Blaney Finishes 35Th At Dover

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In the second NASCAR Winston Cup Series race of the season at Dover Downs, Dave Blaney charged from a provisional starting position to the front of the field for the sixth time this season, only to have his hopes for a top-ten finish sidelined with a cut front tire on Lap 266 of the 400-lap race. He finished 35th, two position behind Bill Davis Racing teammate Ward Burton, himself involved in an early-race crash.

In a day filled with intense pre-race and in-race emotions, Blaney carried the colors of the American Red Cross (hood) and Fire Department of New York (deck) in space surrendered by Amoco and Siemens, respectively, for NASCAR’s first race after the national tragedies of September 11. The #93 Amoco-Siemens Dodge was the only car to carry the official shield of the FDNY and carried the ARC full logo for the first time-ever on a race car along with their 1800-HELP-NOW contact information.

Blaney was relegated to a 42nd-place starting position when his ignition box failed as he entered Turn 2 on his second qualifying lap, stopping the engine and dropping his qualifying time to 38th fastest. But at the start of the event, Blaney moved steadily through the field and used creative pit strategy to surface in 15th position by Lap 35. He remained in the mid-teens through the middle stages of the race.

Then, during a caution period on Lap 226 following a 20-lap green-flag run , Crew Chief Doug Randolph chose to pit for fuel only after early-race checks of tire-wear on the #93 Amoco-Siemens Dodge showed no problems. Blaney emerged in fourth-place behind Ricky Rudd, eventual race-winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Dale Jarrett. On the restart, the front four cars distanced themselves from the field, many of whom returned from their pit stops with four new tires.

But as Blaney appear to have gained the important track position many teams scrambled for throughout the race, his tire blew out entering the high-speed Turn 1 corner and he slammed hard into the wall, damaging the car’s right-front suspension and brake structure too badly to continue.

"We didn’t take any tires on the last pit stop, just fuel," said Blaney. "We just got the can handling good right before that caution. We took fuel and went back out. We only had 20 laps on the tires and we’d made a run that length earlier with no drop off in time and no problems with the tires.

"We stayed right with the guys that ran at the front all day. We knew the car go run there but track position was everything and we had a long way to go to get to the front from where we started. The guys out front were running in clean air and really catching the back of the field after every restart so we had to try something a little different. Jerry Nadeau started 41st, was pitted right beside us and did some creative things to finish second so we did all the right things. The tire just blew.

"It seems like everytime we get this car going good, something has happened to us like this. It’s been that way all year. I didn’t really think we were taking a chance with the tire. We were all very honored to have the American Red Cross and the New York Fire Department on our car and in our hearts today. They’ll be with us for the rest of the year in some form. We didn’t want to end up in the wall with that car, but those things can happen. They knew we were here, that’s for sure."

Including the $10-per-lap contributions promised by Davis, Blaney, Amoco and Siemens, the #93 Dodge earned $10,640 in specific funds for the Red Cross’ Disaster Relief Fund, to accompany the collective $7 million in contributions from Amoco and Siemens to a range of relief organizations.

With the finish, Blaney dropped to 25th in the WC standings, only 20 points behind Terry Labonte and 50 points behind Ricky Craven. BDR teammate Burton remained 17th, 129 points behind 15th-place Matt Kenseth entering this weekend’s inaugural race at Kansas Speedway.

Teams will travel to Kansas City on Wednesday afternoon in preparation for a full day of Winston Cup and Busch Series practice on Thursday, September 27—much like the plan earlier this year when teams traveled to the new ChicagoLand Speedway for that track’s inaugural event in July.

Qualifying for the Winston Cup Series entries is scheduled for Friday, September 28 at 3:05 p.m. CDT, immediately following the qualifying (1:15 p.m. CDT) for the NASCAR Busch Series including BDR entry Scott Wimmer, fresh off his 12th-place finish at Dover.

The Busch Series race is scheduled for Saturday, September 29, moved forward this week to a 1 p.m. CDT start time. The Winston Cup race remains scheduled for Sunday, September 30 at 12 noon CDT. The NBC networks (NBC, TNT, CNN-SI) will televise the events from KC and Motor Racing Network will broadcast the races on radio.

Sprint-car legend Doug Wolfgang will join the #93 Amoco-Siemens team as a special guest of Dave Blaney throughout the KC race weekend in a region where both Blaney and Wolfgang share a considerably higher regional profile than many of the NASCAR stars after many years of World of Outlaws competition at local tracks throughout Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa where the major NASCAR series have seldom performed.

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, 2001

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