WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Aug. 12, 2007) -- Dave Blaney and the No. 22 Caterpillar Camry team headed to upstate New York for the final road course race of the 2007 campaign. The team has been working extremely hard on its road course package and was ...
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Aug. 12, 2007) -- Dave Blaney and the No. 22 Caterpillar Camry team headed to upstate New York for the final road course race of the 2007 campaign. The team has been working extremely hard on its road course package and was anxious to see if its hard work was going to pay off during the running of Sunday's 90-lap event.
During the 90-minute practice session on Friday afternoon, Blaney radioed to his crew that his Caterpillar Camry was really good. He explained that the car was a little loose but he could really get through both the right and left hand turns. The team made some minor adjustments to the car trying to fine tune it for Sunday's event. By the end of the session Blaney was extremely happy with how his car was handling and looking forward to Sunday's event.
Blaney was scheduled to be the 20th of 49 competitors to take to the track for qualifying Friday afternoon. Unfortunately, Mother Nature intervened and rain showers blanketed the Watkins Glen-area for much of the afternoon. NASCAR officials were forced to cancel qualifying and line up the field based on the current owner points. Based on the rule book, the Caterpillar Camry was set to start the race in the 35th spot.
During Saturday's two practice sessions, the Caterpillar Camry team tried a couple of different spring and shock combinations hoping it would give Dave Blaney the extra edge he needed. Blaney radioed to his crew explaining the car was extremely loose and he felt like he was going to spin out in the right hand turns. Crew chief Tommy Baldwin went to work to make the appropriate changes to the car in hopes of getting Blaney comfortable for race. By the end of practice the Caterpillar crew felt like they had a car they could adjust on all day and were looking forward to the race.
When the green flag was displayed to the field Blaney was on a mission to the front of the field. He was picking up positions on every lap and his times were as good as the leaders. He radioed to his crew on lap 10 explaining the car started out a little loose but was starting to tighten up as he went further into the run.
When the caution flag was displayed to the field on lap 22 for debris in turn one, Blaney prepared to come to pit road. He brought his Caterpillar Camry down the pit lane on lap 24 for service. The team changed four tires and filled the car with racing fuel. They also made an air pressure adjustment to help fix the loose condition Blaney was feeling on the race track.
The race was restarted on lap 25 and Blaney was in the 32nd spot. On lap 27, Blaney again radioed to his crew explaining the car was loose on both entry as well as exit. Tommy Baldwin started to formulate a plan for adjustments to the car on the next stop. The loose condition did not hinder Blaney from making up ground on the race track. He continued to push his Toyota towards the front of the field.
Blaney brought his car down pit road for the final time on lap 60 for fuel only. The team made a couple of minor adjustments to the car for the final 30 laps and sent Blaney back out on the track. By lap 70, Blaney had made it all the way up into the top-20 and it looked like the Caterpillar team was going to have another strong finish.
On lap 78 Blaney was going into turn on when he was hit from behind by the No. 21 car of Boris Said. This caused the 22 car to make contact with the car in front of him which caused severe damage to the radiator of the Caterpillar Camry. Blaney made it to the finish but did not get the finish indicative of the run the Caterpillar team had.
The NASCAR Nextel Cup Series heads back to Michigan International Speedway next weekend for the running of the 3M Performance 400. Qualifying for the event will be held Friday afternoon and Sunday's race is scheduled for a 2 p.m. ET start. The race will be broadcast on ESPN television, MRN Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio. Dave Blaney and teammate Jeremy Mayfield will stop Hartford, Ohio this Tuesday to take part in the "NASCAR Duel on the Dirt" at Sharon Speedway.