Blaney just misses second straight Bud Pole By Shawn A. Akers
MADISON, Ill. (Oct. 16, 1998) Missed it by that much. Although he wasn't expecting much, Dave Blaney almost got his second straight NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division Bud Pole Award on Friday afternoon. The driver of the No. 93 Amoco Pontiac, who earned his first career Bud Pole two weeks ago for the All Pro Bumper to Bumper 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, had the top time for Saturday's CarQuest Auto Parts 250 at Gateway International Raceway with two cars remaining in qualifying before Shane Hall snagged the No. 1 position with a fast lap of 132.361 mph.
Also one of the later drivers to go out, Blaney clocked a fast time of 131.748 mph around the 1.25-mile oval to take the top spot away from Jeff Purvis.
"To tell you the truth, I didn't think I had any shot at anything," said Blaney, who now has five straight top-10 qualifying efforts, dating back to early September for the Dura-Lube 200 Presented by Bi-Lo at Darlington Raceway. "I went around the race track way too easy and way too cautious. All I wanted to do was to better my practice time, and I did that by about a tenth (of a second), and lo and behold, it was almost good enough to win the pole."
A total of 48 drivers qualified Friday, but 32 went out prior to a rain delay, one that lasted 2 hours. Andy Santerre had the best speed among those 32 drivers with a fast lap of 131.326 mph.
After the rain delay, however, five other drivers, including Blaney, broke the previous track qualifying record.
"I didn't think the rain helped or hurt anything at all," Blaney said. "There were some drivers that surprised me because they went out and qualified slower than what they were running in practice. I didn't know if we were going to be able to do much better than what anybody else already had done, but we did. I congratulate Shane (Hall) for getting the pole. He went out there and really ran hard." A former sprint car driver in his rookie season in the NASCAR Busch Series, Blaney and the No. 93 Amoco Pontiac Bill Davis Racing team took its lumps earlier in the year but have come on strong in the last few weeks.
At Charlotte, Blaney finished 11th. Previous to that he had a sixth-place run, his best of the season, at Dover, and was 12th at Richmond.
"We've really shown a lot of improvement and this race team has really shown recently what it can do," Blaney said. "Yeah, we've qualified very well lately, but that's just a tribute to this race team and (crew chief) Gil (Martin). Hopefully we'll be able to go out and get another top-10 here tomorrow. Qualifying is one thing, but you need to go out and get it done during the race as well."
Source: NASCAR Online