Saturday, July 4, 2009

Blaney Extends 2009 Lead With Overheating Car at Daytona

Dave Blaney picked up the 9th last-place finish of his career in Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 at the Daytona International Speedway when his unsponsored #66 Prism Motorsports Toyota fell out with overheating problems on lap 2 of the 160-lap race.

Qualifying was rained-out for the second straight NASCAR Sprint Cup race, allowing Blaney to secure the 40th starting spot. The #64 team of Gunselman Motorsports and the #13 team of Germain Racing were also on the entry list for Daytona, but both attempted fewer races than Blaney in 2009 and wound up as the two teams that failed to qualify. Still, Blaney was unable to secure a sponsor for the Daytona event and, just two laps in, he pulled behind the wall with overheating problems.

It is the first time the #66 had finished last at Daytona since Harry Gant fell out with an engine failure after completing just one lap of the 1978 Daytona 500.

The finish was the fourth for Blaney, team, and the number 66 in 2009, and the first for each since Blaney’s crash early in May's Crown Royal presents the Russ Friedman 400 at the Richmond International Raceway. Blaney tied P.J. Jones in last month’s Toyota / Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway for the fewest laps completed of any last-place finisher in 2009 and joined Mike Bliss in the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta as the only two drivers to finish last because of overheating problems.

Blaney moved past Ricky Craven and Kyle Petty and now stands alone with the fourth-most last-place finishes since 1998. Blaney sits 12th-ranked on the all-time list. Only three times since 1972 has a single driver scored more than four last-place finishes in a single NASCAR Sprint Cup season. By scoring their fourth, both Blaney and Prism Motorsports might make history in 2009. With 18 races to go, Derrike Cope’s driver record of six last-place finishes in 2006 and Means Racing’s team record of nine finishes in 1992 may both fall at season’s end.

43) #66-Dave Blaney / 2 laps / overheating
42) #36-Patrick Carpentier / 18 laps / engine
41) #87-Joe Nemechek / 25 laps / transmission
40) #71-David Gilliland / 76 laps / accident
39) #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. / 76 laps / accident

1st) Dave Blaney (4)
2nd) Mike Bliss, Patrick Carpentier, David Gilliland, Tony Raines (2)
3rd) Todd Bodine, P.J. Jones, Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, Mark Martin, Joe Nemechek (1)

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