Column By: CARLY HENDRICKSON / RPW – SARVER, PA – This past Friday at Lernerville Speedway for the All-Star Sprints, I had the opportunity to personally speak with Mr. Dave Blaney and learn a little more about him.
Growing up in a racing household, I have heard his name quite a few times but never have seen him out at a track to get to know him. Upon meeting him at Port Royal when he won back in April, and then ending up on NASCAR TV because of a Twitter post from his son, Ryan, I finally put the connection together. Ryan had won the same day as Dave, except his race was at Texas Motor Speedway.
After the shock settled into excitement, I decided I wanted to get to know Dave and how he got to where he did in his career. I was more interested in his approval of his son and how they make two separate race schedules work together…especially when one is on dirt and the other is asphalt.
Not only did I get to see the “Buckeye Bullet” start on the pole and watch his style of racing, I also got to record my interview with him via video! Now, I am not one to get nervous, but as you can imagine, I was a little star struck. I made sure he knew how thankful I was for his son posting the photos of us in victory lane on his social media and he simply chuckled.
As I am sure many of you know, Dave started racing back in 1982 when he was 18 years old. In my eyes, it takes guts to start that late in life, but we seem to forget the fact that back in those days, that’s what our beloved drivers did. They did not have the ability to race the smaller series that we enjoy these days.
“It was go-karts and then big cars,” Dave told me.
For Blaney, it was sprint cars. Now, me being only 22-years-old, it’s obvious I am not from the old days, so my question to Dave was what kind of sprint car did you start in? His answer was simple to him, but complex to me.
“Back then, it did not matter what engine you had,” he said. “They were simply Sprint Cars.”
Mind blown! As everyone in this generation knows, they have so many different sprints. 270 micro sprints, 305s, 358s, 360s, and of course 410s. So to know that it was as plain as ‘Sprint cars were Sprint cars’ back in the day was absolutely fascinating.
The next thing I wanted to know about Mr. Blaney was how he felt about his son Ryan carrying on the Blaney name in NASCAR. His face lit up. That was the biggest indication of how proud he was of Ryan. He told me how much effort his son put into his racing career.
“He’s doing well and progressing through the ranks easily,” he said. “He started when he was 8-years-old and since then, it was just years and years of progressing smoothly.
As mentioned earlier, I was curious to know how Dave ever got out to see his son race.
“It used to be easier, that’s for sure,” he said. “But, this year, I am doing more racing than ever.”
This shocked me because, after doing some math, it occurred to me Dave is 55-years-old and this year he is doing more racing than ever? When I questioned him about this, he told me how a race is either hit or miss as you get older.
“Every race stands out to me now,” he said. “At this age, you never know which one will end up being your last.”
As we joked around about age in racing, I compared Dave to Billy Pauch Sr in the Modified world and he told me he knows a lot about “Billy The Kid.” We both agreed that as long as you have the energy, the crew, the support and the desire to race, age is just a number.
This had to be one of my favorite interviews so far because it felt more so like a casual conversation with an old friend. I appreciate Dave taking the time to tell me more about him and his son, and I am also extremely happy that he now has one of my posters!
This wasn’t the first time speaking with “the Buckeye Bullet,” and definitely not the last.