An interview with Dave Blaney:
DAVE BLANEY, NO. 36 OLLIE’S BARGAIN OUTLET CHEVROLET – FINISHED 12TH AND EARNS AN ENTRY TO THE DAYTONA 500:
KERRY THARP: Two drivers raced their way into the 54th running of the Daytona 500. One is Dave Blaney. He drives the No. 36 Ollie's Bargain Outlet Chevrolet. Dave, congratulations getting into the Daytona 500. What are your thoughts about having that opportunity?
DAVE BLANEY: You don't want to come down here and miss this race. We got too good a team, too good a racecar to miss it.
I was confident we could get in. We've had strong runs here lately in the restrictor plate cars. Baldwin's group always brings good ones. It ran well today. Could run near the front early. We settled in for a while. We had to be so cautious not to slide the tires. That could have killed our race. We gave up staying with the pack because of that, but it ended up fine, uneventful, which was good for us. Relieved, I guess.
KERRY THARP: Questions now for Dave.
Q: Dave, business is business. We all know what happened with your points from last year. Any satisfaction level for you that you raced your way into this race, you didn't have to depend on points, especially from somebody else?
DAVE BLANEY*: No, I'm just happy we made it (smiling).
You know, like I said, I felt like we had the team and the car to make it the whole time. I wasn't worried about that side of it. But when you can't make it on qualifying day, anything can happen today. You can have a flat tire. Anything can happen. Worried about that side of it more than anything else, me making a mistake coming to the pits, the pit guys having something go wrong. Lots of things could happen.
But, no, I don't care about the point thing. We'll go and try to make the races every week. That's what we'll do.
Q: You're an old school racer. This is the way things used to be. You had to race your way in. There's got to be a lot of satisfaction.
DAVE BLANEY*: Old school doesn't mean much anymore, does it?
Q: Dave, you said you felt good coming in. Obviously, anything can happen. Throughout the race, did you have any scares? Did you or your group come in here with maybe any sort of chip on your shoulder in a sense of this group was a top 35 group last year, we belong in this thing?
DAVE BLANEY: Not chip on our shoulder. Just scared we wouldn't make it. Worried about doing the right things. I say, it worked out so we're happy.
As far as the race goes, no scares. There wasn't much going on. Honestly, guys were shoved pretty tight together early on, two lanes. But there was no big, aggressive stuff going on.
No, no scares. The only thing was getting off pit road, on and off clean, without messing that up, that was it. Good day to have an uneventful race for me.
Q: Dave, what did you see as far as max temperatures? How did the different drafting configurations affect your temperatures and what was the max you saw?
DAVE BLANEY: My car never did push water, luckily. Maybe went to 260. I didn't know what everybody else was doing, but I was nervous about 260. Maybe even 210 all by itself. So I thought it was maybe warmer than it should be.
But no issues.
Early on I learned I better be piquing out a lot when I was in draft to get some air. When you start doing that, you give up a little bit of speed, but it's safer.
Q: Dave, now that you're in the race, do you think your team will get you a more visible fire suit?
DAVE BLANEY: Yeah, this was the preliminary suit here (smiling).
Q: About the overheating, this is not just a case of the car suddenly starts overheating and then you're in trouble; it's a case of the car is not going to perform once you reach that level, not at the level it should, right?
DAVE BLANEY: Well, I don't know about that. Once it pushes a certain amount of water out, it's never going to recover and you're going to have some issues.
I'm sure it does slow down a little bit when it gets too hot, but losing the water is going to end your day.
KERRY THARP: Wish you a lot of luck this weekend. Thank you for coming in.