Bill Davis Racing

by Richard Garcia on January 31, 2008 @ 12:58:05 PDT

 


Owners - Bill and Gail Davis

Manufacturer - Toyota

Cars and Drivers

No. 22 Caterpillar

Bill Davis Racing was the most successful team that represented Toyota Motorsports last season. That accomplishment was due in large part to driver Dave Blaney. He qualified for 33 of 36 races - compared to 26 for the next Toyota Camry driver - and finished 31st in the Nextel Cup standings. That might not seem like a huge accomplishment, but considering what he had to work with, it was just that.

Returning to lead the charge in the pits for the No. 22 Camry is crew chief Tommy Baldwin Jr. He began the 2007 season overseeing the BDR conversion to Toyota, but he didn't start the season as Blaney's crew chief. He assumed that role in June. The BDR competition director slowly turned the program around, giving Blaney some strong cars and building his confidence. There was an obvious chemistry between the two, resulting in Blaney winning a pole at New Hampshire International Speedway.

No. 27 (No sponsor)

The team decided not to keep driver Jeremy Mayfield heading into 2008 and instead added open-wheel veteran Jacques Villeneuve. Villeneuve will have to learn a lot quickly after competing in just two stock car races last season. However, he appears to be ahead of the curve after qualifying sixth in the first Car of Tomorrow race at Talladega Superspeedway Oct. 7. Questions still surround the No. 27 car driven by Villeneuve, who currently is without enough sponsorship to run a full season. It appears that Richard "Slugger" Labbe will serve as Villeneuve's crew chief.

Equipment and Resources

Through the beginning of the season, BDR drivers struggled to find success behind the wheel of Toyotas. Mayfield failed to qualify for the first five Cup races, and Blaney registered seven DNFs through the first 19 races. However, Blaney and his team turned things around through the final 16 races, finishing in the top 20 seven times, compared to just three times during his first 19 races. Toyota made strides to better their engine package midway through the 2007 season, resulting in no DNFs for the No. 22 during the final 16 races.

Caterpillar signed a multi-year extension with BDR, extending their sponsorship of the No. 22 car. The company decided to continue the relationship, even though the team has struggled in recent years due to two main factors - improved success toward the end of the 2007 season and the promise of future success with Toyota.

BDR picked up an option to keep Blaney, the driver of the No. 22 Caterpillar car, in 2008 with provisions to keep the driver longer. If Blaney can compete from the outset of the 2008 season, it would be likely that BDR would sign him to an extension.

Villeneuve suggested that he and BDR were close to securing sponsorship for the season. Without it, it's not a guarantee that he'll be able to race a full schedule. He was, however, one of the fastest drivers in Daytona 500 testing, which bodes well for his car and his team's chances of completing a deal.

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About Richard Garcia

Garcia served as a managing editor for KFFL. Prior to his time with KFFL, Richard worked in managerial roles with both Frito-Lay Inc. and UPS. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in public relations from California State Polytechnic University-Pomona and fulfilled his internship requirements with the Los Angeles Kings Hockey organization in 2001.

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