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 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.

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

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)

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