Winston Cup Series veteran Dave Blaney will drive the ...
Winston Cup Series veteran Dave Blaney will drive the #31 Whelen Ford in 10 Busch Series races in the 2003 season.
Blaney, 41, drove the Ted Marsh Racing entry at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November running near the front most of the race. That relationship grew in the off-season and recently saw Marsh Racing conclude a deal to use Penske-Jasper Engines -- the engines Blaney uses in Winston Cup.
"We had about as good of an off-season as you could expect," said owner Ted Marsh. "We signed the driver we wanted in Dave and got the engine deal we wanted in the Penske-Jasper program and the body we wanted in Ford. We are thrilled."
Blaney, the 1995 World of Outlaws champion, said that combination of Whelen, Marsh Racing, Ford and Penske-Jasper engines would pay dividends on the racetrack in 2003.
"After dealing with Ted Marsh, his team and the Whelen people during the race weekend in Miami last fall, I'm excited about our 10-race schedule for 2003," Blaney said. "We were really fast in my only start with the team and there's no reason we shouldn't be a contender at all of the races we've chosen in 2003.
Blaney said the team made tremendous strides in the off-season.
"Especially since we are now running Ford bodies and will be using Penske-Jasper Engines that come from the same system that Ryan Newman used two years ago when he won the Busch race at Michigan and six pole positions in 15 races."
It's also the same engine program that powers Blaney as well as Newman and Rusty Wallace on Sundays in Winston Cup.
"I'm sure what they produce for the Busch Series program with Whelen this year will be just as potent. It will also give our Winston Cup team a chance to have a baseline on about one-third of our race weekends with a Busch Series Ford on the track on Saturday."
Blaney, a native of Sharon, Pa. spent the 1998 and 1999 seasons in the Busch Series where he earned a seventh place finish in the championship in 1999, with five top-fives, 12 top-10s and four poles in 31 races.
Blaney joined the Winston Cup ranks in 2000 posting his best season last year when he finished 19th in the Winston Cup Driver Standings earning five top-10 finishes.
Whelen Motorsports Director Phil Kurze said the deal came together in the last few days.
"We started talking early in the off-season but finalized the deal last week," Kurze said. "The Whelen employees take their racing seriously and I think we are giving them an effort that can win races. Dave has our employees' support. Marsh Racing has fielded some very good cars in the last few years and we have no doubt it will do the same with Dave in 2003."
For more than 40 years, the Chester, Conn. company has provided innovative emergency lighting and siren products in the automotive, aviation, industrial and civil defense (emergency management) and traffic management markets. Whelen is a sponsor in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series as well as the official supplier of safety lights for Pontiac's NASCAR Winston Cup pace cars. Whelen's emergency warning lights are also visible on the Official NASCAR safety vehicles as well as the safety vehicles used at several Busch and Winston Cup tracks.
"We are using the race effort to promote the fact that all of our products are "Made in the USA" and our crew shirts, driver's uniform, Whelen Motorsports hats, shirts, etc. will all carry the American flag to remind everyone of that fact," Kurze said.
Whelen owner Sonny Whelen will drive a #31 Whelen Monte Carlo fielded by Marsh Racing in the Busch North Series races at Watkins Glen and Lime Rock in 2003.
Dave Blaney's #31 Whelen Ford 2003 Schedule