BLANEY OPTIMISTIC ABOUT RETURN TO CHARLOTTE IN AMOCO ...
BLANEY OPTIMISTIC ABOUT RETURN TO CHARLOTTE IN AMOCO #93
CONCORD, NC (October 4) - When the new Dirt Track at Lowe's Motor Speedway was christened by the Pennzoil World of Outlaws in May, Dale Blaney and the Amoco Team were still trying to put it all together. Since then a lot has happened for the #93 team, but as they return to Charlotte for the TALK.com Outlaw Championship their goals remain the same.
"When we were here in May, we were still trying to prove ourselves," said Blaney. "We had run pretty consistent, but hadn't won anything. There was a lot of pressure on all of us, but it came down to working together and making things happen."
Blaney's goal for the 2000 WoO season was to win races and a top five finish in the competitive Outlaw series. Blaney's fifth place finish in the Wix Filters Showdown was his fifth top five of the season and in the next four races he scored three more including an incredible run from 19th to fifth at the inaugural Channellock Challenge at Bristol. The race that followed that performance at NASCAR's most popular track was Blaney's watershed event as he finally beat the Outlaws.
He dominated the evening at the tiny Farmer City, IL facility and validated his skills as well as his team, which is made up of DJ Lindsey and Gene Jenkins. The victory provided confidence and a month later; the team took the next step. Three consecutive top-three finishes leading up to the first "big money" race of the Outlaw season, the King's Royal. Blaney and his team became "a threat to win every night" according to team owner and NASCAR Rookie Dave Blaney by winning the $50,000-to-win race over sprint car legend Steve Kinser.
"Winning that race was an incredible accomplishment," said Blaney. "Everything worked for us that night. My crew had been putting a great car under me and circumstances didn't work out for us. We knew it was going to take a while for us to gel as a team with new equipment (Mopar Engines and Maxim Chassis), but after the first win (at Farmer City) we knew we could get it done."
Unfortunately for Blaney and the team, they are still waiting to celebrate victory number three. Blaney led more than half of the first qualifying feature at the Amoco Knoxville Nationals before finishing third and went 12 events (19 races) without another top five finish until last Thursday's third at Hagerstown (MD) Speedway. The top five drought and some bad luck cost Blaney sixth place in the standings. After three top tens in the last four races, he's back to within 17 points of Joey Saldana for that sixth spot.
"We went through a stretch where it seemed like nothing would go right for us," said Blaney, who held sixth in the standings from April 15 to September 2. "The swing out west was pretty tough on us, but we feel like we've gotten our confidence back. Our goal is to get back to sixth (in the standings) and hopefully, get another win. It would be pretty special to win a race in Charlotte."
With only five more events left in the 2000 season, Blaney knows it will be important to do well this weekend. "We're going to have to be very consistent the rest of the way," concluded Blaney. "Joey is going to be tough to catch, but we're not going to be happy if we don't get that sixth spot back."