BARBERVILLE, Fla. (Feb. 12, 2016) Following a victory and a sixth place finish in two nights of Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions competition at Volusia Speedway Park, Dave Blaney and the Motter Equipment Mohawk Northeast Beltline Body Shop team were ready for tonight’s inaugural 2016 World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series event at the same venue.
But Lady Luck threw them a curve ball early in the evening and never quit. Blaney qualified a disappointing 25th with a 13.713-second lap.
“We misjudged the track,” said team owner Dan Motter. “Our set up was just too loose. The track didn’t have the grip we thought it would have.”
The qualifying position put Blaney and the Motter team at a disadvantage. They definitely had to wrestle their way to the front.
The first challenge was a last row seventh place starting position in the first heat. Of the eight starters, only five earned transfer positions to the A Main.
When the green flag waved to start the heat, polesitter Daryn Pittman took the lead, followed by front row starter Sammy Swindell. David Gravel was third. Blaney gained one position and moved to sixth. Donny Schatz was riding in fifth position and Blaney needed to make a steal from one of the toughest drivers on the Sprint Car planet. On lap six Blaney maneuvered his way past Schatz for fifth and fingers were crossed in the Motter camp, but on the final lap (eight) Schatz battled back and snagged the final transfer position.
Blaney’s path to the A Main would have to come via the Last Chance Showdown. There were 11 drivers vying for four transfer positions.
There were two attempts to start the B Main that were thwarted with yellow flags. On the third try the green waved and Paul McMahan took the lead. Blaney moved from his sixth place starting position to fourth on lap one. There were three cars fighting for the fourth and final transfer position. At the halfway point, Jacob Allen passed Blaney and as quickly as he did, the center of his right rear wheel popped out, the tire took off and Allen’s car hopped up in the air and into the front of the Motter Equipment Mohawk Northeast Beltline Body Shop 71M. Thankfully Blaney was not injured, but the car was too damaged to continue.
It was a tough night for a team that just two nights ago was riding the crest of a victory.
Tenacity defines this team, however, and they will be back in fighting form for tomorrow’s World of Outlaws event at Volusia Speedway Park.
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