|SOURCE: Rob Dostie|
The finish was Sorenson’s fourth of 2012 and his first since Dover, four races ago. He now stands tied for second with Josh Wise in the 2012 LASTCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship with just three races left for both to catch defending LASTCAR Champion Michael McDowell, who still holds a one-finish lead over both Wise and Sorenson.
The Martinsville race also mathematically eliminated every driver from LASTCAR competition except those eight drivers with two or more finishes, who can either take the lead or at least force a tiebreaker - McDowell, Sorenson, Wise, Scott Riggs, Scott Speed, Mike Bliss, Joe Nemechek, and J.J. Yeley. As of this writing, all eight drivers still have Cup Series rides, although Speed only runs part-time.
Sorenson qualified 39th for Sunday’s race at an average speed of 95.574 mph, ranking him fifth among the ten "go-or-go-homers" who attempted to qualify. Missing the race were Mike Bliss in Humphrey-Smith’s #19 and J.J. Yeley in the MaxQ #37, both two-time last-placers in 2012. Then-leaders Michael McDowell and Josh Wise were the fastest of this group, scoring the 21st and 31st spots, respectively. Three-time last-placer Scott Riggs, returning to the #23 for the first time since a DNQ at Charlotte, timed in 36th for his 200th Cup Series start. Scott Speed rolled off 43rd in the #95.
During the opening 45-lap green-flag run, Sorenson was the first car to go behind the wall followed three laps later by Riggs. Nemechek and David Stremme fell out within the next fifteen laps, with Stremme bringing out the first caution after a crash on Lap 46. McDowell also edged Wise for the final slot in the Bottom Five by 24 laps with Speed falling out 31 laps after Wise.
Also falling from LASTCAR contention this week was Robinson-Blakeney Racing, also known as America-Israel Racing. The team, which scored a pair of last-place runs at Las Vegas and New Hampshire, campaigned its #49 Toyotas for the first part of this season. The team went up for auction earlier this week.
*Sorenson is the first driver to sweep both last-place finishes at Martinsville since 1994, when Jeff Burton, that season’s Rookie of the Year, pulled off the feat while driving the Stavola Brothers’ #8 Raybestos Ford.
*Sorenson not only swept both last-place finishes at Martinsville in 2012, but did so for two different teams. His run in the spring came while driving Turn One Racing’s #74. The last driver to do this at Martinsville was Morgan Shepherd in 1983. That year, Shepherd trailed the field in the spring race driving Emanuel Zervakis’ #01 Buick, then finished last in the fall in J.D. Stacy’s ACM Equipment Sales #2 Buick. The last driver to ever do sweep a track with two different teams was David Green at Charlotte in 1998. Early crashes took out both Green’s #96 Caterpillar Chevrolet owned by Buz McCall in the Coca-Cola 600 and his #41 Kodiak Chevrolet owned by Larry Hedrick in the UAW-GM Quality 500.
*This was the first time the #91 finished last in a Cup Series race at Martinsville.
THE BOTTOM FIVE
43) #91-Reed Sorenson / 19 laps / overheating
42) #23-Scott Riggs / 22 laps / overheating
41) #87-Joe Nemechek / 35 laps / brakes
40) #30-David Stremme / 46 laps / crash
39) #98-Michael McDowell / 61 laps / brakes
LASTCAR CUP SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Michael McDowell (5)
2nd) Reed Sorenson, Josh Wise (4)
3rd) Scott Riggs, Scott Speed (3)
4th) Mike Bliss, Joe Nemechek, J.J. Yeley (2)
5th) Trevor Bayne, Kelly Bires, Dave Blaney, Landon Cassill, Brendan Gaughan, Jason Leffler, David Ragan, Brian Vickers (1)
LASTCAR CUP SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) #98-Phil Parsons Racing (5)
2nd) #26-Front Row Motorsports (4)
3rd) #19-Humphrey-Smith Racing, #23-R3 Motorsports, #91-Humphrey-Smith Racing (3)
4th) #49-Robinson-Blakeney Racing, #79-Go Green Racing, #87-NEMCO Motorsports, #95-Leavine Family Racing (2)
5th) #21-Wood Brothers Racing, #33-Richard Childress Racing, #34-Front Row Motorsports, #36-Tommy Baldwin Racing, #55-Michael Waltrip Racing, #74-Turn One Racing, #83-BK Racing (1)
LASTCAR CUP SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Ford (16)
2nd) Toyota (9)
3rd) Chevrolet (8)