Friday, May 27, 2022

TRUCKS: Brennan Poole’s sudden driveshaft failure eliminates him from Charlotte race

PHOTO: @XStriker002

Brennan Poole picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career in Friday’s North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway when his #46 Thank You Military Toyota fell out with driveshaft failure after 38 of 143 laps.

The finish came in Poole’s 32nd series start. In the Truck Series’ last-place rankings, it was the 5th for the #46, the 5th from driveshaft issues, and the 43rd for Toyota. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 27th from a driveshaft, the 42nd for the #46, and the 372nd for Toyota.

In addition to his XFINITY Series effort with Mike Harmon Racing, Poole has remained active in NASCAR’s top three series by running a few Truck Series events with Tim Viens’ team, G2G (for “Glory 2 God”) Racing. Poole’s Truck effort began this season at Las Vegas, where he qualified the team’s #46, then stepped aside so then-teammate Matt Jaskol, who DNQ’d, could take his place. Poole then made the cut at Atlanta, where he ran 28th, then fought electrical gremlins in Darlington, where he missed the start and still managed to finish 30th. He then earned his first lead-lap finish just last week in Texas, earning a new season-best of 23rd.

Poole would again run double-duty at Charlotte for both G2G and Harmon. Coming into the weekend, there were indications G2G would bring back their second entry, the #47, with Ryan Huff driving. By Thursday, team owner Tim Viens had taken Huff’s place, but soon after the #47 was withdrawn for a second-straight race, citing an engine issue discovered in Texas. Veins’ withdrawal came after Trey Hutchens pulled his #14 entry, which had already brought the entry list down to 36 entries for as many spots. With now 35 trucks for 36 spots, the remaining drivers all made the show. Running a paint scheme combining both military camouflage and the American flag, Poole ranked 27th in practice and 28th in qualifying with a lap of 170.557mph (31.661 seconds). Then, on the XFINITY side, where 42 drivers entered for 38 spots, Poole secured a 19th starting spot for the #47 American Scroll Chevrolet, ending a streak of three consecutive DNQs for Harmon’s team.

Brennan Poole on track.
PHOTO: @DnfRacers

Securing the 35th and final starting spot was Atlanta last-place finisher Hailie Deegan, whose crew discovered a seal failure in the right-rear, preventing her #1 Wastequip Ford from taking a timed lap. She’d also incur a redundant tail-end penalty for the resulting unapproved adjustments, to be joined by 26th-place starter Austin Wayne Self in the #22 AM Technical Solutions Chevrolet for the same reason. As the field cued up for the start, Self was instructed to line up last in the outside lane with Deegan trailing the inside.

When the green flag dropped, Deegan and Self crossed the line 33rd and 35th, respectively, splitting the #43 Barstool Sports Toyota of Keith McGee. McGee – who, incidentally,’s scanner app incorrectly listed as “Keith McGree,” – lost one of his associate sponsors just days before the race, but team owner Josh Reaume followed through with his end of the contract, allowing the Alaska native to make his second start of the season. Less than a half-hour after this news reached social media, EnvelaCorp signed on to fill the team's complement of sponsors, the team placing decals on the quarter-panels. McGee crossed the line 3.365 seconds back of the leader, just over two-tenths ahead of Self, but right from the start fought a truck that was loose both coming in and off the corner. At the end of the first lap, he was already 1.081 seconds behind 34th-place Self. 

By Lap 3, Self dropped Reaume to 34th in the #33 Rrhoid Rage Toyota, and McGee cut the deficit down to 0.833 second. But the gap only grew from there, back up to 2.128 seconds on Lap 5, 5.375 on Lap 8, then 9.158 on Lap 11. By this point, McGee was told by his spotter the leaders were running the middle line. Mindful of Jesse Iwuji’s struggles at Kansas, where his run with the same team ended early for not maintaining minimum speed, the team reminded McGee to stay on the inside line and not drift up into faster traffic. But McGee’s truck was so loose that when he was finally lapped on the 13th circuit, he had to fight to stay on the bottom. The team advised him to run slower, at which point McGee reported his engine “sounds like it’s laying over.”

On Lap 26, race leaders Zane Smith and Ty Majeski caught McGee, tightening the gap so suddenly that McGee found himself running the low line in a three-wide battle, Smith fighting for control as he steered through the corners. McGee remained last, now two laps down, and on the 29th circuit was told a truck was slowing down the backstretch. This was current LASTCAR Truck Series leader Dean Thompson, who had a flat left-rear tire on his #40 Worldwide Express Chevrolet. Thompson pitted for a tire change, and incurred a tail-end penalty for the crew coming over the wall too soon. He returned two laps down as Stage 1 concluded, putting him on the same circuit as McGee. 

On Lap 34, under caution flag stops, Thompson took last from McGee following further repairs to the left-rear corner of the #40. The Niece Motorsports crew told Thompson “I want you to go hard, but I want you to take care of your tires,” indicating that “We’re gonna have to take the gamble here in a few minutes.” Thompson thus dropped to last for the Lap 37 restart, letting one other truck by because the spotter said he was driving too aggressive. This may have referred to McGee, who Thompson re-passed the next time by, putting the #43 back in last. On Lap 39, McGee was back racing Reaume, who was much closer to him. “Don’t wreck the boss, bud,” he was warned.

Keith McGee's #43, which had an eventful night.
PHOTO: @DnfRacers

Also on Lap 39, Brennan Poole was running near the back of the pack when sparks and smoke erupted from his #46 entering Turn 1. The camera cut away and broadcasters didn’t respond to the incident, which didn’t draw a caution. Poole managed to make it to pit road and pulled behind the wall that same lap, the crew reporting something had “locked-up.” Poole climbed from his truck as repairs were attempted, but the team’s radio traffic ceased other than a few radio checks. Poole wasn’t declared out by NASCAR until Lap 90, citing a driveshaft which perhaps failed on that approach to Turn 1. Also declared out was Matt Mills, whose #20 J.F. Electric Chevrolet wrecked on Lap 58.

Keith McGee’s race didn’t last much longer. On Lap 70, he was posted by NASCAR and came to pit road six laps down in 33rd. The crew jumped over the wall too soon, incurring a pass-through penalty. But on the 76th circuit, as McGee was back up to speed, the driver reported his truck was still riding the splitter and had to come back in. The crew examined the truck further, wondering if the track bar had come loose. They instead found a shock mount had broken, and pushed the #43 behind the wall. McGee said he was lost, having apparently pulled into the XFINITY garage. Though the Reaume team declared McGee was out, the #43 pulled back out of the garage on Lap 84, running the apron so he could re-enter the garage at the correct entrance, which he did on Lap 86, thanking veterans for their service as he did to mark the Memorial Day holiday. NASCAR officials were not pleased with him returning to the race, though the crew joked about the misunderstanding afterward. Suspension issues were the listed cause for McGee’s exit, completing a challenging month of May for the second Reaume entry.

Reaume himself rounded out the Bottom Five in 31st, the last truck running at the finish. The last truck he passed was 32nd-place Jesse Little, whose #02 Race City Sports Memorabilia Chevrolet drew the penultimate caution after a Turn 3 tangle with Tyler Ankrum in the #16 Liuna! Toyota. This caution cost race leader Carson Hocevar a lead of over six seconds, leading to an ill-fated green-white-checkered finish where he collided with Ryan Preece’s #17 Ford. Both Hocevar and Preece collided, ultimately handing the win to Ross Chastain, who shared Dean Thompson’s Worldwide Express sponsorship on his Al Niece-prepared #41 Chevrolet.

*This marked the first last-place finish for the #46 in a Truck Series race since June 9, 2006, when Kraig Kinser’s #46 Centrix Auto Finance Chevrolet, entered by David Dollar, fell out with crash damage after 55 laps of the Sams Town 400. Kinser had started a strong 3rd in the race.
*Poole’s run marked the first Truck Series last-place finish due to a driveshaft failure since March 28, 2009, when Sean Murphy’s #08 ASI Limited Chevrolet dropped out after 4 laps of the Kroger 250 at Martinsville.

35) #46-Brennan Poole / 38 laps / driveshaft
34) #20-Matt Mills / 57 laps / crash
33) #43-Keith McGee / 67 laps / suspension
32) #02-Jesse Little / 128 laps / crash
31) #33-Josh Reaume / 138 laps / running

1st) Reaume Brothers Racing, Niece Motorsports (2)
2nd) AM Racing, David Gilliland Racing Ford, Front Row Motorsports, G2G Racing, McAnally-Hilgemann Racing, Young’s Motorsports (1)

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


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