Tuesday, March 8, 2016

CUP: Open Team Roundup - Las Vegas

For the second week in a row, just three Open teams showed up to attempt a Sprint Cup Series race.  It marked the first time since 1993 that fewer than 40 cars showed up to attempt two consecutive Cup races: 39 entrants at North Wilkesboro on April 18 and 36 at Martinsville on April 25.  Just like Atlanta last week, the same three Open teams joined the chartered 36, and with one key exception, the group yielded the same results.


#21 Wood Brothers Racing
Driver: Ryan Blaney
Started: 14th, Finished: 6th

Blaney shook off the frustrations of his late-race incident at Atlanta and rebounded with his best performance on a 1.5-mile track, coming just shy of taking a Top 5 from Austin Dillon.  Blaney narrowly missed a spot in the final round of qualifying and was never out of the Top 20 in practice all weekend, improving to 12th in Happy Hour.  He began the race as one of many drivers with debris on the grille, but avoided overheating issues and began to climb through the field.  He entered the Top 10 on Lap 111, then reached 5th with 88 laps to go.  He remained with the leaders the rest of the afternoon, avoiding the late-race tangle between Matt Kenseth and fellow rookie Chase Elliott.  Next week, the Wood Brothers are set to make their 26th start at Phoenix, their first since 2011.

#30 The Motorsports Group
Driver: Josh Wise
Started: 39th, Finished: 35th

Josh Wise and The Motorsports Group continued to struggle with both speed and sponsorship, but continued in their efforts to run every race in 2016.  Unlike fellow Open driver Cole Whitt, who finished last after several mechanical issues, Wise remained on track all afternoon and lost only 8 laps to the 18 last week at Atlanta.  Still, with low attrition, Wise remained 38th for most of the afternoon.  In the end, he gained three more spots when Brian Vickers, Matt Kenseth, and Chase Elliott all found trouble in the final fifty laps.  Next week, Wise is set to make his seventh Phoenix start, where his best finish remains a 35th with Front Row Motorsports in 2013.

#98 Premium Motorsports
Driver: Cole Whitt
Started: 36th, Finished: 39th

Whitt finished last in Sunday's race.  For more, see his LASTCAR.info feature from Sunday.




#26 BK Racing
#35 Front Row Motorsports
#40 Hillman Racing
#59 Leavine Family / Circle Sport Racing
#93 BK Racing

The five teams who last attempted the Daytona 500, two races ago, were again not on the entry list for Las Vegas.

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