Sunday, November 15, 2015

TRUCKS: Brandon Jones’ Crash Gives #33 First Last-Place Run In Trucks Since 2004

Brandon Jones picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career in Friday’s Lucas Oil 150 at the Phoenix International Raceway when his #33 Lucas Oil Chevrolet was involved in a three-truck accident after 6 of 150 laps.  The finish came in Jones’ 24th series start.

A two-time winner in ARCA and 4th in the 2014 K&N Pro Series East Championship standings, 18-year-old Jones is already in his third partial season in the Truck Series.  Jones entered the series with Turner Motorsports in 2013, then in late 2014 moved to the growing GMS Racing team owned by Maury Gallagher.  As one of a number of part-time teammates to GMS’ primary #23 fielded by ARCA star Spencer Gallagher, Jones earned a career-best 2nd to Erik Jones at Iowa this past June, one of five career Top Fives and nine Top Tens.

At Phoenix, Jones looked to improve on a 12th in his only previous Truck Series start at the track in late 2014.  He ran a strong 3rd in Thursday’s practice session, trailing only Jones and oerall leader Cameron Hayley, then qualified 7th at an average speed of 136.090 mph.

Starting 32nd on Friday was Akinori Ogata, making his third start of the season in MB Motorsports’ #63 ENEOS Chevrolet.  Ogata was joined by three trucks sent to the rear - Tyler Young in his family’s #02 Randco / Young’s Building Systems Chevrolet, the #74 Mike Harmon Racing entry of Jordan Anderson, and Corbin Forrister in the #08 Tilted Kilt Chevrolet.  By the end of Lap 1, all of them moved past Timmy Hill, who briefly trailed the field in Premium Motorsports’ #94 Testoril Chevrolet before Forrister fell to the back on Lap 4.  Forrister was still trailing when trouble broke out on the backstretch.

Coming off Turn 2, Jones was locked in a battle to defend his 7th starting spot on the outside from K&N East Series racer William Byron, making his series debut in the #9 Liberty University Toyota for Kyle Busch’s team, and on the inside from Cole Custer’s #00 Haas Automation Chevrolet.  While negotiating the dogleg, Jones made contact with Byron’s Toyota and was hooked directly into Custer’s right-front, triggering a wreck that sent all three vehicles into a spin.  Jones and Byron’s trucks, the most severely damaged, were done for the night, and Custer required laps of repairs before returning to the race and finishing 26th.

30th went to Forrister, who was bumped into a spin by Hill coming off Turn 4 on Lap 17.  Anderson’s #74 lost an engine and stalled in Turn 4 on Lap 40, drawing the third caution of the night.  The Bottom Five was rounded out by fan favorite Rico Abreu, whose own Truck Series debut faced a sudden end on Lap 46 when he was caught up in a wreck between three other trucks.  The short tracker’s #31 AccuDoc Solutions Chevrolet suffered nose damage in the accident, ending his night.

Michael Waltrip's wreck at LOR, 2004
SOURCE: Michael McIntyre
*This was the first last-place finish for the #33 in a Truck Series race since August 6, 2004, when Michael Waltrip’s #33 Monaco Coaches Chevrolet fielded by Andy Petree Racing was involved in a crash after he completed 14 of the 200 laps in the Power Stroke Diesel 200 at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis.  The number has never finished last in any other Truck Series points races.
*This was the first last-place finish for GMS Racing in NASCAR’s top three divisions.

32) #33-Brandon Jones / 6 laps / crash
31) #9-William Byron / 6 laps / crash
30) #08-Korbin Forrister / 15 laps / crash
29) #74-Jordan Anderson / 36 laps / engine
28) #31-Rico Abreu / 44 laps / crash

Before Friday’s race even started, the four challengers for the 2015 LASTCAR Truck Series Championship were whittled down to two.  Eliminated from contention were Justin Jennings, who was not on the entry list (substituted at MB Motorsports by Bobby Pierce in the #36 and Akinori Ogata in the #63), and Norm Benning, who scored his third DNQ of 2015.

Like Jennings, MB Motorsports teammate Tyler Tanner wasn’t on the list, but Tanner can win the title simply by finishing last at Homestead.  If Tanner comes home 32nd, it won’t matter where Roark finishes in the race.  If Roark finishes outside the Bottom Ten, Tanner will win a bottom-ten tiebreaker, 9-8.  If Roark finishes inside the Bottom Ten, Tanner will still win a bottom-fifteen tiebreaker, 10-9.

1st) Caleb Roark (4)
2nd) Norm Benning, Tyler Tanner (3)
3rd) Justin Jennings, Jennifer Jo Cobb (2)
4th) Adam Edwards, Joey Gattina, J.J. Haley, Stew Hayward, Brandon Jones, Travis Kvapil, Justin Marks, Robert Mitten (1)

1st) Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing (7)
2nd) MB Motorsports, Norm Benning Racing (4)
3rd) MAKE Motorsports (2)
4th) Braun Motorsports, GMS Racing, Mike Harmon Racing, NDS Motorsports, Win-Tron Racing (1)

1st) Chevrolet (19)
2nd) RAM (2)
3rd) Toyota (1)

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