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.

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

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)

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