Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dave Blaney: No regrets

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In these days of young drivers like Joey Logano, the experience of veteran NASCAR stars can be overlooked at times. For Dave Blaney, racing has been a life long passion and career choice, but making the move to stock cars came late.

For Blaney, the racing gene influenced him at a young age. Growing up watching his father Lou and his grandfather race sprint cars, racing has always been a part of his life. As for whether or not they were his mentors, Blaney says “well sure, it is something you can learn while watching what goes on during a race, every lap your dad races and you learn a good bit by doing that.” Following in the Blaney family tire tracks, so to speak, is Ryan Blaney, the 17 year old son of Dave. (For more information on Ryan visit his website.) Passing the experience onward, Blaney tries to help Ryan learn from his mistakes on track. Blaney said, “if I see a mistake he is making a few times, and maybe he doesn’t realize it, I tell him. The sooner you realize that mistake, the sooner he can correct it, the quicker he can learn. Just basic things like that.”


For Blaney himself, his racing career covers just about every form of 4 wheeled cars. Through racing in multiple series (sprint cars, World of Outlaws, USAC, and NASCAR) Blaney has amassed a loyal following of fans. “I might have a nice fan base which is really cool to have from racing all over the country. The dirt cars teach you a lot about racing. If I had to do it over again, I would definitely aim to be in the stock cars earlier in my career. It’s almost like I have had two careers, a dirt career and a NASCAR career,” Blaney said reflecting on whether or not all his experience has been an added benefit to him. 

Many of today’s NASCAR stars who also run dirt cars have cited Blaney as someone they look up to. When asked about his thoughts on this he said, “It makes me feel old. That part is pretty cool. I have gotten to run with a lot of different guys in my career, different generations almost, guys from the 60s that still raced USAC when I first started. In NASCAR I got to run with Dale Earnhardt and now the whole new group of Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne and there is such a huge diverse group I have seen race and have raced with. When you are old enough, you have that happen.”

Away from the track Blaney also is the owner of Sharon Speedway located in Hartford, Ohio. Although busy between his own racing, son Ryan’s racing and all of life’s other commitments, Blaney does not get to spend much time hands-on at the Speedway. The track did recently host a Lou Blaney Memorial race in honor of Dave’s late father. Racing alongside Dave was his brother Dale, Kasey Kahne and his team of drivers, and Tony Stewart.

As for currently, Blaney is driving the No. 36 Golden Corral car for Tommy Baldwin Racing. Golden Corral just saddled up with TBR and Blaney this season and at a time when many sponsors are leaving the sport, it is great to see new ones come in. “The team has done very well on the sponsorship side with getting Golden Corral on board, All Sport, Big Red soft drinks for a few races and now Accell Construction is on for a few races as well. We didn’t have anything the 1st of February, so to have three really good sponsors on board, says a lot about what they have done for us.” Performance wise, Blaney feels the team is getting better. “We’re a small team, it’s hard to make big gains quickly.”

When asked if there is one race that he awaits more then the others, Blaney replied, “not really. We are just looking for improvement every week, those little steps each week. The past couple weeks we have added some new people and got a new crew chief - Philippe Lopez to come in. We have definitely made steps forward in the last two weeks and that is the main thing for us.”


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In closing I asked Blaney if there is that one spotlight moment in his career, good or bad, that he relives in his mind. He replied, “I don’t think about the bad stuff too much. I do have a couple sprint car races that are very cool to win. A couple at King’s Royal races and a couple of Nationals, for sprint car racing that was and still is, the biggest thing going, To be able to win some of the races is big and you know…they can never take your name out of the record books.” As for his NASCAR career he said. “I don’t. Its been really cool to go to Daytona and run there, Indianapolis, I wish maybe I would have got to NASCAR a little sooner in life. I still have had a really good experience and would not trade it for anything.”

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