Tuesday, August 24, 2010

CUP: McDowell, PRISM Rejoin Battle For Last-Place Lead After Bristol Engine Trouble

Michael McDowell picked up the 6th last-place finish of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career in Saturday’s Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol when his unsponsored #55 PRISM Motorsports Toyota fell out with engine troubles after completing 16 of the race’s 500 laps.

McDowell qualified 35th for Saturday’s race, beating 9 other teams not locked-into the field based on Owner Points from a competitive 50-car entry list. For the first time since Pocono in August, McDowell would also be joined on race day by his PRISM Motorsports teammate in the #66. This time, the driver was Scott Riggs, who successfully rebounded from a DNQ at Michigan, scene of his first attempt for the team. The two unsponsored Toyotas fell out in 16-lap intervals from the green flag with McDowell falling out first.

Absent from the starting field was current LASTCAR Cup Series leader Joe Nemechek, whose #87 failed to make the race for the first time since Darlington in the spring. Nemechek was second-fastest of the six cars that missed the race, behind defending LASTCAR Cup champion Dave Blaney who was brought on board owner Tommy Baldwin’s #36 at the last minute. Blaney’s ride opened up after Casey Mears made his debut in Germain Racing’s #13 a week early due to a driver switch with Max Papis between Friday’s practice sessions.

With the finish, both PRISM Motorsports teams currently sit two finishes behind NEMCO Motorsports with twelve races remaining. While Dave Blaney and Max Papis may have been eliminated from last-place contention, McDowell also sits two finishes behind Nemechek in the Driver Rankings.

*Neither McDowell nor the #55 had ever before finished last in a Cup race at Bristol.
*PRISM Motorsports has now finished last in three of the last four Cup races at Bristol. Joe Nemechek finished last in the fourth, which was back in this spring’s 2010 Food City 500.

43) #55-Michael McDowell / 16 laps / engine
42) #66-Scott Riggs / 32 laps / transmission
41) #64-Todd Bodine / 47 laps / rear gear
40) #07-Robby Gordon / 50 laps / electrical
39) #13-Casey Mears / 58 laps / electrical

1st) Joe Nemechek (6)
2nd) Dave Blaney, Michael McDowell, Max Papis (4)
3rd) Aric Almirola (2)
4th) Robby Gordon, Johnny Sauter, Reed Sorenson, Scott Speed (1)

1st) #87-NEMCO Motorsports (6)
2nd) #13-Germain Racing, #55-PRISM Motorsports, #66-PRISM Motorsports (4)
3rd) #09-Phoenix Racing (2)
4th) #7-Robby Gordon Motorsports,#32-Braun Racing, #36-Tommy Baldwin Racing, #82-Team Red Bull (1)

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