|SOURCE: Rubbin's Racin' Forums|
This was Shepherd’s first XFINITY last-place finish since Daytona on July 5, 2013, 52 races ago.
Atlanta, the scene of three of Shepherd’s four Cup Series victories, saw the 73-year-old driver attempt both the XFINITY and Truck Series races held last Saturday. The Truck ride came as a last-minute replacement for Timmy Hill, who chose not to race MAKE Motorsports’ #1 Life on the Line / Lily Trucking Chevrolet after Saturday’s practice.
Last season, Shepherd finished 35th at Atlanta, matching his best finish of his eight-race campaign. Saturday, as for much of last season, Shepherd carried associate sponsorship from Courtney Construction. Following the team’s withdrawal from the Daytona event, driver and team went to Atlanta locked-into the show as his silver-and-black Chevrolet made it 40 entrants for 40 available positions.
Shepherd did not participate in the opening practice session, ran just four laps in Happy Hour, then timed in 40th in qualifying with an average speed of 158.061 mph, the slowest car by more than 2 seconds. By Lap 3 of the race itself, Shepherd pulled behind the wall with suspension issues. In that afternoon’s Truck Series race, he started 30th and finished 27th.
Finishing 39th on Saturday was Carl Long, whose Derek White-owned #40 carried a special tribute to Thee Dixon, who passed away last Wednesday. It was Dixon, then the owner of single-car team Mansion Motorsports, who gave Long his first Cup Series ride in the blue-and-gold #85 Ford. Finishing 38th was Josh Reaume, who at Daytona came home a career-best 23rd in Victor Obaika’s #97 Chevrolet. 37th went to one of only two Dodges in the field - the #74 of perennial underdog Mike Harmon. Rounding out the Bottom Five was by 1990 Daytona 500 winner and three-time LASTCAR Cup Champion Derrike Cope in his #70 Wade Tractor Equipment / New Holland Agriculture Chevrolet, who finished under power.
*At 73 years, 4 months, and 17 days, Shepherd remains the second-oldest last-place finisher in NASCAR history, trailing James Harvey Hylton at age 76 years, 8 months, and 10 days during the XFINITY Series race at Darlington on May 6, 2011. Shepherd does hold the age record for Cup Series last-place finishers, which he accomplished in his run at Phoenix last year at 72 years, 4 months, 18 days.
*Shepherd now holds sole possession of 3rd in the all-time LASTCAR rankings with 37 career last-place finishes across all three of NASCAR’s top divisions. He is 2 finishes behind runner-up Joe Nemechek and 28 finishes behind all-time leader Jeff Green. Green was not entered in Saturday’s race.
*This marks the first last-place finish for the #89 in a XFINITY Series race at Atlanta.
THE BOTTOM FIVE
40) #89-Morgan Shepherd / 2 laps / suspension
39) #40-Carl Long / 19 laps / vibration
38) #97-Josh Reaume / 28 laps / electrical
37) #74-Mike Harmon / 92 laps / front hub
36) #70-Derrike Cope / 128 laps / running
2015 LASTCAR XFINITY SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Dexter Bean, Morgan Shepherd (1)
2015 LASTCAR XFINITY SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) #89-Shepherd Racing Ventures, #92-King Autosport (1)
2015 LASTCAR XFINITY SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Chevrolet (2)
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