Sunday, July 31, 2016

TRUCKS: Caleb Roark edges Austin Hill for second last-place run of 2016

Caleb Roark picked up the 9th last-place finish of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career in Saturday’s Pocono Mountains 150 at the Pocono Raceway when his #10 / Chevrolet fell out with engine failure without completing any of the 60 laps.

The finish, which came in Roark’s 26th series start, was his second of the season and his first since Kentucky, two races ago.  With 11 races to go, Roark, the defending LASTCAR Truck Series Champion, is now tied with Tommy Joe Martins for the most last-place finishes in 2016, but trails Martins in the Bottom Ten Tiebreaker, 8-4.

Roark was one of 31 drivers on Pocono’s preliminary entry list, the driver assignment announced last Friday.  Joining them to make a full field of 32 was Norm Benning Racing, which would finally earn its first start of the season with New York driver Sean Corr and sponsorship from the Eldora Speedway.  Benning, meanwhile, would return to MB Motorsports, the same team he finished 28th with at Kentucky and once again nearly took the checkers at Eldora with 19-year-old Bobby Pierce.

Roark did not participate in Friday’s opening practice session, and both he, car owner Jennifer Jo Cobb, and Travis Kvapil, the team’s partner at MAKE Motorsports, were unable to complete a timed lap in Happy Hour.  With qualifying washed-out on Saturday, the field was set by Owner Points.  Cobb and Roark started in the last two spots based on their attempts.

For the race, the Cobb’s truck carried logos for Pit Stops For Hope, a non-profit founded by NASCAR crew member Ray Wright to benefit impoverished children.  Unfortunately, Roark’s truck - still with Cobb’s own military foundation Driven2Honor - didn’t make any laps, pulling out early with engine troubles.  Seconds later, as the field poured into Turn 2, Austin Hill running 5th pounded the outside wall with his unsponsored #02 Hill Racing Ford, putting an abrupt end to his day.

30th went to Sean Corr, who pulled Benning’s #6 behind the wall four laps later.  Rounding out the Bottom Five were John Wes Townley, back behind the wheel after missing two races for concussion-like symptoms, but out after a tangle with Christopher Bell on Lap 17, and Jennifer Jo Cobb’s #1.

32) #10-Caleb Roark / 0 laps / engine
31) #02-Austin Hill / 1 lap / crash
30) #6-Sean Corr / 5 laps / brakes
29) #05-John Wes Townley / 16 laps / crash
28) #1-Jennifer Jo Cobb / 20 laps / brakes

*This marked the second-consecutive last-place finish at Pocono for both Roark and Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing.  Last year, Roark’s #0 Chevrolet snapped the suspension after 3 laps.

1st) Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing, Kyle Busch Motorsports, Tommy Joe Martins (2)
2nd) AWS Racing, Bolen Motorsports, Brandonbilt Motorsports, GMS Racing, Jim Rosenblum Motorsports / FDNY Racing, MAKE Motorsports (1)

1st) Chevrolet (9)
2nd) Toyota (3)

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