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Feb 14, 2013 - 05:29 PM
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2013 Daytona 500 Q&A: NASCAR Sprint Cup - Dave Blaney
Posted by: ASkyler on Feb 14, 2013 - 05:25 PM
NASCAR News
2013 Daytona 500 Q&A: NASCAR Sprint Cup - Dave Blaney


DAVE BLANEY, NO. 7 FLORIDA LOTTERY CHEVROLET SS met with media and discussed his racer son, Ryan Blaney, the status of Tommy Baldwin Racing, the new race cars, social media, and more.

ON THE QUALIFYING CHANGE AND HOW THAT MIGHT IMPACT SOME OF THE TEAMS

"I don’t actually know where we ended up last year; it was in the top 35 somewhere last year, but it was 33rd, 34th, or 35th I believe. I’ve looked at it for down here (Daytona) and heck, a guy 15th in the points from last year could miss it, right, if there are a bunch of good cars that wreck in the Twins. A lot of weird things could happen in the Twins."

DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU CAN QUALIFY PRETTY WELL HERE AND THAT’S NOT MUCH OF A CONCERN?

"Well, yeah for here, it’s all about the Twins. We’re not going to qualify on the front row. So, we just have to concentrate more on qualifying this year. Last year, we were locked-in. So we didn’t really spend extra. We didn’t throw tires away in qualifying mode. We just didn’t do it. But we’ll have to this year. You can’t rely on provisionals. So that’ll change our plan a little bit, but that’s okay."

 

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ON THE NEW CHEVY SS RACE CAR

"We were down here a little bit for testing and we were at Charlotte for the day. I think we’re okay. I think we’re in pretty good shape right now for the first three races and that’s my team, and J.J. Yeley’s. They’ve done a good job. Parts aren’t that easy to get but we’ve got a couple of guys at the shop that are building fast. I don’t know whether that’s good, but they’re getting them ready anyway.

"It’s been impressive to me. At Charlotte, it was really really fast; it’s a bigger spoiler on it, but still. It was really fast and really stuck-down feeling. Hopefully the racing is good like that. Hopefully we’re not just all spread apart and running wide-open. But the looks are great, I think. The racing side of it, you just have to go race and see. And then I’m sure they’ll tweak the rules if they have to a little bit to try to make the racing better."

ARE YOU SURPRISED ABOUT THE SUCCESS OF YOUR SON’S RACING SO FAR (RYAN BLANEY)?

"I’m surprised in some ways. I’m not surprised in others. I probably saw it when he was 14 years old. I could see what I thought it had what it took to keep going. But, when he got a chance in the first Nationwide race with Baldwin, obviously it went way better and he caught on to things right away. He ran in a couple of ARCA races for the Venturini Group and some K&N races for me and took off really good in a heavier car on a bigger track. And then when he got a chance with Penski and the truck for Brad, yeah, it went better than I expected, for sure. And he used his head way better than I expected for an 18 year old, 19 year-old now. So, that part was a pleasant surprise."

HOW IS TOMMY BALDWIN RACING COMING ALONG?

"I think we’re in better shape than we’ve ever been, sponsorship-wise, which has enabled us to hire more people and I think have better equipment come race day. So, right now, we’re looking good. Hopefully we can be a good bit more competitive than we were."

MORE ON SON RYAN BLANEY

"He wasn’t all about racing. Even when he was 10 or 12 years old, half the time he didn’t even know where I was racing that weekend. It wasn’t like he was obsessed with racing. And we were racing Quarter Midgets at that time, racing little Bandolero cars. But by the time he was 14 or 15 in there somewhere, he was pretty locked into it. He had some success in Short Track cars and his confidence was building and he was pretty locked into it then."

INAUDIBLE

"I’m trying to run sprint cars this summer more than I have. I brought my own car down to Volusia County and we’re racing tonight and the rest of the week. I hope to run 15 or 20 sprint car races this summer around the Cup schedule. We’ll see."

IS THAT JUST SOMETHING FOR YOU TO GO OUT AND HAVE FUN?

"Well, that’s what I grew up doing so it’s part of me forever. And I wouldn’t mind being back in that world in the near future as well; more than I am now. So, we’ll see."

REGARDING TONY STEWART RUNNING FOR A CHAMPIONSHIP IN SPRINT CUP AS WELL AS RUNNING MANY SPRINT CAR RACES THIS YEAR

"He’s got enough money and enough sponsorship that he can do whatever he wants, right? (laughter). So, I’m running this Sprint Car myself and okay, I can’t go getting enough guys to do it right. I mean my race car is plenty good. But I’ll just do what I can this year. But like I said, my years here are not many left so I’d love to be able to get back into that racing I think, once it stops here."

ON HIS SON, RYAN BLANEY

"He’ll be here for a long time, I hope. And so we can always come and watch that. But watching is not that much fun (laughter).

WHEN YOU WATCH, YOU KNOW THE GOOD PARTS. BUT YOU KNOW THERE CAN BE DANGER, TOO

"We’ll, I do. But I don’t know. That side is just a part of it that’s always there, but I can’t say that I think about it too much. We do all we can do inside the cars. I haven’t gone and looked in the Penske cars. Obviously those guys know what they’re doing. But any car he’s driven, whether it’s been mine or somebody else’s, I’ve looked it over and do all I know how to do to help him. And freak accidents happen on the highway everyday, let alone at the race track. So, you just try to do all you can do."

YOU’VE BEEN GOOD ON RESTRICTOR PLATE TRACKS. IS THAT YOU OR THE CAR OR A COMBINATION? CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THAT?

"I think it’s a little bit of a combination of a lot of things. Tommy Baldwin has always has good restrictor cars. I think he understands that kind of racing really well. And we do come with good equipment. I feel like our speedway cars, our engines, are as good as what we’re racing against. So equipment-wise, I think we’re closer at those races. I don’t know if I’m a good plate racer. I think I have the respect of the really good plate racers; where I can run with them, beside them, in front of them, behind them, push them, or whatever. I think that helps when it comes down to it. Those things combined, I think, makes to where we can have a chance."

DO YOU ENJOY THAT TYPE OF RACING?

"Not that much. I don’t think any drivers really enjoy it. It can be fun, but there are just so many things that can happen that are out of your control. That’s what you don’t like. But, you get to come to Daytona and race. So, that’s pretty cool."

WHAT DID YOU THINK LAST YEAR WHEN THE RACE STOPPED?

"I remember I sat in my car for a long time with my helmet on. I didn’t know if it was going to be a long delay or a short delay. Baldwin was on the radio yacking about oh my gosh, we might luck into one here. So then you get out, and you’re sitting there for two hours trying to explain how in the world I’m going to explain winning this race (laughs). So, it was a strange, strange thing."

WHEN YOU THINK BACK ABOUT THAT RACE, IS THAT WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT THE MOST?

"No, what sticks with me is I came to pit road too fast and blew a front tire, so that’s what I was mad about. That kind of hurt our day. But I think we finished 15th still with a beat-up car. And I was disappointed that I did that and hurt our day. But yeah, the other stuff I couldn’t control. So I was mad about that."

REGARDING NASCAR’S CONCUSSION POLICY AND BASELINE TESTING

"I don’t know. It’s a concern in all sports obviously, right now. There is voluntary baseline testing, I believe right now. I’ve had concussions. Obviously I’ve been racing a long time, but not in a long time (suffered a concussion). When I was younger, back in my Sprint Car days, I had several. In my case, I definitely knew when I should or shouldn’t be in that race car. But you can’t speak for anybody else. But I would trust the driver’s judgment on that and whether they think they did a mandatory thing, I don’t know."

HOW LIKELY WOULD YOU BE TO TAKE YOURSELF OUT OF A RACE IF YOU HAD A CONCUSSION?

"Oh, I’d do it in a heartbeat if I felt like my brain wasn’t right and the visual side of it wasn’t right. Oh yeah, I wouldn’t hesitate."

WHAT’S THE BEST PART ABOUT THE START OF THE SEASON?

Just to come back out and compete. Over the winter, we got more stuff going and we have cars and you just come out and see where you stack up. I think at Baldwin’s we’ve made big improvements this winter with personnel, just adding. We’ve got more sponsorship than we’ve had. We’ve got more people than we’ve had and so I hope it shows on the race track."

IS THERE A POINT IN THE SEASON WHERE IT BECOMES A LITTLE LESS EXCITING?

"For sure (laughs). That’s all dependent on anything you do. The better you’re doing, the more exciting it is, right? (laughs). So, you’re struggling. Yeah, the excitement leaves pretty quick."

HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH UPS & DOWNS

"Well, you just learn to balance it and learn that it’s not the end of the world. You think it is at that moment, but it’s okay, let’s try to learn something from it and move on."

ON HAVING FLORIDA LOTTERY AS HIS SPONSOR

"It was fun, actually. I was not looking forward to it first, I’ll admit. But it’s a fun thing. It’s a cool sponsor for us to have and I can’t wait to have the car out here in the 500.

HAVE YOU BEEN DOING FACEBOOK AND OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA FOR A LONG TIME?

"No, I was forced into it about a year ago (laughs); by my PR people at Tommy Baldwin. But it’s a fun thing. I don’t probably use it at all or as much as I should. But when I do, it’s fun to see everybody jump on there and reply and for the younger guys, even my son, Ryan, doesn’t use it a ton, but he has fun with it too. He’ll get one there and ask okay, let’s just open it up for questions and a bunch of people ask questions. It’s fun for them."

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