DAVE BLANEY -- PENNSYLVANIA 500 POCONO, Pa. (Aug. 5, 2007) -- Dave Blaney and the No. 22 team arrived at Pocono Raceway last weekend bound and determined to capitalize on their ninth-place finish last weekend at Indianapolis, which bumped them...
DAVE BLANEY -- PENNSYLVANIA 500
POCONO, Pa. (Aug. 5, 2007) -- Dave Blaney and the No. 22 team arrived at Pocono Raceway last weekend bound and determined to capitalize on their ninth-place finish last weekend at Indianapolis, which bumped them into the top 35 in the owners' point standings. The Caterpillar Racing team entered the weekend with the goal of finishing in the top 20 and did just that Sunday afternoon.
Blaney was the 45th of 47 competitors to take to the track for qualifying Friday afternoon. This week the Caterpillar Racing team was automatically locked into the field by virtue of its position within the top 35 in the owners' points standings. Blaney's speed of 167.863 mph around the 2.5-mile trioval was quick enough to earn the 19th spot on the starting grid for Sunday's event.
The green flag waved for the start of the 500-mile event, and by the time the first caution flag of the day waved on lap five, Blaney had already moved into the top 15. He communicated to crew chief Tommy Baldwin that the handling of the Caterpillar Camry was loose off the corners. Baldwin planned both air pressure and track bar adjustments during the first pit stop of the day, which came on lap 32. Blaney continued to ride in the top 20 when the caution flag waved again on lap 55. He pitted again for four tires, fuel and wedge and air pressure adjustments, which were made in an effort to help improve the balance of the car.
The No. 22 machine hovered around the top 20 for the first half of the event and held the 21st spot by the midway point of the race. Blaney informed the crew that the car was free in turns one and three, and Baldwin again planned air pressure adjustment to several of the four fresh tires the crew bolted on the car during its lap 121 pit stop.
Blaney ran as high as 17th in the closing laps of the event, and Baldwin continued to make adjustments to the balance of the car, which had become tight in and loose off the corners. Blaney spent most of the last portion of the race chasing down the No. 21 car, which stands in the 36th position in the owners' point standings, in an effort to pad the Bill Davis Racing team's lead over that position. Blaney took the checkered flag in 20th place and remains locked into the top 35 heading into next weekend's race. Once again the Cat Racing team was the highest finishing Toyota team.