Friday, November 5, 2021

TRUCKS: Strange single-truck accident leaves Lawless Alan last, securing LASTCAR title for Jack Wood

PHOTO: Brock Beard

Lawless Alan picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career in Friday’s Lucas Oil 150 at the Phoenix Raceway when his #45 Chevrolet was involved in a single-truck accident after he completed 11 of 150 laps.

The finish came in Alan’s ninth series start. In the Truck Series last-place rankings, it was the 7th for the #45, the 171st from a crash, and the 416th for Chevrolet. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 41st for the #45, the 1,277th from a crash, and the 1,816th for Chevrolet.

As has been asked many times, the 21-year-old Truck Series rookie from Van Nuys, California was born with the name Lawless, chosen after his grandmother’s maiden name. His family’s business Dasher Lawless Automation has pioneered a new brand of parking structure where cars are parked automatically using electronically guided panels. The introductory video on the company’s website features Alan in his #25 late model, running the same blue paint scheme he does today.

Alan got his start in late models just four years ago after scoring the “Young Lions Division” title in Legends cars. A championship in Irwindale came the next year, followed by a 2019 venture into Trans-Am, where he won “Rookie of the Year” and finished fifth in points. The road course experience brought him to stock car racing – first in the present-day ARCA West at Sonoma, where he finished 24th for Bill McAnally Racing. He made four ARCA starts last year, and finished no worse than 12th in any of them.

The logo
on Norm Benning's truck.
PHOTO: Brock Beard

The 2021 season saw Alan’s debut in the Truck Series, picking eight tracks to gain experience. His debut came on the Daytona Infield Road Course, were he raced up to 12th before mechanical issues left him 36th on a rain-soaked track. He drove for Josh Reaume that night, and would again at COTA. From there, he branched out into ovals, starting at Nashville, and moved to Al Niece’s #45 team at Darlington, where he took 27th. His season-best 18th came the following week under the lights at Bristol. Phoenix would be Alan’s first start since Talladega, where one of the day’s crashes left him 38th.

Alan was one of 41 drivers entered to attempt to make the 36-truck starting grid, a list that just before opening practice shrank by two after the withdrawals of both Spencer Davis in the #11 Inox Supreme Lubricants Toyota and Todd Peck in the #96 Holla Vodka Chevrolet. Of the 39 remaining entrants, Alan ran 29th with a speed of 130.676mph (27.549 seconds). He lost speed in qualifying, turning a lap of just 128.949mph (27.918 seconds), meaning he’d have to take a provisional in the 33rd spot.

The three teams who missed the field were Dawson Cram in the #41 Be Water Chevrolet, the #10 Fastener Supply Co. Ford of Jennifer Jo Cobb, and the #6 Poppy Packs / MDS A Sign Co. Chevrolet of Norm Benning. Benning’s truck, prepared in the same Niece Motorsports shop as Alan’s, carried this site’s logo on the passenger side b-post. Benning will be the subject of a separate article.

Qualifying 36th and last was Spencer Boyd in the #20 Hair Club Chevrolet. He’d be joined in the back by 14th-place Tyler Ankrum for an unapproved adjustment on the #26 Liuna Chevrolet and three others who missed driver introductions: 17th-place Johnny Sauter in the #13 Tenda Toyota, 29th-place Jordan Anderson in the #3 Lucas Oil / Chevrolet, and 35th-place Cory Roper in the #04 Carquest Auto Parts Ford. NASCAR had some difficulty getting Sauter to drop to he back before he finally did while coming to the green with Roper now in last place.

Alan's truck shortly after his early wreck.

On the opening lap, Kris Wright in the #02 First National Bank Chevrolet came up the track off Turn 2 and hit the outside wall on the backstretch. Not far behind, Playoff contender John Hunter Nemechek was off the pace in his #4 Pye-Barker Fire & Safety Toyota, and was noticeably off the pace with damage on his driver’s side door. As Roper climbed past two other trucks of Tyler Hill in the unsponsored black #56 Chevrolet and Chris Hacker in the #33 Dropout Kings Toyota, dropping Hacker to last, Wright came down pit road on Lap 3. By then, Hill and Hacker were trailing the field by open ground, and both passed Wright on pit road, putting the #02 in last. Nemechek came down pit road on Lap 7 with the left-front tire flat, costing him two laps. Wright, who now ran by himself, remained in last place.

That changed on Lap 12, when Alan suddenly spun and backed into the outside wall just past the starting line. Under the caution which gave Nemechek his first of two Lucky Dogs, Alan climbed from his truck, which was towed to the garage area through the entrance near the dogleg. I caught up with Alan after he was checked and released from the infield care center.

“Something broke - something in the rear end broke,” said Alan. “My brakes were starting to fail a couple laps prior, but I could still slow down, so we're just gonna do what we could. And then just down the straightaway it snapped and pirouetted me into the wall.” When Alan’s truck was brought to the garage area, all four tires – while flat-spotted – were still intact.

As it happened, Alan had just been announced as one of two drivers who signed full-time rides with Niece Motorsports for 2022, joining Dean Thompson, who finished 21st in his series debut on Friday. “Yeah, so I'm really excited for that,” he said. “That's some good news to come out of this week. Full time next year with AutoParkit and Niece. So ideally, we'd have a little bit more luck than we've had in my in my starts this year, but I'm just trying to run for Rookie of the Year and run for a championship.”

For more on Lawless Alan, check out his website here:

Rear gear troubles knocked out Tanner Gray, leaving his #15 Ford Performance Ford in 35th place. Gray had completed 80 laps, and his truck was loaded on the hauler by Lap 131. Three laps later, Tate Fogleman’s #12 Randco Industries Chevrolet was behind the wall. Fogleman’s battery issues caused his truck to stop on the track, drawing the night’s fourth and final caution. Both Timmy and Tyler Hill were among those pushing the #56 behind the wall on Lap 137, the result of an alternator failure that had dropped them off the pace. Tyler pulled the truck off the track to avoid being involved in an accident. Kris Wright’s damaged #02 rounded out the Bottom Five, seven laps down but still under power.


With Alan’s last-place finish, Jack Wood claimed the 2021 LASTCAR Truck Series Championship as the only driver to score two last-place finishes all season (Pocono and Talladega). I caught up with Wood after he finished the night in 20th.

“It was tough,” said Wood of his night. “It was just tough to figure out the setup with with practice being in the morning and then qualifying and racing at night. Just really tight across the center, chattering the front (tires) all night long. I don't know - it's kind of frustrating because I felt like in qualifying, we had something pretty decent. But just once we got to race time, there really wasn't much to work with. But I got to thank all my guys - even when we show up to the track, and we're not fast, it doesn't mean they didn't work as hard. These guys put their put their blood, sweat, and tears into this team and I'm just excited about next year.

Like Alan, Wood has secured a full-time ride in the Truck Series next year, his with GMS Racing.

*This marked the first last-place finish for the #45 in a Truck Series race at Phoenix.
*Alan is the first driver to score their first last-place finish in the Truck race at Phoenix since November 11, 2016, when Spencer Gallagher also crashed out after 11 laps.
*Al Niece's team closes the year with seven last-place finishes - one by the #40, and three each with their #44 and #45. The team's #42, driven by Carson Hocevar, didn't once finish last and nearly qualified for the Championship Four.

36) #45-Lawless Alan / 11 laps / crash
35) #15-Tanner Gray / 80 laps / rear gear
34) #12-Tate Fogleman / 98 laps / electrical
33) #56-Tyler Hill / 106 laps / alternator
32) #02-Kris Wright / 143 laps / running

1st) Niece Motorsports (7)
2nd) GMS Racing (5)
3rd) Rackley-W.A.R., Reaume Brothers Racing (2)
4th) CMI Motorsports, Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing, Kyle Busch Motorsports, Norm Benning Racing, Roper Racing, Young’s Motorsports (1)

1st) Chevrolet (17)
2nd) Toyota (3)
3rd) Ford (2)


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