|SOURCE: Rubbin's Racin' Forums|
Justin Jennings picked up the 3rd last-place finish of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career in Friday’s Lucas Oil 150 at the Phoenix International Raceway when his #63 Mittler Bros. Machine & Tool Chevrolet was involved in a four-truck accident which prevented him from completing any of the race’s 126 laps.
The finish was Jennings’ third of the season and his first since Pocono, ten races ago. And, with one race to go, Jennings has now clinched the 2014 LASTCAR Truck Series Championship. Caleb Roark, who took the lead on bottom-five finishes last week, withdrew prior to Friday’s race, preventing him from challenging on a possible tiebreaker. Even if Roark finishes last next week at Homestead and Jennings does not finish inside the Bottom Ten, Jennings would still prevail on a bottom-ten tiebreaker 11-10.
Roark’s withdrawal on Thursday shortened the Phoenix field further from 35 to 34, the fourteenth short field in twenty-one races. Next season, Truck Series fields will be reduced further to 32 trucks - seven races this year have had fewer entries than that. Jennings did not participate in the opening practice session, was 26th of 34 in Happy Hour, and kept the 26th starting spot at an average speed of 128.567 mph.
When the green flag flew on Friday night, however, the outside line checked-up, causing an accordion effect through the middle of the field. Trouble broke out when 22nd-place starter John Wes Townley rear-ended 20th-place starter Bryan Silas, leaving 24th-place German Quiroga and 26th-place Jennings nowhere to go but to pile in. Townley, Quiroga, and Jennings suffered the most severe damage to the noses of their trucks. Jennings was the only driver who couldn’t complete the first lap - he pulled to the garage first and was credited with the last-place finish.
Behind Jennings and Townley were 32nd-place B.J. McLeod in the unsponsored #07 SS-Green Light Racing Chevrolet, his first race since Las Vegas. Rounding out the Bottom Five were both Gallagher Motorsports trucks, which each qualified in the third row. 31st-place Spencer Gallagher crashed out after 27 laps when Timothy Peters made contact with his #23 Kingman Chevy-Buick / Allegiant Travel Chevrolet entering Turn 3, sending him into the outside wall. Teammate Joey Coulter followed on Lap 38 when his #21 Allegiant Travel Chevrolet lost control in the same corner shortly after the restart.
*Jennings is the first Truck Series driver to fail to complete the opening lap at Phoenix since October 26, 2001, when Lance Hooper’s #23 National Wild Turkey Federation Chevrolet had brake issues at the start of the Chevy Silverado 150.
*This is the first last-place finish for both Jennings and the #63 in a Truck Series race at Phoenix.
THE BOTTOM FIVE
34) #63-Justin Jennings / 0 laps / crash
33) #05-John Wes Townley / 1 lap / crash
32) #07-B.J. McLeod / 21 laps / axle
31) #23-Spencer Gallagher / 27 laps / crash
30) #21-Joey Coulter / 38 laps / crash
LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Justin Jennings (3)
2nd) Ryan Ellis, Mike Harmon, Blake Koch, Charles Lewandoski, Caleb Roark (2)
3rd) Mike Affarano, T.J. Bell, Bryan Dauzat, Alex Guenette, Ted Minor, Tommy Regan, Scott Stenzel, Jason White (1)
LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) #0-Jennifer Jo Cobb (4)
2nd) #36-Mike Mittler, #63-Mike Mittler / Randy Young (3)
3rd) #74-Mike Harmon (2)
4th) #28-FDNY Racing, #35-Win-Tron Racing, #42-Randy Young, #45-Regan Motorsports, #50-MAKE Motorsports, #57-Norm Benning, #74-Mario Gosselin, #93-RSS Racing, #03-Mike Affarano Motorsports (1)
LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Chevrolet (18)
2nd) RAM (2)
3rd) Toyota (1)