|PHOTO: Michael Harvey, @MrLester88|
The finish, which came in Green’s 493rd series start, was his series-leading seventh of the 2018 season and his second in a row. In the XFINITY Series last-place standings, it’s the 34th for car #93, the 135th by reason of a vibration, and the 505th for Chevrolet. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it’s the 84th for the #93, the 207th for a vibration, and the 1,602nd for Chevrolet.
Green was set to be one of 41 drivers entered in Saturday’s race. That list shrank by one on Thursday, when JGL Racing withdrew the #28 Fatal Clothing Ford after driver Dylan Lupton parted ways with the team. Just 37 of the remaining 40 drivers turned laps in Friday’s opening practice with Green 35th overall, ahead of Talladega last-placer Spencer Boyd and Josh Bilicki. Green did not participate in Happy Hour, and a washed-out qualifying session secured him 31st on the grid with the Past Champion’s Provisional.
With the remainder of the field set by owner attempts, the 40th starting spot fell to Kaz Grala, whose new ride at Fury Race Cars LLC was making its third of four planned starts in the #61 NETTTS Ford. However, according to a video posted by the speedway, five other drivers had fallen to the rear, lifting him to 35th as he took the green.
|Morgan Shepherd (No. 89) trails the field at the start|
Ahead of 40th-place Shepherd was Jeff Green, followed by 38th-place Josh Williams, whose #90 Sleep Well / Bethel Glass & Shower Door Chevrolet had lined-up 26th. Timmy Hill’s #66 Dodge retained his original 37th spot while B.J. McLeod moved Mike Harmon’s #74 Horizon Transport Chevrolet up from 38th to 36th.
On Lap 6, Shepherd was still in last, 14.278 seconds back, when Green surrendered the 37th spot under green to pull behind the wall, done for the afternoon. Shepherd turned 34 laps before he exited the race with brake problems for a 38th-place finish. Between the two came Joey Gase, whose #35 Sparks Energy, Inc. Chevrolet fell out with overheating issues. It’s Gase’s worst finish of the season since a 33rd at Daytona.
Crashes filled the rest of the Bottom Five before rain shortened the event. 37th-place Alex Labbe, Gase’s teammate at Go FAS Racing, spun to the inside of Turn 1, ripping the splitter and much of the front clip from his #36 Can-Am / Wholey / Cyclops Chevrolet. Labbe made it to pit road, only to fall out. This gave both Go FAS Racing teammates their first Bottom Five runs of 2018.
Rounding out the group was Matt Mills, who lost a tire in Turn 1 and pounded the outside wall in JD Motorsports’ #15 Flex Glue Chevrolet. After a few anxious moments, Mills climbed from the car under his own power.
*This was Green’s first-ever XFINITY Series last-place finish at Michigan in 17 career starts at the track. Among tracks on the current 2018 XFINITY Series schedule, Green has finished last at every track at least one time with the sole exception of Darlington (24 starts). Curiously, it was at the Darlington track in 2015 that Ryan Ellis put to an end Green’s NASCAR record streak of eight consecutive last-place finishes. Green finished 38th. This statistic does not count the upcoming Charlotte “Roval” set to debut in September.
*This marked the first last-place finish for the #93 in an XFINITY Series race at Michigan.
THE BOTTOM FIVE
40) #93-Jeff Green / 5 laps / vibration
39) #35-Joey Gase / 33 laps / overheating
38) #89-Morgan Shepherd / 34 laps / brakes
37) #36-Alex Labbe / 52 laps / crash
36) #15-Matt Mills / 54 laps / crash
2018 LASTCAR XFINITY SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) RSS Racing (7)
2nd) B.J. McLeod Motorsports, Jeremy Clements Racing, JGL Racing, Mike Harmon Racing, Roush-Fenway Racing, SS-Green Light Racing (1)
2018 LASTCAR XFINITY SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Chevrolet (11)
2nd) Ford (2)
2018 LASTCAR XFINITY SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP