Tuesday, March 30, 2010

CUP: McDowell’s Brakes Go Bust At Martinsville

Michael McDowell picked up the 3rd last-place finish of his career in Monday’s Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at the Martinsville Speedway when his unsponsored #55 PRISM Motorsports Toyota fell out with brake problems after completing 19 of the race’s 508 laps.

Friday’s rained-out qualifying session snagged McDowell the 41st spot in the 43-car field, lining him up next to fellow unsponsored PRISM Motorsports teammate Dave Blaney, the defending LASTCAR Champion. During the opening green-flag run, McDowell pulled behind the wall with brake problems on lap 19, followed 5 laps later by teammate Blaney, who overheated. Blaney has still yet to score a single last-place finish in 2010.

It was McDowell’s first last-place finish since last year's season finale at Homestead and the first for the #55 since Michael Waltrip’s NAPA Toyota lost an engine 24 laps into the 2008 Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono. Mike Skinner, driving a second TRG Motorsports car, was the last driver to finish 43rd with brake problems, the finish having come in the 2009 NASCAR Banking 500 at Charlotte.

It was also the first time the #55 had finished last in a Sprint Cup race at Martinsville since Tommy Ellis scored his first last-place finish when a lap 14 crash K.O.’d Ellis’ self-owned Industrial Boiler Chevrolet in the 1981 Old Dominion 500. Just as in Monday's race, the #11 went to victory lane that day, though back then Darrell Waltrip was behind the wheel.

The Martinsville event also marked the return of the rear spoiler to NASCAR Sprint Cup competition after a more than two-year hiatus that dates back to the 2007 Ford 400 at Homestead. In that race, Johnny Benson, Jr. picked up his 4th and most recent last-place finish when the engine let go on his Bill Davis-owned #36 360 OTC Toyota.

43) #55-Michael McDowell / 19 laps / brakes
42) #66-Dave Blaney / 24 laps / overheating
41) #09-Aric Almirola / 43 laps / brakes
40) #13-Max Papis / 52 laps / brakes
39) #87-Joe Nemechek / 67 laps / crash

1st) Aric Almirola, Joe Nemechek (2)
2nd) Robby Gordon, Michael McDowell (1)

1st) #87-NEMCO Motorsports, #09-Phoenix Racing (2)
2nd) #7-Robby Gordon Motorsports, #55-PRISM Motorsports (1)

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