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Monday October 27, 2008
Dave Blaney/Caterpillar Racing – Pep Boys Auto 500
Atlanta Motor Speedway
HAMPTON, Ga. (Oct. 27, 2008) – Dave Blaney and the Caterpillar Racing team lined up 33rd on the starting grid after rain washed out qualifying for the Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Blaney, who was making his 300th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start, worked his way into the top 25 just past the halfway point of the event and remained there until he became involved in a multi-car accident late in the race.
The No. 22 Bill Davis Racing team was scheduled to be the fifth of 45 teams to take to the track for qualifying Friday evening, but Mother Nature had other plans. Rain blanketed the area in the morning, and NASCAR and track officials struggled to control seeping water throughout the afternoon. Once the track was ready, teams practiced for about 10 minutes before a heavy mist began to fall. For the 10th time this season, Friday’s qualifying round was cancelled. The starting lineup was set by Sprint Cup Series Owners’ points, and the Caterpillar Racing Toyota was set to line up 33rd on the starting grid.
The green flag waved for the start of the event, and Blaney let Crew Chief Tommy Baldwin know that the car handled extremely tight off the corners. An early caution flag enabled the team to make adjustments to the car, including a wedge adjustment and the removal of spring rubbers from the left rear. With four fresh tires, Blaney lined up for the lap 40 restart in the 37th spot.
Blaney held the 35th position after a routine pit stop under caution on lap 113 and experienced battery issues during the ensuing restart. After switching to the second battery, he was able to continue without losing any ground. Baldwin continued to make adjustments to the car during several mid-race pit stops, and the veteran driver broke into the top 30 at lap 154. The changes made to the chassis began to make a difference, and Blaney soon found himself piloting a car that was as fast as that of the leader.
Blaney had worked his way into the 24th spot when the team finally had the opportunity to replace the batteries. The crew made the change during a yellow-flag pit stop on lap 210, never losing a lap in the process. The Caterpillar Camry remained in the top 25 until misfortune struck in the late stages of the race. While running in the 21st spot, Blaney was a victim of a multi-car accident on lap 303. Hard impact to the outside wall resulted in heavy damage to the machine, and the No. 22 BDR entry was unable to continue. The team was credited with a disappointing 41st-place finish.
The Caterpillar Racing team will travel to Texas Motor Speedway for the Dickies 500, Sunday, Nov. 2. Qualifying for the event is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 31. Coverage of the race is scheduled for a 3:30 p.m. ET start 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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