Sunday, March 3, 2013

CUP: Scott Riggs Gives #44 Its First Last-Place Finish In Cup Since 2007

SOURCE: Rubbin's Racin'

Scott Riggs picked up the 7th last-place finish of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career in Sunday’s Subway Fresh Fit 500 at the Phoenix International Raceway when his #44 No Label Watches Ford was involved in a single-car crash after completing 19 of the race’s 316 laps.

The finish was Riggs’ first of the 2013 season and his first in a Cup Series race since last summer at Pocono, seventeen races ago.  Riggs also finished last in the Truck Series race at Daytona a week ago Friday.

Riggs was making his season debut as driver of the #44 Xxxtreme Motorsports entry.  A new start-up team owned by Johnathan Cohen, Xxxtreme made its debut at the Phoenix track last November, where David Reutimann got the car into the show, then finished 40th after a vibration ended their 28-lap run in the AdvoCare 500.  Riggs himself had not started a Cup race since the following week’s season finale at Homestead, his twentieth start of 2012 in R3 Motorsports’ start-and-park #23 North Texas Pipe Chevrolet.  R3 turned its focus back to the Nationwide Series in 2013, and Riggs was free to jump in the #44.

Forty-three cars arrived for as many spots, so Riggs locked himself into the field by arriving at the track and locking-up the 39th starting spot with an average speed of 132.920 mph.  Michael McDowell, last week’s surprise 9th-place finisher of the Daytona 500, was forced to withdraw earlier in the week as Phil Parsons Racing did not have a #98 ready for the race at their driver’s home track.

At the start of Sunday’s race, it appeared Mike Bliss was set to finish last in his own first start of 2013 as he fell to the back of the field during the opening green-flag run.  However, Riggs ended that run with a cut tire entering Turn 4, sending him hard into the outside wall.  Riggs was uninjured, but the #44 sustained heavy right-front damage and was unable to return to the race.  Bliss went behind the wall soon after the restart and came home 42nd.

*This was the first last-place finish for the #44 in a Cup Series race since 2007, when Dale Jarrett’s UPS Toyota lost the engine after 241 laps of the Autism Speaks 400 Presented by Visa at Dover.  That race marked the first Cup Series victory of Martin Truex, Jr., who has not won a race since.  Truex finished 36th Sunday when a broken axle left him several laps down.
*The number #44 had never before finished last in a Cup Series race at Phoenix.
*This was Riggs’ first Cup Series last-place finish at Phoenix.

43) #44-Scott Riggs / 19 laps / crash
42) #19-Mike Bliss / 34 laps / brakes
41) #95-Scott Speed / 88 laps / brakes
40) #39-Ryan Newman / 137 laps / crash
39) #10-Danica Patrick / 184 laps / crash

1st) Joe Nemechek, Scott Riggs (1)

1st) #44-Xxxtreme Motorsports, #87-NEMCO Motorsports (1)

1st) Ford, Toyota (1)

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