Tuesday August 5, 2008
Long Pond, PA (August 3rd, 2008) – Dave Blaney and the Caterpillar Racing team lined up 24th for the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 Sunday afternoon. After working through handling issues and rain showers that played into race strategy, Blaney took the checkered flag in 31st place at Pocono Raceway.
The No. 22 Bill Davis Racing team was the 12th of 44 teams to take to the track for qualifying Friday afternoon. Blaney ran a speed of 165.569 mph during his run around the 2.5-mile trioval, which earned the team the 24th spot on the starting grid for Sunday’s event. Rain showers moved into the area early Saturday morning, and though NASCAR and track officials did their best to dry the track for practice, it was to no avail. Both practice sessions scheduled for Saturday were eventually canceled.
Blaney took the green flag for the start of the event Sunday afternoon and narrowly avoided disaster in just the first lap of the race, when the cars driven by Kevin Harvick and Joe Nemechek got together while racing next to the BDR machine. Heads up driving and a little bit of luck got the No. 22 Camry through, and Blaney held the 21st spot when the caution flag waved. Several laps after the green flag waved for the restart, Blaney communicated to crew chief Tommy Baldwin that the car handled extremely tight on throttle. Baldwin planned to make adjustments to the car during the competition caution period that was scheduled for lap 22.
The adjustments made to the car did not seem to help enough in the early stages of the race, but a lap 54 stop enabled the crew to make track bar and wedge adjustments to the Cat Toyota. Shortly thereafter, Blaney told the crew that the balance was better, but he was experiencing an overall lack of grip. A miscommunication in the pits forced the team to make two pit stops during a caution period that began on lap 67, and the BDR entry fell to 36th place. Blaney began to make his way through slower traffic, and by lap 113 of the 200-lap race, he had broken into the top 30.
Weather played a factor in the outcome of the event. With showers nearing the area on lap 126 and the caution that ensued when the rain began to fall, teams were forced to decide to make pit stops or remain on the track, taking the chance that a hard rain shower would shorten the race. Baldwin took that chance and left Blaney out on the track. NASCAR officials red-flagged the race on lap 132 and spent 41 minutes drying the track. Unfortunately, Baldwin’s gamble didn’t pay off, and the race resumed on lap 135. While about half of the field would only have to make one more stop, Blaney and the remainder of the competitors would have to make two stops. The No. 22 machine made its final pit stop with nine laps to go, and Blaney took the checkered flag in the 31st position.
The Caterpillar Racing team travels to Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International next weekend for the Centurion Boats at the Glen. Qualifying for the event is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 8. Coverage of the event is scheduled for a 2 p.m. ET start and will broadcast on ESPN (television), MRN (radio) and Sirius Satellite Radio.
(Courtesy Michelle Marckwardt, Bill Davis Racing PR)
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This report was provided by an outside PR source and posted by Thomas Bowles.
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