The Frontstretch: Blaney Wins in Bizarre Busch Race Finish by Toni Montgomery -- Friday October 13, 2006

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Blaney Wins in Bizarre Busch Race Finish

Toni Montgomery · Friday October 13, 2006

 

Bizarre hardly seems like the right word to describe the ending of the Dollar General 300 Busch Series race at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Heading into the last quarter of the race, that was hardly the case; the Roush Racing Fords of Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards were holding station at the front, and it looked like Edwards would cruise to the win.

Then, everything went Friday the 13th.

During a final round of green flag pit stops, Casey Mears had yet to pit and was leading the field when a caution flew with a handful of laps remaining for Jamie McMurray’s crash in Turn 2. Mears made his final stop under the yellow and came back out on the track in front of Carl Edwards, who did not pit, but there was some question as to whether Mears came off of pit road legally in front of Edwards or whether he ran the red light at the exit. NASCAR was forced to throw the red flag with ten laps to go as a result and sort the situation out; after a 6 minute and 14 second delay, they determined that Mears did run the light and Edward's was declared the leader.

Mears wasn't done yet, though, and raced Edwards hard to get the lead back as the laps ticked off towards the finish. Unfortunately for both drivers, it was too hard; with two laps to go, Mears got into the marbles trying to go around the high side of Edwards and lost control of his No. 42 Havoline Dodge.

"I got the outside lane, and when I got the outside lane, he started running up the track and it took off. I got loose and took him out," said Mears.

With the race red flagged again for a lengthy cleanup, that only served to be the beginning of the wild finish. The departure of Mears and Edwards left Dave Blaney in the lead, but he'd have to hold off Matt Kenseth for the green/white/checker finish to claim his first Busch Series win. It looked like it might slip away when Blaney slid high during the last lap of the race, opening the door for Kenseth to sneak by. But Blaney stood on the gas, and coming out of the fourth turn for the checkered flag Kenseth bobbled and then lost control of the No. 17 Ameriquest Ford, spinning down the frontstretch as Blaney drove off for the win.

"That was fun. That was crazy in and out," said Blaney. "(I) had a good car for a while, had a bad car for a while, and had a flat tire and got the lucky dog just at the right time and I knew what I had to do to hold Matt off…didn't think I could do it but we got there and (that) was cool."

Michael Waltrip found himself in second when the dust cleared, with Stacy Compton third, Kenseth crossing the line for fourth, and Danny O'Quinn completing the Top 5. "It was crazy," said Waltrip of the wild finish. "In a year or so, you'll forget 16 or 17 of them crashed in front of me to get second."

Edwards' bad luck was Kevin Harvick's good luck as Harvick managed to clinch the Busch Series championship, the earliest any driver has ever done so. His margin currently stands at 775 points over second place Carl Edwards with four races remaining.

“It’s been a great year for me in the Busch car,” beamed Harvick upon exiting his No. 33 Dollar General Chevrolet. His second Busch championship in five years, Harvick has now won both titles while racing the full series schedule in Cup during the same time period.

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Rod Jackson
10/14/2006 09:12 AM
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Way to go Dave Blaney! Oregon loves you

Darrell
10/14/2006 10:15 AM
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Finally! Blaney has been kicked around for too long. He’s always been a good driver, too bad the media ignores him because he’s not 23 years old. Now let’s see him pull it off in Cup! I’m pulling for him!

John
10/14/2006 11:35 AM
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Way to go Blaney. After years of staying out of tuble and getting your job donem you have your first win. Good job

Andy W.
10/14/2006 12:47 PM
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A long time Blaniac rejoices! Thanks Kyle Petty and Wally for noting that Dave is indeed a talented and under-rated driver!

Molly
10/14/2006 03:06 PM
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It is so great to see Blaney win!! And yes, Wally and Kyle are right, he is definately a talented and under-rated driver. The man is a very talented sprint car driver. Congratulations Dave!!!

Jan
10/14/2006 10:40 PM
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The Buckeye Bullet’s win last night plastered a grin on my face all day today! Living within spitting distance of Dave’s real hometown of Hartford, Oh, I’ve followed his career since he first climbed into his dad’s sprint car in 1981. It’s a shame that Dave has a contract for ‘07 with Bill Davis’s second rate ‘Cup team because he’d be a natural in Robert Yates’s #88 Ford.

 

Contact Toni Montgomery

Recent articles from Toni Montgomery:

IndyCar Race Recap: MAVTV 500
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IF you want to know more about Toni Montgomery or to see all of her Frontstretch articles, check out her archive and bio page.