Blaney Excited About Michigan
June 10, 2001 | 12:00 A.M. EST
"I live about four hours from here,” Blaney explained, “I guess this is the closest track for me. It's straight east about four hours on the east side of Ohio. I've probably been here and Ohio more than anywhere else. The Busch Series had a weekend off in 1999, and that's why I ran my first Cup race here, but this is a good track. It's big and wide and there's lots of room to race.”
Sunday, Blaney will make his fourth Winston Cup start at the 2-mile oval. It was will also be his 53rd Winston Cup start of his career.
“Sunday will be my fourth Cup race here,” the Hartford, Ohio native said. “I've run a couple of ARCA races here and a few Busch races. I've run here more than most places. I really like this track. If you can get the car running good in race mode, there's plenty of room to run. You've just got to find out where your car likes to run.”
Blaney qualified 4th for Sunday’s Kmart 400, his highest starting position of the year.
“We felt we could run quite a bit faster than we did in practice, but our qualifying run kind of surprised me a little bit,” Blaney said. “I didn't think we could pick up that much. It was pretty close to a perfect lap until I got around to three and four and I lost the car just a little bit, just enough to cost me what we needed to be in the front, but we were real tickled with it anyway.”
The Top 5 starting position was much needed for Blaney and the Amoco Ultimate race team. It’s been a tough year so far, but Blaney says fans can expect things to get better.
"We're getting better every week,” he said. “The new tires are as hard to learn as anything else. A few of the Dodge guys are in contention every week. We're just trying to make everything better every week. We're slowly chipping away at it.”
And Blaney hopes this is the week, all that hard work will finally pay off.
"I think we can be as good here as we were earlier this season at Atlanta,” Blaney explained. “It's just a matter of getting your car handling good where it stays good on the long runs. It's going to be mostly green-flag racing here, most likely. You've just got to stay good on the long haul or you won't keep up.
“We don't really have any different plans for fuel strategy. We'll just play around with the gear and make sure we can go the 50 laps we need to go. Other than that, you can't do much about it.”