|SOURCE: Rubbin's Racin' Forums|
The finish, which came in Brown’s 16th series start, was his first of the season and first in the series since last fall’s season finale at Homestead, nine races ago.
Brown rebounded with authority at the start of the 2016 season, finishing a career-best 4th in the Daytona opener behind Johnny Sauter, Ryan Truex, and Parker Kligerman. Up until then, the Virginian had finished no better than 14th. Three more top-20 finishes followed the Daytona run at Atlanta, Martinsville, and Kansas, but he then finished 31st, 26th, and 24th in his next three starts. Brandonbilt Motorsports developed an alliance with Mike Harmon’s truck team, and Harmon put Tim Viens in the truck at Texas leaving them 29th. Gateway would be Brown’s second start since the alliance.
Brown didn’t participate in Saturday’s opening practice session and ran just 30th of the 31 who attempted took time in the second. Bringing up the rear by more than half a second was defending LASTCAR Truck Series champion Caleb Roark, who was making his first Truck Series start of the season. Both Brown and Roark made the show. They would fill out the 16th and final row with Roark rolling off in last driving Jennifer Jo Cobb’s #10 Driven2Honor.org Chevrolet. 34 trucks had originally been slated to qualify, but both Norm Benning and Austin Hill withdrew prior to practice, locking in the 32 who remained.
Joining Brown and Roark at the rear of the field was rookie Rico Abreu. Already sent to the rear for going to a backup truck, Abreu was forced to make at least one unscheduled stop before the green flag to fix a clutch issue. The crew made repairs and got him back on the track. Abreu would finish 14th.
At the green flag, Brown slipped behind Roark with engine trouble on his #86. Brown retired from the event without completing a lap. Roark ran up to the eighth circuit before he pulled his own truck to the garage. Both were already behind the wall when the first caution flew for 30th-place finisher Jake Griffin, who lost the engine on the #63 Vatterott College / Backlotauctionscom Chevrolet for MB Motorsports. Griffin, making his second start of the year following a 21st-place showing in Iowa, was done for the night.
The remainder of the field made it past the 100-lap mark. On Lap 149, Jennifer Jo Cobb, once again running MAKE Motorsports’ #1 on her truck in place of Roark’s #10, crashed with Jordan Anderson and Dover last-placer Austin Wayne Self. Cobb and Self rounded out the Bottom Five.
*This marked the first last-place finish for both Brown and the #86 in a Truck Series race at Gateway.
THE BOTTOM FIVE
32) #86-Brandon Brown / 0 laps / engine
31) #10-Caleb Roark / laps / vibration
30) #63-Jake Griffin / 14 laps / engine
29) #1-Jennifer Jo Cobb / 113 laps / crash
28) #22-Austin Wayne Self / 118 laps / crash
2016 LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Tommy Joe Martins (2)
2nd) Christopher Bell, Brandon Brown, William Byron, Claire Decker, Johnny Sauter, Austin Wayne Self, Andy Seuss (1)
2016 LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Kyle Busch Motorsports, Tommy Joe Martins (2)
2nd) AWS Racing, Brandonbilt Motorsports, GMS Racing, Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing, Jim Rosenblum Motorsports / FDNY Racing (1)
2016 LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Chevrolet (6)
2nd) Toyota (3)