Blaney reunites with Bill Davis
Blaney raced in the Busch Series for Davis in 1998-99 before moving to Cup for two more seasons. He spent the past year driving for Richard Childress Racing, but is being replaced by Clint Bowyer next season.
"In the last couple of years, we just haven't seen the performance we know the team is capable of, so change was not a choice -- it was a necessity," Davis said. "Dave is not only a talented and consistent driver, but he is someone I respect and have always enjoyed working with in the past.
Blaney has a best finish of third [at Darlington, S.C., in 2003) in 199 Cup starts, with one pole. He came to NASCAR from open-wheel racing, winning the World of Outlaws title in 1995 and the USAC Silver Crown championship in 1984.
Meanwhile, crew chief Kevin Hamlin also is leaving RCR and will join Blaney at the new job. Hamlin didn't work with Blaney at RCR until very late in the season.
"I've known Dave for a long time, and we've always worked well together in the past," Hamlin said. "So when this opportunity presented itself I couldn't pass it up."
Rusty Wallace won the National Motorsports Press Association's 2005 Myers Brothers Award, which recognizes individuals or groups who have provided outstanding contributions to stock car racing.
Wallace, the 1989 NASCAR champion, won 55 races in his career, which ended with the season finale. He's retiring and will focus on his new roles as a car owner and broadcaster.
"I'm real proud of where this sport has come, and I don't want anybody screwing it up," Wallace has said. "We worked hard to build a fan base and make this a popular sport, and I just want all those drivers to make sure they know this is a privilege driving these cars.
"The sport of racing has given me a lot of fans, a lot of popularity. It's made me a lot of money. It's taught me a lot about life, about a lot of things. I've been able to meet people that I never thought I'd meet in my life presidents, dignitaries, you name it. I've learned you've got to be one of the best ambassadors for the sport you can."
Several other awards were handed out Friday morning, with champion Tony Stewart's team pulling in most of the hardware. But Stewart didn't make it to the breakfast ceremony -- he complained of a "migraine headache" hours after series sponsor Nextel hosted a blowout bash celebrating him at the hip nightclub Marquee.
The awards went to:
• Bud Pole Award, $100,000: Ryan Newman.
• Clevite Engine Builder of the Year Award, $80,000: Mark Kronquist of Joe Gibbs Racing.
• Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Pit Championship, $100,000: Newman and crew chief Matt Borland.
• Mechanix Wear Pit Crew of the Year Award, $75,000: Stewart's No. 20 team.
• Mobil 1 Command Performance Driver of the Year Award, $100,000: Newman.
• Goodyear Gatorback Fastest Lap Award, $75,000: Stewart.
• MBNA Midrace Leader Award, $105,000: Stewart.
• Commit Lozenges Commit to Win Award, $75,000: Kasey Kahne.
• Wix Lap Leader Award, $75,000: Stewart.
• USB Improving the Finish Award, $100,000: Elliott Sadler.
• Sunoco Diamond Performance Award, $75,000: Stewart.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
ESPN TOP HEADLINES
- Royals edge Giants, grab 2-1 Series lead
- PGA ousts prez for Poulter 'girl' comments
- Kobe salutes Nash: Ailing PG gave it his all
- Union: NFL, Ravens not helping in Rice probe