Sunday, November 22, 2009

McDowell Scores First 2009 Finish After Overheating at Homestead


Michael McDowell picked up the 2nd last-place finish of his career in Sunday’s Ford 400 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway when his #36 Wave Energy Drink Toyota fell out with overheating problems after completing 35 of the race’s 267 laps.

McDowell was one of the biggest surprises in qualifying, securing the 18th spot at a speed of 171.434 mph. The run marked the best start for Tommy Baldwin Racing since the Daytona 500 with Scott Riggs. On race day, Marcos Ambrose led four laps, slipped to fourth, then fell to last when he had to make a pair of unscheduled stops for a cut tire, a dead battery, and a faulty carburetor. McDowell went behind the wall on lap 35 and Ambrose returned to the track on lap 42, moving McDowell to the 43rd spot.

It is McDowell’s first last-place finish of 2009; his only other finish came in the 2008 Lifelock.com 400 at Chicagoland while driving for Michael Waltrip Racing. It is the third last-place finish for Tommy Baldwin Racing; the other two finishes came with Patrick Carpentier at the Pocono 500 at Pocono and the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire.

2009 last-place champion Dave Blaney failed to qualify for the season-ending race, as did third-ranked Joe Nemechek. Neither second-ranked Tony Raines nor fourth-ranked Mike Bliss had a ride for Homestead. Travis Kvapil qualified Bob Jenkins’ #37 car 28th, but was unable to tie Phil Parsons’ #66 team for the most last-place finishes in 2009. After David Stremme spun James Finch’s #09 during qualifying and missed the show, the #37 team acquired the #09's Miccosukee Resort & Gaming sponsorship and was able to run the entire race for only the second time in 2009.

THE BOTTOM FIVE
43) #36-Michael McDowell / 35 laps / overheating
42) #08-Terry Labonte / 88 laps / electrical
41) #19-Elliott Sadler / 116 laps / crash
40) #43-Reed Sorenson / 116 laps / crash
39) #7-Robby Gordon / 227 laps / running

2009 RANKINGS - FINAL
1st) Dave Blaney (8)
2nd) Tony Raines (5)
3rd) Joe Nemechek (4)
4th) Mike Bliss (3)
5th) Patrick Carpentier, David Gilliland, Bobby Labonte (2)
6th) Tony Ave, Todd Bodine, P.J. Jones, Matt Kenseth, Travis Kvapil, Joey Logano, Mark Martin, Michael McDowell, Mike Skinner, Mike Wallace (1)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Raines’ Electrical Issue Gives Him 2nd In 2009 Rankings, Phoenix Sweep


Tony Raines picked up the 8th last-place finish of his career in Sunday’s Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at the Phoenix International Raceway when his #37 Long John Silver’s Chevrolet fell out with electrical problems after completing 6 of the race’s 312 laps.

It was Raines’ first Sprint Cup start since his most recent last-place finish at the AAA 400 at Dover in September. In the six races since, the #37 team has spent more time off the track than on it: The team first failed to qualify with Kevin Hamlin at Kansas, then Raines DNQ’d at California, Travis Kvapil DNQ’d at Charlotte, then qualified at Martinsville and finished last; and finally Raines withdrew at Talladega, then DNQ’d once again at Texas, where the team switched from Dodge to Chevrolet.

On Friday, Raines just squeaked his way into the field with a speed of 132.091 mph, giving him the 43rd and final starting spot. He remained there during the early stages and fell out during the opening green-flag run just 6 laps in. It was Raines’ fifth last-place finish, breaking his tie with Joe Nemechek for 2nd in the 2009 rankings.

Tony Raines has become the first driver to finish last in two consecutive Phoenix races; his first last-place finish of 2009 came while driving Barry Haefele’s #73 Dodge in the Subway Fresh Fit 500 back in the spring. Raines also finished last at Phoenix in the fall of 2002.

It is the first time the #37 has finished last at Phoenix since an ailing Rick Carelli parked his Chesrown Chevrolet on the second lap of the 1992 Pyroil 500 in response to injuries he suffered in a companion race earlier that weekend.

The #37 team now has seven last-place finishes in 2009 (5 with Tony Raines, 1 each with Tony Ave and Travis Kvapil), second only to the Phil Parsons’ #66 team, which has scored all 8 of its finishes with Dave Blaney. Blaney, who went behind the wall 3 laps after Raines, finished 42nd on Sunday, marking the 10th time in 2009 he has come just one spot shy of finishing in last.

THE BOTTOM FIVE
43) #37-Tony Raines / 6 laps / electrical
42) #66-Dave Blaney / 9 laps / overheating
41) #36-Michael McDowell / 36 laps / brakes
40) #87-Joe Nemechek / 47 laps / power steering
39) #71-Bobby Labonte / 169 laps / crash

2009 RANKINGS
1st) Dave Blaney (8)
2nd) Tony Raines (5)
3rd) Joe Nemechek (4)
4th) Mike Bliss (3)
5th) Patrick Carpentier, David Gilliland, Bobby Labonte (2)
6th) Tony Ave, Todd Bodine, P.J. Jones, Matt Kenseth, Travis Kvapil, Joey Logano, Mark Martin, Mike Skinner, Mike Wallace (1)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Skinner’s Brakes Go Sour, Finishes Last at Texas


Mike Skinner picked up the 9th last-place finish of his career in Sunday’s Dickies 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway when his unsponsored #70 TRG Motorsports Chevrolet fell out with brake problems after completing 6 of the race’s 334 laps.

For only the second time in 2009, Kevin Buckler’s TRG Motorsports team attempted to get two cars into a NASCAR Sprint Cup field. The team brought two cars to Watkins Glen in August for the Heluva Good! at the Glen, but while Andy Lally made his NASCAR debut in the team’s flagship #71, David Gilliland was unable to get the #70 into the show. On Friday at Texas, Mike Skinner was in the #70 and, despite a lack of sponsorship, qualified an impressive 23rd at a speed of 188.844 mph. It was Skinner’s first Cup start since the Carfax 400 at Michigan back in August. Last-place leader Dave Blaney, 2nd-place Tony Raines, and 3rd-place Mike Bliss all failed to qualify while Joe Nemechek, tied with Raines for 2nd, made the field.

While point leader Jimmie Johnson crashed out just 3 laps into the race and held the 43rd spot for much of the race, Skinner, who fell out on lap 7, inherited last place soon after Johnson returned to the track on lap 115. Teammate Bobby Labonte finished 31st in car #71 while Nemechek finished 42nd. Johnson barely missed the bottom five and finished 38th.

With the exception of his early exit from the Gatorade Duels at Daytona back in February, the race was Skinner’s first last-place finish in more than three years. That finish came in the 2006 Bank of America 500 at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway where his Bryan Mullet-owned #72 Dutch Quality Stone Chevrolet was involved in a multi-car wreck on lap 2. It is the first last-place finish for the #70 since Max Papis crashed out of the 2008 Centurion Boats at the Glen in his HAAS Automation Chevrolet. It is the first last-place finish for the #70 at the Texas Motor Speedway.

For much of NASCAR Sprint Cup history, the #70 was driven by the late J.D. McDuffie, one of the sport’s most prolific owner-drivers. All but four of McDuffie’s record 32 last-place finishes came while driving the #70. For more on McDuffie, click on the “Dedication” link on the right side of this page.

THE BOTTOM FIVE
43) #70-Mike Skinner / 6 laps / brakes
42) #87-Joe Nemechek / 13 laps / electrical
41) #36-Michael McDowell / 20 laps / overheating
40) #77-Sam Hornish, Jr. / 88 laps / crash
39) #99-Carl Edwards / 174 laps / crash

2009 RANKINGS
1st) Dave Blaney (8)
2nd) Tony Raines, Joe Nemechek (4)
3rd) Mike Bliss (3)
4th) Patrick Carpentier, David Gilliland, Bobby Labonte (2)
5th) Tony Ave, Todd Bodine, P.J. Jones, Matt Kenseth, Travis Kvapil, Joey Logano, Mark Martin, Mike Skinner, Mike Wallace (1)

MANUFACTURER RANKINGS (1949-present)

(Standings current through most recent race weekend. Model names listed in official race results were used in place of manufacturer.)

MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
1st) Chevrolet (729)
2nd) Ford (678)
3rd) Dodge (259)
4th) Pontiac (191)
5th) Toyota (139)
6th) Oldsmobile (135)
7th) Plymouth (109)
8th) Buick (91)
9th) Mercury (63)
10th) Hudson (35)
11th) Chrysler (29)
12th) Studebaker (17)
13th) Nash, T-Bird (7)
14th) Rambler (4)
15th) Lincoln (3)
16th) Cadillac, MG, Packard (2)
17th) Camaro, Corvette, Henry J, Jaguar, Kaiser, Matador, Sprite, Tucker (1)
Unknown (7)

XFINITY SERIES
1st) Chevrolet (478)
2nd) Pontiac (162)
3rd) Ford (152)
4th) Toyota (116)
5th) Dodge (66)
6th) Oldsmobile (63)
7th) Buick (62)
Unknown (22)

TRUCK SERIES
1st) Chevrolet (343)
2nd) Ford (103)
3rd) Dodge (67)
4th) Toyota (31)
5th) RAM (8)

ALL THREE SERIES
1st) Chevrolet (1550)
2nd) Ford (935)
3rd) Dodge (384)
4th) Pontiac (353)
5th) Toyota (286)
6th) Oldsmobile (198)
7th) Buick (153)
8th) Plymouth (109)
9th) Mercury (63)
10th) Hudson (35)
11th) Chrysler (29)
12th) Studebaker (17)
13th) RAM (8)
14th) Nash, T-Bird (7)
15th) Rambler (4)
16th) Lincoln (3)
17th) Cadillac, MG, Packard (2)
18th) Camaro, Corvette, Henry J, Jaguar, Kaiser, Matador, Sprite, Tucker (1)
Unknown (29)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Nemechek Nabs 1998-Present Record With Early Crash At Talladega


Joe Nemechek picked up the 17th last-place finish of his career in Sunday’s AMP Energy 500 at the Talladega Superspeedway when his #87 NEMCO Motorsports Toyota was involved in the first caution of the race: a two-car accident on lap 5 of the 191-lap event.

Qualifying was rained-out on Saturday, so Nemechek secured the 39th starting spot for Sunday’s race. Although he came into the race without a sponsor, Nemechek gained sufficient funding from his fans and planned to run the entire race. Unfortunately, he was unable to defend his 14th-place finish from the spring race. While racing through turns one and two alongside Paul Menard on lap 5, Menard lost a left-rear tire and crossed Nemechek’s nose, slamming both cars into the outside wall. While the two avoided causing a massive multi-car wreck, both were done for the day.

It was Nemechek’s first last-place finish since the NASCAR Banking 500 at Lowe’s two races ago. Nemechek has also broken the four-way tie for the most last-place finishes since 1998, beating Todd Bodine, 2009 last-place leader Dave Blaney, and overall leader Derrike Cope for that mark. Nemechek is also fourth on the all-time list and has tied Jimmy Means and Morgan Shepherd for the 2nd-most last-place finishes since 1972. He is tied with Tony Raines, who withdrew with the #37 team on Saturday, for 2nd in the 2009 rankings. However, both Nemechek and Raines are still four finishes behind leader Dave Blaney, who pulled behind the wall eight laps after Nemechek’s wreck on Sunday.

It is only the second time in NASCAR Sprint Cup history that the #87 has finished last at Talladega: Dick May’s Fast Lane Ltd. Oldsmobile lost oil pressure in the 1979 Talladega 500 without completing a single lap.

THE BOTTOM FIVE
43) #87-Joe Nemechek / 4 laps / crash
42) #98-Paul Menard / 4 laps / crash
41) #66-Dave Blaney / 12 laps / vibration
40) #77-Sam Hornish, Jr. / 44 laps / engine
39) #78-Regan Smith / 99 laps / engine

2009 RANKINGS
1st) Dave Blaney (8)
2nd) Tony Raines, Joe Nemechek (4)
3rd) Mike Bliss (3)
4th) Patrick Carpentier, David Gilliland, Bobby Labonte (2)
5th) Tony Ave, Todd Bodine, P.J. Jones, Matt Kenseth, Travis Kvapil, Joey Logano, Mark Martin, Mike Wallace (1)