Gobrecht Takes Reins of ...
Gobrecht Takes Reins of #93 Amoco Sprinter By Richard Day
CHICAGO, IL (April 21) - Hylton/Blaney Motorsports hired Kevin Gobrecht Wednesday with the hope he will provide the octane the #93 Amoco J&J needs to race with the leaders in the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series.
"I've always wanted a Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series ride," said Gobrecht, who won eight races in 20 starts in Pennsylvania this year. "It's a shame to leave Zemco Racing after we've been doing so well, but I know where I want my career to go and that's with the World of Outlaws. I'm really happy for the opportunity to drive the Amoco car for Hylton/Blaney Motorsports."
Amoco and Hylton/Blaney Motorsports are looking forward to the change in drivers paying huge dividends.
"Like in so many sports situations, our decision to make a change at this time was based in a feeling that the key people with our team had different visions of how to reach our goals - to go fast and win races - and we needed to get back to doing some things that could make us more competitive with the top teams, " team co-owner Keith Hylton said.
"Dale Blaney (the team's former driver) is a great talent and (crew chief) Kenny Woodruff is one of our sport's top mechanical minds, but they seemed to be going in different directions in terms of how they wanted the cars.
"As with the coach-player situation in team sports, sometimes the athlete doesn't fit the system he's in and can't grow because of it. That was probably happening with Dale. There's no question he'll continue to be successful driving sprint cars. We also think we've aligned ourselves with one of the top young racers anywhere in Kevin Gobrecht."
This won't be the first time Gobrecht has raced with the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series. He drove the #22 Elden Racing Maxim for four races in 1996 when Jac Haudenschild was injured.
"What I remember most about racing with the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series a few years ago was that it was so overwhelming," Gobrecht said. "It was high-profile team, and I lost track of things really quick racing in big events like the Amoco Knoxville Nationals. It all took me by surprise. This time around, I'm going to be more focused on racing."
Gobrecht was definitely focused when he won the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series "A" Feature at Williams Grove Speedway last July 31st.
"Beating the Outlaws last summer definitely helped me, " he said. "As a local driver, that's what you shoot for. Of course, every week you go out to win, but when the Outlaws are in town you want to win even more. I noticed that after winning that race I expected to be running up front every race. That's something I've started expecting this year, and I'm looking forward to that continuing now that I'll be racing with them every night."
Gobrecht will be in the cockpit of the #93 this weekend when the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series visits Tulsa Speedway, Devil's Bowl Speedway and State Fair Speedway in Oklahoma City.
Blaney earned the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series Rookie of the Year award while racing with Amoco last season. He ranked 11th in the point standings with five top-10 finishes through the first 10 races this year. He didn't relish leaving the team his brother Dave and Hylton jointly own, but he knew a change needed to be made.
"We've been struggling," Dale admitted. "We struggled some last year, too, so something needed to happen. The easiest thing to do is to change drivers. I'm not saying that's the right or wrong decision, but that's what we did."
Blaney said he was going to return to Tim Hughes' #94 car, which he drove to All-Stars Circuit of Champions titles in 1995 and 1996.
"We're going to stay around," Dale added. "We'll still race with the World of Outlaws, and with the All-Stars and in Pennsylvania."