DAVE BLANEY FEATURE Kmart 400 Advance June 9, 1999 Note: Amoco Pontiac Grand Prix driver Dave Blaney will make his second career NASCAR Winston Cup start providing he makes the field for Sunday's Kmart 400 at Michigan Speedway. Blaney drove a...
DAVE BLANEY FEATURE Kmart 400 Advance June 9, 1999
Note: Amoco Pontiac Grand Prix driver Dave Blaney will make his second career NASCAR Winston Cup start providing he makes the field for Sunday's Kmart 400 at Michigan Speedway. Blaney drove a Pontiac for Stan Hover in the 1992 ACDelco 500 at North Carolina Motor Speedway. He qualified 36th in a Pontiac and finished 31st after completing 371 of 432 laps and withdrawing with handling problems. Blaney is eighth in the NASCAR Busch Series point standings, but will likely miss this Saturday night's race at South Boston, Va., while practicing at Michigan. Tom Hubert will drive in his absence. Blaney's entire Busch Series team will accompany him to Michigan. His car is owned by Bill Davis.
DAVE BLANEY (No. 93 Amoco Pontiac Grand Prix): "We're real excited. We've been building toward this for a year-and-a-half now. We're finally getting a chance to go out and see what we've got. That's pretty exciting. We went up there and tested a couple of weeks ago and we thought things went pretty well. We're pretty confident we can go up there and make the race, run around all day and learn some stuff. It rained a lot. We got a couple of hours the first day and about an hour the second day. We might have only gotten 50 laps on the race track, but 95 percent of it was on our one-lap shots. It's hard to tell how we'll stack up. We know what it took last year qualifying-wise, but with the bigger spoilers now, we don't know what kind of lap it's going to take to make it up there. When we went up there with our test motor we went faster than we thought we were going to."
QUALIFYING IS ONE OF YOUR STRENGTHS. DOES THAT GIVE YOU CONFIDENCE?
"That's the Busch Series, too. We've really got some good cars and engines for that. I know we've got the same thing for our Cup car. It's all about putting that one lap together. I don't know what to think really. I'll know better when we get there and we get that first run in in practice and see where we stand. I'll know then whether we feel comfortable with where we're at or if we have to reach down for a bunch more. It's hard to tell. But I know we'll have a real good qualifying engine. If we get the car rolling around there where I'm comfortable in it, I think we've got a real good shot at getting in."
"When we originally put this all together we knew we were going to miss a few Busch races. We knew we were going to miss a few short track races. Since that point, we've kind of decided to run all the Busch Series races and we even thought we could still do this. I think we thought South Boston had a later start. It's killing me I can't make it back there. If that's the only one I miss all year I know I'm going to regret it. But we committed to this Michigan thing and the Amoco people are pumped up. We've got to go there and give it our best shot."
IMPORTANT TO START GETTING SOME WINSTON CUP EXPERIENCE BEFORE YOU FULL SEASON ON THE CIRCUIT NEXT YEAR?
"For sure. I feel like any kind of seat time is going to help me. If you're going to run those Cup cars you need to get in there and start as soon as you can. Probably our only goal for the five races this year is to make them all. Secondly, I want to learn as much as I can throughout the day. If we're comfortable in running with the middle of the pack then great. If it's the front, great, if it's the back, great. Just so that we're comfortable and we earn some respect along the way is all we're looking for. I'm going to learn as much as I can."
TALK ABOUT YOUR ONLY WINSTON CUP START.
"A friend of mine from Ohio, Stan Hoover, and he still runs some ARCA races, he had bought some Winston Cup cars. He was looking to run a couple of races and we'd been friends for a long time. We just both went down there to see what it was like. I remember everybody there made the race, 40 cars. We just had some fun learning what it was all about. I ran about two-thirds of the race. I remember the exhaust breaking and getting a bunch of fumes and getting sick. That's about my only memory of it, other than it being my first start in any kind of full-bodied stock car."
YOU AND TONY STEWART COME FROM SIMILAR BACKGROUNDS. HE'S MET WITH MUCH SUCCESS IN CUP. DOES THAT GIVE YOU HOPE?
"Obviously our backgrounds are a little bit similar. I think he ran more pavement races than I did. I ran the wings most of the time and he didn't. We were both in high-powered cars and that's kind of the same. I think his IRL experience has helped him a little bit. All of his testing has helped and I think he's gotten really good at the testing part. That doesn't do much for me. It's different. They are different teams and everything. I'm just looking at our team and I think we're going to have a really good Pontiac for Michigan. It's been to the wind tunnel and had real good numbers. I know Bill Davis' qualifying engines are as good as anybody's right now. We've got Ward Burton and Tommy Baldwin to lean on, too. I feel like we've got a good shot at making the field based on all those factors."
WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THE RACE?
"My goal obviously is just to make the race. My goal is to qualify in the top-25 and to finish the race. That's probably it for the first one. I could be a lot greedier. I could say, 'I want to start in the top-10 and finish on the lead lap,' but I'm going to be happy if we make the race and we're around at the end to take the checkered flag and finish it. I'll know I'll have done a lot of racing that day and a bunch of learning."
TALK ABOUT YOUR BUSCH SEASON AND THE PURSUIT OF YOUR FIRST VICTORY ON THAT CIRCUIT.
"I would hate not to get a win in the Busch Series before I move up to Cup. We had one for about a day there (in Atlanta when Mike Skinner was originally disqualified, then later granted his win) and then we had to give it back. I wasn't really thrilled with the idea of winning that way, but I'd be lying to you if I wouldn't like that first win in the record books. No, it wouldn't have felt the same. I've been pretty pleased with our performance this season. We've only had a few bad qualifying efforts. I can only remember one or two efforts, Las Vegas being one, that we weren't a top-10 race car. I've done some stupid things like crashing at Bristol and Darlington. We had a motor break at Daytona first lap. Those were just a few things that took away some good finishes I felt we could have had. You'd love to have those back, but everybody has their ups and downs. The performance I'm happy with. If I could develop a little bit better consistency and we get a little bit better luck, we'll be in good shape."