Monday, August 31, 2015

XFINITY: Jeff Green Continues Streak While TriStar Teammate Koch Nearly Pulls Upset

SOURCE: Rob Fini @roadrunnerdrumr
Jeff Green picked up the 75th last-place finish of his NASCAR XFINITY Series career in Saturday’s Road America 180 at Road America when his unsponsored #19 TriStar Motorsports Toyota fell out with transmission issues after he completed 2 of the race’s 45 laps.

The finish was Green’s 15th of the season, equaling his single-season record set in 2013.  It’s also his 8th last-place run in a row, once again breaking his own record of 7 he set just last week at Bristol.  Green is entered in the #19 again for this Saturday’s VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 at Darlington, where he can break both records with another 40th.

Qualifying was rained-out for Saturday’s race, so Green fell back on his 30th-fastest time in the opening practice session.  He did not participate in Happy Hour.

The 40th starting spot in Saturday’s field went to stuntman Stanton Barrett, who was making his 4th start of the season for Rick Ware Racing and the first for Ware’s #17.  The Ware team struggled with the car all weekend, unable to complete a lap in either practice session, and the / Ford was given the 40th starting spot based on qualifying draw.

On the first lap, however, Jeremy Clements’ team was struggling to get the #51 Chevrolet started, dropping Clements from 11th on the grid to last.  Once the race started, road course ringer Tomy Drissi’s #26 Arthritis Foundation Toyota made contact with the outside wall and stopped in the gravel trap outside Turn 5, drawing the first yellow of the day.  On Lap 3, Clements returned to the track two laps down while Green surrendered 30th to join Drissi in the garage.  Drissi looked poised to end Green’s streak until he returned to the track on Lap 9, dropping Green to last on Lap 10.

Drissi finished 36th while Clements came home 28th.  Barrett, the last-place starter, was inside the Top 20 on the final lap when he tangled with Ross Chastain’s #01 G&K Services Chevrolet coming off the final corner, dropping them to 26th and 27th, respectively.

Between Green and Drissi in the Bottom Five were Morgan Shepherd, who has now finished in the final five positions in all 14 of his starts in 2015, Derek White, who took a turn in his own #40 MBM Motorsports Dodge while Josh Reaume ran in the Truck Series in Canada, and Cale Conley, who leaked fluid on the track when the rear gear failed on his #14 Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America Toyota.

Perhaps the biggest surprise in Sunday’s race was defending LASTCAR XFINITY Series champion Blake Koch, who threatened to pull the upset late in the event.  In 136 previous starts over seven seasons on the tour, Koch had finished no better than 11th in the 2013 finale at Homestead and no better than 18th this season.  But on Lap 35, Koch took the lead from Paul Menard and chose to stay out during a long caution flag for polesitter Ben Rhodes’ stalled car.  Then with just five laps remaining, Koch’s battery gave out and the car failed to restart, leaving him 21st at the finish.  While TriStar remains winless in 11 Cup and 6 XFINITY Series seasons, both driver and team have prospects: just two weeks ago, it was announced that Koch would return to TriStar in 2016 with sponsor LeafFilter Gutter Protection on his #8.

*This is Green’s third last-place finish in the last four XFINITY Series races at Road America.

40) #19-Jeff Green / 2 laps / transmission
39) #89-Morgan Shepherd / 7 laps / brakes
38) #40-Derek White / 22 laps / transmission
37) #14-Cale Conley / 22 laps / rear gear
36) #26-Tomy Drissi / 35 laps / running

1st) Jeff Green (15) - 2015 CHAMPION
2nd) Dexter Bean (2)
3rd) C.J. Faison, Mike Harmon, Charles Lewandoski, Carl Long, Morgan Shepherd, Derek White (1)

1st) TriStar Motorsports (16)
2nd) King Autosport, Motorsports Business Management (2)
3rd) JGL Racing, Mike Harmon Racing, Shepherd Racing Ventures (1)

1st) Toyota (18)
2nd) Chevrolet (3)
3rd) Dodge (2)


Anonymous said...

Do you see Jeff Green in any races NOT in the 19 for the rest of the season? (Looks like Tristar's other four cars might be all booked up)

Unknown said...

Is this the Jeff Green who is a former Busch Series Champion?