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

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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.”

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Will Power nips Jack Harvey at finish to pace Road America practice

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Will Power led the only IndyCar Road America practice of the weekend Saturday, shooting to the top of the chart on his 22nd and final lap of the session at 1 minute, 46.0021 seconds in his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet.

Dixon knocked Jack Harvey’s No. 60 Dallara-Honda from the top spot (which would have marked the first time that a Meyer-Shank Racing car led practice).

Josef Newgarden, Power’s Team Penske teammate, was third, followed by Felix Rosenqvist and Ryan Hunter-Reay (who went off course late in the session but sustained no damage).

Alex Palou, Colton Herta, Graham Rahal, defending race winner Alexander Rossi and Pato O’Ward rounded out the top 10 in the practice that preceded a Saturday-Sunday race weekend doubleheader for IndyCar at Road America.

PRACTICE RESULTS: Click here to see who was fastest in the session

RACE INFORMATION: What you need to know for today’s REV Group Grand Prix

RATED ROOKIE: Rinus VeeKay rebounding well from a tough debut

IndyCar tested some new cooling devices with cars from Andretti Autosport, Chip Ganassi Racing and Team Penske. Several drivers have said the cockpit heat caused by the new aeroscreen was stifling during last week’s GMR Grand Prix, and IndyCar repositioned drink bottles this weekend to keep liquids cool. The pieces tried by IndyCar during the Road America practice won’t be available during the races Saturday and Sunday at the Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, road course.

Scott Dixon, who is seeking to open the season with his third consecutive IndyCar victory, was 15th fastest in the 75-minute session. Other notables in Road America practice: Marco Andretti (12th), Simon Pagenaud (19th).

Power is aiming for his second consecutive pole position after qualifying first last week on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

Qualifying for the REV Group Grand Prix Race #1 will take place at 2:15 p.m. ET (NBCSNNBC Sports Gold).

The broadcast of the IndyCar race at Road America will begin at 5 p.m. on NBCSN.