Sunday, February 22, 2015

XFINITY: Dexter Bean Exits Before Daytona Chaos In NASCAR Return

SOURCE: NASCAR Media
Dexter Bean picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR XFINITY Series career in Saturday’s Alert Today Florida 300 at the Daytona International Speedway when his unsponsored #92 King Autosport Chevrolet fell out with fuel pump issues after he completed 5 of the race’s 120 laps.  The finish came in Bean’s 2nd series start.

Bean was one of several drivers at Daytona who was making a return to NASCAR after a long absence.  An ARCA driver with 9 top-five finishes in 70 ARCA starts from 2005 through 2008, Bean entered NASCAR on October 28, 2006 when the 19-year-old made his XFINITY Series debut at Memphis, coming home 32nd in Jeff Spraker’s #63 Ford.

In 2009, Bean made a push to enter the Sprint Cup Series, driving a black #51 Dodge fielded by his family.  He qualified for just one of his seven attempts - a 36th at Pocono in a car sponsored by Livewire Energy.  Qualifying was rained-out for the Pocono race, but Bean edged Derrike Cope for the 43rd starting spot based on his number of attempts that season.  Bean also made three Truck Series starts that year, earning a career-best 17th at the Milwaukee Mile.  The #12 he drove that day was owned by Canadian owner-driver Mario Gosselin, whose wife and Bean’s are sisters.

On February 16, it was announced that Gosselin and Bean had reunited for 2015 to compete in the XFINITY Series.  Gosselin, a journeyman driver with 19 wins in 7 seasons on the X-1R Pro Cup tour, had resurrected his King Autosport team last season with newcomer Martin Roy behind the wheel, earning a best finish of 30th at Phoenix.  However, when Roy was injured while skiing in the offseason, Gosselin changed his plans to run a new team car, #92, and took the helm of #90.  This left the seat in the #92 open for Gosselin’s brother-in-law.

Gosselin and Bean were among the 47 set to compete to make their way into Saturday’s 40-car field.  In practice, they were 14th and 36th, respectively, then 18th and 10th (out of 31) in Happy Hour.  When the dust settled on another crash-marred qualifying session, both drivers had made the show - Gosselin in 37th at an average speed of 183.475 mph and Bean in 30th, running 185.056.  For Bean, it was his first start in the series since his 2006 debut.  For Gosselin, it was his first as a driver in 15 years, dating back to a 42nd-place finish at Gateway on July 29, 2000.
Dexter Bean on pit road
SOURCE: Rob Dostie

Just five laps into Saturday’s race, Bean pulled his car onto pit road (as captured by LASTCAR photographer Rob Dostie), then pulled out of the race.  The remainder of the Bottom Five wasn’t finalized until a grinding crash on Lap 92 when rookie Daniel Suarez’ #18 ARRIS Toyota lost control off the fourth corner, colliding with the #7 Hellman’s / Kroger Chevrolet of Regan Smith and triggering a 12-car melee.  The collected Ryan Sieg, Scott Lagasse, Jr., and Chad Boat were ranked between Suarez and the tumbling Smith.

Lagasse, Jr.’s #10 entry was originally qualified by his teammate, three-time LASTCAR XFINITY Champion Jeff Green, who secured the 22nd spot in a flat white unsponsored Toyota.  However, when Lagasse, Jr. was unable to get his #19 Alert Today Florida / Boy Scouts of America entry into the show, Lagasse, Jr. traded rides, and the TriStar Motorsports team managed to re-skin the car just in time for the start of the race.  Unfortunately, the nose of the car was destroyed in the Suarez-Smith wreck, ending his run.

Gosselin finished 15th in the race, his best-career XFINITY Series finish.

LASTCAR STATISTICS
*This is the first last-place finish by the #92 in a XFINITY Series race since Michigan since June 15, 2013, when Dexter Stacey’s Maddie’s Place Ford crashed after 6 laps of the Alliance Truck Parts 250.  The number had never before finished last in a series race at Daytona.

THE BOTTOM FIVE
40) #92-Dexter Bean / 5 laps / fuel pump
39) #18-Daniel Suarez / 91 laps / crash
38) #39-Ryan Sieg / 92 laps / crash
37) #10-Scott Lagasse, Jr. / 92 laps / crash
36) #84-Chad Boat / 92 laps / crash

2015 LASTCAR XFINITY SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Dexter Bean (1)

2015 LASTCAR XFINITY SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) #92-King Autosport (1)

2015 LASTCAR XFINITY SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Chevrolet (1)