Amoco Ultimate Team Finishes 29Th

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Dave Blaney and Amoco Ultimate Team 93 struggled with an ill-handling car throughout the NAPA 500 at California Speedway, finishing 29th after posting a promising 15th-place qualifying effort. Blaney surged at the start but faded during the first 58-lap green-flag segment and was never a factor as Rusty Wallace outdistanced Jeff Gordon to win his first race of the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season.

With hopes high for the #93 Amoco/Siemens team after a successful two-day tire test at Michigan Speedway earlier in the week, Blaney could never match the speed of the day's consistant front-runners over California's two-mile layout, falling one lap down to the leaders by Lap 110.

Crew Chief Doug Randolph helped make the car more tolerable for Blaney in the race's final 125 miles but the #93 Amoco team never recovered from it's first-half problems. Bill Davis Racing teammate Ward Burton--who started 18th--raced to the front early along with Gordon, the 16th-place starter, and enjoyed one of his best race's since the season-opening Daytona 500, running as high as second within the final 100 miles of the 250-lap event.

Burton's day ended violently, however, when he spun into the outside wall off Turn 2 with 26 laps remaining after Mark Martin's rapidly approaching car took the air off the rear spoiler of the #22 Caterpillar Dodge. Burton, who would finish 42nd in the season's 10th race, would be transporter to a nearby medical center for observation and treatment for a laceration on his chin.

Following Wallace and Gordon to the finish-line in the fifth race at California Speedway were Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who enjoyed a great day in a back-up car after crashing his primary entry in practice, then Tony Stewart and 2000 CAL winner Jeremy Mayfield in fifth. Sterling Marlin was the top finishing Dodge in ninth.

With the disappointing finish, Blaney and the 393 Amoco team dropped to 29th in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series standings, 84 points behind BDR teammate Burton in 19th and only four points ahead of 30th-place John Andretti entering this weekend's race at Richmond International Raceway.

Scott Wimmer finishing 19th in the #23 JaniKing/BDR Busch Series entry at California and remained 14th in the overall point standings entering Richmond. Qualifying for the Busch Series cars at RIR is scheduled for Thursday, May 3 at 7:30 p.m. EDT with Winston Cup Series qualifying scheduled for Friday, May 4 at 3:30 p.m. EDT, four hours prior to the start of the Busch Series race at RIR. The 400-lap Winston Cup race at RIR is scheduled for Saturday, May 5 at 8 p.m. EDT.

Motor Racing Network (MRN) will broadcast the Richmond races on radio and the Fox Networks (FX, Fox Sports Net, FOX) will televise both the Busch Series and Winston Cup Series races at Richmond this weekend.

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, 2001

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