Sunday, October 9, 2011

CUP: Yeley First Driver To Sweep Weekend’s Last-Place Finishes Since Blaney in 2009

J.J. Yeley picked up the 7th last-place finish of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career in Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at the Kansas Speedway when his unsponsored #55 Front Row Motorsports Ford fell out with ignition trouble after 12 of the race’s 272 laps.

It was Yeley’s fifth last-place finish of 2011, his first since the August race at Michigan, seven races ago, and his third in Front Row’s #55. The #55 team is now in a three-way tie with Germain Racing’s #60 and HP Racing LLC’s #66 for the 2011 LASTCAR Owner’s Championship - each with six finishes apiece with six races to go.

In addition, Yeley became the first driver to finish last in both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup races at the same track on the same weekend since Dave Blaney finished 43rd for both Phil Parsons’ teams at Atlanta in September of 2009.

After running four of the last five races in Front Row’s #38, scoring a best finish of 25th in that stretch, Yeley and Travis Kvapil switched rides once again, putting Yeley back in the “start-and-park” #55. Both Yeley and Kvapil put their cars into the race with Yeley putting up the 28th-fastest speed of 172.568 mph. Kvapil timed in 36th.

At the start of the race, A.J. Allmendinger, David Reutimann, and Reed Sorenson all fell to the rear of the field for missing driver’s introductions. While Allmendinger and Reutimann picked their way through the field in the early stages, Sorenson remained 43rd in Robby Gordon’s pink #7 SPEED Energy Dodge. Sorenson remained in that spot until Lap 13, when Yeley pulled behind the wall, followed by Casey Mears and Joe Nemechek before the first caution.

Kvapil finished 27th and led three laps when he stayed out for the ensuing Lap 24 restart.

*The Front Row Motorsports #55 team is the first Cup Series organization to score three consecutive last-place finishes since last summer when Max Papis and the #13 Germain Racing team finished last at Michigan, Sonoma, and Loudon. Next week at Charlotte, the #55 has a chance to become the first Cup Series team to extend that streak to four.
*This was Ford’s first last-place finish in a Cup race at Kansas since 2004, when Kirk Shelmerdine’s #72 Vote For Bush Ford fell out with clutch problems three laps into the 2004 Banquet 400.
*Neither Yeley nor the #55 had ever before finished last in a Cup race at Kansas.

43) #55-J.J. Yeley / 12 laps / ignition
42) #13-Casey Mears / 16 laps / brakes
41) #87-Joe Nemechek / 18 laps / clutch
40) #30-David Stremme / 27 laps / rear gear
39) #66-Michael McDowell / 30 laps / brakes

With the finish, Yeley pulls within one finish of tying Michael McDowell for the 2011 LASTCAR Driver’s Championship. With the possibility of a tie in the next six races, McDowell remains just ahead of Yeley with 22 bottom-five finishes to Yeley’s 18. Mike Skinner, the current driver for the #60 Germain Racing team, failed to qualify at Kansas and has now missed the last five consecutive races.
1st) Michael McDowell (6)
2nd) J.J. Yeley (5)
3rd) Mike Skinner (4)
4th) Joe Nemechek (3)
5th) Kevin Conway, Robby Gordon, Travis Kvapil (2)
6th) Dave Blaney, Landon Cassill, Jeff Green, P.J. Jones, Scott Riggs, Scott Speed (1)

With three teams now tied for the lead in the Owner’s Championship, the tiebreaker will also revert to bottom-five finishes. There, again, the #66 team holds the advantage with 23 bottom-fives. The #60, due in part to their recent streak of DNQs, has 19 while the #55, which debuted at Loudon in July, has only 9.
1st) #55-Front Row Motorsports, #60-Germain Racing, #66-HP Racing LLC (6)
2nd) #46-Whitney Motorsports, #87-NEMCO Motorsports (3)
3rd) #7-Robby Gordon Motorsports, #97-NEMCO Motorsports (2)
4th) #81-Whitney Motorsports, #77-Robby Gordon Motorsports (1)

1st) Toyota (16)
2nd) Ford (7)
3rd) Chevrolet (4)
4th) Dodge (3)

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