Sunday, November 18, 2012

CUP: Bliss Finishes Last As McDowell Snags 2012 LASTCAR Cup Title From Sorenson

SOURCE: Rubbin's Racin'
Mike Bliss picked up the 9th last-place finish of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career in Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at the Homestad-Miami Speedway when his #19 Plinker Tactical Toyota fell out with electrical problems after he completed 16 of the race’s 267 laps.

The finish was Bliss’ third of the 2012 season, his first since Bristol, twelve races ago.

Bliss qualified 29th for Sunday’s race at an average speed of 171.881 mph, ranking him fifth among the twelve "go-or-go-homers" who attempted to qualify. A multi-car accident in practice dropped Greg Biffle, Denny Hamlin, and polesitter Joey Logano to the back of the field. At the start of the race, all three moved through the field, and David Gilliland briefly held the 43rd spot in his Front Row Motorsports #38. However, Bliss’ car was the first behind the wall, securing him the last-place finish by seven laps over Scott Riggs in the R3 Motorsports #23.

2012 LASTCAR CUP SERIES CHAMPION - MICHAEL McDOWELL
As it turned out, qualifying played a critical role in deciding the 2012 LASTCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship between Michael McDowell and Reed Sorenson. Both drivers came into the weekend tied for the championship with Sorenson holding a one-finish lead in the tiebreaker determined by Bottom Fives. However, Sorenson spun in the opening practice, then failed to qualify, edged by Scott Riggs for the final spot in the field by less than one-tenth of a second. This opened the door for McDowell, who qualified 25th and, despite scraping the wall in Happy Hour, was in a position to take the title from Sorenson with a bottom-five finish.

McDowell accomplished this, scoring his second-consecutive LASTCAR Cup Championship with a 41st-place run. The finish tied the two drivers with 14 bottom fives apiece, and McDowell took the championship based on Bottom Tens - 25 to Sorenson’s 15. It is the first time the Cup championship has been settled by a bottom-ten tiebreaker since 1993, when rookie Jeff Gordon, Sunday’s race winner, beat Bob Schacht 6-3.

LASTCAR STATISTICS
*This was Mike Bliss’ second last-place finish in a Cup race at Homestead. The last time was in 2010, when his #66 PRISM Motorsports Toyota also fell out with electrical problems 10 laps into the Ford 400. Curiously, Bliss and Michael McDowell have alternated Homestead last-place finishes since 2009 - McDowell finished last in both the 2009 and 2011 runnings.
*This was the fourth consecutive year that a Toyota has finished last in this race.

CONGRATULATIONS TO 2012 SPRINT CUP CHAMPION BRAD KESELOWSKI
Brad Keselowski's #23 Busch Series Car, 2007
SOURCE: NASCAR Media, HSCRF
*As an added statistic, as of this writing, 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Brad Keselowski does not have a single last-place finish in Sprint Cup or Truck Series competition. He does have two last-place runs in the Nationwide Series. The finishes came just five years ago early in the 2007 season at Mexico City and Texas while driving the Keith Coleman-owned #23 Oklahoma Centennial Chevrolet on a part-time schedule. It just goes to show how a driver featured on this site must never be underestimated.

THE BOTTOM FIVE
43) #19-Mike Bliss / 16 laps / electrical
42) #23-Scott Riggs / 23 laps / vibration
41) #98-Michael McDowell / 34 laps / overheating
40) #26-Josh Wise / 38 laps / vibration
39) #6-Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. / 157 laps / accident

LASTCAR CUP SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP - FINAL
1st) Michael McDowell, Reed Sorenson (5)
2nd) Josh Wise (4)
3rd) Mike Bliss, Scott Riggs, Scott Speed (3)
4th) Joe Nemechek, J.J. Yeley (2)
5th) Trevor Bayne, Kelly Bires, Dave Blaney, Landon Cassill, Brendan Gaughan, Jason Leffler, David Ragan, Martin Truex, Jr., Brian Vickers (1)

LASTCAR CUP SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP - FINAL
1st) #98-Phil Parsons Racing (5)
2nd) #19-Humphrey-Smith Racing, #26-Front Row Motorsports, #91-Humphrey-Smith Racing (4)
3rd) #23-R3 Motorsports (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, #56-Michael Waltrip Racing, #74-Turn One Racing, #83-BK Racing (1)

LASTCAR CUP SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP - FINAL
1st) Ford (16)
2nd) Toyota (12)
3rd) Chevrolet (8)


**Thank you, LASTCAR fans, for another great season!  --Brock**

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