The finish was Soreson’s second of the 2012 season and his first since Martinsville, 20 races ago, when he drove Turn One Racing’s #74.
Sorenson was making his fourth start of 2012 as driver of Humphrey-Smith Racing’s #91 team that made its first attempt as a Ford at Indianapolis, then its first race as a Toyota the next week at Pocono. At Pocono, Michigan, and Atlanta, Sorenson’s car came home 42nd, as the #91 was a second start-and-park entry to join fellow last-placer Mike Bliss in the #19. Richmond saw Sorenson run a Chevrolet that was rained out of the field at Bristol two weeks ago, a third different manufacturer in the short late-summer span.
Sorenson squeaked into the field, securing the 43rd and final starting spot with a lap of 123.779 mph. The #91 edged both J.J. Yeley in the Larry Gunselman-owned #37 and a new team, the #0 SS Motorsports entry of Mark Green. Green, a veteran of 318 Nationwide Series races, has yet to qualify for a Sprint Cup race. This attempt was the fourth of Green’s career and his first since 2003.
In the race itself, Sorenson and Josh Wise exited the event after the same number of laps. Wise was denied a tiebreaker in the four-car battle for the 2012 LASTCAR Cup Championship when Sorenson was credited with 43rd. With ten races to go, Wise is tied with Michael McDowell for second in the tiebreaker with 13 bottom five finishes apiece to leader Scott Riggs’ 16. Also part of the tie is Scott Speed with 5.
*This was the first last-place finish for the #91 in a Cup race since 2005, when Bill Elliott’s Stanley Tools Dodge was involved in a crash after 23 laps of the 2005 Auto Club 500 at the Auto Club Speedway of Southern California. It was Elliott’s eighth and, so far, most recent last-place finish in Cup.
*This was the first last-place finish for the #91 at Richmond since 2000, when Todd Bodine’s Little Joe’s Auto Chevrolet crashed 42 laps into the 2000 Pontiac Excitement 400. It was Bodine’s fifth last-place finish in Cup. The race was team owner Joe Falk’s last until T.J. Bell’s Sprint Cup debut at Darlington in May of 2011. Today, Falk owns the #33 Chevrolet piloted by rookie candidate Stephen Leicht. Leicht finished 10 laps down in 36th on Saturday, having now finished under power in four of his last five starts.
*The 57 laps completed by Sorenson are the most by a Cup last-place finisher at Richmond since this race in 2008, when A.J. Allmendinger and his #84 Red Bull Toyota completed 335 laps of the Chevy Rock ‘n Roll 400.
THE BOTTOM FIVE
43) #91-Reed Sorenson / 57 laps / power steering
42) #26-Josh Wise / 57 laps / brakes
41) #98-Michael McDowell / 63 laps / brakes / led 1 lap
40) #19-Mike Bliss / 70 laps / wheel
39) #23-Scott Riggs / 78 laps / brakes
LASTCAR CUP SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Michael McDowell, Scott Riggs, Scott Speed, Josh Wise (3)
2nd) Mike Bliss, Joe Nemechek, Reed Sorenson, J.J. Yeley (2)
3rd) Trevor Bayne, Landon Cassill, Brendan Gaughan, Jason Leffler, David Ragan, 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, #91-Humphrey-Smith Racing (1)
LASTCAR CUP SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Ford (12)
2nd) Toyota (8)
3rd) Chevrolet (6)