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.

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New study surveys drivers’ opinions on crashes, concussions, more

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Auto racing safety has continued to improve through the decades, but the sport remains inherently dangerous, according to a new survey.

At the close of 2018, a new organization called Racing Safety United emerged with the intention of reducing drivers’ risk of being harmed.

RSU is made up of more than 30 members including former NASCAR Cup Series competitor Jerry Nadeau, two-time NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Randy LaJoie, NHRA team owner Don Schumacher and motorsports journalist Dick Berggren.

One of RSU’s first initiatives was to determine what current drivers thought of racing safety. The organization developed a 14-question survey and promoted it on select motorsports websites and forums. 

Participants were given the opportunity to disclose their identity or remain anonymous, and those who provided contact information were entered to win a $500 prize (for anonymous participants, the prize funds would be donated to a motorsports charity). 

More than 140 individuals participated in the survey over the course of 12 months. Below are the results of the survey:

Driver status

The vast majority of survey participants (60%) were amateur racers, while 26% of the participants were classified as Semi-Pro/Professional racers. The remaining 14% consisted of other individuals involved in the sport such as team owners and crew chiefs. 

When asked how frequently they race, 58% of driver respondents averaged 10 or more times per year on track, while 42% averaged 10 times or less.

The top five tracks respondents said they raced most often: Road Atlanta (21 votes), Watkins Glen (17 votes), Virginia International Raceway (16 votes), Mid-Ohio (16 votes), and Road America (13 votes).

Vehicular damage, injuries common

Over a third of respondents said they had been injured while racing, and almost two-thirds sasid they had suffered severe vehicle damage while racing

Driver error was cited as the top cause of vehicle damage (42 mentions), followed by concrete walls (26 mentions), mechanical failures (24 mentions), and other drivers (19 mentions). The study concluded those results indicated a need for better driver training/coaching, energy absorbing walls, and more technical inspections.

Almost a quarter of drivers said they had experienced racing-related concussions, and nearly half the respondents said one or multiple concussions would affect their decision to race in the future. 

Drivers primarily influenced by peers 

Roughly half the drivers said they would consider adopting new safety equipment if influenced by another driver (51 total mentions) and/or if recommended by a sanctioning body (47 total mentions). The study concluded those results indicated a need for drivers to become safety advocates and educate other drivers and for sanctioning bodies to mandate safety equipment. 

Drivers concerned with concrete walls

Approximately three-quarters of the drivers surveyed said they believed certain race tracks were more dangerous than others. Nearly half the drivers surveyed believe that concrete walls were the primary cause of damage to drivers and vehicles. 

Drivers willing to help

Just more than three-quarters of the drivers surveyed said that they would be willing to join a safety alliance to advocate for safer tracks. Two-thirds of drivers said that they also would be willing to contribute to a motorsports safety fund.

Click here for the full results of RSU’s survey

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