When Dave Blaney failed to qualify the 66 Prism Motor-sports car for Saturday nights Spring Cup race I figured we wouldn’t be seeing the driver who has become synonymous with the words start and park this season.
Instead Blaney hopped in the #87 car and piloted it to a third place finish in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Kyle Busch claimed the checkered flag while Mike Bliss who passed Blaney in the closing laps finished second.
Blaney was guaranteed a starting place in the field of 43 with car owner points coming from the 87 car. The car was provided by Braun Racing, the same team Blaney spent part of 2006 and 2007 racing for in the Nationwide Series.
It wasn’t t he first time Braun Racing and Blaney enjoyed some success together at Charlotte.. In 2006 Blaney won the October 13 race.
Despite racing for a start and park team and having to qualify each week Blaney had been in the field for 27 of the first 30 races and had failed to qualify for just one race prior to missing Charlotte. His best start of the season was fourth at Bristol, a race he ultimately crashed in while trying to maneuver to the back of the field. His best finish in the Sprint Cup Series on the year has been a 37th in September’s race at Dover.
Dave if I was wearing a hat tonight I would take it off to you on a job well done.
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The following comments were posted on PaddockTalk.com
How much fun did you have in tonight’s race?
“It was fun. I haven’t got to race much all year. That was big fun from start to finish. Billy Wilburn (crew chief) and the Braun guys, they had a really good car. Last night in practice I thought it was really good, but I just haven’t run these things enough to know the feel from the start of the run to the end. I thought it was good, but then it took right off. I about ruined it right off the bat and hit the wall and had to fix it, but it kept coming.”
What did it feel like to run the entire race tonight?
“I haven’t had a chance to race much this year, be in Nationwide, Cup or anything. Loving getting the chance in a really good race car. They told me that was actually the same car I won with in 2006 – the same roll cage anyway. That car has a little age on it. Billy Wilburn crew chiefed it and came in at the last minute and the guys at Braun put it together. AccuDoc is a really good sponsor that has helped Braun Racing out a lot this year. It was fun, the racing was great. The car was good right off the bat. I clipped the wall early, really early and then we had to pit on that lap 15 caution to fix it and that ended up helping us as far as we had fuel to stay out when a bunch of guys got caught pitting and the yellow came out. That got us closer to the front, but we were going that way anyways.”
Was it hard to give feedback on the car when you haven’t been running full races?
“It is hard and the lucky thing was that our car was really good right from the start in practice yesterday. I even told my guys that I’m not even sure how loose I should feel early in the run and how tight at the end. I wasn’t sure what I should be feeling too much, but I thought I was okay and the times showed I was okay so we just kind of left it. It kept coming good all night and it would run with about anybody except one guy all night. It was cool tonight, no problem with a long race – if I would have been running 30th it might have been a long race, but as it was it was good.”
Did you have anything for Kyle Busch on the final restart?
“I just could not stay on his right rear. He could slow the restart way down and squirt away from me real quick and I just couldn’t stay with him to stay on his right rear going into turn one. Even if I could have beat him off of turn two and into turn three, I don’t know if we could have stayed in front of him. He looked like he was as fast as he wanted to be – just fast enough. We were hanging with him time-wise on the long run a little bit, but I don’t know. We were doing all we could do and you never know what’s going to happen.”