|PHOTO: Rubbin's Racin' Forums|
The finish, which came in Green’s 456th series start, was his first of the season and first in the series since last fall at Texas, 10 races ago.
The all-time leader in NASCAR last-place finishes, Green is making a fresh start in 2017. TriStar Motorsports, with whom Green ran a “start-and-park” entry for nearly all his XFINITY starts since late 2010, has this year made the move to the Cup Series with driver Cole Whitt. With TriStar scaling back from three XFINITY cars in 2016 to two this year at Daytona (then just one since then), Green joined B.J. McLeod Motorsports.
Green made his first three starts for McLeod last fall, finishing 21st in his team debut at Kansas, then 37th at Phoenix and 32nd at Homestead. This year, he’s moved from the #99, now driven by David Starr, to the #8, the number Green raced to his first XFINITY Series win at Las Vegas for Diamond Ridge Racing in 1997. Back to making full-race runs, Green entered Richmond with a season-best 25th last week at Bristol, but would hand over the wheel to Truck Series newcomer Matt Mills, who also ran the car at Phoenix. Originally missing from the entry list, Green arrived at Richmond with his name on the roof and rear window of #93, originally listed with Jordan Anderson, last in the previous five races.
Green didn’t turn a lap in Friday’s opening practice, then ran 33rd in Happy Hour. He secured the 25th spot on the grid with a lap of 116.863mph. With 42 drivers on the preliminary entry list, two drivers were sent home: Tommy Joe Martins and Morgan Shepherd. Martins was looking to make his first XFINITY Series start since 2014 in his #45 Diamond Gusset Jeans Chevrolet, but suspension issues kept him short of the necessary 33rd spot to make the field. Shepherd ran 28th and 29th in Friday’s practice sessions, but was just 38th fastest in qualifying, sending him home.
Starting 40th on Saturday was Timmy Hill. Both Hill and teammate and Motorsports Business Management car owner Carl Long (starting 39th) carried logos to raise funds for longtime motorsports artist Sam Bass, who has been struggling with complications from Type 1 Diabetes. Hill remained in the back with a penalty for an unapproved tire change, joined by Garrett Smithley, J.J. Yeley, and Joey Gase, penalized for unapproved adjustments. Hill finished 28th, Long 34th, and Green pulled off the track after 3 laps, securing his first last-place finish of the year.
39th went to J.J. Yeley, his #14 Superior Essex / Zero Waste to Landfill Toyota the only TriStar Motorsports entry in the field. Yeley pulled behind the wall with rear gear trouble after 181 laps, then took the spot from Ross Chastain, whose #4 Florida Watermelon Association Chevrolet spent several laps behind the wall with a loss of fuel pressure. 37th-place finisher B.J. McLeod, Green’s team owner, drew a caution with 10 laps to go when his #78 C.R. Smith Transport Chevrolet lost an engine heading down pit road, ultimately leading to the race’s wild conclusion. Rounding out the Bottom Five was Mike Harmon for Veterans Motorsports, Inc., who had several members of the HM-15 Blackhawks present on pit road to cheer on his #74 Dodge.
*This marked the sixth consecutive last-place finish for RSS Racing’s #93 Chevrolet, the longest streak by any single team in XFINITY competition since TriStar Motorsports also scored six in a row at the end of 2015. It’s also the second-consecutive last-place finish for the number in the spring Richmond event, following Josh Wise’s exit after 7 laps last year.
THE BOTTOM FIVE
40) #93-Jeff Green / 3 laps / electrical
39) #14-J.J. Yeley / 181 laps / rear gear
38) #4-Ross Chastain / 223 laps / running
37) #78-B.J. McLeod / 236 laps / engine
36) #74-Mike Harmon / 239 laps / running
2017 LASTCAR XFINITY SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) RSS Racing (6)
2nd) B.J. McLeod Motorsports, Kaulig Racing (1)
2017 LASTCAR XFINITY SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Chevrolet (8)
2017 LASTCAR XFINITY SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP