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Monday October 6, 2008
Dave Blaney/Caterpillar Racing – AMP Energy 500
TALLADEGA, Ala. (Oct. 5, 2008) – Restrictor plate racing at Talladega Superspeedway is always exciting, and Sunday’s AMP Energy 500 was no exception. Dave Blaney and the Caterpillar Racing team had high hopes for the event after a third-place finish at the 2.66-mile superspeedway last season. After qualifying in the 29th place for this year’s race, Blaney experienced mechanical issues throughout the event, but it was a multi-car incident in the closing laps that ended the day early for the team.
The event at Talladega was an impound race, and teams only had two practice sessions Friday to prepare for both qualifying and the race. The Tommy Baldwin-led team was happy with the way its car ran in both sessions. The No. 22 machine was the 30th of 45 teams to take to the track for qualifying Saturday afternoon. Blaney posted a speed of 185.740 mph around the track, which earned the team the 29th starting position for Sunday’s event.
The green flag waved for the start of the race, and the No. 22 BDR team encountered problems early in the event. Blaney communicated to his crew on lap 14 of the 188-lap race that, though the gauges in the car didn’t seem to indicate a problem, the motor felt like it was missing all the way down the backstretch. A caution flag for debris on lap 36 enabled Blaney to drive down pit road for four fresh tires and fuel. The crew also searched under the hood for anything that might appear to be amiss. Blaney returned to the track in the 32nd position.
The No. 22 machine broke into the top 30 on lap 59. Blaney was able to hang with the large lead draft and was riding in the 23rd position on lap 62. A multi-car accident brought out the first of the event’s two red flags on lap 69. After running through the debris, Blaney discovered he had a flat right front tire. When the yellow flag waved 17 minutes later, Baldwin called for four fresh tires and fuel. Because it was necessary to pit before pit road was officially open, Blaney was forced serve a penalty. He lined up for the lap 73 restart on the tail end of the longest line in the 21st position, with 29 cars remaining on the lead lap.
Blaney hovered around the top 20 for much of the remainder of the event and was running in the 20th spot when disaster struck. While Blaney was running in the lead draft and making his way toward the front of the field, several cars collided in the front of the pack. Though the veteran driver dodged the first part of the lap 174 accident, the spinning car of Michael Waltrip slid down the track and into the path of the No. 22, causing a great deal of damage to the front and rear of the machine. A total of 12 cars were involved in the melee, and the red flag was displayed once again. While the race was stopped, the No. 22 team planned to repair its Toyota Camry enough to make several laps and pick up as many positions as possible.
Blaney joined the field for the lap 148 restart and ran several laps before the team opted to park the car at the same time the engine, which was damaged in the accident, expired. The team was credited with a 22nd place finish.
The Caterpillar Racing team will stick close to home next weekend for the Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C. Qualifying for the event is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 9. The race is scheduled for a 7:25 p.m. ET start, Saturday, Oct. 11 and will broadcast on ABC (television), PRN (radio) and Sirius Satellite Radio.
This report was provided by an outside PR source and posted by Kim DeHaven.
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