|PHOTO: Joshua A. Hill, The Racing Experts|
The finish, which came in Green’s 484th series start, was his second of the season and his first since Atlanta, two races ago. In the LASTCAR XFINITY Series rankings, it’s the 29th for car #93, the 496th for Chevrolet, and the 52nd by reason of brake issues. Across the top three series, it’s the 79th for car #93, the 1,580th for Chevrolet, and the 150th by reason of brake trouble.
Early last week, Ryan Sieg at RSS Racing announced that Jeff Green would be swapping rides at Phoenix, moving teammate J.J. Yeley to his #38 with sponsorship from Superior Essex. Green, in turn, would drive the #93 with which he scored ten last-place finishes in 2017. Green’s car carried a gray carbon fiber paint scheme to his teammates’ black cars, reminiscent of Sieg’s Code Rum sponsored car at Daytona.
Green didn’t participate in Friday’s opening practice, but jumped to a strong 19th in Happy Hour, beating Yeley by three-thousandths of a second and Ryan Sieg by more than two tenths. Green also came just short of making Round 2 in qualifying, falling just seven-hundredths short of 24th-place Alex Labbe. Green’s lap of 128.742mph (27.963 seconds) would put him 25th on the grid.
Starting 40th on the grid was Daytona winner Tyler Reddick, who like Jeffrey Earnhardt in Cup qualifying, hit the wall on his timed lap and was unable to post a time in his #9 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Chevrolet. Reddick’s backup car was joined at the rear by Cole Custer, his #00 Haas Automation Ford sent to the rear for unapproved adjustments, and the #1 Cessna / Beechcraft Chevrolet of Reddick’s teammate Elliott Sadler, whose team changed engines after one let go in a small fire during practice.
Jeff Green was the first driver behind the wall, retiring during the opening 26-lap green-flag run. When the red flag fell for rain on Lap 47, NASCAR.com’s leaderboard listed Matt Mills 39th in the #15 Flex Shot Chevrolet. However, by that point, David Starr had lost the motor on Jimmy Means’ #52 Whataburger Chevrolet. Mills returned to the track at least 30 laps down, only to be eliminated in a crash on Lap 84. Rounding out the Bottom Five were Morgan Shepherd, out with brake trouble on his #89 Visone RV Chevrolet, and Chad Finchum, who lost the engine on Carl Long’s only composite-body car, the green-and-gold #40 Angry Crab / Mohawk Market Toyota.
*This marked the second-consecutive last-place run for car #93 in an XFINITY Series race at Phoenix, following Gray Gaulding’s early electrical problem with the same team last November.
THE BOTTOM FIVE
40) #93-Jeff Green / 18 laps / brakes
39) #52-David Starr / 24 laps / engine
38) #15-Matt Mills / 54 laps / crash
37) #89-Morgan Shepherd / 56 laps / brakes
36) #40-Chad Finchum / 104 laps / engine
2018 LASTCAR XFINITY SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) RSS Racing (2)
2nd) JGL Racing, Roush-Fenway Racing, RSS Racing (1)
2018 LASTCAR XFINITY SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Chevrolet, Ford (2)
2018 LASTCAR XFINITY SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP