Baldwin brings home a 10th place finish in the inaugural UNOH Battle at the BeachBy Angela Campbell
Dalton Baldwin Racing Post Race Report
NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour
UNOH Battle at the Beach-Daytona International Speedway
February 21, 2013
Dalton Baldwin started 32nd and battled his way to the front and captured a 10th place finish on Tuesday night in the inaugural UNOH Battle at the Beach at Daytona International Speedway. Baldwin, making his rookie debut in the 2013 season in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour division finished strong after early struggles.
The 150 lap exhibition race was a non-points event and each driver was solely focused on bringing home the trophy from the prestigious track. The result was a race that included 17 cautions and a green-white-checkered final restart. Steve Park claimed the win in the wild finish.
Practice and Qualifying: Baldwin and his team struggled to get the right setup throughout the practice sessions. The car handled well but did not have enough speed through the corners. He was 29th in the final practice.
“We decided in the heat race that we would pit and try a few things instead of racing for position,” Baldwin said. “Then after the heat, we decided to change a bunch of things, back to what the car was at Charlotte last year, when we felt the car had speed in the corners.”
Race Highlights: Baldwin began the race at the back of the field in the 32nd position but by lap 85 had made his way into the top twenty. He continued to make steady progress forward and avoided the numerous wrecks. With only 5 laps to go, the final caution of the night set up the GWC restart.
Baldwin was in 8th position for the final start and managed to stay out of trouble once again as another crash ensued on the final lap. With cars wrecking in front of him, he made his way through the field, ending the night in 10th position.
“We started 32nd, and as we were sitting on the grid, my dad and I decided to just ride for 100 laps, let them all wreck, and then we’ll see where we’re at,” Baldwin explained. “Well, that plan fortunately panned out really well. Just lap after lap, it was like, there goes two, there’s another one, just dropping like flies.”
“Then as the race wound down, we started racing a little harder, and a little harder. Then we got down to the end, we were in 8th, and I felt we were better than a couple cars in front of us. But something broke with the clutch or transmission, and the car wouldn’t go on the restart or coming out of the turns. So that hurt us bad on the green-white-checkered and we ended up 10th.”
“To avoid all those wrecks and come from 32nd to 10th with a clean car was an amazing feat. Our first top 10 and we stayed on the lead lap in just our 3rd race is just awesome, we’re all extremely happy. Words can’t really explain it.”
Extras: One of Dalton’s favorite moments of his Daytona experience was the opportunity to interact with other drivers.
“I fortunately got to sit next to Steve Park (the eventual winner of the race) during the driver autograph sessions and I got to talking to him about how to drive the cars and get around the track. He gave me some great advice,” Baldwin told me. “I don’t have much experience on flat tracks, especially with zero banking. On top of that, I don’t have much experience in these cars. So I can just go off my experiences and natural driving knowledge.
“When I get a chance to ask veterans like Steve for advice on how to drive the track and the cars, I obviously have to take it. Being an 18 year old driver with dreams bigger than himself, it is truly an honor and a fortune to get to have a conversation with someone like Steve Park.”
Start: 32nd Finish: 10th Points: N/A
Next Race: The next race on the schedule for the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour is March 16th at Caraway Speedway. This will be the first points race of the season.
For more information about Dalton Baldwin Racing including driver bio, race schedule, pictures and videos, please visit www.daltonbaldwin.com. You can also find his Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/DaltonBaldwinRacing and Twiiter at http://www.facebook.com/DaltonBaldwinRacing.