HAMPTON, Ga. (Oct. 28, 2007) -- Dave Blaney and the Caterpillar Racing team hoped get back on track this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway and put additional ground between themselves and the teams they were racing with for a coveted spot in the...
HAMPTON, Ga. (Oct. 28, 2007) -- Dave Blaney and the Caterpillar Racing team hoped get back on track this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway and put additional ground between themselves and the teams they were racing with for a coveted spot in the top 35 in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series owners' points. Unfortunately, fuel related issues early in the race stalled their progress. After spending a significant amount of time in the garage, the team finished 38th in the Pep Boys Auto 500.
Blaney was the 38th of 48 competitors to take to the track for his two-lap qualifying run Friday evening. While Blaney was driving through turns three and four on the way to take the green flag, the car bottomed out and emitted a shower of sparks. Blaney did a nice job of making only minimal contact with the outside wall and drove the car straight to the garage area. The crew determined the problem was a broken front sway bar. Luckily, the damage to the right side of the car was only cosmetic, and the team was not forced to use the back up car for the main event. Blaney was awarded the 42nd starting spot for Sunday's race.
After the green flag waved for the start of the event, Blaney soon let crew chief Tommy Baldwin know that he was working through both tight and loose handling conditions with the Caterpillar Camry. Blaney went one lap down to leader Kurt Busch on lap 28. A caution several laps later enabled the team to make air pressure, wedge and track bar adjustments in the first pit stop of the day. During that stop, Blaney also mentioned that he was feeling something peculiar with the motor.
Blaney lined up 42nd for the lap 39 restart, and as he attempted to come up to speed, the motor shut down. The car received a push to the garage area, where the team attempted to diagnose the problem. The crew made several changes to the car, including a new carburetor and a new distributor, before finding a fuel-related issue. After working through that problem, they sent the Cat Camry out on the track on lap 102.
Blaney held the 43rd spot but continued to log laps with hopes that attrition throughout the race would help to gain positions before it was all said and done. The team also continued to work on making the handling of the car more to Blaney's liking throughout the event. When the checkered flag waved, the Caterpillar Camry held the 38th place.
Though the team lost some ground to the No. 21 team, which holds 36th place in the owners' point standings, the No. 22 team remains in the top 35 in points and now stands 82 markers ahead of the 36th-place team.