Saturday, May 1, 2021

TRUCKS: Kansas sees Ryan Reed score first last-place finish of NASCAR career

PHOTO: @CMIMotorsports

Ryan Reed
picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR Truck Series career in Saturday’s Wise Power 200 at the Kansas Speedway when his #49 Frontline Wraps Toyota fell out with steering issues after 27 of 140 laps.

The finish came in Reed’s fourth series start. In the Truck Series’ last-place rankings, it was the 3rd for the #49, the 4th for steering issues, and the 39th for Toyota. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 28th for steering problems, the 60th for the #49, and the 354th for Toyota.

Much like Charlie Kimball and Conor Daly in the IndyCar Series, Ryan Reed has built a career in racing while building awareness of diabetes, which he was diagnosed with in 2011. He’s best known for his time in Roush-Fenway Racing’s XFINITY Series program, where he debuted as driver of the #16 Ford at Richmond on April 26, 2013. He finished 16th that day, then earned his first top-ten finish when the series returned there in September. For the next five seasons, he’d run full-time in the series, and was twice the winner of the Daytona opener in 2015 and 2017. He also made a lone Cup start at Talladega in 2016, finishing 26th in the #99.

The run came to an end in late 2018, when sponsor Lily Diabetes pulled their backing. Roush-Fenway shut down their XFINITY Series program altogether, leaving Reed without a ride. He’d make just one start in all of 2019, but made the most of it. Driving for DGR-Crosley’s Toyota team, Reed finished 9th in Las Vegas. It was the first race he’d started in the series since his debut on September 28, 2012 at the same track. 

This year, Reed has teamed up with CMI Motorsports, a two-truck operation that threatened to shut down amidst last year’s many controversies. Reed ran two weeks ago at Richmond, taking 29th in CMI’s flagship #49 Chevrolet. It was his 175th combined start in Cup, XFINITY, and Trucks, having never once finished in last place.

For Saturday’s race in Kansas, he’d run a Toyota – though preliminary entry lists still showed him in a Chevrolet. New sponsorship came from Frontline Wraps, complete with mascot “Wrapper Rick” on the rear deck. The neon-hued truck would roll off from the 33rd spot.

Rolling off 40th and last was C.J. McLaughlin, who was announced late as the driver of Josh Reaume’s second truck, the #34 Sci Aps Toyota. He’d incur a redundant tail-end penalty for the resulting driver change, along with 26th-place Bayley Currey. Currey had taken over the #45 Sharky’s Pub & Grub Chevrolet after Brett Moffitt announced he’d changed from Truck Series to XFINITY Series points for the remainder of the season. NASCAR instructed McLaughlin to start to Currey’s outside in the final row.

By the time the race went green, however, Jennifer Jo Cobb had dropped back from the 39th spot in her #10 Fastener Supply Company Ford. The truck, apparently a former ThorSport entry from footage taken at her shop, was the first Ford she’d started in a Truck Series race since August 17, 2013, when she finished 25th at Michigan. She held the spot through the first lap, then on Lap 2 worked her way past Norm Benning in his blue #6 MDS A Sign Co Chevrolet. Benning had already had a miserable day of his own, as outside his hotel, someone stole his personal truck which had towed his trailer to the track. As of this writing, the truck has yet to have been recovered, stranding the Norm Benning Racing team at the track.

Norm Benning pulls into the garage after not
maintaining minimum speed.
PHOTO: @DnfRacers

Two other drivers were quick to join the last-place battle. When the green flag dropped, the inside line got off to a slow start, causing two trucks to jump out of line. Timmy Hill was set to start 25th in his #56 Camping World Chevrolet with Spencer Boyd behind him in 27th, driving the #20 Angry Brew Chevrolet. Hill cut left with Boyd even further to his inside, which drew NASCAR’s attention as both moved before crossing the line. Each driver pleaded their case with Hill demanding the replay be examined. Hill came in for his pass-through on Lap 4, when he was served the black flag with the white cross, indicating the stopping of scoring. Boyd didn’t come in until around Lap 6. By Lap 9, Boyd was shown in last, two laps down, with Hill one down in 39th, trailing the now-lapped Benning and Cobb.

On Lap 15, Boyd finally climbed past Benning into 39th while Hill had now reached 35th. Two laps later became the moment Ryan Reed entered the picture. During an unscheduled green-flag stop which dropped him to last place, Reed was caught speeding in Section 16. He came back in for repairs, saying “something’s broke in the back,” and after he returned on Lap 21, five laps down, was told he’d still have to serve his pass-through. In the meantime, NASCAR flagged two trucks for not maintaining minimum speed – Benning’s #6 and Jesse Iwuji in the #33 Vote For Jesse Chevrolet. Both complied and came in for adjustments.

On Lap 23, Reed was again called in for his pass-through, which he served by the 35th circuit, when he pulled behind the wall. By now, the team was having radio issues and had difficulty hearing their driver. There was little radio communication after that, and NASCAR confirmed he was out due to steering issues on Lap 78. Also declared out in the same transmission was Benning, who cited a loose plug wire as the reason he couldn’t keep up minimum speed. On Lap 49, Benning had just come in for further adjustments when he was told NASCAR had parked him for running too slow. “You better talk to these people,” said Benning to his team. “We’re here to race. We had an issue and we fixed it.”

Jennifer Jo Cobb pulling off at pit exit, which ultimately
drew the caution flag.
PHOTO: @DnfRacers

Jesse Iwuji would likewise be parked after his second warning for not maintaining minimum speed. He’d originally gone to the garage on Lap 65 for radio issues, returned on Lap 67, then was posted his second time on Lap 88. Like Benning, Iwuji was on pit road at the same time, completing a stop for four tires and fuel. “Again, 33 will need to go to the garage,” NASCAR reported. The team then attempted to remove their new tires and put on the old ones before they ended up dropping the window net and pushing the truck behind the wall. He finished 38th.

Taking 37th was Cobb, whose Ford had issues coming off pit road on many of her stops. With just five laps to go in regulation, her truck stopped at the garage entrance just past the exit of pit road, drawing a caution that shook up the lineup for two overtime finishes. Electrical issues were the cited reason, and Cobb’s truck was loaded onto Spencer Davis’ team hauler after the event.

After his tail-end penalty to start the race, Bayley Currey had worked his way up to 3rd for the final green-white-checkered restart, right behind teammate Ross Chastain. Unfortunately, contact among the leaders dropped him to 12th in the final running order. Currey’s career-best in the series remains his 6th-place run for Niece at Michigan in 2019.

*This marked the first Truck Series last-place finish for a Toyota since August 7, 2020, when Stewart Friesen crashed out after 49 laps of the Henry Ford Health System 200 at Michigan.
*This was the first last-place finish for the #49 at Kansas. The number most recently finished last in the series on October 25, 2020, when Tim Viens crashed after 29 laps of the 400 at Texas.
*Reed is the first Truck Series driver to finish last with steering issues since July 29, 2017, when Mike Senica’s run in the #57 Norm Benning Racing Chevrolet ended after 2 laps of the Overton’s 150 at Pocono.

40) #49-Ryan Reed / 27 laps / steering
39) #6-Norm Benning / 42 laps / too slow
38) #33-Jesse Iwuji / 73 laps / too slow
37) #10-Jennifer Jo Cobb / 106 laps / electrical
36) #12-Tate Fogleman / 130 laps / running

1st) Niece Motorsports (3)
2nd) GMS Racing (2)
3rd) CMI Motorsports, Norm Benning Racing (1)

1st) Chevrolet (6)
2nd) Toyota (1)


1 comment:

Joshua said...

I watched and felt bad for Bayley Currey, who seems to get the most out of his underfunded equipment. Someone should give him a shot. I wished more companies would come back to the sport as I imagine that happening would bring more fans to see their favorite products, race.