Blaney Back At BDR

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HIGH POINT, N.C. – Bill Davis Racing confirmed its future plans for the No. 22 team Thursday, announcing that Dave Blaney has returned to the racing organization to drive the No. 22 Caterpillar car in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, with Kevin Hamlin joining him as crew chief.

"In the last couple of years, we just haven't seen the performance we know the No. 22 CAT Racing team is capable of, so change was not a choice—it was a necessity," said Bill Davis, team owner and president of Bill Davis Racing. "Dave is not only a talented and consistent driver, but he is someone I respect and have always enjoyed working with in the past. This will be my first time working with Kevin Hamlin, but I have long admired his work and accomplishments in this sport."

Blaney, a Hartford, Ohio, native, first drove for Bill Davis in 1998 and 1999, when he piloted the No. 93 Pontiac in the NASCAR Busch Series. After running a part-time NASCAR Cup schedule in 1999, the team decided to turn its focus to running full-time in the Cup Series in 2000 and continued the effort through 2001. Sponsorship changes and the development of other opportunities led to Blaney's first departure from BDR in 2002.

"I have always understood Dave's need to pursue other avenues in this business, but it also was understood there were never any bridges burned between us," Davis said.

Blaney returned to Davis' High Point operation in 2004 to drive part-time in the NEXTEL Cup Series, along with a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series start at Dover International Speedway in early June. However, the partnership was interrupted once again in late June 2004 when Blaney received an offer to drive full time for Richard Childress Racing, which also marked the first time he drove under the direction of Hamlin. Later that same year, Blaney was named the driver of Childress' No. 07 NEXTEL Cup team for the 2005 season.

"I have been very fortunate to have driven for and with some of the best in this business," Blaney said. "I enjoyed racing for the Davis'. Bill and Gail have not only been business partners, but they've been good friends to me. I've spent the majority of my NASCAR career as a BDR driver, so it's always nice to be able to return to your roots."

Blaney, the 1995 World of Outlaws sprint car champion, started racing full-time in the NEXTEL Cup Series in 2000. He has totaled 199 career starts in the elite stock car series, along with 86 Busch Series starts.

Hamlin joins BDR following a long and successful career at Richard Childress Racing, where he served as crew chief for various drivers including Mike Skinner, Dale Earnhardt, Kevin Harvick, Robby Gordon, Jeff Burton, and most recently, Blaney, after RCR revised its crew chief assignments in early November.

"I've known Dave for a long time, and we've always worked well together in the past. So when this opportunity presented itself I couldn't pass it up," Hamlin said. "In just the short time I have spent over at BDR, Bill is making some big changes, and there is definitely great potential for what lies ahead. I'm excited to get to be a part of it and look forward to what is yet to come."

Some of Hamlin's most notable accomplishments during his career as a crew chief include two top-10 finishes in the NASCAR Cup championship standings. In 2000, he and Earnhardt grabbed second-place honors by season-end, and in 2001, Hamlin and Harvick took ninth overall. Hamlin also worked alongside Gordon in 2003, when he swept both road course races, claiming victories at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., and Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, N.Y.

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