ROSSBURG, OH - Let the fun begin. Dale Blaney and the Amoco ...
ROSSBURG, OH - Let the fun begin. Dale Blaney and the Amoco #93 Sprint Car Team have spent the last four and half months preparing for Sprint Car racing's biggest races by competing in the Pennzoil World of Outlaws series where Blaney and the DB Racing team have been one of the surprises this year. With their recent consistent finishes inside the top-five, the Amoco Team is confident heading into the 17th Annual King's Royal at Eldora Speedway on Saturday.
"I really feel pretty good," said Blaney, who currently ranks sixth in the WoO standings. "I feel like I've got a car capable of winning every night, and that's saying something considering we're competing against the best in the business. I've won a couple of races at Eldora in the past, so I know it's a place where we can do well. We're coming off two races where we ran third and second, so right now, we feel good about every race we go into. All of us are feeling confident heading into this weekend."
Blaney will lead the DB Racing team, which is owned by his brother, Dave, who was a two-time King's Royal winner, to Eldora with expectations of winning at least one of the three WoO shows this weekend. Crew Chief DJ Lindsey and Crewman Gene Jenkins have been doing a great job of keeping the Amoco #93 Maxim fast recently. Blaney finished third last Saturday at Red River Valley Speedway before almost capturing his second "A" Feature of the season at Cedar Lake Speedway on Monday night. Blaney worked his way from sixth to take the lead from Danny Lasoski, but Mark Kinser passed the #93 six laps later and held off Blaney for the first Mopar one-two finish of the season. Blaney's second place finish was the 12th top-five finish in 33 starts for the Amoco Team. The team is also beginning to command attention on the national level as evidenced by last week's National Sprint Car Poll tabbing the Hartford, Ohio driver seventh in the rankings.
This weekend's King's Royal begins a four-week stretch where huge payoffs will be offered to the traveling sprint car stars, and Blaney is hopeful that the #93 team can score the first big win of the 2000 season.
"This is the first shot at the big money this year and we'd certainly like to get it," said Blaney, who pocketed $100,000 by winning the Historical Big One at Eldora in 1998. "We'll just take them one at a time and hopefully, we'll be able to take advantage of what comes our way. We've been running really well, and I expect that to continue."
Blaney's best finish in the King's Royal came in 1994 when he was driving the #2d, which was wrenched by his current Crew Chief DJ Lindsey. It was Blaney's first attempt at the $50,000 first place check, and the finish was a surprise to many, but for Lindsey it was par for the course. "Nobody really expected much from us back then," said Lindsey. "I've always seemed to have a good handle on Eldora, and Dale is really good there. We have a standard setup for places like Eldora and that's been working for us this year. We ran well both times we were there earlier this year, so we're expecting to do well this weekend."
Jenkins has been a solid addition to the combination of Blaney and Lindsey. The longtime Central Pennsylvania car-owner has helped the team become nightly contenders and he's looking forward to "the month of money". "We've been getting better all the time," said Jenkins. "It's been a pretty good start to the season. We would have like to win more than one race, but these guys are so tough. Dale's been driving the car really well lately and I know he loves to gas it up at Eldora. We're hoping every thing works out."
Starting position has been a big key in claiming the big money races in the past. This season Blaney has made terrific charges at Eldora coming from 12th to fifth in April and from 14th to fourth in June, not to mention his charge from 17th to fifth at the super fast Bristol Motor Speedway event. It's all about being in a good position to win, and Blaney's confident if things go their way early in the program that they'll have a chance in the 40-lap race on Saturday.
"The heat races are pretty interesting at the King's Royal. They invert six and take three out of the heat races. It's kind of a make or break deal on the first lap and see who's in your heat. A lot of variables come into play as far as where you can start that race. We'll take what we can get, but as long as we can start in the first three or four rows, I feel like in forty laps we'll have a shot at winning."
With the money on the line, it's going to come down to the team that can work the best together. The DB Racing team has been working on all cylinders lately and if they can pull off a King's Royal victory, their confidence will continue to grow. Friday and Saturday's races at Eldora will be televised live on TNN Sports beginning at 9:00 PM (ET).