Saturday, October 14, 2006

Friday Night Fights

Congratulations to Dave Blaney, who achieved his first Busch Series victory in a Friday night crashfest at Lowe's Motor Speedway. And to Kevin Harvick, who, although he didn't have that great of a night, being plagued by mechanical problems, clinched the NASCAR Busch Series 2006 Champiionship. This is Harvick's second NBS Championship, his first being in 2001. The 2006 championship represents the earliest clinch in NBS history.
Dave Blaney is a name familiar to most race fans. He is still active in open wheel racing, driving both USAC sprints and midgets, and winged sprints such as those we see in World of Outlaws and National Sprint Car Racing Association. His main job, however, over the past two years, has been in Stock Cars. Until 2005, Blaney was utilized as a standby, part time driver for several teams, but mostly by Richard Childress Racing. With the Childress restructuring in 2005, Blaney got a full time Cup ride in the #07 Monte Carlo. He was replaced by Rookie Clint Bowyer in 2006, but that doesn't take away from Blaney's ability, because that was the plan, and Blaney started the season in the Bill Davis Racing #22 Dodge Charger, which has become a team showing steady improvement this year, thanks to Blaney's skill. He now has a three year contract, with that team, and BDR will be switching to the Toyota next year.
Saturday night's race proved to be a tough one, with a high rate of carnage and attrition. There were numerous accidents, involving such notables as Bobby Labonte and Kasey Kahne, and many suspension and tire problems, because, after all the levigating and resurfacing, the famed "Humpy Bumps" are still there.
Cars bottomed out on the bumps, got into the "marbles"--the tire debris that is thrown against the outside wall--and spun, and there were no less than three red flag periods to clean debris. To top it off, there was a final lap crash which took out the race leaders, when second place Casey Mears went high up the track to pass first place Carl Edwards, got loose, spun, and crashed into Edwards. Dave Blaney, who was running in third, avoided the wreck and won.
It is always a thrill to welcome a first time winner to Victory Lane, and Dave Blaney is one who truly deserves it.

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