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‘Start and Park’ Blaney could play role in who wins Sharpie 500

By admin | August 21, 2009

By Richard Allen

Dave Blaney is a quality race car driver. He has won numerous races in several racing series’. However, this season he has served as little more than a qualifying driver who has started 20 of the 23 races contested so far this season on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series while having had little intention of finishing those races.

In those twenty starts, Blaney and his #66 Prism Motorsports team have only made the distance once. That was in Charlotte when sponsorship from Aaron’s came on board and supplied tires and other essentials for running a full race.

Aside from the time in Charlotte, the most laps Blaney has completed in any race has been 82 in Atlanta. In most races the #66 has not run anywhere near the length of a full pit cycle, thus only using one set of tires before going to the garage and the hauler.

In qualifying for the Sharpie 500 in Bristol, Blaney turned a lap that landed him in the 4th starting spot. That qualifying run could play a major role in determining the winner of the Sharpie 500.

Pit stalls are chosen in order of qualifying. Blaney’s team will get to choose fourth. There are four pit stalls at Bristol that are better than the others so any team that chooses in the top-4 holds a distinct advantage.

The two stalls at the very opening of each pit road section are good because they offer an easy entrance. The two pit stalls at the exit of each of the pit road sections are good because they offer an easy out.

Should Blaney’s crew choose one of those four stalls, and thus, prevent one of the more competitive teams from choosing the spot, it could make a difference in the race. This is especially true due to the fact that so many races in NASCAR today are won in the pits.

It could be that if the #66 teams does intend to ‘start and park’ they may choose one of the less desirable spots on pit road so as not to interfere. However, should sponsorship suddenly become available because of the good qualifying run, the team may take one of the quality spaces despite the fact that the car would not suddenly be competitive over the course of an entire race after completing so few laps this season.

While Dave Blaney’s qualifying run was a pleasant surprise and proved he is a capable driver, it could actually play a role in who wins this race whether car #66 actually plans to run the whole distance or not.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.

Topics: Articles |

5 Responses to “‘Start and Park’ Blaney could play role in who wins Sharpie 500”

  1. Richard Allen Says:
    August 21st, 2009 at 10:37 pm

    The #66 team chose pit stall #3. Not one of the four best spots but still a very good location. Hopefully, they will be able to run the full race.

  2. ron maykowski Says:
    August 22nd, 2009 at 4:55 am

    Dave is one of the best drivers who does not have a good ride . I can not figure why no one will hire do you. take a look at his 15 year old son second in PASS SOUTH and third in points over all. I think chip should put him in the no 1.

  3. Richard Allen Says:
    August 22nd, 2009 at 7:10 am


    Ability to drive is only secondary now. Blaney is a good driver but no one will hire in a top line car because he is not 18 years old and does not have the look sponsors want.

  4. midasmicah Says:
    August 22nd, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    The sad thing is nas$car seems to condone this start and park crap. But then this an organization that has the chase, a ten race run for the championship that makes the first 26 races trial runs for the final ten. It does not encourage winning, just making sure you get in the chase. Once the chase begins, the other 31 drivers become clones of the last player taken in the NFL draft. Mr Irrelevent. If one of them gets in the way or wrecks one of the chosen 12, watch out. The start and park is just one symptom of what’s wrong with nas$car these days. The rest speak for themselves.

  5. Chuck Allen Says:
    August 22nd, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    Unfortunately, I couldn’t agree more. Blaney is in his mid 40’s. The way NASCAR is nowadays, he’s lucky to have the start and park team. He is a very good middle of the pack driver who takes care of his equipment. I would like to see him in a competitive truck or NNS ride.