Tommy Baldwin Racing press release
Engine Failure Ends Dave Blaney’s Night Early at Bristol
The No. 36 Golden Corral Chevrolet finished 35th in the IRWIN Tools Night Race
BRISTOL, TENN. (August 28, 2011) – Dave Blaney drove the No. 36 Golden Corral Chevrolet to a 35th-place starting position in the IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. After struggling with handling at the beginning of the 500-lap race, Blaney was marred two and three laps down. With 40 laps to go, the rod broke in the engine of the No. 36 Chevrolet and relegated the Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) team to a 35th-place finish in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) event.
Blaney posted the 39th- and 44th-fastest times in the first and final practice sessions respectively. He wheeled the No. 36 Golden Corral Chevrolet to the 35th starting spot with a fast lap of 15.930 seconds, just three tenths of a second slower than pole winner Ryan Newman.
The Hartford, Ohio native took the green flag of the 500-lap race and drove to the 32nd position by lap 13. He told the Golden Corral crew that the Chevrolet was loose on top and a little in the center. A debris caution was called on lap 33 and allowed the TBR team to change four tires and make a trackbar adjustment. Coming off pit road, NASCAR radioed that the No. 36 Chevrolet was speeding, and Blaney had to restart at the tail of the field in the 35th position.
By lap 66, Blaney fell a lap down and radioed that the Golden Corral Chevrolet was very tight in the center and too loose driving into and off of the corner. Another debris caution was called on lap 105, and Crew Chief Philippe Lopez called Blaney down pit road for four-tire stop and wedge adjustment.
The field restarted on lap 111 with Blaney in the 34th position, one lap down. The No. 36 Golden Corral Chevrolet was tight in the center of the turns on this run, but the loose condition was fixed for both driving in and off the corner.
The third debris caution was called on lap 130, and the TBR team elected to stay on the racetrack. Blaney restarted 32nd on lap 136 and radioed that the car was tight early in the run. By lap 160, he fell two laps down but was improving his lap times. After falling to 36th, he worked his way back to 33rd by lap 214. He told the crew the car was driving much better now that the air pressure was building in the tires. Late in the run, he was posting times comparable to the leader.
Caught in traffic, by lap 241, he fell three laps down in 36th. Blaney worked up to 34th by lap 258 and drove passed the leader to get one of his three laps back. On lap 227, Lopez called Blaney down pit road for a scheduled four-tire pit stop and air pressure adjustment.
By the fourth caution of the night for a four-car incident in turn three on lap 299, Blaney drove up to the 31st spot. He radioed that the car was really good. Lopez called Blaney down pit road to change four tires and make a small air pressure adjustment. After Blaney restarted, he radioed that the car was really tight.
A three-car incident on the backstretch brought out the fifth caution of the night on lap 362 with the Golden Corral Chevrolet in the 30th position, three laps down. The team elected to stay out and get the wave around. Blaney restarted from the 28th position, two laps down, on lap 369 and radioed that the car was still tight.
The final yellow flag flew on lap 415 for an incident in turn three. Lopez called Blaney down pit road for the team’s final, scheduled pit stop. The TBR team changed four tires and made an air pressure adjustment. The No. 36 Golden Corral Chevrolet restarted 31st, three laps down, on lap 420. Ten laps later, Blaney radioed that the car was brutal tight.
On lap 460, Blaney came over the radio and said he was having a possible transmission or engine problem. He drove down pit road, and the team concluded that the No. 36 Golden Corral Chevrolet had an engine issue and pushed the car back to the garage. Blaney finished 35th, 43 laps down.
The 35th-place finish dropped the No. 36 TBR team to the 33rd position in the NSCS Owner Point Standings. The team is now seven points behind the No. 13 Germain Racing machine and 63 points ahead of the 36th position. Blaney held onto the 32nd spot in the NSCS Driver Points. He is 21 points behind Casey Mears in 31st and 17 points ahead of Andy Lally in 33rd.
“It was disappointing to have the engine blow near the end,” explained Blaney. “We struggled a bit with the handling at the beginning and fell some laps down. The car was great near the middle of the race and really fun to drive. We were laps down but running as fast as the leaders. We didn’t make any changes, and on the next set of tires, the handling was horrible. We worked to get back to that setup but broke a rod in the engine late in the race. It’s really unfortunate that things keep going wrong the past few weeks, but we’ll move on and work to get better next week.”