John Blankenship Logged Essential Track-time in 26th-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway
FORT WORTH, TEXAS (November 5, 2012) – NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) rookie John Blankenship logged essential track-time in his 26th-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway. Making his first start at the 1.5-mile track, Blankenship leaned on his Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) teammates for guidance. After running a total of 78 laps in practice, the No. 44 COAL/Save Our Country Chevrolet started the O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge from the 26th position. After falling back early in the race, Blankenship gained confidence and the team worked on the Chevrolet’s handling, resulting in a 26th place finish.
The West Virginia native started from the 26th position but fell back to the 33rd spot by lap five before moving back up through the field. An accident in turn two brought out the caution on lap 14 with the No. 44 COAL/Save Our Country Chevrolet in the 30th position. Blankenship told the TBR crew that his car felt like it got better during the run. Crew Chief Brad Parrott elected to call the No. 44 Chevrolet down pit road for a fuel-only pit stop.
Blankenship restarted in the 28th position on lap 18. He fell back to the 29th position by lap 40 and a lap down two laps later. NASCAR Officials called a caution for debris on lap 46 with Blankenship in the 28th position. Parrott called his rookie driver down pit road for a four-tire pit stop and a rubber adjustment.
The field returned to green flag racing on lap 50 with the TBR team in 31st place. Blankenship drove the COAL/Save Our Country Chevrolet into the 27th position and lucky dog spot by lap 61. By lap 72, he told the crew the Chevrolet was free on the exit of the corner as he fell to the 28th position, two laps down. An accident on the backstretch brought out the third caution on lap 84. Blankenship told Parrott that the car was worse after the last adjustment. Parrott called for a four-tire pit stop and an air pressure adjustment to help the handling.
On lap 90, the No. 44 COAL/Save Our Country Chevrolet restarted in the 28th position. Blankenship continued to race in the top-30 during the next run. On lap 145, he gave up the 27th spot to make his first green-flag, four-tire pit stop. The No. 44 Chevrolet returned to the track in the 28th spot, four laps down. The No. 52 Chevrolet spun in turn four and brought out the caution on lap 156. Blankenship radioed that the car felt pretty good, and the team elected to stay out and get a lap back.
After taking the wave around, Blankenship restarted in the 27th spot, three laps down, on lap 160. Eighteen laps later, the No. 87 brought out the fifth and final caution. Blankenship told Parrott that the car was getting a little tight in the center of the corner. Parrott called for a four-tire pit stop and wedge adjustment during the team’s final pit stop. The No. 44 COAL/Save Our Country Chevrolet restarted in the 26th position, three laps down, on lap 182. Blankenship held onto the 26th position for the final 18 laps of the 200-lap race.
“I learned a lot this weekend,” explained Blankenship. “The team gave me some really good track time. We made improvements over the weekend, and I am looking forward to applying what I learned next week at Phoenix.”
Blankenship will return to the No. 44 COAL/Save Our Country Chevrolet next weekend at Phoenix International Raceway for the Great Clips 200 on Saturday, November 10 at 3:30 p.m. EST.
About Tommy Baldwin Racing:
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) Crew Chief Tommy Baldwin formed Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) in 2009. Baldwin utilized a declining economy to open a NSCS team with a stringent budget. The team worked to build to full-time competition, and by the 2011 season, the team’s third season, TBR competed in every race and locked the No. 36 Chevrolet in the top-35 in NSCS Owner Points. Dave Blaney drove the No. 36 Chevrolet to TBR’s highest finish of third in the October 2011 event at Talladega Superspeedway. TBR also fielded a second car for select races in the past two seasons with multiple drivers.
Based in Mooresville, N.C., TBR will compete in the NSCS in 2012 with NASCAR veterans David Reutimann and Dave Blaney. The team will also compete in the NASCAR Nationwide Series with Ryan Blaney, Bobby Santos and Ryan Truex.
For more information on Tommy Baldwin Racing, visit tommybaldwinracing.com or follow us on Facebook, facebook.com/TBR.HBR, and Twitter, twitter.com/TBR_Racing.
Heather Lumpp – firstname.lastname@example.org – o: 704.696.0036 – c: 847.302.5509