|SOURCE: Mansfield NewsJournal,|
Submitted By Sam Laughlin
The finish was Green’s thirteenth of the season and his sixth in a row, beating his own NASCAR record streak of five he set last week at Watkins Glen. With just twelve races to go on the XFINITY Series schedule, Green is already a virtual lock for his fifth LASTCAR XFINITY Series title and his fourth in five years.
All drivers who have yet to finish last in an XFINITY Series race have now officially been eliminated from LASTCAR title contention as a last-place run in all 12 remaining races would still be one short of Green’s current mark of 13. Among the one-timers, C.J. Faison, Mike Harmon, and Charles Lewandoski are also eliminated as they have fewer than 4 bottom-five finishes and thus in 12 races cannot match Green’s current mark of 16 to force a bottom-ten tiebreaker.
Derek White, Carl Long, and Morgan Shepherd can only claim the title if any one of them doubles Green’s current streak and finishes last in all 12 remaining races, but can still lose depending where Green finishes. This is because Green already has 16 bottom-five finishes - one in each of his starts - while all three drivers have fewer starts and Bottom Fives than Green this season. Thus, White will be eliminated if Green gets just one more Bottom Five, Long if Green gets 4 more, and Shepherd if Green gets 8 more - even if any one of them sweeps all 12 last-place runs.
Dexter Bean, the only other driver besides Green to finish last twice in 2015, is the only driver who can claim the 2015 LASTCAR XFINITY Series title by finishing last in all 12 of the remaining races this season, no matter what Green does. However, unlike White, Long, and Shepherd, this is the only way Bean can win the title. Bean has only two starts and thus cannot rely on any tiebreakers against Green.
Long story short: Derek White, Carl Long, Morgan Shepherd, and Dexter Bean are the only title challengers that remain. Three will be eliminated at Bristol if one of them finishes last in Friday’s race. The fourth will be eliminated if he fails to trail all 11 races after, subject to where Green finishes. If anything else happens, all four will be eliminated and Green will win the title.
UPDATE (Monday August 17): Derek White and Dexter Bean are not on the entry list for Bristol while Morgan Shepherd (#89) and Carl Long (#40) are, so Shepherd and Long are now the only two title contenders remaining.
So this Friday at Bristol, Green can not only extend his consecutive last-place streak to an unprecedented seven races, but can also clinch the title in the very race he set his four-race streak in 2011.
Last week at Mid-Ohio, Green turned laps in the weekend’s opening practice session for the first time in several races, clocking in the 24th-fastest time of 36 drivers after 11 laps around the course. He instead was one of two drivers to sit out Happy Hour on Friday afternoon, then turned in the 33rd-fastest time in qualifying with a lap of 91.758 mph.
The 40th starting spot in Saturday’s race went to Scottish driver John Jackson, who became the fourth driver in five 2015 starts to drive Jimmy Means’ second car, #79. Coming to the green flag, Jackson was joined by JD Motorsports teammates Landon Cassill and Michael Self, whose #01 and #0 Chevrolets were sent to the rear for unapproved adjustments. Cassill was sent to the back as he was pulling double-duty with the Cup race in Michigan, and Ryan Ellis turned in a sterling 20th-place starting spot for Cassill in qualifying.
At the completion of the first lap, Cassill, Self, and then Jackson moved their way through the field, dropping Josh Reaume and the unsponsored #40 Dodge from Motorsports Business Management to the back of the field. By the time Reaume passed Jackson on Lap 3, the two were racing in their own pack 39 seconds behind the field along with the #74 WCIParts.com Chevrolet of Mike Harmon. The next time by, Green was a the back of the field, 4 seconds behind 39th-place Jackson and 54 seconds behind leader Alex Tagliani. It was at that moment Green pulled behind the wall and out of the race. The NBC leaderboard was updated by Lap 7 showing Green “OUT” for the record-breaking sixth week in a row and second-straight road course.
Reaume lost a lap early and followed Green three laps later while Jackson raced toward the 30th spot and was still on the lead lap when he exited with brake issues after 18 circuits. Morgan Shepherd, who rebounded from his DNQ at Watkins Glen to start next to the Reaume’s team car he replaced that same day, left after 33 laps with fuel pump issues. Dylan Kwasinewski lost several laps early with mechanical issues on his #97 Vroom! Brands Chevrolet, but on Lap 59 was passed for the 36th spot by Carlos Contreras, whose first XFINITY start since Richmond ended with a busted suspension with 25 to go.
*This is the first last-place finish for both Green and the #19 in an XFINITY Series race at Mid-Ohio.
THE BOTTOM FIVE
40) #19-Jeff Green / 3 laps / vibration
39) #40-Josh Reaume / 6 laps / fuel pump
38) #79-John Jackson / 18 laps / brakes
37) #89-Morgan Shepherd / 33 laps / fuel pump
36) #15-Carlos Contreras / 50 laps / suspension
2015 LASTCAR XFINITY SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Jeff Green (13)
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 (14)
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 (16)
2nd) Chevrolet (3)
3rd) Dodge (2)