Monday September 8, 2008
RICHMOND, Va. (Sept. 6, 2008) – Tropical Storm Hanna rolled into the Richmond, Va. area Friday evening and wreaked havoc on the weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup racing activities. Dave Blaney and the Caterpillar Racing team lined up 32nd on the starting grid after qualifying was rained out Friday and all on-track activities were cancelled Saturday. After 400 laps around the .75-mile oval Sunday afternoon, the Cat Camry took the checkered flag in the 22nd spot.
The Caterpillar Camry was scheduled to be the 15th of 46 competitors to take to the track for qualifying Friday evening, but Tropical Storm Hanna forced the cancellation of qualifying. Not long after, NASCAR officials decided to postpone Saturday evening’s race until Sunday afternoon, when weather forecasters predicted the storm would have passed through the area.
The green flag waved under a sunny sky for the start of Sunday’s event, and Blaney wasted no time moving forward. He picked up two positions in the first five laps and reported to crew chief Tommy Baldwin that the Caterpillar Camry handled tight in the center of the corners and loose off. NASCAR officials waved a competition caution flag on lap 36, and Baldwin called Blaney into the pits for four tires, fuel and several adjustments to help the handling of the car. After a quick stop by the Bill Davis Racing crew, the Cat Camry returned to the track in 26th for the lap 43 restart.
Blaney broke into the top 25 on lap 47, and though he was still experiencing a tight handling condition, he was running fast enough speeds to pass several more of his competitors. Another opportunity for a pit stop and handling adjustments came during a caution period just before the lap 100 mark, and when the green flag waved once again, Blaney held the 22nd position. Still battling a tight racecar, he fell to 28th near the lap 150 mark but worked his way back into the top 20 by the halfway point of the event.
The Caterpillar pit crew worked hard during the week to improve its pit stops, and it showed throughout the race. Blaney was running just outside the top 10 when a yellow flag waved on lap 243. Baldwin made the call to pit, and after a 13.27 second four-tire pit stop, Blaney returned to the track in 23rd as several cars behind him opted not to pit. Blaney was able to pick up several positions before the car again became tighter and tighter. Baldwin made additional chassis adjustments during the last stop of the day on lap 361. The No. 22 Toyota returned to the track in 23rd place, and by the time the checkered flag waved, Blaney had made his way into the 22nd spot.
The Caterpillar Racing team will travel to [Loudon] New Hampshire Motor Speedway next weekend. Qualifying for the Sylvania 300 is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 12. Coverage of the 300-lap race is scheduled for a 2 p.m. ET start Sunday, Sept. 14 and will broadcast on ABC (television), PRN (radio) and Sirius Satellite Radio.
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This report was provided by an outside PR source and posted by Ren Jonsin.
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