Monday, April 19, 2010

CUP: Blaney’s Broken Suspension Snaps McDowell’s Streak at Texas

Dave Blaney picked up the 14th last-place finish of his career in Monday’s Samsung Mobile 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway when his unsponsored #55 PRISM Motorsports Toyota fell out with suspension problems after completing 20 of the race’s 334 laps.

Blaney, the defending LASTCAR Driver’s Champion, was competing in his third race as driver of PRISM’s #55 Toyota. He had been switched from PRISM’s #66 in preparation for Michael Waltrip’s run with the team at Talladega next week. Blaney qualified 24th at a speed of 188.745 mph, but went behind the wall on race day just 5 laps before the scheduled competition caution on lap 25. Next week, when Waltrip will run the #55, Blaney will return to his #66 in which he scored a LASTCAR record eight last-place finishes in the 2009 season.

The finish was Blaney’s first of 2010; his last had come in last fall’s Chevy Rock ‘n Roll 400 at Richmond. It was Blaney’s first last-place finish in the #55, his 9th for PRISM Motorsports, and his second consecutive last-place finish in the spring Cup race at Texas. Blaney and teammate Michael McDowell have finished last in all three of the races run since the rear spoiler was reintroduced to Sprint Cup competition, tying a feat Blaney himself set last summer when he finished last in three consecutive Sprint Cup races at Bristol, Atlanta, and Richmond.

Blaney is now in sole possession of 7th on the all-time LASTCAR standings and, curiously, is tied with Michael Waltrip for 6th in the Modern Era rankings. He is again tied with Joe Nemechek for the most last-place finishes in the Car of Tomorrow with 10 apiece and two finishes away from tying Nemechek’s 1998-present record of 16.

The last time the #55 finished last at Texas was when Michael Waltrip lost an engine 109 laps into the 2006 Dickies 500. The last time a Cup driver finished last with suspension problems was much longer ago, dating back to the 1978 World 600 at Charlotte. In that race 32 years ago, Jerry Jolly’s #28 Ski Machine Chevrolet also dropped out just 20 laps into the event.

43) #55-Dave Blaney / 20 laps / suspension
42) #09-Mike Bliss / 50 laps / vibration
41) #66-Michael McDowell / 60 laps / transmission / led 1 lap
40) #87-Joe Nemechek / 75 laps / transmission
39) #32-Reed Sorenson / 121 laps / electrical

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

1st) #55-PRISM Motorsports, #87-NEMCO Motorsports, #09-Phoenix Racing (2)
2nd) #7-Robby Gordon Motorsports, #66-PRISM Motorsports (1)

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