Saturday, October 31, 2020

XFINITY / TRUCKS: Josh Reaume pulls last-place doubleheader at Martinsville; Bohn and Yeley stage impressive rallies

PHOTOS: Josh Reaume Facebook Page, thanks @StartAndParkCar and Nick Teresky

Josh Reaume picked up the 2nd last-place finish of his NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series career in Friday’s NASCAR Hall of Fame 200 at the Martinsville Speedway when his #00 Levrack Chevrolet failed to complete any of the 200 laps due to transmission issues.

The finish, which came in Reaume’s 51st series start, was his first of the season and first since March 29, 2019 at Texas, 40 races ago, where he also didn’t complete a lap. In the Truck Series’ last-place rankings, it was the 7th for the #00, the 37th for transmission issues, and the 398th for Chevrolet. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 41st for the #00, the 167th for transmission issues, and the 1,754th for Chevrolet.

The next day, Reaume also scored the 2nd last-place finish of his NASCAR XFINITY Series career in Saturday’s Draft Top 250 at the Martinsville Speedway when his turn in the #93 Colonial Countertops Chevrolet ended after 62 of 250 laps because of suspension issues.

This finish, which came in Reaume’s 35th series start, was his first of the season and first since June 19, 2016 at Iowa, 150 races ago. In the XFINITY Series’ last-place rankings, it was the 21st for suspension issues, the 44th for the #93, and the 560th for Chevrolet. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 45th for suspension problems, the 94th for the #93, and the 1,755th for Chevrolet.

Coming into Martinsville, Reaume was vocal in his outrage at ThorSport driver Ben Rhodes. On the final lap of last week’s Truck Series race at Texas, Rhodes made contact with Reaume’s #00 Texas Mobile Radiology Chevrolet, driven by Josh Bilicki. The contact, which Rhodes blamed on another driver, sent both Rhodes and Bilicki into the outside wall, dropping Bilicki from inside the Top 15 to 19th. Reaume demanded a new truck from the ThorSport shop – or at least a meal for his team as they worked to piece #00 back together – but according to Reaume, nobody from the team reached out to him all week.

The Reaume Brothers Racing team began the year with a strong 10th-place finish with Jason White in the Daytona opener, then scaled back from three entries to two after the team’s #34 last ran at the Homestead weekend in June. Reaume elected to drive on the Virginia short track in his primary #33 and put B.J. McLeod in the #00. By Friday, the two switched rides, putting Reaume in the #00 and McLeod in the #33. Reaume was set to start 31st, but both he and McLeod would have to drop to the rear for swapping rides.

The teammates would take last from Parker Kligerman, who would roll off 37th in Charlie Henderson’s #75 Food Country USA Chevrolet, then rejoin the NBC broadcast team on pit road the following day. Norm Benning would also drop to the rear voluntarily in his #6 H&H Transport Chevrolet, surrendering the 34th starting spot. But by the time this happened, Reaume already had issues.

During the pace laps, Reaume reported he had clutch issues, then stopped on the track. “Dead in the water,” he said over the radio. As the tow truck pushed Reaume to pit road, the crew tried to get brake fluid from another team. The truck then pushed Reaume to the garage near Pit Stall #10, where the team missed the start. Under the noise from the track, the team struggled to hear their driver on the radio, telling him to press the clutch pedal as they added more fluid. “I don’t know what to tell you,” said Reaume on Lap 15. “It’s not engaging the transmission.” The next time by, the team had their tires transferred to McLeod, who would go on to finish 22nd.

By Lap 26, Reaume’s truck was on two jack stands, and was talking about putting it on four so the team could take a closer look at the linkages. On Lap 33, he tried to shift the truck into reverse, and then said they needed to pull the transmission and count the splines. The team didn’t have a backup transmission on hand for either of their trucks, and would have to get one from another team. Reaume was also concerned that they would be retired from the race if he climbed from the truck – the team got confirmation on Lap 41 that he could climb out and keep working.

Work continued until Lap 108, when Reaume’s team said “in 11 laps they can’t catch anybody.” NASCAR’s official in the garage then confirmed Reaume was out on Lap 139, announcing it at the same time as others in the Bottom Five. Reaume tweeted a picture of the clutch near the end of the race, showing that the splines had been sheared away.


Finishing 36th was Tate Fogleman, whose #02 Solid Rock Carriers rear-ended another truck past the halfway point. Playoff contender Austin Hill saw his title hopes go up in smoke when he started losing power, then blew the engine after 117 laps, leaving him 35th in the #16 AISIN Group Toyota. Codie Rohrbaugh pulled behind the wall on Lap 133, ending the evening for the #9 Grant County Mulch Chevrolet due to overheating issues. Rounding out the group was Spencer Davis, whose #11 Polar Bear Coolers Toyota lost the brakes after 135 laps.

For the second-straight fall race at Martinsville, Danny Bohn scored a top-ten finish with the On Point Motorsports team, taking a career-best 7th in the #30 North American Motor Car / Blue Buffalo Toyota. This run was particularly impressive as he suffered significant damage to his truck in the first 45 laps, but clawed his way back into the Top 15 by the middle stages.

Behind Bohn, Austin Wayne Self scored the second-straight top-ten finish of his Truck Series career, following up a 7th in Texas with a 9th at Martinsville. Carson Hocevar finished 9th in Stage 2 driving Al Niece’s #42 Scott’s / GM Parts Now Chevrolet and even led 5 laps by staying out on old tires late in the race. He was then spun at least twice, but still recovered to finish 13th, one spot shy of his career-best this year at Dover. Dawson Cram scored the best finish for his new #41 team, taking 16th in his #41 Magnum Contracting Chevrolet, tied for his third-best finish in the series.

LASTCAR STATISTICS
*This marked the first last-place finish for the #00 in a Truck Series race since September 29, 2012, when Clay Greenfield’s #00 Obregon Construction Ford, fielded by Rick Lind, fell out with overheating issues after 3 laps of the Smith’s 350 at Las Vegas. The number had never before finished last in a Truck Series race at Martinsville.

THE BOTTOM FIVE
37) #00-Josh Reaume / 0 laps / transmission
36) #02-Tate Fogleman / 115 laps / crash
35) #16-Austin Hill / 117 laps / engine
34) #9-Codie Rohrbaugh / 123 laps / overheating
33) #11-Spencer Davis / 135 laps / brakes

2020 LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Reaume Brothers Racing (5)
2nd) Niece Motorsports (3)
3rd) CMI Motorsports, DGR-Crosley, Norm Benning Racing, ThorSport Racing (2)
4th) FDNY Racing, Halmar Friesen Racing, Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing, Spencer Davis Motorsports, Young’s Motorsports (1)

2020 LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Chevrolet (14)
2nd) Ford (5)
3rd) Toyota (3)

2020 LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP



The Truck Series race was the beginning of a double-header for Josh Reaume, who also took on an associate role with RSS Racing’s XFINITY Series #93 Chevrolet back on June 29th of this year. While helping Myatt Snider in his part-time effort with the team, Reaume would also get a shot running the car at Martinsville. It would be just the second XFINITY start for Reaume in 2020, following up a 33rd-place finish after issues on Mike Harmon’s #47 GPs Tab Chevrolet earlier this month in Kansas. Just as he had on the Truck Series side, Reaume would start 31st, but would drop to the rear for a driver change as Jeff Green was in the #93 on the preliminary entry list. Kyle Weatherman would also surrender 33rd in Reaume’s previous ride, the #47 Chevrolet. 

Reaume and Weatherman would take 39th and last from J.J. Yeley, who brought Rick Ware Racing’s #17 team back to the XFINITY Series for the first time since Cody Ware’s career-best run at the Charlotte “Roval.” Yeley’s #17 WorkPro Ford looked decidedly different from the flagship Fords run by Chase Briscoe and Austin Cindric – it resembled either a first-generation Ford Mustang from 2010 or was a current Chevrolet Camaro with Ford decals applied. “Let’s have some fun,” the team told him before the start.

When Saturday’s race started, Reaume took over last place until Lap 2, when Gray Gaulding’s #07 Panini America Chevrolet suddenly lost power in Turn 2. Gaulding reported his “something was messed up” during the pace laps, and the caution fell for him to get a push. The team talked about going to the garage and changing batteries, but the car fired up again, two laps down. The driver was then told to hit the “reset” on Lap 6, at which point it seemed to be running normally.

Next to join the last-place battle was Chad Finchum, whose #61 American Dream Toyota lost a lap by the eighth circuit, and was two down by Lap 13. The Mike Harmon Racing teammates then found trouble – first Kyle Weatherman, who dropped to 37th, nearly two seconds back of the next car in front, then Bayley Currey, who after contact from Joe Graf, Jr. cut a left-front tire and hit the wall in Turn 4 driving the #74 You Are Not Alone Chevrolet. Currey took over last place on Lap 25, just as NASCAR declared minimum speed was set at 23.80 seconds. Currey met minimum speed when he rejoined the field.

On Lap 38, Gaulding re-took the last spot from Currey. Five laps earlier, he’d spun out in a chain-reaction incident with Stefan Parsons and Colby Howard. This caused the #07 to stall once again, and he lost a fourth lap to the leaders before he started rolling again. By Lap 43, Gaulding, Currey, and Finchum were all on the same lap, each occupying the final three spots. Finchum took over last on Lap 53, then reported he had dropped a valve. But as Finchum tried to keep going, Reaume pulled behind the wall on Lap 65. Three laps later, he took last from Finchum, and would remain there for the rest of the race. NASCAR didn’t officially declare Reaume out until Lap 88.

Finchum, Currey, and Gaulding would ultimately finish 37th, 36th, and 35th, respectively – out with an engine failure, a second crash, and electrical problems. Rounding out the group in 38th was Matt Mills, whose #5 J.F. Electric Chevrolet caught fire down the backstretch with a ruptured oil line.

After starting last in the aforementioned Rick Ware entry, Yeley had a spirited run in the early laps, changing tires on Lap 27 and charging up to 13th at the end of Stage 1. He stayed out to lead Stage 2, but was spun in traffic while battling among the leaders. He then rallied a second time and took 14th, backing up Cody Ware’s breakout 7th-place run on the “Roval.”

Behind Yeley, Tommy Joe Martins took 16th, his third finish of 16th or better in the last four races driving his #44 AAN Adjusters / Capital City Towing Chevrolet. Timmy Hill conceded the 2020 LASTCAR XFINITY Series Championship to Stephen Leicht, who wasn’t entered, after Hill finished 17th in the #13 RoofClaim.com Toyota – his fourth Top 20 in the last seven races. And Mason Diaz made good use of his first XFINITY start of the year, steering Sam Hunt Racing’s #26 Prince William Marina Toyota to a 20th-place finish in his first-ever start with the team.

LASTCAR STATISTICS
*This marked the first last-place finish for the #93 in an XFINITY Series race at Martinsville.
*The 62 laps Reaume completed set a new record for the most laps completed by a last-place finisher of a XFINITY race at Martinsville – in fact, it beats it by just one lap. The previous record of 61 laps was set by Joe Thurman on March 10, 1991.

THE BOTTOM FIVE
39) #93-Josh Reaume / 62 laps / suspension
38) #5-Matt Mills / 103 laps / oil line
37) #61-Chad Finchum / 120 laps / engine
36) #74-Bayley Currey / 178 laps / crash
35) #07-Gray Gaulding / 230 laps / electrical

2020 LASTCAR XFINITY SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Motorsports Business Management (9)
2nd) JR Motorsports (4)
3rd) Joe Gibbs Racing, Mike Harmon Racing (3)
4th) JD Motorsports, Jimmy Means Racing, RSS Racing, Shepherd Racing Ventures, SS-Green Light Racing (2)
4th) B.J. McLeod Motorsports, Jeremy Clements Racing, Kaulig Racing, Our Motorsports (1)

2020 LASTCAR XFINITY SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Chevrolet (20)
2nd) Toyota (12)

2020 LASTCAR XFINITY SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP

Friday, October 30, 2020

PREVIEW: Spooky paint schemes, returning drivers, and last-place title clinchers on tap for Martinsville

PHOTO: @dgm_racing_

Friday, October 30, 2020
TRUCKS Race 22 of 23
Round of 8: Race 3 of 3
NASCAR Hall of Fame 200 at Martinsville
2019 Last-Place Finisher: Cody McMahan

ENTRY LIST
Martinsville has traditionally seen some of the largest entry lists on the Truck Series schedule as new drivers and teams look to break into NASCAR’s top three series. Not so this year, as without qualifying, there are 37 drivers entered for 40 spots, up one entry from Texas.

LASTCAR CHAMPIONSHIP
The 2020 LASTCAR Truck Series Championship remains wide-open heading into Martinsville. Norm Benning, Johnny Sauter, Bryant Barnhill, and Tanner Gray remain tied for the lead with two last-place finishes apiece (Barnhill is the only one of those four who is not entered). The remaining 13 drivers with one finish can take the title by sweeping the last two finishes at Martinsville and Phoenix.

RETURNING: #9-CR7 Motorsports
Codie Rohrbaugh returns to action for the first time since his 5th-place run in Talladega. Rohrbaugh’s only previous Truck start at Martinsville was this race last year, but he finished an impressive 10th.

RETURNING: #11-Spencer Davis Motorsports
Spencer Davis and the Max Industrial Toyota are back at the track for the first time since the fall race at Las Vegas, where they ran 19th. Davis finished 20th in the spring race here last season.

MISSING: #14-Trey Hutchens Racing
Trey Hutchens is not entered after early ignition woes left him next-to-last in Texas.

MISSING: #17-DGR-Crosley
Dylan Lupton is not entered along with David Gilliland’s part-time #17 Ford after the duo ran 8th in Texas.

PAINT SCHEME: #23-GMS Racing
Brett Moffitt carries a 1991 Harry Gant throwback scheme on both his Truck Series and XFINITY Series entries, both sponsored by Destiny Homes. At age 51, Gant famously scored his fourth consecutive Cup victory at the Martinsville track, recovering from a mid-race accident.

DRIVER CHANGE: #24-GMS Racing
After completing a five-win part-time season in the ARCA Menards Series, Sam Mayer makes his fifth Truck Series start of the year and first since his victory under the lights in Bristol. He takes the place of Chase Purdy, who ran 12th in Texas. 

DRIVER CHANGE: #33-Reaume Brothers Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #00-Reaume Brothers Racing
After a frustrating end to Josh Bilicki’s solid run at Texas following a last-lap bump from Ben Rhodes, B.J. McLeod was originally listed in place of Bilicki in the #00. That has since changed to McLeod running the team’s #33 instead, moving Josh Reaume himself to the #00.

DRIVER CHANGE: #42-Niece Motorsports
James Buescher’s return to the Truck Series last week yielded a quiet 15th-place finish. He won’t run this week as Carson Hocevar returns to the #42 for his first start since Bristol, where he ran 17th.

WITHDREW: #49-CMI Motorsports
Tim Viens’ hard crash at Texas left him in last place, and Ray Ciccarelli decided to withdraw the #49 entry this week.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Kyle Busch Motorsports
XFINITY Series regular Brandon Jones dabbles in the Truck Series for the fourth time in 2020 and first time since his 8th-place run in the second round of the Kansas double-header. He takes the place of Chandler Smith, who ended up 21st in Texas. Magick Woods Vanities is the listed sponsor.

DRIVER CHANGE: #56-Hill Motorsports
Timmy Hill will run all three NASCAR races this weekend, taking the place of brother Tyler Hill in the team’s #56 Hair Club Chevrolet. This will be Timmy’s 10th series start of the year and first since Bristol, where he ran 20th. Timmy finished a strong 5th in this race last year.

RETURNING: #75-Henderson Motorsports
Parker Kligerman will once again have to pass the entire field as the metric awarded him the last starting spot in Charlie Henderson’s return to action for the first time since Kansas earlier this month.

CUP INVADERS: None

Saturday, October 31, 2020
XFINITY Race 32 of 33
Round of 8: Race 3 of 3
Draft Top 250 at Martinsville
2006 Last-Place Finisher: Shane Hall (July 22)

ENTRY LIST
The XFINITY Series’ return to Martinsville for the first time in 14 years sees 39 drivers entered for 40 spots.

LASTCAR CHAMPIONSHIP
The 2020 LASTCAR XFINITY Series Championship will be settled between two teammates at Motorsports Business Management – Stephen Leicht and Timmy Hill. While Leicht is not entered, he can take the title on Saturday merely if Hill doesn’t finish last. Hill’s only path to the title is to finish last at both Martinsville and Phoenix as he trails in Bottom Fives, 16-7.

RETURNING: #16-Kaulig Racing
Martinsville has been perhaps A.J. Allmendinger’s best track outside of the road courses. In 21 Cup Series starts, he scored two runner-up finishes in 2012 and 2016 and took seven top-ten finishes for an overall average finish of 18.6. It’s perhaps less surprising that Matthew Kaulig elected to run Allmendinger in the XFINITY Series again this Saturday, rejoining the circuit for the first time since his rain-soaked thriller on the Charlotte “Roval.”

RETURNING: #17-Rick Ware Racing
Rick Ware also brings his XFINITY entry back to the track for the first time since Cody Ware’s breakout 7th-place finish on the “Roval.” This time, the driver is J.J. Yeley, who will run double-duty with the Cup Series. Workpro is the listed sponsor of the #17 Ford. It will be Yeley’s fifth XFINITY start of the year and first since Homestead, where he ran a season-best 11th for SS-Green Light Racing.

DRIVER SWAP: #21-Richard Childress Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #93-RSS Racing
In addition to his Truck Series effort, Josh Reaume will return to the XFINITY Series for the first time since Kansas. After running for Mike Harmon Racing that night, he will instead run for RSS Racing in the #93. Myatt Snider, who ran the #93 just last week, will take another turn in RCR’s #21 Tax Slayer Chevrolet. Snider takes the place of Anthony Alfredo, who’s not entered after an emotional 3rd-place finish in Texas.

RETURNING: #26-Sam Hunt Racing
Sam Hunt’s single-car team rejoins the XFINITY circuit for the first time since the Daytona infield road course, but this time without Colin Garrett or Brandon Gdovic behind the wheel. Mason Diaz will run the car instead, making his first series start of the year. Diaz’ most recent XFINITY start came under the lights at Bristol last year, when he was involved in a crash and finished last.

DRIVER SWAP: #61-Motorsports Business Management
DRIVER CHANGE: #66-Motorsports Business Management
Welcome back Carl Long to the XFINITY Series for his first start as a driver since October 5, 2019, when he ran 28th at Dover. Long takes the place of Chad Finchum, who this week moves to the team’s #61 in place of Austin Hill, who isn’t entered following a 33rd-place finish in Texas following a suspension issue in the rear of the car.

PAINT SCHEME: #74-Mike Harmon Racing
Bayley Currey carries ribbons from donors for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a portion of the sales for each ribbon going to Carolina Breast Friends. Currey comes off a career-best 12th-place finish last week in Texas and makes his first Martinsville start since the 2017 fall race in the Truck Series, where he ran 25th for Mark Beaver.

DRIVER SWAP: #78-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #90-DGM Racing
Donald Theetge returns to the Gosselin team for the first time since April 12, 2019 at Richmond, when he ran 25th, with his own sponsorship listed as Theetge Chevrolet. The DGM team’s three-car effort will each sport dazzling Halloween-themed paint schemes, to be joined by Jeremy Clements’ #51 on Saturday and both Corey LaJoie and Ty Dillon on Sunday. Theetge takes the place of B.J. McLeod, who will instead run his own #78 in place of C.J. McLaughlin, who’s not entered after a quietly impressive 20th. This will be the third different team McLeod has run for in as many XFINITY races.

DRIVER CHANGE: #99-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Teamed with McLeod once more is Stefan Parsons, who takes the place of last week’s 23rd-place finisher Jesse Iwuji. Springrates returns as sponsor for Parsons, who last took the green flag in the fall race at Las Vegas, where he finished 20th.

DRIVER CHANGE: #07-SS-Green Light Racing
Gray Gaulding’s interesting 2020 schedule continues as he jumps aboard Bobby Dotter’s #07 Chevrolet once more, taking the place of David Starr. Panini Trading Cards will once again sponsor Gaulding, who has four Cup starts at Martinsville with a best finish of 29th in 2017.

CUP INVADERS: None

Sunday, November 1, 2020
CUP Race 35 of 36
Round of 8: Race 3 of 3
XFINITY 500 at Martinsville
2019 Last-Place Finisher: Jimmie Johnson 

ENTRY LIST
There are 39 drivers entered for 40 spots after back-to-back races with “full” fields. This marks the 17th short field in 35 races in 2020.

LASTCAR CHAMPIONSHIP
On top of being the only challenger in the LASTCAR XFINITY Championship, Timmy Hill holds a one-finish lead on Ryan Preece, the only other driver in contention for the LASTCAR Cup Series title. Hill, who finished last in the most recent Martinsville race in June, will take the title if Preece doesn’t finish last. Hill leads Preece in Bottom Fives with a score of 16-6, so Preece’s only path to the title is to finish last at both Martinsville and Phoenix.

TEAM UPDATE: #27-Rick Ware Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #53-Rick Ware Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #77-Spire Motorsports
The preliminary entry list for Sunday showed J.J. Yeley entered in both Rick Ware’s #27 and Spire’s #77. That was changed by midweek as Garrett Smithley will run the #77, taking the place of Reed Sorenson, who ran 32nd at Texas. Smithley, who ran the #53 for Ware last week in a 31st-place effort, makes the move to Spire as James Davison returns for the first time since the fall race at Kansas. Davison’s green car will be sponsored by Virginia International Raceway and RacingForHeroes.org along with a returning Tilson and Cruz.

MISSING: #49-Motorsports Business Management
Chad Finchum is not entered on the Cup Series side after he ran Carl Long’s second Cup car in both the most recent rounds at Kansas and Texas, finishing 39th and 35th, respectively.

TEAM UPDATE: #51-Rick Ware Racing
Joey Gase tweeted this week that he was looking for sponsorship on his plain black Ford for Sunday’s race. There are as yet no updates on his sponsorship effort, though Gase also tweeted that his Donate Life car from Texas will be turned around for the race, though with some of its decals removed.

TODAY IN LASTCAR HISTORY (October 30, 1988): Tommy Sigmon scored the fourth last-place finish of his NASCAR Busch Series career in the Winston Classic at Martinsville, when his #07 Duck Graphics Oldsmobile crashed on the first lap. This same race saw Tommy Houston win from the pole and lead 198 of 200 laps, only to run out of fuel and hand the win to Harry Gant.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

CUP: Crash makes J.J. Yeley the only driver to avoid waiting three days in the Texas mist

PHOTO: @RickWareRacing

J.J. Yeley picked up the 19th last-place finish of his NASCAR Cup Series career in Sunday’s portion of Wednesday’s Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway when his #27 FatBoy Ice Cream Chevrolet was involved in an accident after 20 of 334 laps.

The finish, which came in Yeley’s 323rd series start, was his third of the season and first since August 29 at Daytona, eight races ago. In the Cup Series’ last-place rankings, it was the 29th for the #27, the 607th for a crash, and the 797th for Chevrolet. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 55th for the #27, the 1,233rd from a crash, and the 1,753rd for Chevrolet.

Coming into Texas, Yeley had not failed to finish a race since his engine trouble in Daytona, finishing a best of 30th three times in that span. He’s also switched between three of the Rick Ware Racing-affiliated entries, both his most frequent #27, the Spire #77, and even the #15, which he was brought on for at the last minute at Bristol, taking the place of rookie Brennan Poole. Yeley would run the #27 once more at Texas, where his #27 would carry a distinctive blue-and-white scheme for Casper’s Ice Cream and their FatBoy Ice Cream Sandwiches. Yeley also had a brand-new dark blue driver’s uniform to go with the new-look ride. He’d roll off 33rd on Sunday.

Starting 40th and last was Chad Finchum, back in the same #49 Toyota from Las Vegas and Kansas, but this time with new associate sponsorship from Octane Mania on the quarter-panels. Finchum would incur a redundant tail-end penalty for issues in technical inspection along with 30th-place Daniel Suarez in the #96 The NASCAR Foundation Toyota and 6th-place Martin Truex, Jr. in the #19 Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Boats Toyota. Unapproved adjustments also sent back 36th-place Timmy Hill in the #66 RoofClaim.com Toyota and 38th-place Garrett Smithley in the #53 Victory Lane Quick Oil Change / Kendall Oil Chevrolet. Of the group, Truex suffered the heaviest penalty as NASCAR confiscated the car’s rear spoiler, handing down a 20-point penalty and ejecting the crew chief.

When the tail end of the field re-sorted itself for the start, Truex had already moved to around 33rd, pulling ahead of not only the penalized Hill, Smithley, Suarez, and Finchum, but also 37th-place Reed Sorenson in the #77 Marwin Sports Chevrolet, 34th-place Joey Gase in the #51 Donate Life Texas Ford, and 23rd-place Yeley. Of these three Rick Ware Racing-affiliated cars, Yeley crossed the stripe 2.668 seconds back of the leader, just behind Truex who was 2.537 back, while Finchum remained in last, 3.435 seconds back of the lead.

At the end of Lap 1, Gase had taken last from Finchum, and was still running there when the first caution fell on Lap 5. Chris Buescher, running 17th in the #17 Fastenal Ford, broke loose coming off Turn 2 and backed into the wall with the right-rear corner, then hit again with the right-front. Under caution, Buescher made it to pit road for repairs, the crew saying they were going to “get some screws and try to piece it back together if we can and turn some laps.” Despite coming within less than 90 seconds of falling out due to the “Crash Clock,” Buescher pulled back onto the track on Lap 9, then cleared the clock on Lap 11. At the time, he was at least six laps down with Sorenson now 39th, two down after an unscheduled green-flag stop.

On Lap 19, Yeley was running around the 30th spot when he, too, broke loose in Turns 1 and 2. Unlike Buescher, Yeley backed into the wall squarely with the rear of the car, pushing in the rear clip and stopping the car in the middle of the track. Yeley climbed out, done for the day. The team set to work distributing their remaining tires and loading the hauler. Back on the track, Buescher made another trip to pit road for further repairs, dropping him a few more laps down. This kept the #17 in last until Lap 29, when Yeley finally dropped down to the last spot. Soon after, the persistent mist that plagued these opening laps forced a weather caution, then a red flag. The #27 team’s hauler left the track after nightfall.

It wasn’t until Wednesday afternoon that the race resumed, filling the Bottom Five. Taking 38th and 39th were Bubba Wallace and Matt Kenseth, respectively, after Kenseth’s #42 McDonald’s McDelivery Chevrolet broke loose and collected Wallace’s #43 Door Dash Chevrolet. Both cars suffered serious damage in the wet infield grass with Kenseth’s front clip obliterated by the mud. Joey Gase took 37th, out after 184 laps with suspension woes, while Jimmie Johnson rounded out the group with engine troubles on Noah Sweet’s distinctive paint scheme for the #48 Ally Chevrolet.

Wednesday also marked the final Texas start for Leavine Family Racing, which made its debut at the track nine years ago with David Starr. To mark the occasion, Bob Leavine had Christopher Bell’s #95 Procore Toyota wrapped in Sam Bass’ iconic red-yellow-and-blue scheme Starr ran in 2011. Bell made a spirited charge toward the front in the final stage, leading five laps and for a time running the fastest lap times on the track. He ended up 3rd, just within sight of fellow Toyota drivers Kyle Busch and Martin Truex, Jr. The result was not only Bell’s career-best finish, but the second-best finish for the LFR team, trailing only Matt DiBenedetto’s runner-up at Bristol in August of last year.

With two races to go, the 2020 LASTCAR Cup Series Championship will come down to two drivers – Timmy Hill and Ryan Preece. By trailing in both Bottom Fives and Bottom Tens, Preece’s only path to the title is to finish last at both Martinsville and Phoenix. Thus, if Preece doesn’t finish last on Sunday, Hill will lock-up the title.

LASTCAR STATISTICS
*This marked the first last-place finish for the #27 in a Cup Series race at Texas.
*This was also the fourth different team with which Yeley has finished last in a Cup Series race at Texas. The others were Joe Gibbs Racing (April 15, 2007, his first last-place finish in Cup), Front Row Motorsports (November 6, 2011), and BK Racing (April 11, 2015).

THE BOTTOM FIVE
37) #27-J.J. Yeley / 20 laps / crash
36) #42-Matt Kenseth / 59 laps / crash
35) #43-Bubba Wallace / 59 laps / crash
34) #51-Joey Gase / 184 laps / suspension
33) #48-Jimmie Johnson / 279 laps / engine

2020 LASTCAR CUP SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) JTG-Daugherty Racing (7)
2nd) Motorsports Business Management, Rick Ware Racing (6)
3rd) Chip Ganassi Racing (3)
4th) Hendrick Motorsports, Leavine Family Racing, Penske Racing (2)
5th) Beard Motorsports, B.J. McLeod Motorsports, Front Row Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, StarCom Racing, Tommy Baldwin Racing (1)

2020 LASTCAR CUP SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Chevrolet (21)
2nd) Toyota (9)
3rd) Ford (4)

2020 LASTCAR CUP SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP


Sunday, October 25, 2020

TRUCKS: Tim Viens’ “Trump Truck” scores first last-place finish in opening laps of physical Texas race

PHOTO: Chris Graythen, Getty Images

Tim Viens picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series career in Sunday’s SpeedyCash.com 400 at the Texas Motor Speedway when his #49 Trump 2020 Chevrolet was involved in a single-truck accident after 29 of 152 laps.

The finish came in Viens’ 14th series start. In the Truck Series’ last-place rankings, it was the 2nd for the #49, the 162nd from a crash, and the 397th for Chevrolet. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 59th for the #49, the 1,232nd from a crash, and the 1,752nd for Chevrolet.

The 44-year-old driver from Vermont has followed an interesting path into NASCAR. In 2015, he made two one-off starts for Mike Harmon Racing – first in Trucks at Dover, finishing 23rd, and then XFINITY at Homestead, taking 33rd. At the time, he’d only been a part-timer in the ARCA Menards Series, where in 2014 he made half the season’s 20 races, but driving for the underfunded Roger Carter and Wayne Peterson teams, finished under power twice and no better than 20th.

While he’s since run another pair of starts for Harmon at Talladega and in the summer race at Daytona, finishing 36th and 18th, Viens’ focus has been on the Truck Series. He carried backing from the Patriots First of America PAC, which has run advertisements for the re-election of President Trump on some of Harmon’s XFINITY cars and nearly all of Viens’ Truck Series entries. Incidentally, this was separate from the Patriots of America PAC, which has put similar “Trump / Pence 2020” logos on both Corey LaJoie and Timmy Hill’s cars in the Cup Series.

This year, Viens and Patriots First had initially signed with Mike Affarano’s #03 team, a single-truck organization which hadn’t successfully qualified for a race since last year at Eldora. This issue would continue to plague the team as they withdrew from the season opener at Daytona, where during the President’s visit, Viens was interviewed in front of Harmon’s PAC-sponsored #47 Chevrolet, which that week was driven by Joe Nemechek. Back at the Affarano team, the #03 was on the wrong side of the cut line when NASCAR cancelled qualifying as part of their COVID-19 protocol, then was withdrawn from a guaranteed spot at Homestead due to multiple issues in technical inspection. Frustrated, Viens parted ways with Affarano effective immediately, taking his backing with him.

Viens then landed at CMI Motorsports, which had withdrawn one of his entries from Homestead. This occurred following the reaction to team owner Ray Ciccarelli’s comments criticizing NASCAR’s recent string of unilateral decisions in response to influences outside the sport, including Anthem protests and the banning of the Confederate battle flag. It was with CMI that Viens was then able to make his first start of the year the next round at Pocono, finishing 29th, then started running the PAC’s “Trump / Pence 2020” graphics package at Kentucky. In August, when the second CMI truck began carrying similar “Back The Blue” logos to Mike Harmon’s #47 team, both trucks and Viens were featured in a rap video by Forgiato Blow and Bryson Gray.

Texas would mark Viens’ ninth start in the “Trump / Pence 2020” paint job, which since Kentucky has switched between both CMI’s #49 and #83. In those nine starts, Viens has failed to finish five times, including Las Vegas, where he was flagged off the track for not maintaining minimum speed. He’s also worked with three different crew chiefs: Tim Silva, Wes Hopkins, and Matt Cooper, who would lead the team at Texas. Viens drew the 33rd starting spot for Sunday’s race.

Rolling off 37th and last was Trey Hutchens, who was making just his third start of the year and first since Michigan, ten races ago. Vytal Studios came on to sponsor his #14 Chevrolet. With no drivers dropping to the rear at the start, Hutchens held last at the start, then by Lap 2 worked his way past Norm Benning in the #6 H&H Transport Chevrolet. Benning, who was 11.12 seconds back of the lead on Lap 3, a second-and-a-half back of the next truck in line, appeared to be the first to lose a lap during the opening laps.

With nine to go in Stage 1, Benning was now two laps down along with Josh Reaume in the #33 Colonial Countertops Toyota, and Viens was now 35th, one lap down. Viens lost his second lap by five to go, but with three to go apparently lost a right-front tire and pounded the outside wall in Turn 3. With Viens stopped on the apron, the first stage ended under caution, and the #49 was out of the race. Ciccarellis finished 22nd.

Hutchens ultimately made it just 36 laps before he fell out with ignition problems, leaving him 36th. Clay Greenfield took 35th after a scary accident in Turns 1 and 2 where his #68 Rackley Roofing Toyota hit the outside barrier, then briefly caught fire as he hit the inside wall. A track bar issue dropped Ryan Truex back to 34th in the #40 Marquis Chevrolet while Tate Fogleman rounded out the Bottom Five, his #02 Solid Rock Carriers Chevrolet crashing out in the caution after Greenfield’s wreck.

LASTCAR STATISTICS
*This marked the first last-place finish for the #49 in a Truck Series race since August 16 of this year, when Roger Reuse’s #49 Belimo / WCIParts.com Chevrolet had clutch issues before the start of the Sunoco 159 at the Daytona Infield Road Course.

THE BOTTOM FIVE
37) #49-Tim Viens / 29 laps / crash
36) #14-Trey Hutchens / 36 laps / ignition
35) #68-Clay Greenfield / 42 laps / crash
34) #40-Ryan Truex / 49 laps / suspension
33) #02-Tate Fogleman / 51 laps / crash

2020 LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Reaume Brothers Racing (4)
2nd) Niece Motorsports (3)
3rd) CMI Motorsports, DGR-Crosley, Norm Benning Racing, ThorSport Racing (2)
4th) FDNY Racing, Halmar Friesen Racing, Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing, Spencer Davis Motorsports, Young’s Motorsports (1)

2020 LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Chevrolet (13)
2nd) Ford (5)
3rd) Toyota (3)

2020 LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP


Saturday, October 24, 2020

XFINITY: Timmy Hill sets up LASTCAR battle with Stephen Leicht; Brown, Vargas, Martins, and Currey enjoy career-best runs

PHOTO: Chris Graythen, Getty Images

Timmy Hill picked up the 5th last-place finish of his NASCAR XFINITY Series career in Saturday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 at the Texas Motor Speedway when his #13 RoofClaim.com Toyota fell out with engine issues after 6 of 200 laps.

The finish, which came in Hill’s 212th series start, was his third of the season and first since Richmond, six races ago. In the XFINITY Series’ last-place rankings, it was the 9th for the #13, the 144th for Toyota, and the 265th for engine woes. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 34th for the #13, the 350th for Toyota, and the 1,095th from an engine.

It had been an eventful week for Hill, who on Friday announced that his wife Lucy is expecting a baby boy in March of next year. He’d then head to Texas, scene of his iRacing Pro Invitational Series win over William Byron on March 29. Preorders of the 1:24-scale version of the RoofClaim.com #66 had just been sent out to buyers this same week. RoofClaim.com would sponsor Hill for his double-duty effort in Fort Worth, both on his #66 Cup car and #13 XFINITY entry from Motorsports Business Management. Since his last-place run at Richmond, he’d finished 19th or better in three of those five starts with a best of 14th at Talladega.

On top of this, Hill was also one of six drivers still mathematically in contention for the 2020 LASTCAR XFINITY Series Championship if they finished last in all three of the remaining races this year. The others were fellow two-time last-place finishers Kody Vanderwal, Joe Graf, Jr., Brandon Jones, Michael Annett, and Kyle Weatherman. Hill rolled off 25th on Saturday.

Weatherman rolled off 36th and last in Mike Harmon Racing’s #47 FWPDA Chevrolet. While two teams twice failed pre-race inspection, neither 11th-place Brett Moffitt in the #02 Golden Fox Footwear Chevrolet nor 16th-place Jeremy Clements in the #51 Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet Chevrolet were sent to the rear after both passed a third time. Both will, however, lose their pit stall selection for next Saturday’s Martinsville event. Just before the start, one driver did drop to the rear – 32nd-place Jesse Iwuji, whose #99 Notable Live Chevrolet was sponsored by Dallas Cowboys Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith.

When the race started, Weatherman pulled ahead of Iwuji, who by Lap 3 was 1.077 seconds back of new 35th-place driver Kody Vanderwal in the #52 A-1 Performance Warehouse Chevrolet. Vanderwal was himself losing touch with the rest of the field, and on Lap 5 trailed the #78 Surface Wise / Sci Aps Toyota 35th-place C.J. McLaughlin by 2.386 seconds. Timmy Hill abruptly entered the last-place picture on Lap 8, when he took over last from Iwuji and promptly went a lap down. The #13 went behind the wall, the crew saying they were “not sure what we’re gonna do.” A broken crankshaft was the issue, and NASCAR confirmed him as the first car out on Lap 33.

With the finish, the 2020 LASTCAR XFINITY Series Championship will come down to Hill and Stephen Leicht. Hill’s only path to the title is to finish last in both the season’s final rounds at Martinsville and Phoenix. If Hill does not finish last next Saturday, Leicht will take the title, even if he doesn’t start any more races this season.

Taking 35th was David Starr, whose #07 Chasco / Steely Lumber Chevrolet lost an engine after 40 laps, pulling to the apron after his car erupted with white smoke off Turn 2. Chad Finchum, driving in place of Leicht, took 34th with fuel pump issues on the #66 Garrison Homes Toyota, followed by Austin Hill in the MBM / Hattori effort. Austin Hill had been advised at least twice by NASCAR that one of his rear tires was rubbing. One tire blew, forcing him to pit road, and he ultimately dropped out with suspension issues on the #61 AISIN Group Toyota. Rounding out the group was Riley Herbst, whose #18 Monster Energy Toyota nosed into the inside wall down the backstretch.

Overshadowed by the last-lap pass Harrison Burton pulled on Noah Gragson were several stunning performances by the series’ underdogs.

Just weeks after he was eliminated from Playoff contention when he was forced off into a muddy puddle on the Charlotte “Roval,” Brandon Brown scored the first top-five finish of his career, taking 5th in his #68 Jabs Construction Chevrolet. The finish came in his 84th series start and improved on his career-best 6th in the July 2019 race at Daytona. Brown had been in and around the Top 10 for most of the race, and in the final laps held off the high-powered JR Motorsports entry of Michael Annett by 0.226 of a second.

Taking 8th in only his 10th series start was 19-year-old Ryan Vargas, whose growing fan base gained even more attention when the TikTok app joined him as sponsor of Johnny Davis’ #6 Chevrolet back at Talladega. This was also the best finish of the year for JD Motorsports’ #6 team, whose previous best was an 11th by B.J. McLeod in the June race at Bristol. Vargas reached the 9th spot by six laps to go in Saturday’s race, then on the final lap caught and passed Josh Williams’ #92 Allow Employer Services Chevrolet, edging him for the spot by 0.065 of a second. Williams’ 9th-place finish continues a strong late-season charge for he and the DGM team. It’s his third top-ten finish in the last four races, leaving out only a 34th on the “Roval,” where he also ran strong for the first 36 laps before a crash.

Tommy Joe Martins has endured every possible misfortune in his continuing fight to develop his owner-driver operation Martins Motorsports, first in Trucks and now in XFINITY. It was at this same Texas track in the summer that the #44 Chevrolet began to improve, taking a 15th-place finish to match their run at Talladega. He ran 13th on the Daytona infield road course, and 14th just last week in Kansas. On Saturday, Martins moved up to 11th on Lap 62, held 14th at the end of Stage 2, and reached as high as 8th on Lap 179. With three laps to go, he passed Alex Labbe for the 10th spot and was pulling away from him all the way to the checkered flag, the final gap at 2.701 seconds. The result is Martins’ first top-ten finish in 87 series starts, improving on his breakout 11th-place run at Iowa in 2017.

Further back, Bayley Currey took 8th in Stage 1, continuing to build on Mike Harmon Racing’s breakout season in the #74 Hull Supply Chevrolet. After an up-and-down day that saw him fall off the lead lap, then out of the Top 20, Currey charged back near the finish, taking 12th, just 0.542 of a second from passing Labbe for 11th on the final lap. This was Currey’s career-best XFINITY finish – the third time he’s accomplished this in 2020 alone. His previous marks were an 18th at both Charlotte and Atlanta, then a 14th on the Daytona infield road course.

Both Currey and Martins were nearly collected in one of the day’s biggest accidents triggered by Justin Allgaier, Ross Chastain, and Brandon Jones – Currey ran the apron while Martins nearly stopped in the middle lane. Jeremy Clements, who had been running in the Top 15 for much of the day, nearly made it through as well before Jones hooked Allgaier into his path, knocking Clements’ #51 out of the race in 27th.

LASTCAR STATISTICS
*This marked the first last-place finish for the #13 in an XFINITY Series race at Texas since November 4, 2017, when John Jackson’s turn for MBM in the #13 OCR Gaz Bar Dodge ended after 7 laps with fuel pressure issues during the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300.

THE BOTTOM FIVE
36) #13-Timmy Hill / 6 laps / engine
35) #07-David Starr / 40 laps / engine 
34) #66-Chad Finchum / 55 laps / fuel pump
33) #61-Austin Hill / 107 laps / suspension
32) #18-Riley Herbst / 132 laps / crash

2020 LASTCAR XFINITY SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Motorsports Business Management (9)
2nd) JR Motorsports (4)
3rd) Joe Gibbs Racing, Mike Harmon Racing (3)
4th) JD Motorsports, Jimmy Means Racing, Shepherd Racing Ventures, SS-Green Light Racing (2)
5th) B.J. McLeod Motorsports, Jeremy Clements Racing, Kaulig Racing, Our Motorsports (1)

2020 LASTCAR XFINITY SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Chevrolet (19)
2nd) Toyota (12)

2020 LASTCAR XFINITY SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP

Thursday, October 22, 2020

PREVIEW: Eye-catching paint schemes, James Buescher’s return to the Truck Series, and a LASTCAR Championship among the storylines brewing in Texas

PHOTO: @BLeavine

Saturday, October 24, 2020
XFINITY Race 31 of 33
Round of 8: Race 2 of 3
O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas
2019 Last-Place Finisher: J.J. Yeley

ENTRY LIST
There are 36 drivers entered in Saturday’s XFINITY Series race, the same number as last week in Kansas.

DRIVER SWAP: #4-JD Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #15-JD Motorsports
DRIVER SWAP: #90-DGM Racing
Colby Howard returns to action for the first time since Talladega, taking the place of Jesse Little in the #15, and carrying sponsorship from the NASCAR Foundation. Little moves to the #4, taking the place of B.J. McLeod, who crosses teams this week and will instead run Mario Gosselin’s #90, replacing Dexter Bean, who’s not entered after his 16th-place run in Kansas.

DRIVER CHANGE: #8-JR Motorsports
It’s Jeb Burton and State Water Heaters back on the #8 this week, returning to action for the tenth time in 2020 and first time since Bristol, where he ran 9th. He takes the place of Daniel Hemric, who once again came quite close to scoring his first win in NASCAR’s top three series, driving the John Andretti “throwback” scheme from Darlington.

DRIVER CHANGE: #47-Mike Harmon Racing
Kyle Weatherman returns to his familiar #47 for the first time since his rough outing early at the Charlotte “Roval,” taking the place of Josh Reaume, who finished 33rd after brake issues at Kansas.

DRIVER CHANGE: #66-Motorsports Business Management
Chad Finchum takes the place of Stephen Leicht in MBM's #66 Toyota, but Leicht can still clinch the 2020 LASTCAR XFINITY Series title on Saturday if the following drivers do not finish last at Texas: Kyle Weatherman, Timmy Hill, Kody Vanderwal, Joe Graf, Jr., Brandon Jones, and Michael Annett. For any of these drivers to take the title, however, they'll also have to finish last at both Martinsville and Phoenix.

DRIVER CHANGE: #78-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
C.J. McLaughlin also rejoins the XFINITY circuit for the first time since the “Roval,” and runs his third different car in as many starts this year. This time, he takes the place of Vinnie Miller, who isn’t entered after a 31st-place finish in Kansas, driving the #78 Toyota.

CUP INVADERS: None

Sunday, October 25, 2020 (12:00 P.M. Eastern)
TRUCKS Race 21 of 23
Round of 8: Race 2 of 3
SpeedyCash.com 400 at Texas
2018 Last-Place Finisher: Bo LeMastus

ENTRY LIST
There are 37 drivers entered in the first November Truck Series race since 2018, up one entry from last week in Kansas.

RETURNING: #14-Trey Hutchens Racing
Trey Hutchens makes only his third start of the season and first since Michigan in August, when he ran a season-best 29th. Vytal Studios will sponsor his #14 Chevrolet.

DRIVER CHANGE: #17-DGR-Crosley
After Hailie Deegan secured a full-time Truck Series ride for 2021 midway through her 16th-place finish in Kansas, Dylan Lupton will drive the #17 this week. This marks only the second Truck start of the year for Lupton, who was a late entry into the fall race at Las Vegas, finishing 14th.

DRIVER CHANGE: #24-GMS Racing
After David Gravel was swapped into his ride at Kansas, only to be collected in an early crash, Chase Purdy will again take the wheel of the #24 BamaBuggies.com Chevrolet. This will be Purdy’s seventh start of 2020 and first since Talladega, where he was the one collected in an early crash, yielding a 32nd-place finish.

DRIVER SWAP: #33-Reaume Brothers Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #00-Reaume Brothers Racing
Josh Bilicki and Josh Reaume will swap rides this week with Bilicki going to the #00 and Reaume to the #33.

RETURNING: #42-Niece Motorsports
Welcome back James Buescher, who makes his first Truck Series start since March 28, 2015 at Martinsville, where he ran 7th for Bob Newberry’s team. FHE Fraclock will sponsor the 2012 series champion as he also brings back Al Niece’s part-time #42 team for the first time since the fall race at Las Vegas.

DRIVER CHANGE: #44-Niece Motorsports
Also welcome back Natalie Decker, back in the race for the first time since she wasn’t medically cleared at Las Vegas. She takes the place of Colin Garrett, who ran 24th with the team in Kansas.

DRIVER CHANGE: #52-Halmar-Friesen Racing
Stewart Friesen is back in his ride after the scheduling conflict in Kansas put Timothy Peters in his truck at Kansas. Peters finished 7th in what was his first series start since October 12, 2019.

MISSING: #75-Henderson Motorsports
Parker Kligerman is not entered after a spirited rally at Kansas, where he was involved in the day’s early multi-truck pileup, only to take 15th at the finish.

CUP INVADERS: None

Sunday, October 25, 2020 (3:30 P.M. Eastern)
CUP Race 34 of 36
Round of 8: Race 2 of 3
Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas
2019 Last-Place Finisher: Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.

ENTRY LIST
There are 40 drivers entered in Sunday’s main event for the Cup Series, the second-straight “full” field in 2020 and the 18th out of 34 races this season.

NEW SPONSOR: #7-Tommy Baldwin Racing
Josh Bilicki will pull double-duty with the Truck Series this weekend, and on the Cup side run a new camouflage paint scheme for sponsor Junction Fuels and the military initiative Camp Hope.

TEAM UPDATE: #14-Stewart-Haas Racing
Just days after Chase Briscoe locked himself into the Championship 4 at Phoenix, it was announced he will take over for a retiring Clint Bowyer in 2021. This was just one of the many 2021 “Silly Season” stories that played out during the week, including Kyle Larson’s reinstatement set for January 1 and Erik Jones moving to Richard Petty Motorsports.

PAINT SCHEME: #48-Hendrick Motorsports
Rising motorsports artist Noah “Lefty” Sweet has designed the look of Jimmie Johnson’s car this week as the seven-time champion nears the end of his final full-time season.

DRIVER CHANGE: #53-Rick Ware Racing
Garrett Smithley returns to Cup after a brief hiatus since the night race at Bristol, replacing James Davison in the #53 with his frequent backer Victory Lane Quick Oil Change and Kendall Oil as sponsors. This is just one of four head-turning paint schemes for the Ware team this weekend, including new backing from FatBoy Ice Cream Sandwiches on J.J. Yeley’s #27.

PAINT SCHEME: #95-Leavine Family Racing
It was at this same Texas track on April 9, 2011 that the #95 team – then known as Leavine Fenton Racing – made its Cup Series debut with David Starr finishing 38th. After not running the team’s red-yellow-and-blue scheme from that year in this season’s “Throwback Weekend” at Darlington, the team will run the scheme this Sunday with Christopher Bell driving. It will be the LFR team’s final start at their home track, and two races before the team closes its doors.

TODAY IN LASTCAR HISTORY (October 22, 1994): Tommy Houston picked up the 11th last-place finish of his NASCAR Busch Series career in the ’94 season finale, the AC-Delco 200 at Rockingham, when his #6 Red Devil Enamels Ford fell out with handling problems after just one lap. The finish tied Houston with Ed Berrier for the most last-place finishes in the series at that time.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

ARCA: Alex Clubb plays LASTCAR championship spoiler at Kansas

PHOTO: @StartAndParkCar

by William Soquet
LASTCAR.info Guest Contributor

Alex Clubb finished last for the second time in his ARCA Menards Series career in Saturday’s Speediatrics 150 at Kansas Speedway when his #01 A. Clubb Lawn Care & Landscaping Ford fell out with a vibration after completing only 1 of the race’s 100 laps.

The finish came in Clubb’s 11th series start, and was his first since Elko last year, 27 races ago.
 After Clubb’s 2019 season came to a premature end at Elko, the landscaper and city council member out of Morris, Illinois set his sights on 2020. While he did not enter any races until Kansas, there was a good reason for that: Clubb and his wife welcomed their first child over the summer. He tried to get a car ready for the race at Springfield, but family time and work obligations prevented him from running the event. He did finish his car for the Kansas event, and entered it with the number 01, using owner points borrowed from Andy Hillenburg at Fast Track Racing.

Clubb was not the only entry borrowing owner points from a different team at Kansas. Almost a quarter of the field - 4 of 18 entries - used owner points from a different team. The eventual race-winning car of Corey Heim was prepared in the Venturini Motorsports shop but used Fast Track Racing owner points, presumably for a better starting position. Kris Wright’s Chad Bryant Racing entry was also using owner points from Fast Track. Mike Basham’s entry from Fast Track was using owner points from Chad Bryant in a de facto swap. Derek Griffith finished out a sporadic part-time stint in CBR’s bright yellow #22 car. Other part-timers entered included Scott Melton, returning to his familiar #69, Dylan Lupton, driving a one-off ARCA race for DGR-Crosley, and Eric Caudell, who finished the season running four consecutive races in his #7 car. Owen Smith rounded out Fast Track’s stable, and based on the entry list, he looked poised to claim the LASTCAR drivers’ championship. Wayne Peterson Racing entered Tim Richmond in the #06 and Con Nicolopoulos in the #0, leaving the team patriarch off the entry list.

Only sixteen of the nineteen cars took time in practice. Eventual series champion Bret Holmes led the series with a lap of just over 30.7 seconds. Richmond trailed the field, running a best lap of 38.4 seconds. Qualifying was not held, and the lineup was set by owner points. As it was the CBR 77’s first attempt since Daytona, Basham started shotgun on the field.

Early in the race, ARCA timing and scoring listed Clubb out after one lap and Nicolopoulos out after two, all but clinching the LASTCAR championship for Owen Smith. However, during the middle portions of the race, reports emerged that Nicolopoulos was watching the race from his home in Michigan while being scored as the driver of the 0 car. Multiple sources from the garage later confirmed that Wayne Peterson had stepped into the 0 car for the race, setting off a retroactive nailbiter for the LASTCAR championship. If Peterson had pulled off at the initial green flag, as he did at Springfield two weeks ago, he would have claimed his fourth last-place finish of the year and his third consecutive LASRCAR championship. However, Peterson ran exactly two laps in all of his paved-track starts this year, and that was one too many in the LASTCAR championship battle. Clubb’s retirement after one lap prevented Peterson from claiming a would-be series-high fourth last-place finish on the year. While Peterson and Owen Smith both finished last three times in the 2020 season, Smith has a tiebreaker edge on Bottom Five finishes, 9 to 5, handing him the 2020 LASTCAR ARCA Menards Series drivers championship.

Smith, ironically, was the next car to fall out, citing brake issues. Brad Smith’s full-season effort ended a little early due to engine problems that sidelined the team after 36 laps completed. All other cars finished the race, and Ty Gibbs, who battled a number of issues throughout the night, came home 14th, 40 laps down.

The weekend took a terrible turn after the race. On Sunday morning, news broke that most of the Wayne Peterson Racing team equipment from the 06 car was stolen from a hotel outside the track:

Prior to the Kansas weekend, both Chevrolet and Fast Track Racing locked up the manufacturers and owners championships, respectively, to round out the awarding of LASTCAR ARCA Menards Series championships for 2020.

THE BOTTOM FIVE
18) #01-Alex Clubb / 1 lap / vibration
17) #0-Wayne Peterson / 2 laps / brakes
16) #11-Owen Smith / 30 laps / clutch
15) #48-Brad Smith / 36 laps / engine
14) #18-Ty Gibbs / 60 laps / running

2020 LASTCAR ARCA MENARDS SERIES MANUFACTURERS CHAMPIONSHIP - FINAL
1st) Chevrolet (13)
2nd) Toyota (6)
3rd) Ford (1)

2020 LASTCAR ARCA MENARDS SERIES OWNERS CHAMPIONSHIP - FINAL
1st) Fast Track Racing (10)
2nd) Wayne Peterson Racing (5)
3rd) Brother-In-Law Motorsports, DGR-Crosley, Kimmel Racing, Reeves Racing, Russ Lane Racing (1)

2020 LASTCAR ARCA MENARDS SERIES DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIP - FINAL
In total, 93 drivers started an ARCA Menards Series race this year. Of those, 68 recorded a Bottom Ten finish, 41 recorded a Bottom Five finish, and 16 recorded a last-place finish. The top twenty in the LASTCAR drivers standings are shown below.


Sunday, October 18, 2020

CUP: Tangle with Jones ends Matt Kenseth’s afternoon in Kansas

SCREENSHOT: @CGRTeams from @NASCARonNBC

Matt Kenseth picked up the 5th last-place finish of his NASCAR Cup Series career in Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at the Kansas Speedway when his #42 Advent Health Chevrolet fell out with crash damage after 144 of 267 laps.

The finish, which came in Kenseth’s 694th series start, was his second of the season and first since June 22, 2020 at Talladega, 20 races ago. In the Cup Series’ last-place rankings, it was the 27th for the #42, the 606th from a crash, and the 796th for Chevrolet. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 39th for the #42, the 1,231st from a crash, and the 1,751st for Chevrolet.

Since his most recent feature on this site, Kenseth has continued to struggle with a lack of practice and qualifying, often finishing between 15th and 20th with a handful of worse finishes. The lone bright spot came in what turned out to be the final Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis, a race he’d never won in his 22-year career. For the final restart, Kenseth worked his way to 2nd, but advanced no further on race leader Kevin Harvick, and the McDonald’s sponsorship has still yet to reach victory lane since 1994. Then on September 21 came news that Ross Chastain would drive the #42 in 2021, and Kenseth has all but confirmed he will not return to Cup after this season.

Kenseth started 30th at Kansas, in part due to a frustrating afternoon on the “Roval” where he struck a tire barrier head-on, leaving him 34th. He would run sponsorship from Advent Health, which most recently sponsored Chastain at both the Daytona 500 and the Coca-Cola 600, running in partnership with Ganassi at Spire Motorsports.

Starting 40th and last on Sunday was Chad Finchum, who for the first time since Las Vegas drove Motorsports Business Management’s #49 Sharelife / LasVegas.net Toyota, still carrying Timmy Hill’s “throwback” scheme from Darlington. He was joined at the rear by two drivers who each twice failed pre-race inspection – 5th-place Martin Truex, Jr. in the #19 Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Boats Toyota and 33rd-place James Davison in the #53 America’s Best Value Inn  / Tilson Ford.

When the race started, Davison was last across the stripe, 4.455 seconds back of the lead, but caught and passed Finchum by Lap 3. By the seventh circuit, Davison passed his teammate Joey Gase in the #51 Page Construction Ford, and both Gase and Finchum started to lose touch with the tail end of the pack. On Lap 15, Finchum’s team told him to stay high as the leaders caught him and made his #49 the first car one lap down by Lap 16. When the competition caution fell on Lap 27, Finchum was still last, but pit stops swapped the spot between Timmy Hill’s #66 CrashClaimsR.us Toyota on Lap 28 and Josh Bilicki’s #7 Insurance King Chevrolet on Lap 29. Bilicki took the spot after a pit road penalty that dropped him to tail end of the longest line.

On Lap 32, Bilicki dropped Finchum back to last, who gradually lost more laps through the remainder of Stage 1. He was three down on Lap 49, five down by Lap 72, and eight down by Lap 78. There was also at least one close call on Lap 76 as Brad Keselowski caught him entering Turns 1 and 2, squeezing between Finchum and the outside wall. On Lap 97, Finchum reported he had a problem in the rear of the car, but didn’t pit as he believed it was rear tire chatter. The vibration then returned on Lap 110, again in the rear of the car.

Meanwhile, Gase made a four-tire stop and took last from Finchum on Lap 124, shown 11 laps down to Finchum’s 10. The two then began racing each other, running nose-to-tail on Lap 130. On Lap 142, Gase slowed with a loss of fuel pressure, and crept onto pit road under green. The team decided to “just put fuel in it” when, moments later, the caution fell for a wreck on the frontstretch.

While not a factor for the lead, Kenseth was battling Erik Jones’ #20 Resers Toyota for 27th, running the low lane to complete the pass. When coming up the track, Kenseth wasn’t quite clear and hooked cross Jones’ nose, putting both cars into the wall. Both drivers made it to pit road with Kenseth’s team trying to address an issue with the track bar. Meanwhile, on Lap 146, Gase was told to turn into the garage “by the yellow canopy” to address a possible fuel leak, the driver told to stay in the car with the window net up. The next time by on Lap 147, Kenseth pulled behind the wall, out under the “Damaged Vehicle Policy.”

On Lap 166, Gase returned to the track 33 laps down and ten laps behind Kenseth. During the stay in the garage, the team also addressed a radio issue where they couldn’t hear the driver over static. On Lap 167, Kenseth was declared officially out by NASCAR due to an accident, not the DVP as in Noah Gragson’s finish the day before. Finchum pulled behind the wall shortly after, and NASCAR declared the #49 out with transmission issues on Lap 175. Gase then dropped Kenseth to last on Lap 180. 

Gase climbed to 37th at the finish, the last car under power, dropping Finchum to 39th and Kurt Busch, whose #1 Monster Energy Chevrolet blew an engine while battling among the leaders, dropped to 38th. Rounding out the Bottom Five was Reed Sorenson in Spire Motorsports’ #77 Marwin Sports Chevrolet, 17 laps down to the leaders.

LASTCAR STATISTICS
*This marked the first last-place finish for the #42 in a Cup Series race at Kansas.

THE BOTTOM FIVE
40) #42-Matt Kenseth / 144 laps / crash
39) #49-Chad Finchum / 154 laps / transmission
38) #1-Kurt Busch / 197 laps / engine
37) #51-Joey Gase / 228 laps / running
36) #77-Reed Sorenson / 250 laps / running

2020 LASTCAR CUP SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) JTG-Daugherty Racing (7)
2nd) Motorsports Business Management (6)
3rd) Rick Ware Racing (5)
4th) Chip Ganassi Racing (3)
5th) Hendrick Motorsports, Leavine Family Racing, Penske Racing (2)
6th) Beard Motorsports, B.J. McLeod Motorsports, Front Row Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, StarCom Racing, Tommy Baldwin Racing (1)

2020 LASTCAR CUP SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Chevrolet (20)
2nd) Toyota (9)
3rd) Ford (4)

2020 LASTCAR CUP SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP


Saturday, October 17, 2020

XFINITY: Noah Gragson's out under DVP historically significant among last-place finishes

SCREENSHOT: @NASCARONNBC

Noah Gragson picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR XFINITY Series career in Saturday’s Kansas Lottery 300 at the Kansas Speedway when his #9 Bass Pro Shops / True Timber Camo Chevrolet was involved in a multi-car accident and eliminated under the “Damaged Vehicle Policy” (dvp) after 16 of 200 laps.

The finish came in Gragson’s 66th series start. In the XFINITY Series’ last-place rankings, it was the 1st for the dvp, the 11th for the #9, and the 559th for Chevrolet. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 1st for the dvp, the 53rd for the #9, and the 1,750th for Chevrolet.

Just last week on the Charlotte “Roval,” Gragson overcame multiple incidents – including a skirmish with Riley Herbst, with whom he tangled at both Texas and Pocono – to finish a close 2nd to road course ringer A.J. Allmendinger. It was a performance befitting of the aggressive driver from Las Vegas as he completes his second full season in the XFINITY Series. This year saw him score his first series win in the Daytona opener, already securing him a spot in the Playoffs, then followed that up with a win at Bristol, where he tangled with his JR Motorsports teammate Justin Allgaier, who led 156 of the 303 laps.

The “Roval” performance followed a runner-up at Las Vegas and a 3rd at Talladega, easily moving him to the “Round of 8” for a chance to make the Championship Four. Last year, he came just short of making the cut, eliminated in the penultimate round. The slide began at Kansas, where he finished 13th, then crashed out to take 30th at Texas. The 10th-place run at Phoenix wasn’t enough to advance. Saturday would see him return to Kansas for another shot, and this time he’d start on the pole under NASCAR’s metric qualifying. In addition, NASCAR would stream on-board footage from his car.

Drawing the 36th and final starting spot was Josh Reaume, who took the wheel of Mike Harmon’s #47 Chevrolet for the first time. Carrying sponsorship from GPS Tab in addition to Reaume’s own Colonial Countertops sponsorship, Reaume pulled double-duty with the Truck Series along with Josh Bilicki, who served as his spotter. No teams were slated to join him at the back of the pack.

In the early laps, Stephen Leicht took over last place in the #66 Jani-King Toyota, running the same orange-and-blue Supra that made its downforce track debut at Homestead earlier this summer. Leicht lost a lap in the opening stages, then got it back when the caution fell for Matt Mills’ spin on Lap 10. The #66 made at least one more stop on Lap 14, and was still shown the only car one lap down for the restart.

On Lap 15, the battle up front rapidly intensified, and Gragson was part of a four-wide battle for the lead with the #10 Dyna-Gro Seed Chevrolet of Ross Chastain and Austin Cindric’s #22 Menards / Richmond Ford to his outside with Brandon Jones’ #19 Toyota Service Centers Toyota to his inside. As Jones backed off, Gragson appeared to try and slot in behind Cindric’s car when the two made contact, bumping Cindric into Chastain. While Chastain maintained control, Cindric’s car cut hard left into Gragson, damaging Gragson’s right-front and destroying Cindric’s left-front. Most of the field managed to keep going, though Anthony Alfredo banged doors with another car in his #21 Andy’s Frozen Custard Chevrolet and Tommy Joe Martins spun further back in the #44 AAN Adjusters Chevrolet.

With Leicht now back on the lead lap, both Cindric and Gragson pulled down pit road for repairs, each trying to clear the “Crash Clock.” Cindric took over last from Leicht on Lap 17, and by Lap 18 had already used up 3 minutes and 50 seconds on the six-minute clock. Cindric managed to pull back on track for the Lap 19 restart, three laps down, and despite heavy left-side damage would ultimately clear the clock on the first green-flag lap. The Penske crew made further repairs and returned to action on Lap 40, at least 20 laps down. Gragson, however, was still on pit road when the race restarted, and the clock soon expired. NASCAR reported they were out of time, and the crew eventually pushed the #9 behind the wall. Gragson bucked up his crew, looking ahead to trying to win Texas or Martinsville to make the Championship Four. Gragson took last from Cindric on Lap 20.

Leicht, meanwhile, remained on the lead lap until Lap 60, when he pulled behind the wall with fuel pump issues. With now three races to go and still a two-finish lead over the field, Leicht will secure the 2020 LASTCAR XFINITY Series Championship if any of the drivers behind him fail to finish last at Texas – Kyle Weatherman, Timmy Hill, Kody Vanderwal, Landon Cassill, Joe Graf, Jr., Brandon Jones, or Michael Annett. If one of those drivers finish last in Texas, that same driver must also finish last at Martinsville and Phoenix to take the title from Leicht.

 Ryan Vargas ended up 34th after two stays in the garage for a power steering issue, ultimately falling out in Johnny Davis’ #6 TikTok Chevrolet. Taking 33rd was Josh Reaume, whose right-front wheel locked-up in the final laps, citing brake issues in the final results. Joe Graf, Jr. rounded out the Bottom Five in 32nd after his #08 Bucked Up Energy Chevrolet erupted in smoke just before one of the last restarts, listed as a rear gear failure.

Making just his 9th series start, Austin Hill earned his first series top-five finish, finishing 5th in Motorsports Business Management and Hattori Racing Enterprises’ #61 Toyota Tsusho Toyota. Josh Williams and Brett Moffitt both rebounded from frustrating incidents at the “Roval” to finish 6th and 7th, respectively – Williams with a new career-best in the #92 Alloy Employer Services Chevrolet and Moffitt with his best run in the series since Richmond driving Chris Our’s #02 Destiny Homes / Concrete Supply Chevrolet just hours after ending his losing streak in the Truck Series. Further back, Tommy Joe Martins recovered from rear bumper damage to take 14th while Dexter Bean earned the second-best finish of his XFINITY career, taking 16th in the #90 Sleep Well / Alpha Prime Chevrolet.

LASTCAR STATISTICS
*This marked the first last-place finish for the #9 in an XFINITY Series race since October 13, 2006, when Kasey Kahne’s #9 Wisk Dodge crashed after 7 laps of the Dollar General 300 at Charlotte.
*Gragson is only the eighth driver to start on pole and finish last in an XFINITY Series race, and the first since May 9, 2008, when Carl Edwards’ #60 Scotts Water Smart Ford crashed after 3 laps of the Diamond Hill Plywood 200 at Darlington.

UNDERSTANDING AN OUT BY “DVP” VERSUS “CRASH”
The official reason out for Gragson was “DVP,” indicating the “Damaged Vehicle Policy.” It is not the first time a driver has been listed out for this reason, but it is the first time it’s resulted in a last-place finish. It’s much more common for a driver involved in an early wreck to fall out due to a “crash.” What distinguishes a “DVP” from a DNF by reason of a “crash” seems to be whether, in the space of six minutes, the team has attempted repairs, sent the driver back on the track to complete laps, and the driver fails to reach minimum speed when time expired. If any one of these elements isn’t met, it is listed as a “crash” instead. For example, when both Joey Logano at Watkins Glen in 2018 and Aric Almirola at Bristol in 2019 suffered minor damage, but were pushed behind the wall without an attempt to return, each were listed out as a “crash.”

This distinction came into focus a couple months ago at Indianapolis, where three drivers involved in the pit road accident – Justin Allgaier, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., and Brennan Poole – all attempted to meet minimum speed after the restart, but failed to do so. The four other drivers involved in the wreck were listed out as a “crash.” This, too, had a wrinkle, as the collected Martin Truex, Jr. was listed out as a “crash” despite returning to the track after repairs, then coming down pit road under caution before climbing out of the car. The “attempt” seems like it has to be made under green – a couple laps to feel it out under caution and then returning to pit road isn’t enough. This also explains Quin Houff’s incident at Pocono listed as a “crash,” where he made two trips to pit road for repairs, but had such a bad vibration each time that they called off the attempt and brought him to the garage.

The most deceptive aspect of a failure to finish under the “DVP” is the clock doesn’t stop if the driver suffers an issue unrelated to the crash, and goes to the garage to address that problem. At Bristol last month, Bayley Currey bumped the wall on Lap 198, completed repairs, and returned to the track to attempt to meet minimum speed. During this attempt, the battery died, and his car stalled on the track. The crew pushed him behind the wall for what they believed was the battery issue, unwittingly ending their race simply because they failed to meet minimum speed before the stall. NASCAR informed them they were out, and had been before they even set to work in the garage area.

THE BOTTOM FIVE
36) #9-Noah Gragson / 16 laps / dvp / led 13 laps
35) #66-Stephen Leicht / 59 laps / fuel pump
34) #6-Ryan Vargas / 81 laps / power steering
33) #47-Josh Reaume / 101 laps / brakes
32) #08-Joe Graf, Jr. / 158 laps / rear gear

2020 LASTCAR XFINITY SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Motorsports Business Management (8)
2nd) JR Motorsports (4)
2nd) Joe Gibbs Racing, Mike Harmon Racing (3)
3rd) JD Motorsports, Jimmy Means Racing, Shepherd Racing Ventures, SS-Green Light Racing (2)
4th) B.J. McLeod Motorsports, Jeremy Clements Racing, Kaulig Racing, Our Motorsports (1)

2020 LASTCAR XFINITY SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Chevrolet (19)
2nd) Toyota (11)

2020 LASTCAR XFINITY SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP


TRUCKS: Tanner Gray collected in chain-reaction of grinding Kansas wreck

SCREENSHOT: @NASCARONFOX

Tanner Gray picked up the 2nd last-place finish of his NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series career in Saturday’s Clean Harbors 200 at the Kansas Speedway when his #15 Ford Performance Ford was collected in a multi-truck accident after 37 of 139 laps.

The finish, which came in Gray’s 23rd series start, was his second of the year and first since Texas, 12 races ago. In the Truck Series’ last-place rankings, it was the 6th for the #15, the 110th for Ford, and the 161st from a crash. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 43rd for the #15, the 968th for Ford, and the 1,230th for a crash.

With three races to go, Gray joins an even tighter battle for the 2020 LASTCAR Truck Series Championship, joining Bryant Barnhill, Johnny Sauter, and Norm Benning in a tie for the most last-place finishes this year. Benning leads Sauter in the bottom-five tiebreaker, 8-5.

Since he was last featured here, Gray has become the strongest non-Playoff driver in the Truck Series, finishing a career-best 3rd at Michigan, Bristol, and Las Vegas. Curiously, the streak began at Kansas, where in July 25th’s second round of a weekend double-header he took home 4th, his first career Top Five. The Bristol and Vegas runs were two of the series’ most recent three rounds heading into Saturday, followed by a wreck at Talladega that left him 29th. The wreck cost him one spot in points, from 12th to 13th. Gray would rolled off 19th in Saturday’s race.

Starting 36th and last was Ray Ciccarelli, who brought back his #83 CMI Motorsports Chevrolet that had been withdrawn in the most recent round at Talladega. When the race started, he was 3.837 seconds back of the lead, but no longer in last place. At least three others had dropped to the rear: 21st-place Ryan Truex in the #40 Marquis Chevrolet (4.329 seconds back at the start), 33rd-place Dawson Cram in the #41 Chevrolet (4.504 seconds), 34th-place Hailie Deegan, making her series debut in the #17 Ford as Gray’s teammate (4.094 seconds). Norm Benning had also surrendered 26th in his #6 H&H Transport Chevrolet and was just ahead of Ciccarelli for the restart, 3.724 seconds back of the lead.

When the first lap was complete, Cram took over last place, 6.949 seconds back, with Ciccarelli up to 32nd. By Lap 3, Cram passed Ciccarelli’s teammate Tim Viens in the #49 CMI Motorsports Chevrolet, which became the first truck to lose a lap around the 16th circuit. Struggling with a tight condition off Turns 2 and 4, Viens was three down by Lap 25. He also complained that the throttle was sticking.

Next to enter the last-place battle was Jordan Anderson, who this week ran red door numbers on his #3 Bommarito.com Chevrolet. After rolling off 15th, Anderson dropped to 32nd by Lap 16, when he too lost a lap. Radio communications indicated several issues, including a piece of debris on the grille and a track bar issue. The truck had jumped loose under green, feeling like it had “1500 springs in the rear” according to the driver. “It’s gonna be one of those days,” said someone on his radio. After a stop on Lap 33, Anderson was three laps down and took last place from Viens. He pitted a second time, and the crew looked under the hood. The truck lost electrical power, showing 12 volts on the battery, and couldn’t re-fire on pit road. Citing a starter issue, Anderson waited for a tow truck to push him to the garage when trouble broke out on the track.

On Lap 38, Talladega winner Raphael Lessard broke loose on the inside line of a tight Turn 4 battle, then pinned title contender Tyler Ankrum’s #26 Liuna Chevrolet into the outside wall. As Ankrum skated down the track with flames trailing his machine, Parker Kligerman was collected in the #75 Food Country USA Chevrolet. Further back, Tanner Gray was slowing in the outside lane when David Gravel broke loose in front of him in the #24 ChevyGoods.com Chevrolet. Gravel snapped to the right, pinning Gray into the outside wall. Still another wreck nearly unfolded behind the two as Deegan clipped Cram, leading to Colin Garrett’s nose damage to the #44 The Rosie Network Chevrolet as he rear-ended Clay Greenfield’s #68 Rackley Roofing Toyota. Kligerman recovered to finish a strong 15th.

The wreck resulted in a red flag, and crash damage eliminated Gray, Gravel, Ankrum, and Lessard. Gray, the lowest-classified of the four, dropped to 35th when the race restarted. Anderson, eight laps down when the wreck unfolded, returned to action soon after the restart, dropping Gray to last around four laps later. Gravel, Ankrum, and Lessard took the next three spots in the Bottom Five, which was completed by Viens. After running last before the accident, Anderson climbed to finish 30th.

Making his first Truck Series start since October 12, 2019 at Talladega, Timothy Peters took the checkered flag in 7th, turning in a strong run in his unexpected relief driver role after Stewart Friesen’s scheduling conflict. Peters’ performance in the #52 Halmar “Racing To Beat Hunger” Toyota was his best finish in the series since the 2019 Daytona opener, when he also ran 7th for Niece Motorsports.

LASTCAR STATISTICS
*This marked the first last-place finish for the #15 in a Truck Series race at Kansas.

THE BOTTOM FIVE
36) #15-Tanner Gray / 37 laps / crash
35) #24-David Gravel / 37 laps / crash
34) #26-Tyler Ankrum / 38 laps / crash
33) #4-Raphael Lessard / 39 laps / crash
32) #49-Tim Viens / 91 laps / fuel pump

2020 LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Reaume Brothers Racing (4)
2nd) Niece Motorsports (3)
3rd) DGR-Crosley, Norm Benning Racing, ThorSport Racing (2)
4th) CMI Motorsports, FDNY Racing, Halmar Friesen Racing, Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing, Spencer Davis Motorsports, Young’s Motorsports (1)

2020 LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Chevrolet (12)
2nd) Ford (5)
3rd) Toyota (3)

2020 LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP