Monday, March 30, 2015

TRUCKS: Travis Kvapil’s Rear Gear Gives Way Early At Martinsville

SOURCE: FOX Sports 1
Travis Kvapil picked up the 2nd last-place finish of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career in Saturday’s Kroger 250 at the Martinsville Speedway when his #1 Bubba Burger / Kioti Tractors Chevrolet fell out with rear gear issues after he completed 83 of the race’s 258 laps.

The finish was Kvapil’s first of the season and came in his 149th series start.  It was his first in 89 Truck Series races, dating back to February 25, 2011, when his #5 International Truck / Monaco RVs Toyota crashed after he completed 99 laps of the Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix.

Kvapil, the 2003 Truck Series champion, has spent much of early 2015 trying to get Team XTREME Racing’s #44 Phoenix Warehouses Chevrolet into its second Cup Series race of the season.  Following the well-publicized theft of the team’s car at Atlanta, however, Kvapil failed to make the next three races at Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Fontana.  Ultimately, the team withdrew from the Martinsville race in order to prepare for the series’ next round at Texas.  This left Kvapil free to focus on the Truck Series event.

Kvapil’s Martinsville ride was fielded by Mark Beaver’s MAKE Motorsports along with, according to reports, some assistance and sponsorship from Rick Ware Racing.  It would be the third different team Kvapil would drive for in the series this season.  He qualified outside-pole for the Daytona opener in Premium Motorsports’ #94 Chevrolet and finished 15th, then withdrew from the Atlanta event after being tabbed as driver of John Corr’s #82 Ford.

36 trucks arrived at the track to make the field of 32, but Kvapil had a Past Champion’s Provisional on hand to make the field.  Though just 33rd-fastest in the opening practice session, Kvapil used the provisional to secure the 32nd and final starting spot.  Missing the show were Wendell Chavous, now driving Kvapil’s Premium Motorsports entry, Brandon Brown, Paige Decker, and Chuck Buchanan, Jr.  Decker and Buchanan, the slowest two drivers in qualifying, are still gunning for their first series start.

In Saturday’s race, Kvapil held the 32nd spot, but was passed on Lap 4 by Jennifer Jo Cobb and her #10 Driven2Honor.org Chevrolet.  Cobb was the first driver to lose a lap and was down by 2 when she was passed for the spot by Atlanta last-placer Norm Benning and his bright red #6 Norm Benning Racing Chevrolet.  Cobb briefly retook the spot on Lap 73, but then Kvapil made an unscheduled stop under green on Lap 86.  Citing rear gear issues, Kvapil did not return to the race, making him the first retiree.  Cobb finished 24th while Benning rounded out the Bottom Five in 28th.

Between Kvapil and Benning was 31st-place Bryan Silas, who around Lap 100 tagged the wall on the backstretch, causing his #99 Kapoya Premium Energy Drink Chevrolet to trail smoke for several laps.  Despite several repairs, Silas left the race just a few laps later with overheating issues.  30th went to Cup Series regular David Gilliland, who after qualifying 8th and running in the Top 5 early lost the brakes on his #92 BTS Tire & Wheel Distributors Ford just after the halfway mark.  29th went to a frustrated John Hunter Nemechek, who broke the transmission while running 5th on Lap 176, then brought out the yellow when his #8 SWM / D.A.B. Constructors Chevrolet stopped at the entrance to the garage.

LASTCAR STATISTICS
*This marks the first last-place finish for the #1 in a Truck Series race since November 8, 2013, when D.J. Kennington’s PocketFinder Chevrolet crashed after completing just one lap of the Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix.  The number had never before finished last in a Truck Series race at Martinsville.

THE BOTTOM FIVE
32) #1-Travis Kvapil / 83 laps / rear gear
31) #99-Bryan Silas / 120 laps / overheating
30) #92-David Gilliland / 132 laps / brakes
29) #8-John Hunter Nemechek / 173 laps / transmission
28) #6-Norm Benning / 174 laps / rear gear

2015 LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Norm Benning, Travis Kvapil, Justin Marks (1)

2015 LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) #1-MAKE Motorsports, #6-Norm Benning Racing, #35-Win-Tron Racing (1)

2015 LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Chevrolet (2)
2nd) Toyota (1)

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