Phoenix II: Dave Blaney preview

* Phoenix's COT...The No. 22 Caterpillar Toyota Dave Blaney is scheduled to drive in the Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway is chassis No. 17. This car was most recently run in the events at Martinsville (Va.)...

* Phoenix's COT...The No. 22 Caterpillar Toyota Dave Blaney is scheduled to drive in the Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway is chassis No. 17. This car was most recently run in the events at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.

* What Happened Last week...The No. 22 Caterpillar team traveled to Texas with survival on its mind. After qualifying in the 32nd spot, Blaney and the team made it through the race unscathed to finish 21st and help solidify its place in the top 35 of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series owners' points standings.

* Blaney's Career Stats...Blaney will make his 267th career NEXTEL Cup Series start when the green flag waves Sunday afternoon. He made his first career Cup Series start in October 1992 at [Rockingham] North Carolina Speedway and drove his Bill Davis Racing-owned entry to an eighth-place finish (qualified 13th) in his first Cup Series start at Phoenix in 2000.

* Blaney at Phoenix...Blaney has made nine starts on the one-mile oval during his Cup Series career, starting as high as fifth (2002) and finishing as high as seventh (2002). He has scored two top-10 finishes in Cup Series competition at Phoenix International Raceway and has qualified in the top 10 twice.

* BDR at PIR...Competitors driving Bill Davis Racing-owned cars have been racing at the Avondale, Ariz., track since 1993 and have made 22 starts. Those drivers have posted three top-10 finishes.

* Benson Takes Over...BDR's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series veteran Johnny Benson will take over the reigns of the No. 36 Toyota this weekend and will finish the season in the machine. Trip Bruce, who leads Benson's NCTS effort, will call the shots this weekend for the Cup car as well.

* JV Makes Three...Blaney will also have a third teammate this weekend at PIR. Jacques Villeneuve will attempt to make his second career NEXTEL Cup Series start behind the wheel of the No. 27 Camry. Richard "Slugger" Labbe will once again serve as crew chief.

* Points Position...Last week's 21st-place finish helped the team pad its lead over 36th place in the owners' point standings, as well as gain ground on 34th. The No. 22 BDR entry now stands 23 markers behind Kyle Petty (34th) and 127 points ahead of the No. 21 car (36th).

Dave Blaney on Phoenix..."In Texas, we simply set our sights on finishing the race in one piece and knew if we could do that, we would most likely be able to pad our lead a little over the No. 21 team in the top-35 battle. Lucky for us, we were able to make up some ground on 34th too, so maybe this week we can look ahead a bit instead of concentrating on what's behind us as far as the points go. Obviously, we'll still need a solid effort because we're not out of the woods yet. So we may still have to play things a little cautious, but our Caterpillar Racing team looking forward to going to Phoenix. This will be the last time before Daytona that we'll race the COTs, so it's important we continue to learn as much as we can about these cars every opportunity we get."

-credit: bdr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kyle Petty , Jacques Villeneuve , Johnny Benson , Dave Blaney
Teams Bill Davis Racing