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.

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

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)

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