FT. WORTH, TX (March 29) - Confidence. With today's competition level, it's the one thing that seems to be the key ingredient for success in the Pennzoil World of Outlaws (WoO). Dale Blaney and his Amoco ...
FT. WORTH, TX (March 29) - Confidence. With today's competition level, it's the one thing that seems to be the key ingredient for success in the Pennzoil World of Outlaws (WoO). Dale Blaney and his Amoco #93 team began putting the pieces together last weekend at Joplin 66 Speedway and are confident heading into this weekend's Southern Bleacher Classic at the new dirt track at Texas Motor Speedway.
"Last weekend really helped us," said Blaney, about his fourth place finish at Joplin on Saturday. "We've put a lot of pressure on ourselves by coming out here with a new chassis, motor program and a crew that has never been on the road full-time. Obviously, it was going to take some time and I'm not saying we're perfect yet, but things are starting to work better. The more we get on the track the better we are going to get. . I feel confident about this weekend and the rest of the season. We're getting a handle on this new program "
Blaney began the 2000 campaign in a new Maxim Chassis with Mopar Engines, both of which he had never raced before. Throw in new Crew Chief D.J. Lindsey and Crewman Gene Jenkins and you've got a relatively young team competing against perennial WoO veterans like Steve Kinser, Sammy Swindell, Mark Kinser and Danny Lasoski. Things were bound to be tough, but through five events they've kept their composure and found ways each weekend to find a silver lining.
"There's been nights we've struggled like at Hanford (15th), Las Vegas (18th and 13th) and Devil's Bowl (17th), " said Blaney, "but running at sixth at Perris and tenth at Vegas on the final night kept our spirits up. Last weekend, we had a good car all weekend. We felt like we made a wrong decision with the set-up in Friday night's feature that cost us a top-ten, but we bounced back with a fourth on Saturday when the money and points were really on the line."
This weekend's event at Texas Motor Speedway will provide Blaney's brother and car-owner Dave Blaney a chance to be on hand. Dave is currently challenging for the Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year Award in NASCAR's Winston Cup division driving Bill Davis Racing's Amoco Ultimate/Siemens #93 Pontiac and will be competing in Sunday's DirectTV 500. For Dale, it always helps when the 1995 WoO Champion is at the track helping the team especially when they are racing at a new track.
"It's going to help us having Dave around this weekend," said Blaney, who was the top finisher on Goodyear Eagles at Joplin on Saturday. "Anytime you race at a new track everyone is searching for the right car set-up and best place to run on the track. Having an extra set of eyes with all of his experience in these cars will hopefully allow us to find the best place to be on the track before anyone else does."
"I'm excited about racing at the new Texas track. We tested there a few weeks ago and it's really a first-class facility. I'll enjoy having a lot of the NASCAR guys on hand. I've made some friends over there and they don’t get too many chances to see us race in person very often."
The team began the season with lofty goals and at this point they are within reach. Blaney currently ranks eighth in the WoO Series standings just 35 points behind fifth-place driver Stevie Smith. If the team can continue to run consistently in the top-ten, their chances to win that first race will greatly improve, and once they get over the hump the first time, the next time seems to come a little easier.
"We need to build on last weekend's results," said Blaney. "We can't expect to run outside the top-ten and one night end up in victory lane. We need to be in the hunt on a regular basis and put ourselves in position to win. I really want to get that first WoO win out of the way, but I know if we keep doing what we're doing, things will work out just how we hoped they would."
Both Thursday and Friday's races at Texas Motor Speedway will be aired live on TNN: The Nashville Network beginning at 10 PM (ET).