Saturday, May 7, 2016

TRUCKS: Hard luck continues for Tommy Joe Martins at Kansas

SOURCE: Rubbin's Racin' Forums
Tommy Joe Martins picked up the 2nd last-place finish of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career in Friday’s Toyota Tundra 250 at the Kansas Speedway when his #44 Diamond Gusset Jeans Chevrolet fell out with suspension issues after 26 of 170 laps.

The finish, which came in Martins’ seventh series start, was his second of the year and first since the Daytona opener, two rounds ago.

After selling his ride to Austin Wayne Self for last month’s race at Martinsville, both Self and Martins made the field for the race.  Martins did not participate in Thursday’s opening session, 22nd of 32 in the second, and 25th of 33 in Happy Hour.  His best run came in qualifying, where he timed in 19th at a speed fo 172.822 mph.  It was a tremendous effort for the #44 team, who had to repair their truck after suffering damage to the rear clip in practice.

Two trucks missed the race.  Norm Benning and his #6 Chevrolet have now missed all four races in 2016, and this time were just three-tenths of a second short.  Joining him was fellow owner-driver Mike Harmon, whose #74 Premium Motorsports Marketing / Chevrolet was a second off the pace.

Starting 32nd and last on the field was Spencer Gallagher in the #23 Alamo Chevrolet for GMS Racing.  Gallagher was on a fast lap in qualifying, having turned in the second-best lap in practice, but aborted his timed run when he scraped the outside wall in Turns 3 and 4.  On Lap 2, he was passed by rookie Rico Abreu, whose #98 SafeLite Toyota had a lose rear trunk lid panel after he, too, made contact with the wall.  Abreu returned to the competition, and was soon passed for last by Ryan Ellis, whose #1 Chevrolet was down 18 circuits when the caution clock expired on Lap 44.

At that same moment, Martins was also struggling.  An early flat tire, followed by engine troubles dropped him 15 laps behind in the first 44 circuits.  Ellis returned to the track to complete a handful more laps, eventually climbing to 30th.  Martins, however, was unable to come back out, leaving him with a disappointing 32nd.  Between Martins and Ellis was 31st-place Parker Kligerman, who had a hard Turn 4 crash on Lap 50 in his #92 BTS Tire / Valvoline / Solid Rock Carriers Ford.

The last two members of the Bottom Five were 29th-place Jordan Anderson, whose #66 DoodyCalls Chevrolet tangled with Mike Bliss on Lap 79, and 6th-place starter John Hunter Nemechek, who lost 29 laps when he collided with John Wes Townley off Tun 4, the contact triggering Kligerman’s hard crash.

*This marks the first last-place finish for both Martins and the #44 in a Truck Series race at Kansas.

32) #44-Tommy Joe Martins / 26 laps / suspension
31) #92-Parker Kligerman / 48 laps / crash
30) #1-Ryan Ellis / 52 laps / suspension
29) #66-Jordan Anderson / 82 laps / crash
28) #8-John Hunter Nemechek / 141 laps / running

1st) Tommy Joe Martins (2)
2nd) William Byron, Johnny Sauter (1)

1st) Tommy Joe Martins (2)
2nd) GMS Racing, Kyle Busch Motorsports (1)

1st) Chevrolet (3)
2nd) Toyota (1)

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