Sunday, August 12, 2012

CUP: Vickers The First Cup Driver To Finish Last Without Completing A Lap Since 2006

SOURCE: Zimbio / Todd Warshaw at Getty Images
Brian Vickers picked up the 7th last-place finish of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career in Sunday’s Finger Lakes 355 at the Glen at Watkins Glen International when his #55 My Classic Garage Toyota lost the engine on the opening lap of the 90-lap race.

This was Vickers’ first last-place finish of 2012 and his first in Cup since 2007, when his #83 Red Bull Toyota finished under power, but 35 laps down, in the 2007 Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire.

Vickers was making his fifth start of 2012 for Michael Waltrip Racing, a part-time deal he acquired after Red Bull Racing lost its title sponsorship at the end of last season. In his four previous starts, Vickers had finished no worse than 18th with a best finish of 4th in the previous road course race at Sonoma, where teammate Clint Bowyer took the checkered flag.

However, at the Glen, Vickers struggled in qualifying, scoring the 33rd spot at an average speed of 123.710 mph. Then, during the opening lap of the race, Vickers’ car suddenly lost power, sending him behind the wall with a blown engine.

42nd in the race went to Porsche factory driver Patrick Long, who himself lost an engine in practice, resulting in an accident that sent he, Denny Hamlin, and Jeff Burton to backup cars. The next day, the #30 Inception Motorsports team rebounded from Brian Simo’s DNQ at Sonoma as only 43 cars entered Sunday’s race, but Long parked after two laps, ending his Sprint Cup debut.

Defending LASTCAR Sprint Cup champion Michael McDowell equaled his best career qualifying run of 11th at this year’s Daytona 500. He ran through the first pit stop cycle, but after a pit road speeding penalty, he parked the #98 TRAQM Ford and came home 37th.

*This was the first last-place finish for the #55 since 2011, when Travis Kvapil’s Aloft Hotel Tempe Ford fell out with brake problems after 20 laps of the Kobalt Tools 500 at Phoenix.
*This was the first last-place finish for Michael Waltrip Racing since 2008, when A.J. Allmendinger’s #00 Champion Mortgages Toyota was involved in a crash after 52 laps of the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte.
*Vickers is the first driver to finish last in a Sprint Cup race without completing a single lap since 2006, when Tom Hubert’s Interush Ford was involved in a multi-car pileup on the opening lap of the Toyota / Save Mart 350. It was Hubert’s third-consecutive last-place finish at the Northern California road course, and all three came while driving for former crew chief Kirk Shelmerdine.

*Sunday marked the 132nd time in NASCAR Sprint Cup history that the last-place finisher did not complete the opening lap. Nine of the ten most recent times this has happened was because of crash damage, including the inaugural races at Kansas and Texas.

#27-Tom Hubert - 2006 Dodge / Save Mart 350 at Sonoma - crash
#88-Dale Jarrett - 2006 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte - crash
#08-Shane Hmiel - 2005 Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta - crash
#02-Hermie Sadler - 2004 Ford 400 at Homestead - crash
#1-Steve Park - 2002 Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono - crash
#66-Geoffrey Bodine - 2002 New England 300 at Loudon - rear end
#19-Casey Atwood - 2001 Protection One 400 at Kansas - crash
#8-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. - 2001 Dura Lube / K-Mart 400 at Rockingham - crash
#40-Robby Gordon - 1997 Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono - crash
#17-Darrell Waltrip - 1997 Interstate Batteries 500 at Texas - crash

(August 13, 2012 - Updated With Photos by LASTCAR reader Rob Dostie!)

43) #55-Brian Vickers / 0 laps / engine

42) #30-Patrick Long / 2 laps / brakes

41) #19-Chris Cook / 5 laps / brakes

40) #10-J.J. Yeley / 15 laps / brakes

39) #1-Jamie McMurray / 24 laps / crash

1st) Michael McDowell, Scott Riggs, Scott Speed, Josh Wise (3)
2nd) J.J. Yeley (2)
3rd) Trevor Bayne, Mike Bliss, Landon Cassill, Brendan Gaughan, Joe Nemechek, David Ragan, Reed Sorenson, Brian Vickers (1)

1st) #23-R3 Motorsports, #26-Front Row Motorsports, #98-Phil Parsons Racing (3)
2nd) #49-Robinson-Blakeney Racing, #95-Leavine Family Racing (2)
3rd) #19-Humphrey-Smith Racing, #21-Wood Brothers Racing, #33-Richard Childress Racing, #34-Front Row Motorsports, #55-Michael Waltrip Racing, #74-Turn One Racing, #79-Go Green Racing, #83-BK Racing, #87-NEMCO Motorsports (1)

1st) Ford (11)
2nd) Toyota (6)
3rd) Chevrolet (5)

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