DAVE BLANEY on hopes for Pepsi 400 at Michigan this weekend---- "For sure, I'm excited about the Michigan race this weekend, because we're taking the same car we ran so well with in June. We were pretty competitive there all day. I think we can...
DAVE BLANEY on hopes for Pepsi 400 at Michigan this weekend----
"For sure, I'm excited about the Michigan race this weekend, because we're taking the same car we ran so well with in June. We were pretty competitive there all day. I think we can finish a little closer to the front (than 13th) this time.
"I like Michigan, and I have some success there in the limited number of races I've been in NASCAR. The best-handling car will win there every time, because--although it's a wide and fast surface--the entries into Turn 1 and Turn 3are real tricky, and right on the edge, if you want to get through the middle of the corners and off the way you need to.
"Our Penske-Jasper engine program is awesome, and getting better every week. If we can get good track-position and get a lot of green-flag laps the way it usually is at Michigan, we'll be in the hunt.
"We didn't move up in the points (still 20th) after Watkins Glen, but we still had a good points day because many of the guys we're chasing had a little trouble. Our goal at the start of the year was to finish in the top-15 in the points. If we can run the way we think we can on Sunday, we'll take another big step toward that goal. We go into every race aiming for the top-10, but I don't see why we can't get our first top-five of the season at Michigan this weekend."
* DAVE BLANEY and the #77 Jasper Engines & Transmissions Ford team enter the Pepsi 400 at Michigan international Speedway ranked 20th in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series standings, only 30 points behind 19th-place Jeff Green, 34 points behind 18th-place Bobby Labonte and 81 points behind 17th-place Dale Earnhardt, Jr.; in six career WC starts at Michigan, BLANEY has a best-start of fourth at MIS (38.365 secs.-6/01) and an average-start of 21.33, his best-finish is sixth (8/01) and his average-finish is 18.17; in 18 starts at MIS, the #77 Jasper team has a best-start of fifth (Ted Musgrave--6/93), an average-start of 24.6, a best-finish of fifth (Robert Pressley--6/00 & Musgrave--6/93) and an average-finish of 24.17.
* In the June race at Michigan, BLANEY started 23rd (38.615 secs.) in the #77 Jasper Ford, and finished 13th, running in the top-ten through much of the race until being shuffled back after the race's last restart in the final 10 miles of the event; Robert Pressley finished a team-best fifth (in 18 starts) in the #77 Jasper Ford in the rain-shortened June, 2000 race at MIS, leading until the final 20 miles when Tony Stewart slipped past and won over the late Dale Earnhardt, Bobby Labonte, Dale Jarrett and Pressley.