Killer Bs Ready To Sting

Share:
While Bill Davis realizes he has a ways to go, slowly but surely his organization is starting to creep into the upper echelon of NASCAR Winston Cup multicar teams.

Davis said he knows a championship organization isn’t built overnight. Time and patience are the key factors, as evidenced by the teams that have recently risen to the top of the heap at NASCAR’s highest level.

It took several years before Bobby Labonte was able to give Joe Gibbs Racing its first Winston Cup title. Robert Yates Racing didn’t earn its first championship until Dale Jarrett took the top prize in 1999. And then there was Hendrick Motorsports before them, which, over time, became the best of the best in the mid-to-late 1990s.

Davis’ two-car operation is of the same mold. What began as a single-car venture in 1993 with Labonte as the driver, has become a force to be reckoned with in the new millennium with drivers Ward Burton and Dave Blaney.

Neither Burton nor Blaney had what anyone would term as a “championship-caliber” season in 2000, but both drivers, especially Burton, showed the capability of running up front with the Winston Cup heavy hitters, giving Davis a reason to be extremely optimistic heading into 2001.

“Both of our Winston Cup teams struggled with consistency this year, and as has been proven the past couple of years, consistency is really what wins Winston Cup championships,” said Davis. “You look at what Dale (Jarrett) did last year and what Bobby (Labonte) did this year, and they were a model of consistency. Our teams have yet to put those types of efforts together, but the 22 car has run up front in several races, and Dave has shown flashes of brilliance this year.

“Dave was only a rookie, and we’ve got a great team with Ward and (crew chief) Tommy Baldwin and all the rest of those guys on the 22 crew. They’re going to put it together and they’re going to make some noise next year.”

Burton finished 10th in the Winston Cup points standings this season with four Top 5s and 16 Top 10s. He posted his first triumph since 1995 when he took the checkers first at Darlington, and it looked at that time as if he was ready to rip off a few more victories. It never happened, but Burton served noticed in several races he was a contender to take the checkered flag.

“Winning at Darlington just made us that much more hungry,” Burton said. “We didn’t have such a great summer and we kind of fell off a little bit. We’re disappointed because we thought we had a team that was capable of finishing in the Top 5 in the points, but it just didn’t happen.

“We’re continuing to strive toward that, and we feel that next year will definitely be a better year for us. Hopefully we’ll make it to victory lane a few more times and develop the consistency that we’re looking for that will get us up to the next level.”

Blaney’s rookie campaign in the Winston Cup Series was a somewhat rocky one (he finished 31st in the points), but the Amoco Pontiac team did show signs of life at the end of the season with top-10 finishes at Phoenix and Homestead. He also ran well at Atlanta in the season finale, all of which gives him momentum heading into the 2001 campaign.

The addition of Doug Randolph (former car chief for Burton’s team) as the team’s crew chief in late July seemed to be a perfect fit for Blaney, but it took time for that relationship to jell, as well. Once it did, things began to go like clockwork for the 93 team.

“There’s no question that this is the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to do in my career, and the way we struggled the first half of the season, it made it that much tougher to stay positive about where we thought we should be going as a team,” Blaney said. “Several times during my rookie season, I’ve had a car capable of racing up front with those guys, but something has put us behind or I couldn’t get it done. That part has really been frustrating.

“In late September, Doug and I talked about trying to really make a difference over the last stretch of the season and get a little momentum going for 2001. Those finishes we had at the end of the season are the kind of races we should have been putting together all through 2000.

“If we can continue to progress at the pace we did at the end of the year, we’ll have a much better start to the 2001 season, and that will help all the way. After testing the Dodge several times in the fall, I’m convinced both Bill Davis Racing cars will be better right from the beginning on the track. I can’t wait to get started.”

Several teams, including Bill Davis Racing, are following Ray Evernham’s lead and will run Dodge Intrepids beginning in 2001. Davis and his teams tested their new machines at Talladega this week in an effort to get a feel for what they can expect when they get to Daytona in January.

“We’re just trying to see what these things can do,” Davis said. “We’re confident that Dodge is going to be a great car for next year, otherwise we wouldn’t have made the switch, and neither would somebody like the Pettys. If they do what we believe they can, then we’re looking forward to a great year next year at Bill Davis Racing.”

The recent hiring of former ASA standout Scott Wimmer to drive his NASCAR Busch Series entry full time next season is another reason for Davis to be optimistic for 2001.

Wimmer made a big impression on the series in the three races he ran at the end of 2000, and he impressed many by not only making the field for his Winston Cup debut at Atlanta this week, but also leading a few laps and finishing 22nd.

Photos

  • Class of 2017
  • Class of 2017
  • Class of 2017
  • Class of 2017
  • Class of 2017
  • Class of 2017
  • Class of 2017
  • Class of 2017
  • Class of 2017
  • Carl Edwards Stepping Away
  • Carl Edwards' NASCAR Career
  • Carl Edwards' NASCAR Career
  • Carl Edwards' NASCAR Career
  • Carl Edwards' NASCAR Career
  • Carl Edwards' NASCAR Career
  • Carl Edwards' NASCAR Career
  • Carl Edwards' NASCAR Career
  • Carl Edwards' NASCAR Career
  • Carl Edwards' NASCAR Career
  • Carl Edwards' NASCAR Career
  • Carl Edwards' NASCAR Career
  • Carl Edwards' NASCAR Career
  • Carl Edwards' NASCAR Career
  • Carl Edwards' NASCAR Career
  • Carl Edwards' NASCAR Career
  • Carl Edwards' NASCAR Career
  • Carl Edwards' NASCAR Career
  • Carl Edwards' NASCAR Career
  • Carl Edwards' NASCAR Career
  • Carl Edwards' NASCAR Career
  • Carl Edwards' NASCAR Career
  • Carl Edwards' NASCAR Career
  • Carl Edwards' NASCAR Career
  • Carl Edwards' NASCAR Career
  • Carl Edwards' NASCAR Career
  • Carl Edwards' NASCAR Career
  • Carl Edwards' NASCAR Career
  • Carl Edwards' NASCAR Career
  • Carl Edwards' NASCAR Career
  • Carl Edwards' NASCAR Career
  • Carl Edwards' NASCAR Career
  • Carl Edwards' NASCAR Career
  • Carl Edwards Stepping Away
  • Class of 2017: Benny Parsons
  • Class of 2017: Benny Parsons
  • Class of 2017: Benny Parsons
  • Class of 2017: Benny Parsons
  • Class of 2017: Benny Parsons
  • Class of 2017: Benny Parsons
  • Class of 2017: Benny Parsons

Advertisement

You may unsubscribe at any time.
Motor Racing Network
555 MRN Drive
Concord, NC 28027
www.mrn.com/Footer/Contact-Us.aspx
(704)262-6700
feedback@mrn.com
  • © 2017 MRN. All Rights Reserved

    FacebookTwitterDiggDeliciousLinkedInGoogle BookmarksYahoo BookmarksLive (MSN)

    ISC Track Sites