Amoco Team Earns Top Ten

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Dave Blaney survived an eventful weekend and a treacherous new race-track to register his fifth top-ten finish of the season at Kansas Speedway. In the inaugural NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at the 1.5-mile facility, Blaney and his #93 Amoco/Siemens Dodge team led for the second time this season and overcame a late-race spin through the frontstretch grass to finish tenth behind race-winner Jeff Gordon.

Blaney qualified 19th but had only 12 laps of practice with the car in race trim after experiencing engine failure early in the Saturday morning practice sessions. With virtually no pre-race on-track time, Blaney started the 400-mile race with only two sets of "scuffed" tires while other teams chose to put 2-3 laps on most of their sets of new tires prior to the race to help provide better grip for their drivers on the slippery, one-groove racing surface.

With no adequate second (upper) racing lane developing until much later in the race, hard accidents were prevalent throughout the event, including a Lap 247 crash that sent former NASCAR Winston Cup champion Dale Jarrett to the hospital with a concussion and deep bruises to his left side.

Creative pit strategy by Crew Chief Doug Randolph and the #93 Amoco/Siemens crew placed Blaney in the top-five by Lap 123 and in front of the field 15 laps later as a caution flag fell just after the leaders cars had pitted. Blaney ran in the lead pack in the top 12 until Lap 190, when he spun exiting Turn 4 in the outside groove and fell to the back of the lead-lap in 19th-place.

Blaney moved back into the top-10 inside the final 50 miles, running as high as sixth in the closing laps before being passed on both sides on the final restart when Mark Martin slowed in front of him in the lead pack of cars. Gordon outlasted rookie Ryan Newman, WC points runner-up Ricky Rudd and Rusty Wallace—who led the most laps—to take his sixth win of the 2001 season.

"What a weekend," said Blaney. "With everything that happened from start to finish, I guess we should be really happy with a 10th-place finish. We had good pit stops and strategy all day and that put us closer to the front. We couldn’t make up ground today, but we could hold on.

"I was at the wrong place at the wrong time on those last two starts and it cost me 4-5 spots. We were loose at the start on those last two runs and I had to be careful, then it would come to me as we got some laps on the tires. It’s a great track but everyone struggled trying to pass today. The more we run here, the better the second groove will get. It got better and better all day. Another race or two and it will be fine but today was a handful.

"On the spin (on Lap 190), I was just trying too hard in the outside lane, and I had a guy right under my left rear and it got me too loose to hang on. I just lost it but we were lucky not to clobber the wall like some of the other guys. You had to be careful going two-wide here. Once you dive in there, you’re committed and it was hard to get out of the situation once you were committed. You learn as you go on a new track what you can and what you can’t get away with.

"We had a car that could have run fifth at the end if I ahd done the right things on the restarts. I just got blocked in both times and didn’t make the move quick enough to get out from behind the guys that slowed up. Overall, though, our team never gave up through a pretty tough set of circumstances all weekend and that’s what you have to do."

BDR teammate Ward Burton was sidelined in a multi-car accident on Lap 67 and finished 41st.

With the finish, Blaney moved up to 24th in the WC driver standings, 11 points behind Ricky Craven, 62 points behind Jeremy Mayfield and only 227 behind teammate Burton, who fell to 20th with his disappointing finish at Kansas. The #93 team ranks 25th in the WC team standings entering this weekend’s races at Loew’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte.

The UAW-GM 500 will be the first of three upcoming races (also Talladega and Rockingham) in which Blaney will driver the #93 BDR Dodge with a green-and-yellow BP paint scheme (see attached photo), debuted in May at Charlotte.

Qualifying for the WC race at LMS is scheduled for Thursday, October 4 at 7:05 p.m. EDT with the 334-lap race scheduled for Sunday, October 6 at 12:30 p.m. EDT Qualifying for the the NASCAR Busch Series race at LMS is scheduled for Friday, October 5 at 1 p.m. EDT with the 200-lap BG race scheduled for Saturday, October 6 at 12 noon EDT.

BDR Busch Series driver Scott Wimmer finished 17th in the inaugural BGN race at Kansas Speedway and moved up to 11th in the points standings, 164 points behind 10th-place Kenny Wallace entering this weekend’s race at Charlotte.

Motor Racing Network will broadcast the races from LMS on radio and the NBC networks (NBC, TNT, CNN-SI) will televised WC qualifying, practice and both races from Charlotte as the 2001 season winds down.

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, 2001

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