|PHOTO: Jared Haas, @RealJaredHaas|
by Brock Beard
Lawless Alan picked up the 2nd last-place finish of his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series career in Friday’s Rackley Roofing 200 at the Nashville Superspeedway when his #45 AUTOChargit Chevrolet fell out with crash damage after 7 of 150 laps.
The finish, which came in Alan’s 43rd series start, was his first of the season and first in a Truck Series race since November 5, 2021 at Phoenix, 36 races ago. In the Truck Series’ last-place rankings, it was the 8th for the #45, the 184th from a crash, and the 434th for Chevrolet. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 45th for the #45, the 1,338th from a crash, and the 1,893rd for Chevrolet.
Alan’s most recent last-place finish came on the eve of his first full-time campaign for Niece Motorsports in 2022. An 11th-place finish in his fourth race of the year at COTA showed promise, but he ran no better than 18th the rest of the season with four DNFs. Unfortunately, this year has seen much of the same. A trio of 17th-place showings, starting with his return to COTA plus Kansas and Charlotte, plus a pair of crashes at Atlanta and Darlington and his first two DNQs at Daytona and the Bristol Dirt Race. Alan entered Friday’s race a distant 23rd in points.
Alan began the Nashville weekend taking 25th of the 37 entrants in opening practice, then ranking 19th with a lap of 158.496mph (30.209 seconds). After Justin S. Carroll withdrew his family’s #90 Carroll’s Automotive / Duratrain Chevrolet late in the week, the lone DNQ of the weekend was fellow underdog Trey Hutchens III, who attempted his first race since his #14 Quality Roof Seamers Chevrolet was collected in Dean Thompson’s Texas wreck back in April.
It was Thompson who secured the 36th and final starting spot for Friday’s race after his #5 Thompson Pipe Group Toyota was twice unable to fire before qualifying, ultimately sending him to the garage area for repairs. Thompson thus became one of two drivers to incur tail-end penalties prior to Friday’s green flag. Joining him was Toni Breidinger, who on a day that she delivered Raising Cane’s chicken to her crew at lunch was also handed an unapproved adjustments penalty on her 28th-place #1 Victoria’s Secret Toyota.
In the race’s early laps, it was Breidinger who was running 36th, showing 9.256 seconds back of the lead on Lap 5 while Thompson climbed to 31st. On that same lap going into Turn 3, Alan was running 18th as Hailie Deegan pulled to his inside in her #13 Ford Performance Ford. After apparently clipping the apron, she lost control and slid into Alan broadside, sending both spinning up the track. While Deegan backed into the wall, Alan nearly saved his truck before it hooked right – directly into the path of a slowing Jack Wood in the #51 Rowdy Manufacturing Chevrolet.
All three trucks made it to pit road with Wood taking last on Lap 6, then Alan on Lap 8. All three returned to the track, seeking to clear the “Crash Clock.” But on Lap 10, Alan blew a right-front tire and slapped the Turn 3 wall, this time ending his night. Alan then expressed his frustration with Deegan, saying to Jared Haas at Frontstretch.com, “She does it to fucking everybody.”
On Lap 54, NASCAR declared Alan out of the race along with Memphis Villareal in G2G Racing’s #46 Laredo Trailer Supply / Mystik Toyota. Villareal, who gave G2G its first start since Armani Williams’ hard crash at Charlotte, was classified out with electrical issues. Last-place starter Dean Thompson only climbed to 33rd before he was eliminated under the “Damaged Vehicle Policy” following an on-race tangle with Christian Eckes. Thompson finished just ahead of the #32 Benton Nissan of Columbia, imi Chevrolet of Bret Holmes, who was unable to avoid a spinning Layne Riggs following contact from a wrecking Daniel Dye off Turn 2.
Rounding out the Bottom Five was Rajah Caruth, who on Lap 36 had just taken the lead from polesitter Nick Sanchez when Caruth’s #24 Born Driven Chevrolet suddenly lost power, forcing him to make an unscheduled stop. A loss of fuel pressure ultimately sent him behind the wall until Lap 68. Caruth finished the race under power, remaining 31 laps down at the checkered flag.
Also impressive on Friday was Bayley Currey, who reunited with Niece Motorsports in the #41 Unishippers Chevrolet team with which he finished a career-best 4th in Atlanta. This time, Currey nearly won his first pole, falling just 0.013 second back of Nick Sanchez. In the race, Currey took the lead from Corey Heim on Lap 62 under green, and ultimately crossed the finish line 5th, just one spot shy of his Atlanta run.
*This marked the first last-place finish for the #45 in a Truck Series race at Nashville.
THE BOTTOM FIVE
36) #45-Lawless Alan / 7 laps / crash
35) #46-Memphis Villareal / 26 laps / electrical
34) #32-Bret Holmes / 92 laps / crash
33) #5-Dean Thompson / 104 laps / dvp
32) #24-Rajah Caruth / 119 laps / running
2023 LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) G2G Racing, Reaume Brothers Racing (3)
2nd) AM Racing, Niece Motorsports, Young’s Motorsports (2)
3rd) GK Racing, Roper Racing, TRICON Garage (1)
2023 LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Ford (5)
2nd) Chevrolet, Toyota (4)
2023 LASTCAR TRUCK SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP