Blaney coming back for more ... lots more By Matthew Leach CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Jan. 14, 1999) Dave Blaney expects that his jump to the NASCAR Winston Cup Series will be easier than most folks'. After all, he's already made a transition that he...
Blaney coming back for more ... lots more By Matthew Leach
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Jan. 14, 1999) Dave Blaney expects that his jump to the NASCAR Winston Cup Series will be easier than most folks'. After all, he's already made a transition that he figures is tougher than any other he's ever likely to see.
Last season, Blaney ran for Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors in the NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division. But unlike his opponents, he didn't come from another NASCAR division -- before '98, Blaney was a star -- a champion -- in the World of Outlaws. By Blaney's logic, the move from NASCAR Busch Series cars to their higher-horsepower cousins will be nothing compared to the move from open-wheel dirt-track racing.
"That's gonna be an easy step, I think, compared to what I came from," Blaney said. "I talked to a lot of Cup guys, and they said it's a big jump to the Cup cars from the Busch cars, and I don't doubt it. But it was an awful big step that I came from, and I'll be way more at ease with this step."
He'll find out soon enough. Despite having only 20 NASCAR Busch Series races under his belt, Blaney will take his hacks in stock-car racing's top series this year. He'll run a limited schedule in '99, driving Pontiacs in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series for his current team owner, Bill Davis, and with his current sponsor, Amoco.
The team plans to enter five races: the 400-mile event at Michigan Speedway June 13, the July 11 Jiffy Lube 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway, the Brickyard 400 Aug. 7 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Nov. 14 Jiffy Lube Miami 400 at Homestead, and the season-ending NAPA 500 Nov. 21 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Plans call for Blaney to run full-time in 2000, as a teammate to Ward Burton, who drives Davis' No. 22 Caterpillar Pontiac in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series.
In the meantime, Blaney intends to run an almost-full-time campaign in the NASCAR Busch Series once again in '99. And he expects to run well.
He made a dramatic improvement from early '98 to late '98, so it's a distinct possibility that the No. 22 could be a real contender in '99. In the first 12 races of his rookie season, Blaney finished in the top-20 only twice. But in the eight races he entered after that, he didn't miss the top-20 even once.
"Our team isn't quite big enough to be able to go to a weekend and run both," Blaney said, "so we've got to choose one or the other. So we took some of the half-mile Busch races off and put me on some of the Cup tracks. They just want me to see most of the tracks before 2000 when I run that Winston Cup car. They want me to have been to most of them.
"I expect to be a top-10 car every week (in the NASCAR Busch Series), to win a race, and to be in contention to win a lot of races. I think we can easily do that. We've got the team to do it. Obviously I didn't have enough experience to win last year, and I still maybe don't. But we're going to races with the idea that we've got a shot."
Source: NASCAR Online