Sunday, March 10, 2013

CUP: McDowell Returns To Track, But Comes Home 43rd At Las Vegas

SOURCE: Rubbin's Racin'
Michael McDowell scored the 20th last-place finish of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career in Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 400 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway when his #98 Ambient Edge HVAC Ford fell out with a vibration after completing 21 of the race’s 267 laps.

The finish was McDowell’s first of 2013 and his first in a Cup Series race since Kansas, seven races ago.  He has now finished last at least once for six consecutive seasons.  McDowell also holds sole possession of 10th in the all-time LASTCAR rankings, and ten drivers now hold those ten spots.

One week after withdrawing from the race at Phoenix when the team didn’t have their intermediate track car ready to go, McDowell returned to the track for the first time since his sterling 9th-place finish in the Daytona 500.  At Las Vegas, McDowell carried new sponsorship from air conditioning company Ambient Edge.  He secured the 39th starting spot in the field based on Owner Points after rain cancelled qualifying.  Only Mike Bliss and the #19 Humphrey-Smith team missed the show.

Early in the race, Landon Cassill and Joe Nemechek exchanged 43rd place before Clint Bowyer made an unscheduled green-flag stop to fix his ill-handling car.  Bowyer lost two laps during the stop and held the 43rd spot until McDowell exited the race.  Cassill fell out soon after while Nemechek finished fifty-one laps down due to several trips to the garage.  Bowyer finished 27th.

*This was the first last-place finish for both McDowell and the #98 in a Sprint Cup race at Las Vegas.
*This was the first last-place finish for a Ford in a Cup Series race at Las Vegas since 2009, when Matt Kenseth’s #17 USG Sheetrock Ford lost the engine after six laps of the Shelby 427.  Kenseth won Sunday’s race, his first since leaving the #17 team after thirteen full seasons.
*This was the first time a last-place finisher of a Sprint Cup race at Las Vegas fell out due to a vibration since 2010, when Aric Almirola’s #09 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet fell out after 23 laps of the Shelby American.

43) #98-Michael McDowell / 21 laps / vibration
42) #33-Landon Cassill / 66 laps / vibration
41) #95-Scott Speed / 143 laps / transmission
40) #87-Joe Nemechek / 216 laps / running
39) #93-Travis Kvapil / 217 laps / engine

1st) Michael McDowell, Joe Nemechek, Scott Riggs (1)

1st) #44-Xxxtreme Motorsports, #87-NEMCO Motorsports, #98-Phil Parsons Racing (1)

1st) Ford (2)
2nd) Toyota (1)

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