Part Failure Spoils TBR’s Run for Top-35
Blaney Finishes 37th in Auto Club 400
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (March 28, 2011) – Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) went into the weekend at Auto Club Speedway with one goal – to make the top-35 in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) Owner Points. Unfortunately, a rear-end gear failure forced the No. 36 Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet toretire early. Dave Blaney finished 37th in the Auto Club 400, after starting from the 31st position. The No. 36 Tommy Baldwin RacingChevrolet now sits 37th in the NSCS Owner Points, nine points outside of the top-35.
After a rain delay on Friday, the TBR team qualified and practiced during the three practice sessions on Friday and Saturday. Blaney posted the 33rd-fastest time in the first two practices, the 35th-quickest time in final practice and qualified 31st for Sunday.
Blaney took the green flag for the Auto Club 400 from the 16th row and felt comfortable in the No. 36 Chevrolet. By lap 20, Blaney radioed that the No. 36 was too tight. Crew chief Tommy Baldwin called for a trackbar adjustment and sticker tires for the first pit stop.
The race stayed green and the field began green-flag pit stops.Following a four-tire pit stop and adjustments, Blaney came back on the track on lap 35 in the 37th position, one lap down. The race continuedunder green conditions, and Blaney had to make another green-flag pit stop on lap 67. The TBR team once again worked on the handling on the car during the four-tire stop.
By lap 70, the TBR Chevrolet fell two laps down racing in the 36th spot. Blaney radioed that the car was really tight in the center and he had to ease off the throttle. The first caution fell on lap 76 for debris. The TBR team decided to stay out during the caution to get a lap back. Blaney restarted on lap 80 in 34th, one lap down.
The TBR team held their position one lap down through the second yellow flag and restarted on lap 108 from the 30th position. The field made green flag pit stops once again, and the TBR team changed four tires and worked on the handling of the No. 36 Chevrolet. By lap 150, Blaney held steady in the 32nd position, two laps down.
By lap 169, the team planned to pit, but asBlaney pulled down pit road, a caution came out for a spin in turn four. Hedrove back on the track and pit under yellow-flag conditions on lap 172. The TBR team changed four tires, made wedge and air pressure adjustments and added fuel. Blaney restarted 32nd and raced with the No. 13 of Casey Mears, who sat in the coveted 35th position in owner points heading into the weekend.
Four laps into the run, Blaney radioed that the car was really loose and he was hopeful it will come in. By lap 184, the No. 36 was tight again, making it hard to turn in the corner especially in turns three and four.
An accident in turn two brought out the final caution. Blaney drove down pit road for the final service of the day. The team changed four tires and went back on the wedge adjustment. Unfortunately, asBlaney pulled out of the pit box, the pinion broke in the rear-end, ending the team’s day 11 laps early.
Blaney finished the Auto Club 400 in the 37th position. The TBR team now sits 37th in NSCS Owner Points, nine points outside of the top-35. Blaney is currently 35th in NSCS Driver Points.
“It was a disappointing day for us,” explained Blaney. “The car wasn’t very good at the beginning. Unfortunately, there weren’t very many cautions in the race, so we didn’t have a lot of time to work on the car. We made some gains, but they just weren’t enough. I’m excited to shake off California and head to Martinsville fighting to get into the top-35.”
The NSCS returns to action April 3rd at Martinsville Speedway for the Goody's Fast Relief 500.
- source: tbr