Monday, March 23, 2009

Blaney’s Steering Stumbles, Finishes 43rd At Bristol

Dave Blaney picked up the 6th last-place finish of his career in Sunday's Food City 500 at the Bristol Motor Speedway when his #66 Hyde Park Storage Suites Toyota suffered a steering failure on lap 33 of the 503-lap event.

Blaney had an outstanding start to the weekend when he qualified 8th for the Bristol event, giving his Phil Parsons-owned team its first top-10 start in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. When the green flag fell on Sunday, Blaney fought to keep up with the leaders. When John Andretti’s spin brought out the first caution on lap 27, Blaney moved up to 2nd by staying out behind Jimmie Johnson while many others pitted. On the lap 33 restart, Blaney was keeping up with Johnson when Andretti’s lapped car broke loose in turn four, knocking him into a spin. Blaney’s car did not hit the wall, but sat in the middle of the groove as the rest of the field managed to get by. As the yellow flag flew, Blaney’s car went straight behind the wall, having suffered a steering failure in the mishap.

The race was Blaney’s first last-place finish in nearly a year, dating back to his engine failure in last spring’s Goody’s Cool Orange 500 at Martinsville. It was the first last-place finish for Prism Motorsports, one of several startup teams founded just before the 2009 Daytona 500. However, the race also marked the second time in just 9 races where a #66 car finished last: Scott Riggs finished 43rd in last fall’s Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta while driving for HAAS-CNC. It was also the first time a driver finished last because of a steering failure since Ricky Craven’s #50 Midwest Transit Chevrolet finished last in the 1999 Pepsi 400 at Daytona.

43) #66-Dave Blaney / 33 laps / steering
42) #64-Todd Bodine / 58 laps / crash
41) #87-Joe Nemechek / 82 laps / rear end
40) #09-Sterling Marlin / 91 laps / steering
39) #16-Greg Biffle / 326 laps / engine

1st) Dave Blaney, Mike Bliss, Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, Joe Nemechek (1)

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