You might be surprised: Which former NASCAR champ holds record for most career last-place finishes?

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We all know Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights said that second is the first loser.

And we also know all about start-and-park and go-or-go-home drivers, as well.

But this takes losing – or shall we say, not finishing – to a whole other level (and no, this is NOT a trick question):

Which former NASCAR champion holds the record for most last-place finishes in a career?

According to Brock Beard, who operates the LASTCAR blog, former Busch Series champion Jeff Green holds the distinction of recording 60 last-place finishes (in 653 combined starts over 25 years) across NASCAR’s three national touring series – with 55 of those coming in the Nationwide (formerly Busch) Series.

By comparison, the late J.D. McDuffie set the Sprint Cup record of 32 last-place finishes in 653 starts over 28 years.

Green was once one of the best drivers in the then-Busch Series, winning six races and recording 25 top-five finishes (in 32 starts) en route to the 2000 championship. He also finished second in the 1999 and 2001 standings. In total, Green has 16 career wins in his Busch/NNS career (but none in Cup or trucks). 

But since his last Busch/NNS win in 2002, it’s been all downhill for Green – literally and figuratively.

According to Racing-Reference.info, the last time Green recorded a top-10 in the then-Busch Series was back in 2005, when he finished sixth in the spring race at Richmond.

(He did manage three sixth-place finishes in 2007 in the Sprint Cup Series, driving for Gene Haas, now of Stewart-Haas Racing fame.)

The Owensboro, Ky., native is now 51. He’s started two of the first three NNS races this season and completed just three laps in each, finishing last at Daytona and again this past Saturday at Las Vegas.

The reason for his early departure both times? A “vibration.”

Blake Koch drove for Green two weeks ago at Phoenix and finished – don’t be surprised – last, also completing just three laps before pulling into the garage.

The cause: that hideous “vibration” again – and we’re not talking a Beach Boys-like good vibration.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

April 5 in Motorsports History: Alex Zanardi’s amazing Long Beach rally

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Alex Zanardi entered the Long Beach Grand Prix on April 5, 1998 as the race’s defending champion and the series’ defending champion.

But the Italian didn’t seem a serious contender for much of the 105-lap event. Zanardi started 11th position and lost a lap early when he was involved in a multicar spin in the hairpin.

Alex Zanardi celebrates after winning the 1998 Grand Prix of Long Beach. Photo: Getty Images

But the race was still young, and despite emerging from the incident in 18th place, Zanardi slowly progressed through the field while battling radio problems that made communication difficult with his team.

With five laps remaining, Zanardi passed Dario Franchitti on the backstretch for second place and then focused in on leader Bryan Herta.

With two laps remaining, Zanardi made his move, making a daring pass on the inside of Herta in the Queen’s Hairpin (which no longer exists as the track layout was changed the following year).

The move was reminiscent of Zanardi’s famous last-lap move on the inside of Laguna Seca’s famed Corkscrew in 1996, which deprived Herta of his first CART victory.

Franchitti passed Herta as well, and Zanardi went on to clinch his first victory of the season.

“On a day when everything went wrong, we came back and won,” Zanardi said following the race. “I can’t explain it. It wasn’t until I saw Bryan ahead of me that I ever thought I had a shot at winning. It was amazing. I have no words to describe it.”

Following Long Beach, Zanadri won six more times in 1998 en route to his second and final CART championship.

Also on this date:

1992: Bobby Rahal led from start to finish to win the Valvoline 200 at Phoenix International Raceway. The win was the first of four victories for Rahal during his championship season.

2009: Ryan Briscoe won the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the first of three victories for the Aussie in 2009. The race was also the first IndyCar Series on Versus, which was rebranded as NBC Sports Network in 2012.

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter @michaele1994