37 entries for 36 spots. Dauzat’s week began on Wednesday afternoon, where he finished 9th in his division (18th overall) during the 39-car combination race for the modified series. He trailed the only practice session, but managed to beat Eldora last-placer Mike Affarano in qualifying, bumping Affarano out of the field. Dauzat timed in 36th with an average speed of 111.955 mph, edging Affarano by less than three tenths.
At the start of the race, delayed by rain from Wednesday night to Thursday morning, Dauzat exited the race after 4 laps, followed one lap after by LASTCAR Nationwide Series leader Blake Koch, giving Mike Mittler’s #36 RAM its first start since Gateway. Finishing 34th was B.J. McLeod in Bobby Dotter’s ThunderExhaust.com Chevrolet, followed by Jake Crum and Bryan Silas, who both backed into the Turn 2 wall after 14 laps.
*This is the first last-place finish for the #28 in a Truck Series race since February 26, 2000, when Kenny Allen’s Chevrolet broke a transmission after 19 laps of the Florida Dodge Dealers 400K at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. Allen was also driving for owner Jim Rosenblum in an unsponsored truck. It was Allen’s only start for the team and the last of his career.
*The #28 had never before finished last in a Truck Series race at Bristol.
THE BOTTOM FIVE
36) #28-Bryan Dauzat / 4 laps / suspension
35) #36-Blake Koch / 5 laps / vibration
34) #07-B.J. McLeod / 7 laps / ignition
33) #01-Jake Crum / 14 laps / crash
32) #99-Bryan Silas / 14 laps / crash
LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Ryan Ellis, Justin Jennings (2)
2nd) Mike Affarano, Bryan Dauzat, Alex Guenette, Blake Koch, Charles Lewandoski, Tommy Regan, Caleb Roark, Scott Stenzel, Jason White (1)
LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) #0-Jennifer Jo Cobb (3)
2nd) #36-Mike Mittler, #63-Mike Mittler / Randy Young (2)
3rd) #28-FDNY Racing, #42-Randy Young, #45-Regan Motorsports, #74-Mario Gosselin, #93-RSS Racing, #03-Mike Affarano Motorsports (1)
LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Chevrolet (12)
2nd) RAM (1)