DETROIT (March 7, 2000) - Most rookies will admit their first year on the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit can be a little lonely as they get used to a new environment. They'll take friends when and where they can get them, and be thankful for every...
DETROIT (March 7, 2000) - Most rookies will admit their first year on the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit can be a little lonely as they get used to a new environment. They'll take friends when and where they can get them, and be thankful for every bit of it. Amoco Pontiac Grand Prix driver Dave Blaney is no exception, and is therefore looking forward to getting together with one of the best allies he'll find during the early part of 2000 in the form of Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Dave Blaney, No. 93 Amoco Pontiac Grand Prix
(why he looks forward to Atlanta): "It's fair to say it looks a little more friendly than some of the other places we've been. I've probably run more laps at Atlanta than I have any other track in a stock car. I ran some ARCA races there and a couple of Busch races. I ran well in the last Busch race that I ran there. I ran second. We also ran good in the Winston Cup race there last year. We qualified in the top 10 and ran respectable until I got in the fence. I've got confidence that we'll have real good race cars and good engines for there. I just like that racetrack. It's an awesome place."
(why he likes it so well): "That's a place where the driver can make a difference. A driver can really stand up in the seat and get going there. Like I said, the driver does make a difference and it's a confidence track. You've got to have confidence in your race car and in yourself to run good. And you feel the speed there more than anywhere - I have for sure, anyway. You feel like you are getting with the program there."
(feeling the speed): "I like it. You are loaded in the car more there. You feel the G-forces, you feel the banking, you feel the speed. I just like that feel a lot."
(The condition of NASCAR Winston Cup racing, in general: the empty seats ar Rockingham):
"As a newcomer, It concerns you a little. But I really think the time of year has a lot to do with it, as well as the weather being uncertain for sure. Plus the TV coverage is so good anymore that people may stay home just to watch it on TV. I think they are trying to get ticket prices down a little bit from what I hear in the next year or two, when all this TV money kicks in. I hope that does happen and make it more friendly for the fans to come in."
(Are ticket prices too high?): "I really can't answer that. I've really never seen a comparison of what a NASCAR race costs compared to a major league baseball game, basketball game or football game. I really don't know what we're talking there. But it's all up to the promoters. You can't get greedy. They need to make a good buck. But the people are what makes them live, so we've got to take care of them."
(Quality of competiton) "Maybe at Daytona, things weren't quite as good as they've been lately. But it was just so hard to pass, guys just weren't willing to take that many chances and it showed. But I thought Rockingham was a great race. The handling cars went to the front and that's what it's all about. I don't think you could ask for a lot more. For sure there is not as much wrecking and crashing as there used to be. There is just a lot more at stake. Guys aren't willing to take big chances and make big mistakes. They know they have to run all day and get a good finish. They are just not wanting to take as many chances as they were before and you can't blame them."
(Job stress for a race car driver): "Luckily I've never had much of a real 'other' job. I've always been racing. I grew up racing sprint cars. There was pressure to succeed. You had the car owner to deal with and he had a lot at stake. It's just magnified here. The car owners have huge amounts at stake, and the sponsors do as well, and all your crew guys. And it's right there in the limelight for everybody to see if you succeed or fail. I don't know if I can compare it to anything. Everybody deals with pressure differently, but it can definitely get to you. I don't think about it too much. I just focus on the job that needs to be done, and if we go out there and get our job done then everything takes care of itself. That's the only way I've ever gone about it. I don't really think like, 'Wow, am I going to fail?' I just think about what we need to do and then go out and try to do it."