Dave Blaney drove the No. 36 Ollie’s Bargain Depot Chevrolet into the Daytona 500 with a 12th-place finish in the second Gatorade Duel. The Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) team started 14th in the 60-lap NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) event and ran in the top-10 for most of the day before crossing the finish line in the 12th position. The team will start the Great American Race from the 24th spot.
Blaney started 14th and quickly worked to get up to the sixth position by lap 12. He cracked the top-five to a race-high fourth position by lap 14. The No. 36 Ollie’s Bargain Outlet Chevrolet continued to race in the top-14 before the team pit for gas only on lap 40.
The No. 36 Ollie’s Bargain Outlet Chevrolet returned to the track in the 14th position. Blaney worked with Kasey Kahne to get the 11th position. The two held onto their position as they drafted for the final 17 laps of the race.
“Going into Speedweeks, I was confident in the team and our chances of qualifying for the race,” explained Blaney. “With the good runs we had last year at Superspeedways, I was confident the car was going to be good. I was a little bit surprised that we didn’t qualify on speed Sunday, but the car was really good in the draft today. We drafted with a few different people, and the car was fast. We got toward the front a few times but then tried to stay conservative and in front of the other cars who had to qualify.”
“The drafting is definitely different than last year,” he continued. “During the race, I had to make sure I was getting air often. I’m excited for Sunday. I think we have a great shot at a good finish. The draft is a little different but our car still ran really well.”
Blaney will join the 43-car field on Sunday at 1 p.m. EST for the 54th Annual Daytona 500.