HARTFORD, Ohio (June 21, 2016) –Dave Blaney was in high spirits as he prepared for Night 5 of Arctic Cat All Star Ohio Sprint Speedweek competition at family-owned Sharon Speedway. After more than a six-week hiatus from racing the Motter Equipment Mohawk Northeast Beltline Body Shop 71M, this was the Buckeye Bullet’s first night back in the cockpit of the 410 sprint car under racing conditions since his May 6 qualifying accident at Eldora Speedway.
Blaney joined a star-studded field of 51 drivers, including brother Dale. With 24 feature starting spots available, it promised to be gorilla-style warfare on the 3/8-mile oval.
In preliminary action, Blaney wheeled the 71M to a best lap of 14.149 seconds, qualifying 12 overall and second quick in his heat race group.
Under the All Star format, the Buckeye Bullet rolled off third in the fourth heat. In the opening lap, Blaney was bumped and subsequently spun in turn two bringing out the yellow flag. The cars realigned for a complete restart with Blaney tagging the rear of the field. Back to green with polesitter Kyle Larson leading the pack. Larson scored the heat victory, leading from the green to the checkered flag. Blaney finished ninth.
In order to make the A Main, Blaney had to finish among the top four in the B Main. The Buckeye Bullet started fourth in the B, but when the track went green, he wasted no time rocketing to second behind polesitter and leader Kasey Kahne. Kahne and Blaney continued to run one-two as the laps ticked by. On lap 10 of the 12-lap event Blaney began to close on the leader and he roped him in on the white flag lap but could not muscle past him. Kahne won the B, Blaney was second and they, along with two others, transferred to the A Main.
The track began to take rubber during the B Main so Tony Stewart and track officials took time to groom the track prior to the feature to ensure driver safety and competitive racing for the fans.
The Blaney brothers started nose to tail in the 30-lap feature, Dale on the outside of the 10th row with Dave immediately behind in 22nd position. Chad Kemenah led the opening laps with Caleb Griffith second. On lap five, the two leaders got together trying to negotiate their way through traffic and brought out the yellow.
The field was re-racked and they went back to green flag racing with Dave Blaney starting 18th. Bryan Clauson was the new leader. A rollover by Mike Bauer on lap 8 stopped racing action when the red was displayed. When racing resumed, Bryan Clauson continued to lead and led to the checkered flag, scoring his first Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions victory. Cap Henry finished second and Danny Holtgraver made a late race pass to capture third.
Dale Blaney advanced to finish fourth from a 20th place starting position.
The Buckeye Bullet ended the day in 13th position.
Blaney and the 71M team will be back in action Friday, June 24 at Limaland Motorsports Park in Lima, Ohio.
# # #