|SOURCE: NASCAR Media|
The finish was Nemechek’s second of 2012, his first since Sonoma nine races ago. Not only did the finish tie him with Derrike Cope for the second-most last-place finishes in NASCAR history, but Nemechek is now just three Cup finishes away from beating the series record of 32 set by the late J.D. McDuffie.
In qualifying, Nemechek qualified 37th at an average speed of 182.380 mph, ranking him fifth among the entry list’s twelve "go-or-go-homers." Missing the race were Mike Bliss, ending a streak of two straight last-place runs for the #19, Michael McDowell and Josh Wise, both tied for the LASTCAR Cup lead, and Stephen Leicht, marking the first time both he and Wise missed the same race.
In the race itself, Nemechek was the first to lose a lap to the leaders. He pulled behind the wall for the night during the opening green-flag run, followed two laps later by Bliss’ teammate Reed Sorenson in the Humphrey-Smith #91. Scott Riggs and Scott Speed, the only three-time last-placers in the field, finished 40th and 37th, respectively.
*This was the first last-place finish in a Cup race at Atlanta for both Nemechek and the #87.
*Denny Hamlin went on to win Sunday’s race. Two years ago in the same race, an engine failure on Hamlin’s Sport Clips Toyota made him the most recent Cup polesitter to finish last. Hamlin led 74 laps that night, second behind the record of 95 set by Greg Biffle at Darlington in 2008.
THE BOTTOM FIVE
43) #87-Joe Nemechek / 22 laps / rear gear
42) #91-Reed Sorenson / 24 laps / overheating
41) #37-J.J. Yeley / 32 laps / brakes
40) #23-Scott Riggs / 43 laps / vibration
39) #30-David Stremme / 54 laps / suspension
LASTCAR CUP SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Michael McDowell, Scott Riggs, Scott Speed, Josh Wise (3)
2nd) Mike Bliss, Joe Nemechek, J.J. Yeley (2)
3rd) Trevor Bayne, Landon Cassill, Brendan Gaughan, Jason Leffler, David Ragan, Reed Sorenson, Brian Vickers (1)
LASTCAR CUP SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) #19-Humphrey-Smith Racing, #23-R3 Motorsports, #26-Front Row Motorsports, #98-Phil Parsons Racing (3)
2nd) #49-Robinson-Blakeney Racing, #87-NEMCO Motorsports, #95-Leavine Family Racing (2)
3rd) #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 (1)
LASTCAR CUP SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Ford (12)
2nd) Toyota (8)
3rd) Chevrolet (5)