The finish was McDowell’s second of 2013 and his first since Las Vegas, three races ago. He is now tied with Mike Bliss for the most last-place runs this season and improves to sole possession of 4th in the all-time Cup Series rankings, breaking a tie with former teammate Dave Blaney.
McDowell qualified 27th for Sunday’s race at a speed of 97.177 mph. The lap was more than enough to bump 39th-fastest Mike Bliss from the field, preventing Bliss from going for his third consecutive last-place finish.
In the race itself, Scott Riggs and the #44 No Label Watches Ford fell to 43rd, followed by Danica Patrick, who spun on Lap 16 to bring out the first caution of the day. Patrick, who’d been sent to the back due to an engine change in practice, rallied a second time to finish 12th, her best run since Daytona. McDowell, however, pulled out ten laps after the caution, followed 21 laps later by Riggs, who also finished next-to-last in the Truck Series race the previous day.
*This was McDowell’s first last-place finish in a Cup race at Martinsville since 2010, when his #55 PRISM Motorsports Toyota fell out with brake problems after 24 laps of the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500.
*This was the first last-place finish for the #98 in a Cup race at Martinsville since 1990, when Rick Mast’s #98 IGA Chevrolet was involved in a single-car crash after 36 laps of the Goody’s 500.
*This was the fourth straight year where the last-place finisher of this event fell out due to brake trouble.
THE BOTTOM FIVE
43) #98-Michael McDowell / 26 laps / brakes
42) #44-Scott Riggs / 47 laps / brakes
41) #95-Scott Speed / 64 laps / rear gear
40) #56-Martin Truex, Jr. / 385 laps / running
39) #93-Travis Kvapil / 436 laps / running / led 1 lap
LASTCAR CUP SERIES DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Mike Bliss, Michael McDowell (2)
2nd) Joe Nemechek, Scott Riggs (1)
LASTCAR CUP SERIES OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) #19-Humphrey-Smith Motorsports, #98-Phil Parsons Racing (2)
2nd) #44-Xxxtreme Motorsports, #87-NEMCO Motorsports (1)
LASTCAR CUP SERIES MANUFACTURER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Ford, Toyota (3)
I am also pleased to announce that a second LASTCAR Book is already in production and should be available sometime this summer. This second book will contain a year-by-year last-place championship review for both the Nationwide and Truck Series.