No. 36 Big Red Chevrolet Has Frustrating 33rd-place Finish in Kentucky
TBR fell one spot to 33rd in NSCS Owner Standings
Dave Blaney started the Quaker State 400 from the tail of the field due to a transmission change. He drove the No. 36 Big Red Chevrolet to the 28th position before an issue during a pit stop and a flat tire marred the Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) team three laps down. Blaney finished 33rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) debut at Kentucky Speedway.
The weekend started with two test sessions on Thursday. Blaney posted the 32nd and 20th fastest lap times in the debut of the Richard Childress Racing chassis. The No. 36 Big Red Chevrolet ran the 34th-fastest time during final practice on Friday. Rain showers cancelled qualifying, so the field was set by the final practice speeds giving Blaney the 32nd starting spot.
Due to a transmission change, Blaney took the green flag from the tail of the field and quickly worked up to 35th by the first lap. By lap 10, Blaney radioed that the No. 36 Big Red Chevrolet was loose in but pretty good everywhere else. The Hartford, Ohio native drove up to 31st before the yellow flag waved for a competition caution on lap 32.
Crew Chief Philippe Lopez called Blaney down pit road for a two-tire pit stop and air pressure adjustment. The No. 36 Big Red Chevrolet restarted 30th. Blaney drove up to 28th before radioing that the Chevrolet was extremely tight. He fell back to 31st, one lap down.
The TBR team made a green-flag, four-tire pit stop on lap 78 and made adjustments to work on the tight condition. During the stop, a lug nut fell, and Blaney had to come back down pit road to get another lug nut put on. The mishap put the Big Red Chevrolet a second lap down.
When Blaney came back on the track, he turned laps as fast as the leader and radioed that the car was much better early in the run. The No. 36 Big Red Chevrolet struggled the most in turn one as it was hitting the splitter in the turn. The team made another green-flag pit stop on lap 130. The team changed four tires and made a trackbar adjustment. By lap 138, Blaney radioed that the Chevrolet was chattering severely as he drove in 34th position, three laps down.
A debris caution flew on lap 141, and the Big Red Chevrolet stayed out to get a lap back. During the caution, Blaney radioed that he felt like he could make up a lot of time in turns three and four but not in turn one. He said he could not drive in at all in turn one and continued that during the run before the last the car turned better right off the bat on sticker tires. He restarted on lap 146 in the 34th spot, two laps down.
The third yellow flag flew on lap 153, and Blaney and team took the opportunity to pit for four tires and major changes. The No. 36 Big Red Chevrolet restarted 33rd, two laps down. On lap 193, Blaney radioed that he had a problem and was coming down pit road. The team changed four tires and found that a strip was missing from one of the tires. When he got back on the track, Blaney radioed that he had a huge push and it felt worse than before he pit. A caution on lap 201 allowed the team to make adjustments to the Big Red Chevrolet. Blaney drove down pit road for a four-tire stop.
Blaney restarted on lap 209 in the 33rd position, three laps down. On lap 213, he almost spun out and radioed that the Chevrolet was loose all over. A caution on lap 255 allowed for the team’s last pit stop. The TBR team changed four tires and made an air pressure adjustment. Blaney held on and finished the 267-lap race in the 33rd position, three laps down.
The No. 36 Big Red Chevrolet is now 33rd in NSCS Owner Points, one point behind 32nd and 46 points ahead of 36th place. Blaney fell a spot to 32nd in NSCS Driver Points, one point behind Casey Mears in 31st.
“The car was really good during parts of the race,” Blaney explained. “We had a mishap on pit road and a flat tire that put us behind. It was promising seeing that we could run lap times as fast as the leader. We definitely had a better car than where we finished. We will take our notes from today and use them to run better at the 1.5-mile tracks in the future.”
By: tommy baldwin racing