|SOURCE: NASCAR Media|
The finish was Yeley’s first of 2012 and his first since he drove Front Row Motorsports’ #55 to a 43rd at Texas, five races ago. It was also the first last-place finish in a points race for America Israel Racing, also known as Robinson-Blakeney Racing, since its inception late last offseason.
Yeley qualified 36th at a speed of 184.370 mph, ranking him third behind Trevor Bayne and Timmy Hill (making his 1st Cup Series start) among the ten “go-or-go-homers” who attempted to qualify. It was the second-consecutive start for the #49 team since an engine failure in Daytona’s Gatorade Duels left them with a last-place finish and without a starting spot in the Daytona 500. Last Sunday at Phoenix, Yeley brought the #49 home a respectable 26th, three laps down to the leaders.
In Sunday’s race, Joe Nemechek’s #87 was the first car to pull out of the race during the first 20 laps, apparently set to tie Derrike Cope for the all-time LASTCAR lead of 35 total last-place finishes. However, Nemechek returned to the track thirteen laps down, and Yeley pulled out of the race shortly before Timmy Hill crashed out of the race. Nemechek moved past both Hill and Yeley before he fell out after 44 laps.
*This was the first last-place finish for the #49 in a Cup Series race since 2003, when Ken Schrader’s Blair.com Dodge was involved in this horrifying single-car wreck on the eighth lap of the Pocono 500 at the Pocono Raceway. Schrader was uninjured in the accident.
*The #49 had never before finished last in a Cup race at Las Vegas.
*The 39 laps Yeley completed were the most by a Cup Series last-place finisher since Dover last May, when defending LASTCAR Cup Champion Michael McDowell completed 45 laps in his #66 HP Racing LLC Toyota.
THE BOTTOM FIVE
43) #49-J.J. Yeley / 39 laps / engine
42) #37-Timmy Hill / 42 laps / crash
41) #87-Joe Nemechek / 44 laps / vibration
40) #26-Josh Wise / 64 laps / brakes
39) #93-Travis Kvapil / 123 laps / engine
LASTCAR CUP SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Michael McDowell, David Ragan, J.J. Yeley (1)
LASTCAR CUP SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) #34-Front Row Motorsports, #49-Robinson-Blakeney Racing, #98-Phil Parsons Racing (1)
LASTCAR CUP SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Ford (2)
2nd) Toyota (1)