Richmond II: Dave Blaney preview

* DAVE BLANEY and the ...

* DAVE BLANEY and the #77 Jasper Engines & Transmissions Ford team enter the Chevrolet Monte Carlo 400 at Richmond International Raceway ranked 22nd in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series standings, 24 points behind 21st-place Kevin Harvick, 26 points behind 20th-place Robby Gordon and 64 points behind 19th-place Terry Labonte; in five career WC starts at Richmond, BLANEY has a best-start of 14th (21.899 secs.-9/01) and an average-start of 27th; his best-finish is 19th (9/00) and his average-finish is 28.6; in 16 starts at Richmond, the #77 Jasper team has a best-start of sixth (Greg Sacks--8/94), an average-start of 26.9, a best-finish of 15th (Robert Pressley--9/01) and an average-finish of 31.6.

* In the May race at Richmond, BLANEY qualified 28th (21.485 secs.) in the #77 Jasper Ford, but enjoyed a productive afternoon in the rain-delayed event, running into the top-15 early and remaining there throughout the day until mechanical problems sidelined him with only 17 mile remaining, he finished 29th; BLANEY has a best-finish of tenth (5/99) and 12th (9/98) in four career NASCAR Busch Series starts at RIR.

* After 25 races in the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season, BLANEY ranks fourth in miles completed (9,860.83-10059.4/98%) behind defending WC champion Jeff Gordon (second in points), Bill Elliott (seventh in points) and Rookie-of-the-Year leader Jimmie Johnson (fifth in points); BLANEY ranked 24th in the 2001 Winston Cup standings entering the 2001 Chevrolet 400 at Richmond with the #93 BDR Dodge.

* Rusty Wallace leads the three Penske-Jasper Engines entries in the 2002 Winston Cup standings in sixth-place (3,175 points--4 top-fives, 13 top-tens), 230 points behind leader Sterling Marlin; Ryan Newman (2,988 points) ranks 11th (11 top-fives, 14 top-tens); BLANEY ranks 22nd (2,499 points).

* The #77 Jasper Motorsports team was formed prior to the 1996 through the multiple ownership of DOUG BAWEL (President of Jasper Engines & Transmissions), MARK WALLACE (Team CFO and Jasper's largest national distributor) and MARK HARRAH (Team Manager and Jasper distributor in Greensboro, NC); after beginning their NASCAR involvement as an engine supplier for Hedrick Motorsports (#41), BAWEL gained part-ownership in the #55 RaDiUs team prior to the 1994 season; the team's best WC points-finish is 25th (Robert Pressley/25th-2002), best race-finish is second (Pressley/Chicago-2002) and has not won pole position; BLANEY is the tenth driver for the Jasper team.

**BLANEY ON FIRST RICHMOND RACE WITH #77, TRACK PROBLEMS--..

"We've had a great year, in terms of finishing races (fourth in miles completed--98%), and Richmond was the first of only two races we've not been running at the end. We had an oil-pump bracket break inside 20 miles left in the race after running in the top-15 for most of the race.

"Our only other DNF was in July at Daytona, when we got into (Ryan) Newman when he spun with four laps to go after we ran at the front all night. We've been able to make big gains in horsepower all season with the Penske-Jasper Engines without giving up the reliability and that's the kind of progress you have to have to have a chance to improve as a team. You've got to finish races, and we have.

"I think we probably won't see the sort of struggles with the (slick) track that people had at Richmond in May, because they've had the IRL race there and enough time has also passed that the sealer has probably worked it's way to a level we can race on. The other thing that made it tough was that we were forced (by the rain-out on Saturday night) to finish the race on Sunday under sunny conditions and I'm sure that didn't help most teams.

**BLANEY ON DARLINGTON DISAPPOINTMENT (two tire problems--29th place finish----.."We started out pretty balanced in our first run, and it looked like we were going to be pretty good on longer runs, like you want as the tires burn away at Darlington. But I guess we'll never know what might have been, because the only time we got a chance to race them after the first tire problem was after we sorted out the lead-lap cars from those laps-down and began moving up through the field.

"To have two tire problems in one day--even at Darlington where the tire-wear is so severe--is unbelievable, except when you're causing your own problem with too much camber or some chassis-related problem. That wasn't the case with us, and there were segments during the middle of the race when we were as good as all but the top 5-6 cars. Seems like we've had a lot of those kinds of days this summer. It's pretty frustrating, but Ryan and our guys had great pit-stops all day and did all they could to figure a way to get us back in the hunt with the leaders."

**DAVE BLANEY--#77 JASPER FORD RICHMOND REWIND--

Dave Blaney and the #77 Jasper Engines & Transmissions Team made their first start together at Richmond in May, qualifying 29th and finishing 28th in the rain-delayed Sunday afternoon race. Blaney ran into the top-15 early and remained there through much of the race until mechanical problems sidelined the #77 Jasper Ford with less than 20 miles to go.

With former driver Robert Pressley, the #77 Jasper Engines & Transmissions Ford team had moderate success at Richmond, posting it's best overall team finish (15th) in last fall's race after averaging a 36th-place finish at RIR with Pressley in the seven previous races dating back through the start of the 1998 season.

After starting a career-best 14th, Blaney was on his way to a career-best RIR finish (in five WC starts) in last fall's event until cutting a tire and hitting the Turn 4 wall with less than 30 miles remaining. He finished 28th. In four career NASCAR Busch Series starts at RIR (1998-99), Blaney had best-finishes of 10th (5/99) and 12th (9/98).

-jm-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Terry Labonte , Rusty Wallace , Kevin Harvick , Sterling Marlin , Ryan Newman , Robert Pressley , Jimmie Johnson , Greg Sacks , Dave Blaney