Tuesday, September 27, 2016

CUP: Open Team Roundup - New Hampshire (September)


#21 Wood Brothers Racing
Driver: Ryan Blaney
Started 16th, Finished 12th

After mid-pack runs in practice and qualifying, Ryan Blaney once again led the Open team contingent, and in so doing earned his fourth finish of 13th or better in the last five races.  He also pulled double-duty, finishing 3rd in the XFINITY race at Kentucky, scene of his first series win.  Blaney returns to Dover next week, where he finished a strong 8th in May.

#98 Premium Motorsports
Driver: Cole Whitt
Started 36th, Finished 35th

The remaining Open teams ran 36th through 39th in the opening stages, lost a lap each to race leader Carl Edwards, and all finished no better than 35th.  Whitt rebounded from 40th during the first round of stops to come home the second-best Open driver for the fifth time in eight races.  He again brought new sponsorship to the team, this time from Standard Plumbing Supply.  Next week at Dover, Whitt looks to improve on a 27th-place showing there in May, back when his #98 carried the Vydox Plus colors.

Update (Sept. 27): Timmy Hill will drive in place of Whitt in the #98. Hill's best run in four Dover starts was a 35th in the spring of 2013 for Go FAS Racing.

#55 Premium Motorsports
Driver: Reed Sorenson
Started 38th, Finished 36th

For the third time this year and the first time on a non-plate track, Premium’s #55 team fielded a Toyota.  Sorenson came home one lap behind teammate Whitt, and on Lap 291 averted disaster by spinning off Turn 2 to avoid the wrecking Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.  off Turn 2.  Quick thinking saved the car for next week, where Sorenson finished 38th in May.

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

Unlike Whitt, Josh Wise spent much of the race in the 40th spot, taking it from Jeffrey Earnhardt on Lap 1, then re-taking it several times more through the middle stages.  Driver and crew attempted to make sense of the car’s handling woes, eventually looking to the car’s jack screws which kept the truck arms dragging on the track.  Under the first caution on Lap 124, Wise slowed, then pulled behind the wall for nearly 30 laps of repairs.  By returning to the track, however, Wise managed to claw his way past the wrecked Michael Annett with just 29 circuits to go, narrowly averting a last-place sweep in New Hampshire.  Next week at Dover, Wise and team will again have on their work clothes as they look to build on a 36th-place showing.




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

None of the other part-time Open teams attempted the race in New Hampshire.

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