|SOURCE: NBC Sports|
The finish was Bean’s second of 2015 and his first since the season-opening round at Daytona, 14 races ago. The finish occurred in Bean’s third series start and his first since the February race.
Bean’s ride for Daytona was again King Autosport’s second team, #92, owned by Bean’s relative Mario Gosselin. This time, Bean would drive the same orange, blue, and white-colored scheme as the car Gosselin finished 19th with at Talladega in May. Martin Roy, another Canadian racer who had driven for Gosselin since 2014, would drive the team’s primary #90 Gamache Truck Center / Cote Chevrolet. Roy would go on to finish a career-best 21st on Saturday, improving on his previous mark of 28th last month at Michigan.
Bean was technically the slowest of the 37 cars who participated in the opening practice session, though he aborted his only timed lap. He did not participate in Happy Hour. In qualifying, Bean faced stiff opposition from a 44-car entry list that would be trimmed to 40 starters in Saturday’s race. While the rules allowed everyone to run just a single lap, Bean prevailed with a 27th-fastest lap of 176.894, besting even Roy’s 30th-best mark of 176.339 mph. Among the four drivers who missed the field was current 2015 LASTCAR leader Jeff Green, who managed just the 43rd-fastest lap in his unsponsored TriStar #19, and both Motorsports Business Management cars of team owner Derek White and ARCA veteran Mark Thompson. Thompson’s #13 Phoenix Air Dodge was originally locked into the field with the 32nd-best time, but failed post-qualifying inspection. Thompson’s spot went to 41st-fastest Derrike Cope in his flat black #70 Evergreen Fabrication & Industrial Services Chevrolet.
At the start of Saturday’s race, Bean surrendered his 27th starting spot and fell to the rear. He was still running at the back of the pack on Lap 4 when Bobby Gerhart’s #85 Lucas Oil Chevrolet spun off the nose of Joey Gase’s #52 Faith of our Fathers / SupportMilitary.org Chevrolet exiting Turn 4. Gerhart slid into the wet infield grass and dug up a sizeable chunk of the turf with his splitter. Gerhart continued on for the Lap 7 restart, but Bean pulled off the track at that instant, ending his night in another “start-and-park” effort.
Finishing 39th was the #89 Racing With Jesus / Courtney Construction Chevrolet of Atlanta last-placer Morgan Shepherd, who has yet to finish outside the Bottom Five in any of his six starts this season. 38th went to Cope, who was not quite clear of eventual race winner Austin Dillon in the tri-oval and turned himself into the outside wall on Lap 16. Crash damage also took out Scott Lagasse Jr. in the #15 Alert Today Florida / Boy Scouts of America Chevrolet. His car damaged in an early collision, Lagasse’s hood flapped up during the race’s first half, causing enough damage to the car for him to stop for the night. Rounding out the Bottom Five was Brennan Poole in HScott Motorsports’ #42 DC Solar Chevrolet, the result of the first of two grinding multi-car accidents that slowed the action in the middle stages.
The accidents allowed several small teams to shine when the checkered flag fell. Dakoda Armstrong put RPM’s #43 WinField Ford in 6th, setting a new career-best finish for the Indiana driver. Johnny Davis’ venerable JD Motorsports had two cars in the Top 10 with teammates Harrison Rhodes in the #0 Flex Seal Colors Chevrolet coming home 9th ahead of Ross Chastain in the patriotic Flex Shot / Watermelon.com Chevrolet in 10th. For Rhodes, it was his first top-ten finish in his 27th series start. For Chastain, it was his third in just 22 starts.
But most impressive was the 5th-place run earned by owner-driver Benny Gordon. Gordon, a four-time champion of the X-1R Pro Cup Series, purchased Vision Racing earlier this year after Tanner Berryhill’s #17 team closed following a disastrous SpeedWeeks. Two months ago at Talladega, Gordon made his first XFINITY Series start since 2012 and put Vision’s #17 Toyota 13th at the finish. He returned Saturday at Daytona with a new car number - #66 - and sponsorship from Somerset Regional Water Resources. Gordon ran in the Top 10 for most of the night, avoided all the night’s chaos, and despite a smoking right-front fender in the final laps, earned his first finish better than 12th in his 20th series start.
*Bean is the first driver to sweep both XFINITY Series last-place finishes at Daytona since Jeff Green did in 2012 driving TriStar’s #10 Toyota.
THE BOTTOM FIVE
40) #92-Dexter Bean / 6 laps / vibration
39) #89-Morgan Shepherd / 10 laps / overheating
38) #70-Derrike Cope / 15 laps / crash
37) #15-Scott Lagasse, Jr. / 58 laps / crash
36) #42-Brennan Poole / 90 laps / crash
2015 LASTCAR XFINITY SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Jeff Green (7)
2nd) Dexter Bean (2)
3rd) C.J. Faison, Mike Harmon, Charles Lewandoski, Carl Long, Morgan Shepherd, Derek White (1)
2015 LASTCAR XFINITY SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) TriStar Motorsports (8)
2nd) King Autosport, Motorsports Business Management (2)
3rd) JGL Racing, Mike Harmon Racing, Shepherd Racing Ventures (1)
2015 LASTCAR XFINITY SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Toyota (10)
2nd) Chevrolet (3)
3rd) Dodge (2)