Loudon II: Dave Blaney preview


#77 CREW CHIEF RYAN PEMBERTON, A NATIVE NEW YORKER, ON THE SEPTEMBER 11 ANNIVERSARY--.."I was lucky in that I didn't lose anyone I knew last September. It all still seems kind of unreal to me, like I'm sure most Americans feel about what happened. I've got lots of friends who live and work in the city, and it's been an incredibly tough year for them in many ways. I'm sure when we get to this part of the Winston Cup schedule each year, we'll all remember where we were when we heard the news, and what it was like to go back to the track after the postponement of the race at New Hampshire--all the questions about when it would be right to go back to racing, what security and travel would be like for us as an industry. Juts like for America, it all changed permanently for our world as well."

PEMBERTON ON HIS TEAM'S TOP-RANKING IN LAPS-COMPLETED (see below) AND THIRD-PLACE RANKING IN MILES-COMPLETED IN 2002--.."I think it's a great indication that our team is well-prepared and well-organized, week-to-week, and that we have the ability to put together cars that stay on the track and engines that stay together. Those are essential steps to building a top-ten program for any team. When we all look back at the race to this point with Dave, I'm sure none of our guys feel like we're where we want to be in the points, but there are some stats that speak for themselves."

PEMBERTON ON HIS TEAM'S GREAT QUALIFYING EFFORT AT NHIS IN JULY AND THE TRACK PROBLEMS DURING THE RACE--.."Getting wrecked early in the July race at New Hampshire was a huge disappointment, not only because we had a car that probably would have been in contention all day, but also because it hurt us for this race--not being able to have a good set of notes on how Dave adapted to our cars at New Hampshire. We just kind of limped through the day to make it to the end. That was also a brand new car we'd built in-house that we'd hoped to learn a little bit about. We fixed it, but it was also the one we wrecked last weekend in practice at Richmond, so we'll start from Square One this weekend."

* DAVE BLANEY and the #77 Jasper Engines & Transmissions Ford team enter the New Hampshire 300 at NH International Speedway ranked 19th in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series standings, 96 points behind 2000 WC champion Bobby Labonte (18th); in six career WC starts at NHIS, BLANEY has best-start of fifth (29.096 secs.-7/02) and an average-start of 27.8, his best-finish is 29th (7/00) and his average-finish is 30.5; in 14 starts at NHIS, the #77 Jasper team has a best-start of fifth (Blaney--7/02), an average-start of 28, a best-finish of seventh (Robert Pressley--9/01) and an average-finish of 26.

* In the July race at New Hampshire, BLANEY qualified a then-season-best fifth (29.096 secs.) in the #77 Jasper Ford, but was spun into the Turn 2 wall passing for third place on the second lap, and limped home 15 laps down in 35th after pitting several times after the accident for lengthy repairs; his season-best qualifying effort is third (Richmond 2), matching his WC career-best at Atlanta (11/01); his ninth-place finish at Richmond was his third top-ten of the season, matching his season-best at California; his career-best WC finish is sixth (Texas, Michigan 2, Miami-- 2001).

* After 26 races in the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season, BLANEY RANKS FIRST IN LAPS COMPLETED (7,450 of 7,579/98.3%) AND RANKS THIRD IN MILES COMPLETED (10,135.972 of 10,294.121/98.5%), trailing only Jimmie Johnson (99%--by 61.25 miles) and Bill Elliott (98/8%--by 37.201 miles); Rusty Wallace is the second Penske-Jasper Engine entry in the top-five in both categories, ranking fifth in laps-completed (97.4%) and miles-completed (97.7%).

* Rusty Wallace leads the three Penske-Jasper Engines entries in the 2002 Winston Cup standings in sixth-place (3,293 points--4 top-fives, 13 top-tens), 146 points behind leader Sterling Marlin; Ryan Newman (3,168 points) ranks 10th (a WC Series-leading 12 top-fives, 15 top-tens); BLANEY and the #77 Jasper team rank 20th in the WC owners points (2,637 points); BLANEY ranked 24th entering the 27th-race of the 2001 season (at Dover) in the #93 BDR Dodge.


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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Bobby Labonte , Rusty Wallace , Sterling Marlin , Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson , Dave Blaney