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Oct 26, 2012 - 06:01 PM
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2012 Martinsville Q&A: NASCAR Truck - Ryan Blaney, Doug Randolph
Posted by: ASkyler on Oct 26, 2012 - 05:49 PM
NASCAR News
2012 Martinsville Q&A: NASCAR Truck - Ryan Blaney, Doug Randolph


Ryan Blaney will make his first Martinsville Speedway start in Saturday’s Kroger 200. In five starts this season, Blaney has an average finish of 7.00, completed all 762 possible laps (956.84 miles) plus has led at least one lap in the last three consecutive NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races. Blaney has one win (Iowa Speedway, race No. 15) and two top 10 finishes in two NCWTS short tracks starts this season.

Ryan Blaney (No. 29 Draw-Tite RAM) THIS IS YOUR FIRST RACE AT MARTINSVILLE. HOW MANY TRACKS IN YOUR PAST CAN YOU COMPARE TO MARTINSVILLE? "It will be my first time racing at Martinsville. I’ve been there and I’ve watched a ton of races there over the years. It’s really my style of track. It’s like a paperclip. That’s what I’m used to in late model racing. There are a handful of tracks that we went to in my late model racing career that is kind of like Martinsville, maybe not as big but have the same short-track characteristics. It’s more my style than the mile-and-a-half race tracks. I’m going there with confidence and that’s what you’ve got to have."

 

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YOU HAVE TO RACE A CERTAIN WAY ON A SHORT TRACK. HOW DO YOU FIND THE BALANCE BETWEEN BEING TOO AGGRESSIVE AND AGGRESSIVE ENOUGH? HOW BIG OF A FACTOR WILL TAKING CARE OF YOUR BRAKES AND YOUR TEMPER GOING TO BE ON SATURDAY AFTERNOON? "It’s a really big balancing game, when to go hard and when to not, when to ride and how nice you want to be to people. Definitely early in the race you don’t want to get in a scuffle with a guy and have that haunt you towards the end of the race where he can easily give you a shot where you can’t recover. It’s definitely a balancing game of knowing when to go and when to not and playing nice. At the end of the race, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. Our race isn’t nearly as long as the Cup race. I don’t think brakes will really be a huge factor. You see Cup guys that go 500 laps and they’ve got to whoa-up a whole bunch more (vehicle) than we’ve got. But at the same time, you do have to save a little bit so you can really get aggressive late in the race. Like I said, you’ve got to know when to go and when to not."

WHAT WOULD BE A GOOD FINISH FOR YOU? "We tested at Little Rock last week, sorted a few things out and we were really happy with what we found. I think we have a really good RAM for this weekend from testing and data that I’ve seen. We’ll see when we get out there but I’m really happy with what we did with the truck at Little Rock, the changes we made and how it reacted to it. I think we can finish top five. If we can come out of there with a good top five and the front and rear bumpers still intact, that’d be a good day."

Doug Randolph (Crew Chief, No. 29 Draw-Tite RAM) RYAN BLANEY HAS NEVER RACED AT MARTINSVILLE. WHAT CHALLENGES DOES THAT POSE TO YOU TO MAKE SURE HE HAS A GOOD SETUP AND A GOOD WEEKEND? "Well, Martinsville is different than most anywhere we go, definitely the hardest place we’ll go on brakes. Teaching Ryan about Martinsville is obviously important. Obviously he’s been around the race track at Martinsville his whole life but never raced on it. He understands some of the challenges that we will be facing there. We’re looking forward to it. We did a test at Little Rock, which is pretty much a replica of Martinsville and had a really good test. Things like our win and some of our successes have been on the shorter tracks so I think we had a decent run there in the spring and I think this test we did helped really improve upon that. Ryan looks like he’s got a really good line and understanding of what it’s going to take to win there. Track position is huge so we’ll work on the qualifying setup quite a bit. It’s a matter of starting close to the front and then having a truck that’s not going to hold other people up. If you have a piece that’s holding everybody else up, obviously the temptation for the guy behind you to bump you gets greater."

HOW TEMPTED ARE YOU TO DO SOMETHING OUTSIDE THE BOX ON PIT STRATEGY TO KEEP TRACK POSITION? "Well, I mean, it’s definitely tempting. We’re not in the driver’s point race but obviously we’re still in the owner’s point race. We are really focused on trying to win another race between now and the end of the year but also maintaining that top five in owner points. It’s a little tempting. We’ve definitely seen truck races run there by pitting early and then running a long time on tires. I think Denny Hamlin won it a couple years ago pitting right at the end and then just blowing by everybody. I think for the most part you’re going to get four tires at some point during the race and halfway, if you’re not happy with what you have, there’s probably a good opportunity to get a second set. It seems like the tires are starting to fall off a little more there every time we go back and become more important. It just depends on how the weekend plays out as to how drastic and how risky you get with that strategy."

IS MARTINSVILLE THE MOST CHALLENGING PIT ROAD YOU FACE THE ENTIRE SEASON? "Well, it is a challenge. We’ve picked pits already by owner’s points so as of right now we’re in pit stall 43. They leave pit stall one open for whoever wins the pole but other than that everybody is locked in. I think pit stall 43 allows us to focus on just exiting. It really gets complicated when you’ve got a lot of people and you’re dodging on entry and a lot of people on exit. We’re trying to narrow it down so once our pit stop is over Ryan can look ahead and focus on all those people trying to pull out in front of him. At Martinsville every now and then there’s a wreck on pit road and if you’re behind that wreck, sometimes you’ll get a lap down just because there’s no way to go around it. It can be challenging and we’re just trying to limit those challenges as best we can."


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