Sunday, May 10, 2015

TRUCKS: Caleb Roark Scores Chevrolet’s 300th Truck Series Last-Place Finish

Caleb Roark picked up the 4th last-place finish of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career in Friday’s Toyota Tundra 250 at the Kansas Speedway when his #0 Grimes Irrigation & Construction Chevrolet fell out with electrical issues after he completed 5 of the race’s 167 laps.

The finish was Roark’s first of the season and his first in a Truck Series race since last year’s Homestead finale, four races ago, where his third last-place finish of the season netted him the 2014 LASTCAR Truck Series Championship in a bottom-five tiebreaker with Justin Jennings.  Friday’s finish occurred in Roark’s 16th series start.

Friday was also Roark’s first start of the 2015 season, an arrangement made to fill out the field after the preliminary entry list for the Kansas race had just 28 entrants for 32 spots.  Joining Roark among the late entries were Mike Affarano, back in his bright pink #03 Won ‘n Done Automotive Car Products Chevrolet for the first time since his XFINITY Series entry narrowly missed the field at Richmond with Johanna Long aboard, and two trucks from MAKE Motorsports, a team which went from not attempting the race at all to entering both its trucks with Martinsville last-placer Travis Kvapil (#50 Burnie Grill Chevrolet) and FDNY Racing part-timer Ryan Ellis (unsponsored #1 MAKE Motorsports Chevrolet).

For Friday’s race, Roark would drive the #0 entry for owner-driver Jennifer Jo Cobb, the same number and team which carried him to the 2014 LASTCAR title.  In the weekend’s only practice on Thursday, Roark timed in 29th of the 32 competitors, then in qualifying took the 31st spot with the slowest lap of the session at 150.686 mph.  Just 5 laps into the race, Roark pulled behind the wall under green, edging last-place starter Affarano by a single circuit.  Jennifer Jo Cobb, in her team’s primary #10, finished 19th, her best finish since an 18th in the Daytona opener.

Rounding out the Bottom Five were 30th-place Brandon Jones, who after qualifying 3rd in GMS Motorsports’ #33 Masterforce Tool Storage Chevrolet crashed in Turn 2 on Lap 11, ending his night.  29th went to the #25 of ARCA export Matt Tifft, whose Bill Venturini-owned Clinical RM Toyota left with an oil leak after 18 laps.  Tifft’s truck was a backup - he was slated to run an unsponsored truck for the weekend, but it was damaged in practice.  Finishing 28th, pulling behind the wall with a vibration the same lap as Tifft, was B.J. McLeod in the #45 Tilted Kilt Chevrolet.  It was a rough night for McLeod’s Christopher Long-owned team - his teammate Korbin Forrister, running an identical #08 Chevrolet, had rear gear issues that left him 22nd.

*Roark’s last-place finish was the 300th by Chevrolet in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, the most by any manufacturer in series history.  Chevrolet scored the series’ first two points race last-place finishes during its inaugural season in 1995 with John Borneman at Phoenix (#8 MJ Soffe Chevrolet crashed after 22 laps) and Stan Fox at Tucson (#10 Made For You Chevrolet lost the engine after 19 laps).
*This was the first last-place finish by the #0 in a Truck Series race at Kansas since the same event in 2013, when Scott Saunders piloted Jo Cobb’s #0 Koma Unwind RAM to a last-place run when a vibration stopped him after 2 laps of the SFP 250.

32) #0-Caleb Roark / 5 laps / electrical
31) #03-Mike Affarano / 6 laps / ignition
30) #33-Brandon Jones / 11 laps / crash
29) #25-Matt Tifft / 18 laps / oil leak
28) #45-B.J. McLeod / 18 laps / vibration

1st) Norm Benning, Travis Kvapil, Justin Marks, Caleb Roark (1)

1st) #0-Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing, #1-MAKE Motorsports, #6-Norm Benning Racing, #35-Win-Tron Racing (1)

1st) Chevrolet (3)
2nd) Toyota (1)

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