Sunday, June 4, 2017

XFINITY: Jeff Green closes in on 100 NASCAR last-place finishes

Jeff Green picked up the 91st last-place finish of his NASCAR XFINITY Series career in Saturday’s OneMain Financial 200 at the Dover International Speedway when his unsponsored #93 RSS Racing Chevrolet fell out with electrical issues after 13 of 200 laps.

The finish, which came in Green’s 458th series start, was his second of the year and his first since Richmond, three races ago.  It’s also his 95th last-place finish across NASCAR’s top three divisions.

In the space of the last three races, the 2000 series champion has experienced both the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.  At Talladega, his B.J. McLeod-prepared #8 Truckwork Toyota was the Cinderella story, pacing the field for 18 laps before finishing 10th.  It was not only the first time he’d led that many laps since November 2, 2002 at Rockingham, but also his best series finish at Talladega since he ran 3rd in 2001.  The next time out at Charlotte, driving McLeod’s flagship #78, Green was denied a chance to follow it up, failing to qualify by less than two-tenths of a second.  Now at Dover, he would drive RSS Racing’s “start-and-park” #93, the team with which he scored one of its seven last-place finishes to that point.  Thankfully, with only 40 cars arriving to fill the field, Green was guaranteed a spot in the race.

Last week at Charlotte, where Stephen Leicht piloted the #93 to a last-place finish, the car’s paint scheme was changed slightly with white numbers on the doors, matching the scheme Ryan Sieg had run since Phoenix.  Green didn’t join Sieg in Friday’s opening practice, but ran 34th of 37 in Happy Hour and secured the 38th starting spot with a lap of 146.849mph.

Starting last on Saturday was Mike Harmon, whose car joined Green’s on the early ride home at Charlotte after driver Jordan Anderson was also bumped by mere tenths.  This time, the Veterans Motorsports, Inc. entry raced in honor of fallen members of the U.S. Navy’s Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 15 (HM-15) Blackhawks.  Harmon would be joined at the rear by Richard Childress Racing driver Daniel Hemric, whose #21 Blue Gate Bank Chevrolet had to surrender its 10th-place starting spot due to unapproved adjustments.  By the 14th lap, Green had fallen behind both drivers, and was once again the first driver behind the wall.  Harmon finished 25th, equaling his season-best run at Talladega, while Hemric came home 13th.

39th went to Timmy Hill, who for the first time in 2017 would pull double-duty for Motorsports Business Management in both Cup and XFINITY competition.  His Saturday car, the #13 Toyota, was involved in a Turn 3 crash on Lap 42, but his Cup ride in the #66 Chevrolet yielded a 28th, tying his season-best in that series at Kansas.  38th went to Morgan Shepherd in his #89 Racing With Jesus / Visone RV Chevrolet, his fourth start of the season and first since Talladega.  JD Motorsports’ Harrison Rhodes finished 37th when the engine let go on his #01 Meddings Seafood / Iron Source Chevorlet, handing him his first Bottom Five of the year.  Rounding out the group in 36th was Jimmy Means Racing’s Joey Gase, who endured a miserable weekend.  Sent to an non-decaled backup car after a hard practice crash with Spencer Gallagher destroyed his #52 Sparks Energy Chevrolet, Gase was eliminated short of the halfway point when debris destroyed the radiator.

*This marked Green’s fifth XFINITY last-place finish at Dover and his first since a season sweep in 2015.

40) #93-Jeff Green / 13 laps / electrical
39) #13-Timmy Hill / 39 laps / crash
38) #89-Morgan Shepherd / 50 laps / handling
37) #01-Harrison Rhodes / 91 laps / engine
36) #52-Joey Gase / 99 laps / overheating

1st) RSS Racing (8)
2nd) B.J. McLeod Motorsports, Kaulig Racing, SS Green Light Racing (1)

1st) Chevrolet (11)


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