The finish was Green’s seventh of the 2014 season and his first since Kentucky, six races ago. He came just one finish short of tying teammate and 2014 LASTCAR Nationwide Champion Blake Koch, who ended Green’s three-year reign as champion two weeks ago at Texas. Koch finished 22nd on Saturday when he ran TriStar’s fully-funded #44 Celsius Flo Fusion Toyota. It is Green’s 65th last-place finish across all three of NASCAR’s top divisions, most of all drivers, and he now leads second-place driver Joe Nemechek by 16 finishes. The finish also came in Nationwide’s final race as title sponsor of the series, a relationship which began at Daytona on February 16, 2008 when the soon-to-be-dominant last-place team MSRP Motorsports trailed its first field with veteran driver Steve Grissom.
Green was one of 45 cars on the entry list for Homestead. He was giving TriStar’s #91 its first start since Charlotte, three races ago, as the team shuffled its drivers to allow Ross Chastain to run a watermelon-colored #10 for a full-race effort. Blake Koch also was set to make his tenth start of the season in TriStar’s #44 Toyota, this time sponsored by Celsius Flo Fusion. With Eric McClure back in the #14 and Mike Bliss rounding out the season in the #19, this left Green in the “start-and-park” #91.
Green did not participate in Friday’s opening practice session, then timed in 42nd-fastest of 45 in Happy Hour, beating fellow “go-or-go-homer” Ryan Ellis in The Motorsports Group’s persistent #46 Chevrolet. Green dispatched with Ellis four others in qualifying by snaring the 34th spot on the grid with an average speed of 160.123 mph. Sent home with Ellis were Kevin Lepage in Mike Harmon’s #74, past LASTCAR record holder Derrike Cope in the #70, John Jackson in the #72 James Carter entry, and Martin Roy’s #90 Gamache Truck Center / Cote Chevrolet fielded by Mario Gosselin.
In the race itself, Tanner Berryhill started 40th in Vision Racing’s #17 Excel Therapy Toyota. Green pitted before the green flag, sending him to the rear of the field with Ty Dillon and Paul Menard, whose Richard Childress Racing Chevrolets were sent to the rear for unapproved adjustments and a driver change, respectively. However, after one lap, all of these drivers were passed by Milka Duno, who was running a #87 CanTV Toyota fielded by RAB Racing with the owner points of the three teams who shared the #87 in 2014. Two laps later, Green pulled off the track, securing the last-place finish.
Finishing 39th on Saturday was Joey Gase, whose unsponsored #52 Jimmy Means Racing Chevrolet fell off the pace early before the engine let go after 54 laps. 38th went to Matt DiBenedetto, who faced a similar fate, losing seven laps early before a broken transmission stalled his car on the access road to bring out the second yellow of the evening. In 37th was Corey LaJoie, whose #98 Medallion Financial Ford was taken out in a hard crash in Turn 2 that brought out the fourth yellow. Rounding out the Bottom Five was Ryan Sieg, his #39 Huntinator / SmartCellFundraising.com Chevrolet spinning in Turn 1 on Lap 155 then breaking the suspension less than 30 laps later.
*This was Green’s first last-place finish in a Nationwide Series race at Homestead since November 20, 2010, when Green’s #36 TriStar Motorsports Chevrolet had a vibration after 2 laps of the Ford 300.
*This is the second-consecutive last-place finish for TriStar’s #91 at Homestead. Last year, Michael McDowell’s #91 TriStar Motorsports Toyota overheated after 5 laps of the Ford EcoBoost 300.
THE BOTTOM FIVE
40) #91-Jeff Green / 3 laps / vibration
39) #52-Joey Gase / 54 laps / engine
38) #40-Matt DiBenedetto / 57 laps / transmission
37) #98-Corey LaJoie / 116 laps / crash
36) #39-Ryan Sieg / 179 laps / suspension
LASTCAR N'WIDE SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP - FINAL
1st) Blake Koch (8)
2nd) Jeff Green (7)
3rd) Ryan Ellis, Kevin Lepage (3)
4th) Matt DiBenedetto, Jeffrey Earnhardt (2)
5th) Tanner Berryhill, Milka Duno, Matt Frahm, Roger Reuse, Robert Richardson, Jr., Tim Schendel, Jimmy Weller, Josh Wise (1)
LASTCAR N'WIDE SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP - FINAL
1st) #10-TriStar Motorsports (11)
2nd) #46-The Motorsports Group (7)
3rd) #91-TriStar Motorsports (4)
4th) #4-JD Motorsports, #74-Mike Harmon Racing (2)
5th) #17-Vision Racing, #23-R3 Motorsports, #29-RAB Racing, #55-VIVA Motorsports / SS Green Light Racing, #77-Mike Harmon Racing, #87-Rick Ware Racing, #93-JGL Racing (1)
LASTCAR N'WIDE SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP - FINAL
1st) Toyota (16)
2nd) Chevrolet (12)
3rd) Dodge (5)
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