Iracingone On One:/I Dave Blaney

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(Dave Blaney is the driver of Bill Davis Racing’s No. 93 Amoco Ultimate Dodge in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. He’s a former World of Outlaws champion who spent 17 years driving sprint cars before making the move to stock cars and the Busch Series with BDR. He finished sixth at Texas this past weekend after starting from the 43rd position.)

RacingOne: You had a great run at Texas this past weekend, but your best chance for a win was probably a few weeks ago at Atlanta. You were really hooked up and seemed to be on your way to win No. 1. How frustrating and disappointing was it when everything fell apart near the end?

Blaney: I never really said, ‘Hey, we’re going to win this race.’ There was a bit too much racing at that point. I did think we had a chance, though, because we had a great car that day and it was really dialed in. The disappointing part is that we never had a chance to get up there and battle for a win. I thought we at least were going to have an opportunity to do that.

RacingOne: So with good cars like you had there and at Texas, is this Amoco team - in only its second year in the Winston Cup Series - ready to win a race and become a weekly contender?

Blaney: That’s sure what we’re aiming for. We’re certainly taking the steps to get there. Right now, we’re running well just about every week. We may be up and down a bit, but we’ve got really good cars and we’re a top-10 contender every week. We’ve had a couple of down weeks, but we’re getting there. We seem to be right on track.

RacingOne: How have you and teammate Ward Burton gotten along the past couple of years? You obviously are from two distinctively different backgrounds and have distinctive styles.

Blaney: He’s from Virginia and I’m originally from Pennsylvania, so there’s a big difference there. But Ward’s been great with me, and he’s done everything he can to help me. So has his crew chief, Tommy Baldwin. My crew chief, Doug Randolph, gets along great with Tommy and those two work very well together. Both teams are leaning on each other for information, and it seems to be working out pretty well.

RacingOne: Team chemistry is obviously a huge part of Winston Cup racing. Has the Amoco Ultimate team found that yet?

Blaney: I really feel good about this group. Doug Randolph and I have a great relationship, and we’ve got a whole new group together, but it’s an experienced group of guys that are very tough mentally. We’ve meshed well together and you’re going to see some big things from this team in the next couple of years.

RacingOne: After so many years driving sprint cars, why did you decide to drive stock cars? Was it just the challenge of it all?

Blaney: When I was driving sprint cars, I could see where NASCAR was going and how big it was getting. It’s just simply a better job. I was very happy racing sprint cars, and I was with a great group of guys that had a chance to win every night we went out. But when the opportunity came along to go with Bill Davis Racing, it was really a no-brainer. I decided to give it a shot and I’m very glad I did.

RacingOne: Why do you think there has been such an influx of open-wheel racers in NASCAR in the past few years?

Blaney: When a guy like Jeff Gordon or Tony Stewart comes over here and does as well as they both have done, it tends to open a few eyes. There are plenty of talented drivers around the country in all forms of racing, but when you see those two and how they adapted to the stock cars, you think to yourself you want to go over and give it a try yourself. You’ve got to have the right opportunity at the right time, and Gordon and Stewart really got hooked up. I believe I have done that as well with Bill Davis Racing, and it’s only a matter of time before this Amoco team starts having some success, as well.

RacingOne: Everyone is beginning to see just how good the racing is in the World of Outlaws. That being said, just how difficult is it to win a championship in that series?

Blaney: It’s very difficult. There are a lot of talented drivers over there, like Steve Kinser, Mark Kinser and Sammy Swindell, who have run those cars for a long time. They don’t make a lot of mistakes, and it’s hard to beat them week-in and week-out over the course of the season for a championship. They’ve done it for so long. If you beat those guys, you’re really accomplishing something.

RacingOne: You continue to own a World of Outlaws team, which your brother Dale drives for. With your dad having raced sprint cars, too, it’s kind of a family thing, isn’t it?

Blaney: When I was growing up, my earliest memories were of my dad racing sprint cars. It was just a normal life to us. Then I started running them locally and crawling up the ladder. It was a long road to get where I was. Sprint cars were a great way of life and a great way to make a living. But when the opportunity came along to drive in NASCAR, it was just something I had to do. My brother continues to do it, and he’s doing a pretty good job of it.

RacingOne: It just so happens your rookie season in the Winston Cup Series came in the same year that Matt Kenseth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. were rookies. Did you feel overshadowed by them at all last year?

Blaney: I guess you can say we were overshadowed by them because they just ran better than we did. Then ran well, but during the second half of last year until the present, we’ve run just as well or better than those two have. I’d say we’ve caught up to them… it just took a while for us to do that.

RacingOne: What do you remember about your first Winston Cup start (Rockingham, 1992)?

Blaney: I don’t remember much. A friend of mine, Stan Hoover, had brought his car down from Ohio, and we went down to Rockingham to learn and just have a day of racing. Stan was wanting to break into that kind of racing, but it was a small outfit. I had known Ken Schrader from running some dirt-track stuff with him, but he was about the only person I knew, so he was the only one I really talked to. I just tried to stay out of the way and run as long as I could. The day (which ended in a DNF) was pretty forgettable.

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