Dale Blaney Makes History at Tri-City By Richard Day GRANITE CITY, IL (May 12) -- Dale Blaney made Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series history Saturday at Tri-City Speedway. Not only was the $10,000 victory in front of a record crowd at...
Dale Blaney Makes History at Tri-City
By Richard Day
GRANITE CITY, IL (May 12) -- Dale Blaney made Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series history Saturday at Tri-City Speedway.
Not only was the $10,000 victory in front of a record crowd at Bob Wente's semi-banked, 1/2-mile oval his first of the season, it made Blaney the series' ninth winner this year. Never in the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series' first 23 seasons have nine drivers combined to win the first 16 "A" Features.
Blaney, whose previous best finish this year was a third-place run at Pike County Speedway April 9th, was relieved to reach victory lane for the third time in his career.
"We've really struggled this year; it seems like everything that could go wrong has gone wrong," Dale said. "I said a little prayer when I got in the car tonight, and I guess He (God) answered it. My guys have worked so hard all year long.
"This is a pretty radical car. Dave (Blaney, Dale's brother and car owner) built it, and we won a race with it in Florida the first night out. But it seems like the more we've run it, the more we've struggled. It's a good car, especially at a track like this. I'm not sure it would work at some place like Eagle (Raceway), but it got the job done for us tonight."
Blaney, the 13th-fastest qualifier in the 30-car field, won the First O'Reilly Heat Race and earned the privilege of starting the "A" Feature outside the front row by following Andy Hillenburg across the finish line in the CHANNELLOCK Dash.
Hillenburg drove his #2 Luxaire J&J into the lead as the green flag fell in the 30-lap main event. Craig Dollansky, who started inside the second row, passed Blaney early and took the lead with a low move past Hillenburg between the third and fourth corners.
Dollansky, the defending World of Outlaws Gumout Series champion, was 15 car-lengths ahead of Hillenburg when he entered lapped traffic six laps into the race. Hillenburg caught Dollansky within a lap, however, and passed him for the lead deep in turn four late in the ninth lap.
Dollansky challenged Hillenburg for the next 2 1/2 laps, then drove Karavan Racing's #7 Polydome Maxim into the low groove in the fourth corner and won a front-stretch drag race to lead the 12th lap. He collided with Hillenburg just beyond the finish line, however, sending both cars spinning into turn one.
Blaney restarted in first place and drove the #10 U.S. Print/MBNA/ Mopar Maxim away from the field as the green flag replaced the yellow and opened a half-straightaway advantage within five laps.
Steve Kinser, who has won 21 of the 44 main events the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series has run at Tri-City Speedway, caught Blaney in dense lapped traffic two laps later. Engine problems forced "The King of the Outlaws" into the pits two laps later, however.
Sammy Swindell, whose previous best finish was 15th place in the Southern Bleacher Classic at Texas Motor Speedway, started inside the sixth row. He drove his #1 CHANNELLOCK Stealth past four cars during the first two laps and exchanged third place with Tim Shaffer three times between laps 24 and 27.
Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series points leader Mark Kinser inherited second place from his cousin and raced wheel-to-wheel with Blaney through the first two corners early in the 29th lap. Kinser was three car-lengths behind when Blaney took the checkered flag, however.
"Andy and Craig had a pretty good race going on, and I was there just waiting," Blaney explained. "I barely missed Andy down there in turn one. I was good up (in the high groove) in turns one and two, and I was searching in turns three and four."
Swindell held off Shaffer for third place. Danny Lasoski finished fifth, ahead of 16th-starting Brad Furr, Donny Schatz, Paul McMahan, Joey Saldana and Jerrod Hull.
Randy Hannagan, who set quick-time for the second straight night, collided with Steve Kinser early in the First O'Reilly Heat Race. Although his #11 Quaker State Maxim flew off the ground and almost hit the inside guard rail, "The King of the Outlaws" kept the engine fired and charged from the rear of the field to finish fifth and qualify for the CHANNELLOCK Dash and the "A" Feature.
The Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series will sanction the Pennsylvania Keystone Classic at Williams Grove Speedway Thursday and Friday. TNN: The National Network will televise Friday's race live. The series will also run a $51,600 event at Hagerstown Speedway Saturday.