Sunday, April 21, 2013

CUP: Blaney Ends McDowell’s Bid For Three Straight Last-Place Finishes

SOURCE: Rubbin's Racin'

Dave Blaney picked up the 21st last-place finish of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career in Sunday’s STP 400 at the Kansas Speedway when his #7 Sany Chevrolet was involved in a single-car accident after he completed 36 of the race’s 267 laps.

The finish was Blaney’s first of 2013 and his first in Cup since last fall at Charlotte, thirteen races ago.  That race was also the last time that Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing, and a 42nd-place starter finished last in a Cup Series race.

Blaney, the 2009 LASTCAR Cup Series Champion, has had a quiet season so far in 2013.  After parking owner Tommy Baldwin’s #36 so the team’s #10 could help Danica Patrick remain in the Top 35, Blaney was awarded the honor of racing the #7 in 2013, the number Baldwin’s father raced in the NASCAR Modified Series.  Blaney and new teammate J.J. Yeley in the #36 both made the field for the Daytona 500, where Blaney finished 17th and Yeley a surprising 10th.  Since then, both Baldwin cars have made every race, but neither have finished inside the Top 20.

At Kansas, Blaney ended up 42nd with a lap of 183.811 mph, the lap still enough to hand two-time LASTCAR Cup Series Champion Joe Nemechek his first DNQ of the season.  An engine change kept Blaney in the back for the start of the race, but a number of unscheduled stops put Brad Keselowski in 43rd.  Keselowski was prevented from his first Cup Series last-place finish when Michael McDowell made some stops of his own.

However, McDowell was still on track when Blaney lost a right-front tire entering turn one, sending him hard into the outside wall.  Blaney was uninjured, but his #7 was done for the day.  McDowell parked on the ensuing restart, giving Blaney the 43rd spot.  The wreck prevented McDowell from becoming the first Cup driver to score three consecutive last-place finishes since Max Papis at Michigan, Sonoma, and New Hampshire in the summer of 2010.

*This was the first last-place finish for the #7 in a Cup Series race since Bristol in the summer of 2011, when Robby Gordon’s #7 Speed Energy Dodge lost the brakes after 10 laps of he Irwin Tools Night Race.  That was also the most recent last-place finish for a Dodge in a Cup Series race.  The #7 had never before finished last in a Cup Series race at Kansas.
*This was Blaney’s first last-place finish in a Cup race at Kansas since 2003, when his #77 Jasper Engines & Transmissions Ford fell out with crash damage after 80 laps of the Banquet 400.

43) #7-Dave Blaney / 36 laps / crash
42) #98-Michael McDowell / 43 laps / vibration
41) #19-Mike Bliss / 65 laps / brakes
40) #81-Elliott Sadler / 85 laps / crash
39) #22-Joey Logano / 102 laps / crash

1st) Michael McDowell (3)
2nd) Mike Bliss (2)
3rd) Dave Blaney, Joe Nemechek, Scott Riggs (1)

1st) #98-Phil Parsons Racing (3)
2nd) #19-Humphrey-Smith Motorsports (2)
3rd) #7-Tommy Baldwin Racing, #44-Xxxtreme Motorsports, #87-NEMCO Motorsports (1)

1st) Ford (4)
2nd) Toyota (3)
3rd) Chevrolet (1)

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