Monday, August 31, 2015

TRUCKS: Robert Mitten Becomes First Truck Series “Did Not Start” Since 1998

SOURCE: Rubbin's Racin' Forums
Robert Mitten picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career in Sunday’s Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (Mosport) when his unsponsored #53 NDS Motorsports RAM failed to start the event.  The finish occurred in what was to be Mitten’s series debut.

NDS Motorsports, owned by Robert Torriere, has fielded racers in stock car road course events since 2005, when Travis Kvapil came home 25th in an XFINITY Series race at Watkins Glen.  The team’s best performances have come with NASCAR Canadian Tire Series star Andrew Ranger, who in 2011 finished 6th in the XFINITY race at Road America, then was 5th in the team’s Truck Series debut at Mosport.  This year, Mitten was set to run the same 2013 RAM that Ranger drove that day.  It would be the second time this season that driver and team would work together - during the ARCA race at New Jersey Motorsports Park’s road course in May, Mitten timed in 3rd before a crash left him 25th.

Mitten was one of 33 drivers on the preliminary entry list for Sunday’s race, but when Jennifer Jo Cobb withdrew her second truck, the #0 to be driven by defending LASTCAR Truck Series Champion Caleb Roark, the remaining drivers were guaranteed to start the event.  Mitten showed surprising speed in practice, putting up the 19th and 18th-fastest laps and he put up the 22nd-fastest lap in qualifying at an average speed of 105.673 mph.

Unfortunately, Mitten lost control and backed hard into the tire barrier in Turn 8.  The car caught air and stopped on its nose.  While no one was injured in the crash, NDS didn’t have a backup at the track, so the team did not start the race.

Also unable to start Sunday was Ryan Ellis in MAKE Motorsports’ unsponsored #50 Chevrolet.  MAKE had entered both of its trucks at the last minute to fill out the field with Ellis set to roll off 30th and Travis Kvapil 27th in the #1 Burnie Grill Chevrolet.  However, Ellis lost an engine leaving pit road on Saturday, and the car’s backup engine wouldn’t fire on Sunday.  Kvapil’s #1 was plagued with axle issues and had to make several unscheduled stops in the early stages.  Kvapil ended up nine laps down at the finish, but escaped the Bottom Five to come home 24th.

The 30th spot on Sunday went to Josh Reaume in another RAM, this one fielded by a new team owned by Margaret Lind.  Reaume, who this season has competed primarily in the XFINITY Series for Motorsports Business Management, made his first Truck start in two years.  He started at the tail end of the field in Lind’s #44 Obregon Construction LLC machine, but stalled on the backstretch and brought out the first yellow on Lap 15.

29th went to Justin Jennings, who was again in MB Motorsports’ “start-and-park” #36 while English driver Danny Brown made his NASCAR debut in Mike Mittler’s #63.  Brown nosed into the tire barrier on Lap 19, leaving him just outside the Bottom Five - the last spot went to B.J. McLeod in Christopher Long’s #45 Tilted Kilt Chevrolet.

*Mitten is the first qualified driver to be unable to start a Truck Series race since October 18, 1998, when Randy Tolsma was unable to defend his victory at Mesa Marin Raceway in Bakersfield, California after his #78 MCI / Mopar Dodge didn’t start the Dodge California Truck Stop 300.  Tolsma had qualified 21st.
*This is the first last-place finish for the #53 in a Truck Series race since October 4, 2008, when Justin Hobgood’s #53 Georgia Beef Board Chevrolet lost an engine after 1 lap of the Mountain Dew 250 Fueled by Winn-Dixie at Talladega.

32) #53-Robert Mitten / 0 laps / did not start
31) #50-Ryan Ellis / 0 laps / engine
30) #44-Josh Reaume / 10 laps / engine
29) #36-Justin Jennings / 12 laps / brakes
28) #45-B.J. McLeod / 21 laps / brakes

1st) Norm Benning, Caleb Roark (3)
2nd) Adam Edwards, Joey Gattina, Stew Hayward, Justin Jennings, Jennifer Jo Cobb, Travis Kvapil, Justin Marks, Robert Mitten, Tyler Tanner (1)

1st) Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing (5)
2nd) Norm Benning Racing (4)
3rd) MB Motorsports (2)
4th) MAKE Motorsports, Mike Harmon Racing, NDS Motorsports, Win-Tron Racing (1)

1st) Chevrolet (12)
2nd) RAM (2)
3rd) Toyota (1)


Unknown said...

The Fox Sports 1 Broadcast of the Qualifying event clearly shows the culprit of the #53 spin. The #1 truck lost its axle and gear oil onto the track just in time for the #53 to come through.

Brock Beard said...

That's was terrible luck for you guys. I hope Robert gets another chance in NASCAR soon - he showed a lot of speed before the wreck.