|SOURCE: Rubbin's Racin' Forums|
The finish, which occurred in Tanner’s 12th series start, was his 3rd of the season and first since Chicagoland, two races ago. Tanner now joins a three-way tie with Norm Benning and defending LASTCAR Truck Series Champion Caleb Roark for the lead in this year’s last-place standings. With five races to go, Roark leads Tanner by a single bottom-five finish, 7-6, while Benning trails with 3.
Las Vegas would be Tanner’s tenth start of 2015 and his third with MAKE Motorsports, whose two trucks were late additions last Wednesday that brought the field to a full 32 entries. While teammate Travis Kvapil drove MAKE’s #1, Tanner would again climb aboard the #50 he brought to a 30th-place run last week at Loudon. Tanner was 31st-fastest in the lone practice, but lost valuable time when he brought out a caution for leaking fluid on the track in Turns 3 and 4. Tanner retained the 31st spot in qualifying with a lap of 161.861 mph.
The 32nd spot in Saturday’s field went to Norm Benning, who was again running a jet black scheme on his unsponsored #6 Norm Benning Racing Chevrolet. He was joined by Erik Jones, whose Kyle Busch Motorsports team had changed engines on his #4 Toyota, and the #07 ScubaLife.com / NASE Worldwide Chevrolet of Ray Black, Jr., who missed the drivers meeting. At the end of Lap 1, however, Caleb Roark made a move for the spot in his #0 Driven2Honor.org Chevrolet. On Lap 6, Tanner then took the spot from Roark and was the first to be lapped when he went behind the wall.
31st went to Austin Theriault, who suffered a terrible wreck on Lap 15 when he tangled with teammate Tyler Reddick in Turn 4 and slammed head-on into a spot just feet from the edge of the SAFER barrier. Theriault climbed from his truck, but suffered a compression fracture of his spine in the accident. Roark, who was coming down pit road when Theriault and Reddick tangled, returned to the track to complete two more laps before retiring as well finishing 30th. 29th went to Justin Jennings, again in MB Motorsports’ #36 Mittler Brothers Machine & Tool Chevrolet while Japanese driver Akinori Ogata promoted his foundation for children with serious illnesses on MB’s #63 that finished 23rd. Rounding out the Bottom Five was B.J. McLeod, fresh from his Cup debut last week, whose #45 Tilted Kilt Chevrolet edged teammate Korbin Forrister’s #08 by a single lap.
Saturday’s race ended in thrilling fashion with the first NASCAR victory of John Wes Townley, who stretched his fuel in the final laps to win in Athenian Motorsports’ #05 Zaxby’s Chevrolet. Curiously, Las Vegas was the very first race after a report last Wednesday that the Athenian team would withdrew Townley’s XFINITY Series ride at Dover, choosing instead to focus on his Truck Series effort for the rest of 2015. Despite a number of on-track struggles throughout his racing career, Townley has not finished last in any of his 87 XFINITY Series and 73 Truck Series starts.
Also of note was the return of 2007 LASTCAR Truck Series Champion Wayne Edwards, who made his first series start in more than three years. Still ranked second by one finish behind Johnny Chapman for the most lasts in Truck Series history, Edwards came home 24th in Premium Motorsports’ #94 Testoril Chevrolet, the last truck to finish under power.
*This is the first last-place finish for the #50 in a Truck Series race since last fall at Martinsville, when T.J. Bell’s #50 Dedicated to Electrical Linemen Chevrolet busted a radiator after 44 laps of the Kroger 200. Neither the number nor Tanner had ever finished last in a Truck Series race at Las Vegas.
THE BOTTOM FIVE
32) #50-Tyler Tanner / 5 laps / engine
31) #29-Austin Theriault / 14 laps / crash
30) #0-Caleb Roark / 16 laps / electrical
29) #36-Justin Jennings / 29 laps / electrical
28) #45-B.J. McLeod / 33 laps / overheating
2015 LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Norm Benning, Caleb Roark, Tyler Tanner (3)
2nd) Justin Jennings (2)
3rd) Adam Edwards, Joey Gattina, Stew Hayward, Jennifer Jo Cobb, Travis Kvapil, Justin Marks, Robert Mitten (1)
2015 LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing (5)
2nd) MB Motorsports, Norm Benning Racing (4)
3rd) MAKE Motorsports (2)
4th) Mike Harmon Racing, NDS Motorsports, Win-Tron Racing (1)
2015 LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Chevrolet (15)
2nd) RAM (2)
3rd) Toyota (1)