Friday, September 8, 2023

TRUCKS: Spencer Davis starts race in battered truck, but series return ends after one lap

PHOTO: Spencer Davis Motorsports, @teamSDM29

by Brock Beard Editor-in-Chief

Spencer Davis picked up the 2nd last-place finish of his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series career in Friday’s Kansas Lottery 200 at the Kansas Speedway when his #04 Carquest Ford fell out with suspension issues after he completed 1 of 134 laps.

The finish, which came in Davis’ 32nd series start, was his first of the season and first in a Truck Series race since May 26, 2020 at Charlotte, 84 races ago. In the Truck Series’ last-place rankings, it was the 3rd last-place finish for the #04, the 16th from suspension issues, and the 122nd for Ford. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 20th for the #04, the 52nd from the suspension, and the 1,019th for Ford.

Last week saw Davis’ name reappear on a Truck Series entry list for the first time since October 30, 2021 at Martinsville. Back then, as when he was last featured here in 2020, he was driving for his family’s #11 Toyota team, Spencer Davis Motorsports, which was most often sponsored by Inox Supreme Lubricants. The NASCAR Modified Series driver had gained the attention of Kyle Busch Motorsports in 2018, then drove for the Rette-Jones Racing team in both the K&N Pro Series East and the Truck Series. The years since have seen him return his focus in Modifieds. He finished 10th at Thompson last August, and his lone start this year at New Smyrna saw him take 13th.

At Kansas, where he’s already made three Truck Series start with a best of 14th in 2020, Davis would make his first start in nearly two years. He’d this time drive for Roper Racing, whose #04 entry hadn’t made a start since IRP with 28th-place finisher Landen Lewis. After turning two laps in practice, Davis ran fast enough to rank 27th of the 36 entrants. But then the right-front tire blew, putting him into the Turn 2 wall. Worse, debris from his truck cut down the left-front tire of Playoff contender Matt Crafton, whose #88 Flex Seal / Menards Ford struck the wall in Turn 4. As both drivers slowed onto pit road, Crafton’s crew unloaded their backup. But Davis’ crew didn’t have one, and would have to piece their Ford back together for the race. Davis posted on social media that there was a hole on the right-front tire’s inner sidewall – a freak incident, and a costly one at that.

Unbelievably, both Davis and Crafton weren’t the only drivers involved in practice accidents. Colby Howard would later reveal that Kyle Busch Motorsports provided the CR7 Motorsports team a truck to run. Howard’s #9 Grant County Mulch Chevrolet was on its first timed lap when his own right-front blew in Turn 4, sending him to a backup. Both Grant Enfinger and Tanner Gray also cut down tires in practice, but both avoided serious damage. Howard joined Crafton and Davis as three of the six drivers unable to take time in qualifying. The other three incurred unapproved adjustments penalties: 33rd-place Timmy Hill in the #56 UNITS Storage Toyota, 34th-place Lawless Alan in the #45 Niece Products of Kansas Chevrolet, and 36th and last-place starter Chase Janes in the #33 Butlerbuilt Ford.

The damage to Spencer Davis' No. 04 on the starting grid of Friday's race.
PHOTO: Michael Reno Johnson, @MichaelReno27

When the green flag dropped, Janes crossed the stripe in 35th, 3.395 seconds back of the lead, with Davis’ damaged #04 rounding out the field nearly one second behind him, 4.26 back of first place. After taking the green on the track, Davis pulled down pit road and then entered the garage area, completing the first lap in the process with a time of 65.725 seconds. The team’s spotter counted him down to the entrance, then was told the gate would be opened for him. From there, as he officially took last from Janes, the radio transmissions ceased. NASCAR did not immediately declare Davis out of the race, which would have secured Carson Hocevar his spot in the next round of the Playoffs. Hocevar instead locked himself in by scoring points for finishing 9th at the end of Stage 1. NASCAR didn’t declare Davis out for the rest of the night, though the results indicated “suspension” issues as their reason out.

Davis rolls down pit road as he completes Lap 1.
PHOTO: Josh Calloni, thanks @Nascarcatholic

Finishing 35th was Mason Maggio, whose #22 Professional AG Services Ford was running around the 20th spot when he bounced off the wall after another flat tire, drawing a late-race caution on Lap 119. It wasn’t until Lap 128 – six laps to go – that Maggio dropped to 35th place. The last truck he passed was Jennifer Jo Cobb, who like Davis was returning to the circuit after an extended absence. Cobb’s #10 Chevrolet finished under power, nine laps down. On her same lap was Matt Crafton, whose backup #88 slapped the Turn 2 wall, requiring several laps of repairs. Rounding out the Bottom Five was Greg Van Alst, who for the first time finished a NASCAR race under power, though five laps back in the #20 CB Fabricating Chevrolet.

Jake Drew continues strong start to Truck Series career

Not far behind the dramatic last-lap battle for the win, Jake Drew cruised home 10th in Hattori Racing Enterprises’ #61 Cyclum Truck Stops Toyota. Making only his third series start, Drew has now finished 17th or better in all of them and completed all 484 of his attempted laps.

*This marked the second last-place finish of the year for Roper Racing, the first since Johnny Sauter’s alternator fire at North Wilkesboro on May 20th, nine races ago. The number had never before finished last in a Truck race at Kansas.

36) #04-Spencer Davis / 1 lap / suspension
35) #22-Mason Maggio / 117 laps / crash
34) #10-Jennifer Jo Cobb / 125 laps / running
33) #88-Matt Crafton / 125 laps / running
32) #20-Greg Van Alst / 129 laps / running

1st) Reaume Brothers Racing, Young’s Motorsports (4)
2nd) G2G Racing (3)
3rd) AM Racing, Niece Motorsports, Roper Racing, TRICON Garage (2)
4th) CR7 Motorsports, GK Racing (1)

1st) Chevrolet, Ford (7)
2nd) Toyota (5)


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