AVONDALE, ARIZ. – Dave Blaney started the AdvoCare 500 from the 42nd position. The Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) team worked on the No. 36 Accell Construction Chevrolet’s handling throughout the race and finished in the 26th position at Phoenix International Raceway.
Blaney started the AdvoCare 500 from the 42nd position and drove the No. 36 Accell Construction Chevrolet into the 26th position by lap 15. He told the crew that the Chevrolet started the race loose off the corner. On lap 18, the No. 19 had an incident in turn three and brought out the caution. Crew Chief Tommy Baldwin called Blaney down pit road for a four-tire pit stop and no adjustments as the car began to tighten up throughout the run.
The field restarted on lap 21 with the Accell Construction Chevrolet in the 30th position. Blaney drove in the top-30 until the No. 38 brought out the caution on lap 53. He told the crew that the car was now really loose getting into turn one and tight off the corner. Baldwin called the No. 36 Chevrolet down pit road for a four-tire pit stop and air pressure adjustment. The Accell Construction Chevrolet restarted in the 29th position on lap 60.
Three laps later, Blaney told the crew that the car was loose everywhere and almost wrecked. By lap 85, he radioed that he almost spun out in turn one and fell a lap down on lap 86. He held onto the 32nd position, one lap down, until a green-flag pit stop on lap 119. Following the pit stop, he drove into the 31st position but fell a second lap down. By lap 135, Blaney radioed that the Accell Construction Chevrolet was very loose and tight when he raced other cars. By the lap 168 debris caution, the No. 36 Chevrolet fell a third lap down.
During the caution, Baldwin called for a four-tire pit stop and trackbar adjustment. The No. 36 Accell Construction Chevrolet restarted in the 32nd position on lap 174. The trackbar adjustment did not help the loose condition, and Blaney radioed that he was still about to wreck each lap. The No. 48 Chevrolet hit the wall on lap 236 and brought out the caution. Blaney continued to explain that he could not turn the wheel without the tires chattering and almost spinning out. Baldwin called for another four-tire pit stop and an air pressure and trackbar adjustment.
On lap 242, the Accell Construction Chevrolet restarted in 30th place, three laps down. Fourteen laps later, Blaney radioed that the car was better at the beginning of the run but was returning to the same problems. The No. 34 had an accident in turn four and brought out the caution on lap 274. Baldwin elected to make a four-tire pit stop and chassis adjustment, and the No. 36 Chevrolet restarted in the 30th position. On lap 282, the No. 14 Chevrolet spun and brought out the caution for three laps.
The field went back to green flag racing for 17 laps before the No. 22 had an incident in turn three. Baldwin called the Accell Construction Chevrolet down pit road for the team’s final four-tire pit stop. Blaney restarted in the 30th position on lap 305. Contact between the No. 15 and No. 24 Chevrolet collected two other cars and brought out the caution on lap 312, setting up a green-white-checkered finish. NASCAR Officials called a red flag for more than 14 minutes to clean up the track. The No. 36 Accell Construction Chevrolet restarted in the 29th spot on lap 318. By the checkered flag, Blaney drove into the 26th spot, three laps down.
The No. 36 Chevrolet held onto the 35th spot in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) Owner Points. The team is 71 points behind the No. 32 and 90 points ahead of the No. 21. Blaney also held onto the 33rd position in the NSCS Driver Points. He is 42 points ahead of teammate David Reutimann and 48 points behind A.J. Allmendinger.
“I’m not sure what was wrong with the car,” explained Blaney. “No matter what we changed, we still had the same issues. The guys worked really hard all weekend to make the car handle better, and we just couldn’t find it. Now, we will focus on Miami and end the season on a good note.”
Blaney will pilot the No. 36 Chevrolet in the NSCS season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway November 18.