HAMPTON, Ga. – The Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) team started the AdvoCare 500 from the 22nd position. Dave Blaney ran the No. 36 Chevrolet in the top-30 all day as the team made adjustments to help a tight-handling racecar. Blaney secured a 25th-place finish in the 327-lap event.
Sunday night, Blaney took the green flag from the 22nd position. He drove up to the 21st spot before settling into the top-30. By lap four, he radioed that the car was very tight. NASCAR Officials called a caution on lap 40 for oil on the track. Crew Chief Ryan Pemberton called Blaney down pit road for a four-tire pit stop and major adjustments.
The field restarted on lap 44 with the No. 36 Chevrolet in the 28th position. By lap 70, Blaney radioed that the Chevrolet still lacked front grip in the center of the corner. He fell a lap down in the 29th position. The TBR team made their first green-flag pit stop on lap 83 for four tires, fuel and more adjustments. By lap 96, Blaney told the crew that the Chevrolet was better but got tight again by lap 98.
Pemberton called for another green-flag pit stop on lap 120. Blaney drove past the pit stall and had to make another lap before pitting. The team changed four tires and made a trackbar adjustment. The No. 36 Chevrolet returned to the track in the 30th position, three laps down.
On lap 131, NASCAR Officials called a caution for debris on the track. The team elected to take the wave around and restarted from the 30th position, two laps down, on lap 130. Still struggling with a tight-handling Chevrolet, Blaney held onto a top-30 position. Pemberton called for another green flag pit stop on lap 165. The team changed four tires and made major chassis adjustments.
The No. 36 Chevrolet returned to the track in the 31st position, three laps down. By lap 174, Blaney told the crew that he could not arc into turn one at all. He continued saying that he needed more grip. By lap 195, the car was sideways getting into the corner. Pemberton called Blaney down pit road on lap 203 for another green-flag, four-tire pit stop with adjustments. The adjustments loosened the car into the turn, but Blaney still struggled with a tight condition off the corner.
The No. 42 Chevrolet had an incident in turn one and brought out the caution on lap 243. The TBR team elected to pit under caution for four tires and a trackbar adjustment. The field restarted on lap 248 in the 31st position, four laps down. Five laps later, Blaney radioed that the car was much better, especially on the bottom line. NASCAR Officials called a caution on lap 266 for oil on the racetrack, and the team elected to stay out.
A three-car incident on the backstretch brought out the caution on lap 271 with the No. 36 Chevrolet in the 31st position. The team made a four-tire pit stop with adjustments during the caution period and elected to top off fuel before the field went back to green on lap 280 with the No. 36 in the 27th position. Blaney drove into the 25th position by lap 300. The No. 1 Chevrolet had an incident on the frontstretch and brought out the caution on lap 321. As all the lead lap cars pit during the caution, the team stayed out to get the wave around. Blaney held onto the spot for the green-white-checker finish to give him the 25th finishing position, three laps down.
The No. 36 team held onto the 35th spot in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) Owner Points. The team is locked into the top-35 by 117 points and trails the 34th position by 14 points. Blaney also held onto the 33rd position in NSCS Driver Points. He is 21 points ahead of teammate David Reutimann and 69 points behind Landon Cassill.
“The car was really tight at the start of the race,” explained Blaney. “The guys worked really hard on adjustments and definitely got the car better for the last few runs. The team has been making significant strides. I’m happy with a 25th-place finish and excited to see what we can do the rest of the season.”
TBR will head to Richmond International Raceway next weekend. Reutimann will pilot the No. 10 Inc. 5000 / @TMone 6-peat Chevrolet in Saturday night’s race. Blaney will get back behind the wheel of the No. 36 Chevrolet in the night race at Richmond.