Sunday, October 2, 2016

CUP: Open Team Roundup - Dover (October)

SOURCE: @premiummotrspts

#98 Premium Motorsports
Driver: Timmy Hill
Started 36th, Finished 34th

The Monster Mile was hungry on Sunday as the Open teams ended up with their worst overall performance of the season.  The previous mark came at Texas and Indianapolis, where the top driver finished 29th.  Ironically topping the group was Timmy Hill, who made his first Sprint Cup start of the season in place of Cole Whitt.  On Lap 15, Hill was the second driver to be lapped, following Jeffrey Earnhardt, and by Lap 92 he was another four behind.  When it was all over, Hill took the checkered flag 14 laps behind, but with his best Cup finish since a 33rd at Kansas in the fall of 2014.  Hill’s best finish at the Kansas track was a 28th in the October 2013 race.  As of this writing, it is unclear who will drive the #98 at Kansas, though D.J. Kennington announced he will make a start in one of Premium’s cars at Phoenix in November.

#55 Premium Motorsports
Driver: Reed Sorenson
Started 39th, Finished 35th

For the first time this year, both Premium Motorsports cars carried the white-and-purple livery of Vydox Plus - Hill in the Chevrolet and Reed Sorenson in the #55 Toyota.  Sorenson lost his first of 15 laps on the 19th circuit and came home one lap behind Hill.  This marked the first time that both Premium Motorsports cars finished 1st and 2nd among all Open teams since the Bristol night race in August.  Sorenson finished 33rd at Kansas this past spring.

#21 Wood Brothers Racing
Driver: Ryan Blaney
Started 20th, Finished 38th

A chance for Blaney to defend his 8th-place finish in the spring Dover race ended when he crashed out of the Top 10 on Lap 106, drawing the second of the day’s four cautions.  Blaney lost a right-front tire and clobbered the SAFER barrier in Turn 2, lost control, then hit the unprotected outside wall down the backstretch.  The damage at first appeared terminal, and the #21 tumbled to last on Lap 147.  But the Wood Brothers crew pieced their Ford back together, got him back out around Lap 215, and he finished the rest of the way, the last car under power, 119 laps behind.  It wasn’t what the team wanted, but like last month’s race at Richmond, it showed the team’s continued resilience.  Blaney looks for a rebound at Kansas, where he finished a strong 5th in the spring.

#30 The Motorsports Group
Driver: Josh Wise
Started 40th, Finished 39th

For all their misfortunes, none of the four Open teams finished last on Sunday.  The washed-out qualifying session put Josh Wise and The Motorsports Group on the defensive, leaving them a lap down by the 16th circuit.  At the halfway point of the race, at almost the same instant as Jamie McMurray’s engine failure, Wise also pulled into the garage with problems under the hood.  And though Wise and McMurray were the day’s only two retirees, Wise ended up 39th by four laps.  Wise finished 36th at Kansas in the spring.




#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 Dover.  However, it was announced last week that at Talladega, Ryan Reed will attempt to make his Cup debut, and in so doing give the Roush-Fenway #99 its first start since the 2014 Homestead finale.

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