Dave Blaney to leave NASCAR racing to son Ryan, but will increase dirt racing schedule in 2015

1 Comment

It appears Dave Blaney will leave any NASCAR racing in the future to son Ryan.

According to an interview with PennLive.com, the elder Blaney – who is competing in this weekend’s World Of Outlaws World Finals in Charlotte – appears ready to return to his sprint car racing roots on a fairly busy part-time level in 2015.

“I don’t plan on running any NASCAR at the moment,” Blaney told PennLive.com.

Blaney’s decision is not surprising. It’s a matter of economics (lack of financial support) and performance (lack of a competitive ride).

“I’m not in any position to get any kind of ride that is going to be competitive,” the elder Blaney said.

But he’ll still be a familiar face at NASCAR races when he can.

“I will go to a lot of races to watch Ryan,” Dave Blaney said.

Dave Blaney plns to compete in as many as 50 to 60 sprint car races in 2015, which is nearly double of a NASCAR Sprint Cup or Nationwide (soon to be Xfinity) Series yearly slate.

“By no means will [sprint cars] be full time, but it could be a lot more than this year,” said Blaney, who will have competed in 25 races this season vs. just seven in the NASCAR Sprint Cup world. “I could even see a 60-race schedule if things line up perfect.”

But, Blaney also added the exact opposite could happen, too: “I could also see 15 (races) as well, but we will see.”

Inducted into the Sprint Car Hall of Fame earlier this year, Blaney, 52, said the time is right for him to back to playing in the dirt on a regular basis, so to speak. However, he has had his struggles at times in several of the sprint car events he’s competed in this season.

“It’s just the way it is when you haven’t done it much in the last 15 years,” Blaney told PennLive. “… But I love being around these things, driving the cars, working on them and being a part of these races.”

Before his career path led him to NASCAR nearly 15 years ago, Blaney was a sprint car standout, including winning the WoO STP Sprint Car Series championship in 1995 and the USAC Silver Crown title in 1984, one season after being chosen All-Star Sprint Circuit Rookie-of-the-Year.

Right now, Blaney’s expectations for 2015 on the dirt are pretty fluid.

“I’m going to fart around and see how it goes,” Blaney said. “It’s tough racing these things when you are part time. You just aren’t as good.

“Maybe I would be better off going full time. We would get more out of the car and out of me, but I’m not too worried about it. We’ll see what happens.”

Another part has to do with watching Ryan, who races for Penske Racing.

“I don’t want to go off and race [sprint cars] and not be with him,” Blaney said. “I want to be there and be a part of it.”

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Valtteri Bottas takes pole position for season-opening Austrian GP

Leonhard Foeger/Pool via Getty Images
Leave a comment

SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas upstaged Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to take pole position Saturday for the Formula One Austrian GP.

The Finnish driver edged out the world champion by 0.012 seconds to claim the top spot for the season opener at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. He clenched his fist as he climbed out of his car and shared a hug with Hamilton.

“It’s something special when you push the car to the limit,” said Bottas, who is chasing an eighth career win. “Feels so good. It’s very impressive (from the team).”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was third, and Lando Norris gave McLaren a boost by finishing fourth. Verstappen has won the past two years here, including 2019 when he started third behind Hamilton and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

“It’s going to be interesting quite a bit warmer tomorrow and hopefully this will play to our advantage,” Verstappen said. “Today, Mercedes was on a different level, unfortunately. Last year we were also a little bit off in qualifying so I expect we will be a bit better in the race.”

Bottas had the leading time when drivers embarked on their final laps and beat his own mark before sliding off the track into the gravel.

Hamilton was chasing a record-extending 89th career pole. He was ahead but then dropped off slightly as Bottas secured a 12th career pole.

“Great job by Valtteri. It’s a great start to the season,” Hamilton said. “We show year on year that we continue to be the best team. We’re open-minded … constantly learning from each other and pushing the boundaries.”

Ferrari struggled for speed, with Leclerc nearly one second behind in seventh and Sebastian Vettel failing to make it into the third and final part of qualifying, known as Q3. He starts the race from 11th on the grid.

Vettel is leaving Ferrari at the end of the season with his future in F1 uncertain.

Earlier, Hamilton posted the fastest time in morning practice. The 35-year-old British driver was also quickest in both sessions on Friday.

Midway through third practice, F1 newcomer Nicholas Latifi misjudged the exit of a turn and spun his Williams car into a protective tire wall.