DETROIT (March 30, 2000) - Amoco Pontiac Grand Prix driver Dave Blaney, who currently sits 36th in the NASCAR Winston Cup point standings, was a featured guest yesterday on the weekly NASCAR Winston Cup teleconference. Blaney, who ranks fourth...
DETROIT (March 30, 2000) - Amoco Pontiac Grand Prix driver Dave Blaney, who currently sits 36th in the NASCAR Winston Cup point standings, was a featured guest yesterday on the weekly NASCAR Winston Cup teleconference.
Blaney, who ranks fourth in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings, shared his thoughts on the first leg of his first NASCAR Winston Cup campaign for car owner Bill Davis.
THOUGHTS FROM DAVE BLANEY, NO. 93 AMOCO PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
(HIS THOUGHTS ON THE 2000 WINSTON CUP ROOKIE BATTLE)
"It's probably going along like most people expected. (Matt) Kenseth and Dale (Earnhardt, Jr.) have had some good runs, but the rest of us have struggled somewhat. We have too. We have probably struggled a little bit more than I hoped we would We've had a couple of fair runs and run around 20th a couple times at Vegas and Atlanta. Honestly we are just trying to run all day every day and get as many laps as we can and learn as much as we can for the second half (of the season)."
(ON WHAT HAS BEEN TOUGHEST ABOUT BEING A ROOKIE)
"I think by far the toughest thing or the thing that has hurt me the most is getting a good feel for the (Winston) Cup cars, and how I need that car to feel during a qualifying lap. And the same thing in 'Happy Hour' - how much push I need in the car so it will be OK the next day. I've easily this year got the cars too loose. That has a lot to do with my Busch experience. You were always trying to loosen those things up right to the verge of being too much and you could still race it. But the Cup cars you just can't do it. You've got to have them a little tighter. I've struggled with that and I've made some mistakes. We're just trying to work on that and that's the big thing."
(HOW HE FEELS ABOUT WHERE HE STANDS AT THE THIS POINT)
"We've struggled more than I hoped we would. Qualifying hasn't been so bad. We missed the race at Rockingham and that really hurt us. But other than that our qualifying stuff has not been bad. It's usually been me getting used to the car and making a good lap. With the race stuff I've just been leading the guys wrong a little bit and making the car too loose. But overall, to be honest, I probably didn't expect much more this first half of the season, the first time around on the racetracks. We're trying to get as many laps as we can and go through as many pit stops, and tire runs, and fuel runs, so I can learn as much as I can for the second half."
(THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE TWO BILL DAVIS TEAMS)
"I think there is a pretty big difference in the way Ward (Burton) drives them and the way I drive them. We have found that through testing. Sometimes some of the stuff I like, he doesn't, and vice-versa. But sometimes we are pretty close. That part of it is a little further apart than I hoped it would be. But as far as us learning from them, we are trying to use as much as we can. It seems like we have to go a little bit different on the set-ups to get something I can drive. But Bill (Davis) has enough people hired in there to where we aren't taking away from anything. They (Ward Burton's team) are having a great year. They got off to a great start. I look for them to win more races and be in contention for this points race."
(ON WHETHER OR NOT ADAM PETTY IS READY FOR WINSTON CUP)
"I don't know. I'm more focused on our team than anybody else. But they've got a lot of experience over there between all those teams and Kyle (Petty) and John (Andretti). They are the ones that have got to make sure he is ready. He is going to be I there sooner or later, so the best deal is to get him started."
(ON LIMITED PRACTICE TIME DURING A RACE WEEKEND)
"Sometimes it hurts more than others. Most of these tracks I've run in the Busch cars so it's not a big thing. A few of these rookies, like Scott Pruett, have never seen any of these racetracks, so it's especially tough for him. But NASCAR does allow rookies more tests than they do everybody else so that makes up a little bit for it. I don't know how else they would do it. The practice time is probably enough and they don't have time to do much more. That's part of being a rookie."
(ON TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY)
"It's close to Atlanta and Charlotte - not exactly the same - but close, so if you've run some on those it is not a big change. If you feel comfortable on those two you'll pick up Texas quick."
(ON THE HORSEPOWER DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BUSCH AND WINSTON CUP)
"That's the main thing. They drive so much different because of it. You've got to drive them different. It's like you've got to have a little big tighter race car to be able to race the Cup car all day. That's what I'm fighting here so far is knowing what I need. But we'll just keep working on it."
(ON WHETHER OR NOT IT IS BETTER TO BE A ROOKIE AT A YOUNG AGE OR OLDER AGE)
"I think there is a balance there where you can be at your best, where you aren't too much set in your ways, but you have had plenty of other experiences. I think Jeff (Gordon) is the perfect example. Tony Stewart is also the perfect example. Those two did a lot of different kinds of racing in a pretty short amount of time, and never really got stuck on one thing. I think that has made them the best that they can be. I'm sure if I'd had my choice I would have gotten out of those winged-sprint cars a while before I did. But that is kind of the way it happened and I really wouldn't trade that experience. I know it has taught me a lot. Some of it has helped me here and a lot of it hasn't. There are a lot of new things to learn. But I do think there is a balance there where you need to learn different things but not to much of it."