Monday, August 16, 2010

CUP: Nemechek Climbs To 4th All-Time With Ignition Failure At Michigan

Joe Nemechek picked up the 23rd last-place finish of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career in Sunday’s Carfax 400 at the Michigan International Speedway when his unsponsored #87 NEMCO Motorsports Toyota fell out with ignition problems after completing 14 of the race’s 200 laps. The finish was also Nemechek’s 29th across all three of NASCAR’s top divisions, moving him to 4th in the all-time standings, breaking a tie with part-time teammate Jeff Fuller.

Nemechek was once again stellar in qualifying, running a very aggressive lap near the outside wall and scraping up the right-rear of his Toyota en route to a 22nd-fastest time with a speed of 184.876 mph. The speed was 3rd-fastest among the teams not locked-into the race based on Owner Points.

On race day, it first appeared that P.J. Jones would pick up his first last-place finish since last year at Sonoma when he trailed the field in Robby Gordon’s #7. However, it was Nemechek who pulled behind the wall first, followed by both Jones, Robby Gordon himself in the #07, and PRISM Motorsports’ Michael McDowell in #55. After Kurt Busch’s spectacular engine failure on lap 31, Gordon and Jones returned to the track 14 laps down and turned a few more laps. This moved both cars past McDowell, Busch, and Max Papis, who also went behind the wall on lap 27. Jones and Gordon finished 37th and 39th, respectively.

Nemechek and his #87 team now have a two-finish lead on defending LASTCAR Cup Champion Dave Blaney’s #66 and Max Papis’ #13, but it is now unlikely that either will contend in the final part of the season. Dave Blaney was released from PRISM Motorsports last Thursday and replaced by Scott Riggs, who failed to make the show in his first qualifying run since Phoenix in April. Papis will also leave the #13 team after next week’s race at Bristol, after which Casey Mears will run the car starting at Atlanta. Both teams may still contest the Team Rankings, but there is no word as to if either driver will land another Cup ride before the season is out: Papis has already committed to running in the Truck Series.

*No driver had finished last in a Cup race with ignition failure since the 2000 Winston 500 at Talladega, where Kevin Lepage’s / TV Guide Ford fell out after 20 laps.
*Nemechek had not finished last in a Cup race at Michigan since 2007, where his fan-supported #08 Dodge crashed out after completing 92 laps of the 2007 3M Performance 400.
*The #87 had not finished last in a Cup race at Michigan since Gary Myers’ 1972 Chevrolet blew an engine after lap 1 of the 1974 Yankee 400.

43) #87-Joe Nemechek / 14 laps / ignition
42) #55-Michael McDowell / 20 laps / electrical
41) #13-Max Papis / 27 laps / rear gear
40) #2-Kurt Busch / 30 laps / engine
39) #07-Robby Gordon / 34 laps / brakes

1st) Joe Nemechek (6)
2nd) Dave Blaney, Max Papis (4)
3rd) Michael McDowell (3)
4th) Aric Almirola (2)
5th) Robby Gordon, Johnny Sauter, Reed Sorenson, Scott Speed (1)

1st) #87-NEMCO Motorsports (6)
2nd) #13-Germain Racing, #66-PRISM Motorsports (4)
3rd) #55-PRISM Motorsports (3)
4th) #09-Phoenix Racing (2)
5th) #7-Robby Gordon Motorsports,#32-Braun Racing, #36-Tommy Baldwin Racing, #82-Team Red Bull (1)

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