Dale Blaney historical Big One preview

HARTFORD, OH - With seven winners in seven races, the Historical Big One (HBO) has become one of the most unpredictable sprint car races of the year. The only thing that has been predictable the last three years is that a Dave...

HARTFORD, OH - With seven winners in seven races, the Historical Big One (HBO) has become one of the most unpredictable sprint car races of the year. The only thing that has been predictable the last three years is that a Dave Blaney-owned sprint car has finished first in the $100,000-to-win race at Eldora Speedway. In Saturday's "HBO VIII", Dale Blaney will pilot the Amoco #93 and his expectations are as high as his confidence following his recent King's Royal victory at Eldora. "I'll be disappointed if I don't win the Big One," said Blaney, the 1998 HBO Champion. "I'm looking at running in the top two or three, and as well as we've run there this year, I feel like we're the car to beat. It's a big race so I guess if you could finish in the top five that you would be satisfied, but we're not thinking that way right now." The Hartford, OH, driver is having an outstanding season with the Pennzoil World of Outlaws (WoO). After starting the 2000 campaign with a revamped team that included a new crew, chassis and engine program, the #93 team used the Outlaws' last visit to Eldora for a coming out party, but their earlier performances at the high-banked half-mile oval should have tipped off the competition. Blaney, along with his crew of D.J. Lindsey and Gene Jenkins, improved their finish each time they've raced at "the Big E" this season. In April, Blaney started 12th and finished fifth and in May, he raced from 14th to fourth. The night before the King's Royal he raced from 12th to second and almost caught Sammy Swindell for the win. The following night he started fourth and won his first King's Royal by holding off Steve Kinser. "Winning the King's Royal was pretty awesome," said Blaney, who became only the fourth driver to win both the King's Royal and Big One. "Not only winning the race, but to be able to keep Steve Kinser behind me is something that I'll cherish forever. I guess the good part of it is that it was a TV Race (TNN Sports), and if I start doubting myself, I can always put the tape in. We've got one big money race already, but now it's time to get another one." Getting into the race is half the battle at the HBO. Qualifying is crucial because the format calls for six cars to be inverted throughout the six heat races and only three cars transfer directly into the 40-lap race. The top six spots are reserved for the fastest six qualifiers that make the top three in their heat. "You have to qualify as good as you can and get lucky enough to be in a decent heat race," explained Blaney. "In some of those heat races, you'll have three, four and sometimes five guys that are tough to pass, so you've got to get in the right heat and make the most of your opportunities." Blaney is making the most of his second opportunity in his brother's Amoco #93. The team has two Outlaw wins and currently ranks sixth in the standings. This will be Blaney's seventh Historical Big One. He finished fifth in 1994 when he was driving the #2d and working with his current Crew Chief D.J. Lindsey. After two 15th place finishes and a 12th in 1997, Blaney scored his first "big money" sprint car win by passing Sammy Swindell with ten laps to go in the 1998 HBO. This year he's hoping to break the race's current winners trend and return to victory lane. "Somebody's got to be the first repeat winner," concluded Blaney. "I feel like my crew has done a terrific job getting me fast and I can't say enough about the Mopar Engines and Maxim Chassis that we're using. I'd sure like to win for everyone that has helped us get here. This is the time of the year to be at your best, and we feel really confident about our chances."

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Steve Kinser , Sammy Swindell
Teams HART