Sunday, November 2, 2014

N’WIDE: Ryan Ellis Last at Texas; Blake Koch Ends Jeff Green’s Three-Year LASTCAR Reign

SOURCE: Rubbin's Racin' Forums
Ryan Ellis picked up the 3rd last-place finish of his NASCAR Nationwide Series career in Saturday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at the Texas Motor Speedway when his unsponsored #46 The Motorsports Group Chevrolet fell out with a vibration after he completed 3 of the race’s 200 laps.

The finish was Ellis’ third of the season and his first since Dover, three races ago.  Already eliminated from championship contention, history was made before the race even started when Blake Koch locked-up his first-ever LASTCAR championship.  Koch’s teammate, four-time and defending LASTCAR champion Jeff Green, needed to finish last in all three of 2014's final races to defend his title.  When Green did not enter nor start the race, Koch’s two-finish lead secured him the championship.  Koch pulled out one lap after Ellis to come home 39th.

Hours before finishing next-to-last in the Truck Series race, Ellis timed in 31st of 40 drivers in the opening practice session and 37th of 42 in Happy Hour.  In total, 43 drivers - including the post-entry of Tanner Berryhill in Vision Racing’s rebuilt #17 Toyota - contended for the 40-car field.  Ellis secured the final spot with an average speed of 178.235 mph, narrowly edging former LASTCAR record holder Derrike Cope’s lap of 178.059.  Cope missed the race along with fellow owner-drivers Mike Harmon and Morgan Shepherd.

Three laps into Saturday’s race, Ellis pulled behind the wall, edging new LASTCAR champ Blake Koch and his #10 Heroes Behind the Camo / Toyota by a single lap.  This ended a streak of three-consecutive last-place runs at Texas for the #10 TriStar team.  38th went to Carlos Contreras, whose #87 RaceTrac Convenience Stores Chevrolet fielded by Rick Ware was seen during the broadcast driving through the garage after the hard single-car wreck that took then-leader Trevor Bayne out of the running after 48 laps.  Finishing between Contreras and Bayne was Joey Gase in the #52 Better Business Bureau Chevrolet for Jimmy Means.

*This is the first last-place finish for both Ellis and the #46 in a Nationwide Series race at Texas.  However, The Motorsports Group most recently trailed a Texas field on November 5, 2011 when Scott Speed’s #47 Curtis Key Plumbing Chevrolet had electrical issues after 3 laps of the O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge.  It was Speed’s first last-place finish in Nationwide competition.

40) #46-Ryan Ellis / 3 laps / vibration
39) #10-Blake Koch / 4 laps / vibration
38) #87-Carlos Contreras / 33 laps / engine
37) #52-Joey Gase / 34 laps / axle
36) #6-Trevor Bayne / 48 laps / crash / led 15 laps

1st) Blake Koch (8) - 2014 CHAMPION
2nd) Jeff Green (6)
3rd) Ryan Ellis, Kevin Lepage (3)
4th) Matt DiBenedetto (2)
5th) Tanner Berryhill, Milka Duno, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Matt Frahm, Roger Reuse, Robert Richardson, Jr., Tim Schendel, Jimmy Weller, Josh Wise (1)

1st) #10-TriStar Motorsports (11)
2nd) #46-The Motorsports Group (7)
3rd) #91-TriStar Motorsports (3)
4th) #74-Mike Harmon Racing (2)
5th) #4-JD Motorsports, #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)

1st) Toyota (15)
2nd) Chevrolet (11)
3rd) Dodge (5)

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