Sunday, November 10, 2013

CUP: Tony Raines Joins Teammate Cassill’s Identical Car At The Bottom Of Phoenix Field

SOURCE: Twitter, Rubbins Racin' Forums
Tony Raines picked up the 10th last-place finish of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career in Sunday’s AdvoCare 500 at the Phoenix International Raceway when his #33 Little Joe’s Autos Chevrolet fell out with brake problems after he completed 29 of the race’s 312 laps.

The finish was Raines’ second of 2013 and his first since Talladega, three races ago, when he was driving the #40, the Hillman Racing team’s second car.

For Phoenix, Raines moved to the #33 Chevrolet while part-time teammate Landon Cassill drove the #40.  Both Chevrolets were virtually identical - dark blue cars with blank white hoods, though Cassill’s roof numbers were a dark orange.  Raines timed in 42nd in the first two practice sessions and 43rd in Happy Hour.  He improved to 41st in qualifying with a speed of 132.057 mph, just ahead of Dave Blaney and Joe Nemechek.  Cassill qualified just in front of Raines in 40th.

At the start of Sunday’s race, Raines slipped behind Blaney, then Nemechek and held the 43rd spot.  He was still running there in the early laps when he became the first car to lose a lap.  Just past the halfway point of the opening 50-lap green-flag run, Raines pulled behind the wall.  Several other drivers battled for 42nd through the first 100 laps, including Timmy Hill in the #32 U.S. Chrome Ford.  However, once Cassill pulled behind the wall after 63 laps, he eventually slid down to 42nd.

The remaining occupants of the Bottom Five exited the race in spectacular fashion.  41st-place Travis Kvapil lost an engine entering Turn 1 on Lap 132, dropping oil and sending up a huge plume of smoke that caused Dave Blaney to spin.  40th-place Cole Whitt ended up with a destroyed #30 Lean 1 Toyota when he piled into a three-car wreck between David Reutimann, Jeff Burton, and Danica Patrick.  Reutimann continued with right-front damage, then suddenly lost his brakes on Lap 192, sending him rear-first into the Turn 1 wall so hard that it folded his rear windshield in half, leaving him 39th.  No drivers were injured in these incidents.

For the third time in the last four races, 2013 LASTCAR Cup Series Champion Michael McDowell finished a race under power with full sponsorship on his #98 Phil Parsons Racing Ford.  This time, he ran his Ford to a 32nd-place finish, four laps down to race winner Kevin Harvick.  However, by not finishing last, McDowell will not be able to break the Cup Series single-season last-place record in 2013.  The record is eight last-place finishes, held by Dave Blaney in 2009.  McDowell can still tie Blaney with a last-place run at Homestead next week, where he has finished last in two of the last four runnings.

*This was Raines’ first last-place finish in a Cup race at Phoenix since 2009, the year he swept both last-place finishes at the track for two different teams: in the spring for the #73 team owned by Barry Haefele and in the fall driving the #37 owned by Front Row Motorsports.
*Chevrolet had not finished last in a Cup race at Phoenix since the fall race in 2010, when Brendan Gaughan’s #71 South Point Hotel and Casino Chevrolet was involved in a single-car accident on Lap 2 of the Kobalt Tools 500.
*The #33 had never before finished last in a Cup race at Phoenix.

43) #33-Tony Raines / 29 laps / brakes
42) #40-Landon Cassill / 63 laps / brakes
41) #93-Travis Kvapil / 129 laps / engine
40) #30-Cole Whitt / 142 laps / crash
39) #83-David Reutimann / 187 laps / crash

1st) Michael McDowell (7)
2nd) Mike Bliss (5)
3rd) Scott Riggs (4)
4th) Bobby Labonte, Joe Nemechek, Tony Raines, Scott Speed, J.J. Yeley (2)
5th) Trevor Bayne, Dave Blaney, Jeff Burton, Denny Hamlin, Jason Leffler, Paul Menard, Danica Patrick, David Ragan, David Reutimann (1)

1st) #98-Phil Parsons Racing (7)
2nd) #19-Humphrey-Smith Racing (6)
2nd) #44-Xxxtreme Motorsports, #95-Leavine Family Racing (3)
3rd) #36-Tommy Baldwin Racing, #87-NEMCO Motorsports (2)
4th) #7-Tommy Baldwin Racing, #10-Stewart-Haas Racing, #11-Joe Gibbs Racing, #21-Wood Brothers Racing, #27-Richard Childress Racing, #31-Richard Childress Racing, #33-Hillman Racing, #34-Front Row Motorsports, #40-Hillman Racing, #47-JTG Daugherty Racing, #51-Phoenix Racing, #83-BK Racing (1)

1st) Ford (15)
2nd) Toyota (11)
3rd) Chevrolet (9)


Anonymous said...

Im just curious...Shouldnt they be Circle Sport and not Hillman Racing?

Im not criticizing, I LOVE your blog, I quietly read it everyweek...sometimes on auto refresh as soon as the race is over! I love great nostalgia trips and the focus on the smaller guys

Brock Beard said...

No need to feel hesitant, buddy - thanks for the heads-up.

This issue confused me as well - the original race results listed both the #33 and the #40 as Hillman Racing, but I'm seeing more that Circle Sport is being used instead. I'm still verifying this myself from other sources, so stay tuned.