The finish was McDowell’s second last-place finish of 2012 and his first since Phoenix, eight races ago.
McDowell qualified 35th at a speed of 188.630 mph, ranking him fourth among the nine "go-or-go-homers" who attempted to qualify. Only Las Vegas last-placer J.J. Yeley in the Robinson-Blakeney Racing #49 missed the show.
In the early laps, Tony Raines and the Joe Falk-owned #33 was the first behind the wall, followed soon by McDowell. However, around the time Regan Smith lost the engine on his #78, both Raines and the #97 NEMCO Motorsports Toyota of Bill Elliott returned to the track. This shuffled McDowell back to 43rd, where he remained at the finish.
With Elliott coming home 37th, this ended a streak of NEMCO’s three consecutive last-place finishes in Cup races at Talladega, all with the #97.
*The last time the #98 finished last in a Cup race at Talladega was in 1985, when Trevor Boys’ McCaig Racing Chevrolet lost the engine after six laps. The finish was the first of two in Boys’ career, the second coming at North Wilkesboro the following spring.
*A Ford had not finished last in a Cup race at Talladega since 2006, when Hermie Sadler’s #00 Aaron’s Ford was taken out in a multi-car crash eight laps into that year’s Aaron’s 499.
*This was McDowell’s first Cup Series last-place finish at Talladega.
THE BOTTOM FIVE
43) #98-Michael McDowell / 2 laps / vibration
42) #26-Josh Wise / 5 laps / rear gear
41) #87-Joe Nemechek / 7 laps / vibration
40) #78-Regan Smith / 15 laps / engine
39) #30-David Stremme / 30 laps / transmission
LASTCAR CUP SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Michael McDowell, Scott Speed (2)
2nd) Brendan Gaughan, David Ragan, Scott Riggs, Reed Sorenson, Josh Wise, J.J. Yeley (1)
LASTCAR CUP SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) #95-Leavine Family Racing, #98-Phil Parsons Racing (2)
2nd) #23-R3 Motorsports, #26-Front Row Motorsports, #33-Richard Childress Racing, #34-Front Row Motorsports, #49-Robinson-Blakeney Racing, #74-Turn One Racing (1)
LASTCAR CUP SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Ford (6)
2nd) Chevrolet (3)
3rd) Toyota (1)