|PHOTO: Dominic Aragon, TheRacingExperts.com|
The finish, which came in Green’s 270th series start, was his third of the year and his first since Phoenix, two races ago. In the LASTCAR XFINITY Series rankings, it’s the 30th for car #93 (breaking a tie with the #91 for second-most in the series), the 498th for Chevrolet, and the 45th by reason of electrical failure. Across the top three series, it’s the 80th for #93, the 1,585th for Chevrolet, and the 112th by reason of electrical failure.
Following his next-to-last-place finish in Fontana, Green reprised his role in the third RSS Racing Chevrolet, teamed with Ryan Sieg (#39) and J.J. Yeley (#38). Green didn’t participate in Friday’s opening practice, then turned exactly one lap in Happy Hour, good enough for 30th on the charts. He improved in qualifying in part due to other teams not making it on track in time, securing 29th on the grid with a lap of 181.494mph (29.753 seconds). It was the sixth-slowest lap turned in Round 1.
While the preliminary entry list indicated exactly 40 cars for 40 spots, this did not count JP Motorsports teammates Stephen Leicht and Josh Bilicki, who both qualified for the race. Sent home by the duo were Matt Mills in JD Motorsports’ #15 Chevrolet and Fontana last-placer Mike Harmon in the ##74 Shadow Warrior Project Chevrolet.
Starting 40th and last on Saturday was Cup regular Kevin Harvick, back with the Biagi-DenBeste team for the first time since his dominant win at Atlanta in February. Harvick was one of seven drivers who failed to complete a lap in qualifying due to inspection issues, meaning that the entire group lined up according to Owner Points. Though the Biagi team only runs part-time, Harvick secured the spot based on the Past Champions’ Provisional for his 2006 series title. Prior to the start, Harvick was joined at the rear by Spencer Gallagher, whose #23 Allegiant Airlines Chevrolet was penalized for unapproved adjustments.
Two cautions slowed the first 13 laps of the race. First to find trouble was Chad Finchum in the #40 Smithbilt Homes / TLC Resorts Toyota. Finchum, set to make his Cup debut for MBM next Sunday in Bristol, spun on Lap 3 but kept going, only to back into the fence on Lap 81, shortening the rear clip for a 34th-place finish. Cup regular Jamie McMurray then found trouble in Turn 4 on Lap 10, but managed to recover to finish 7th. It was during McMurray’s caution that Green pulled behind the wall. Last-place starter Harvick ultimately finished just 19th, two laps down to race winner Ryan Blaney.
Finishing 39th was Vinnie Miller, who wrecked Johnny Davis’ #01 JAS Expedited Trucking Chevrolet in the second corner on Lap 17, drawing the third yellow of the afternoon. 38th fell to Morgan Shepherd, who made his 1,000th start across NASCAR’s top three divisions in his #89 Visone RV Chevrolet. Shepherd turned 33 laps before suspension issues ended his race. JP Motorsports’ Stephen Leicht in the #55 Jani-King Toyota had electrical issues of his own 20 laps after Shepherd, followed the next time by with Timmy Hill in Motorsports Business Management’s #66 Chris Kyle Foundation / CrashClaimsR.us Dodge. For Leicht, Hill, and Miller, it was their first bottom-five finish of 2018.
*Jeff Green has now finished last in exactly one XFINITY Texas race every year since 2011 with the exception of last year, when Jordan Anderson and John Jackson took the position. Saturday was his sixth finish at the track.
THE BOTTOM FIVE
40) #93-Jeff Green / 13 laps / electrical
39) #01-Vinnie Miller / 15 laps / crash
38) #89-Morgan Shepherd / 33 laps / suspension
37) #55-Stephen Leicht / 53 laps / electrical
36) #66-Timmy Hill / 54 laps / fuel pump
2018 LASTCAR XFINITY SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) RSS Racing (3)
2nd) JGL Racing, Mike Harmon Racing, Roush-Fenway Racing, RSS Racing (1)
2018 LASTCAR XFINITY SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Chevrolet (4)
2nd) Ford (2)
2018 LASTCAR XFINITY SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP