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NASCAR
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Trucks getting down and dirty

- jutter@charlotteobserver.com
Tuesday, Jul. 23, 2013

Dave Blaney is a NASCAR veteran, but is also known as a standout dirt track racer.

Blaney’s son, Ryan, is an up-and-coming NASCAR star who won his first Truck Series race last season.

On Wednesday night their respective careers clash in the inaugural Midsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway (8 p.m., SPEED) – the first NASCAR race held on a dirt surface in more than four decades.

The Blaneys have raced together twice previously on a dirt track but Wednesday’s 150-lap feature on the 1/2-mile dirt track owned by three-time Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart will be their first head-to-head matchup in NASCAR competition.

In their two previous dirt races, each came away with a victory, setting up Wednesday night’s race as the rubber match.

Ryan Blaney is running fulltime in the Truck series this season for Brad Keselowski Racing so his entry in Wednesday night’s race was a given.

His father’s entry with BKR came as somewhat as a surprise.

“There was talk about Eldora and my dad said he thought it would be cool if he could run Brad’s second truck there. So, I was kind of joking around and told him I would bring it up with Brad,” Ryan, 19, said.

“I saw Brad the next week or so and brought up my dad running Eldora for him and he loved the idea. Thinking back on it now, it was probably a bad idea for me because he is going to make me look bad.

“It will be fun and a great race. I just hope I don’t get lapped by the old man.”

The elder Blaney has far more experience and success on dirt. Dave Blaney was the 1984 USAC Silver Crown series champion and won the World of Outlaws sprint car championship in 1995.

Dave is also a former winner at Eldora, owning victories in two of the track’s biggest races – “The Historical Big One” and “The Kings Royal,” both in 1995.

“It’s such an honor to be given the opportunity from Brad to race with my son, Ryan, as a teammate Wednesday night at Eldora,” Dave Blaney said.

“I know the BKR guys have been preparing very diligently for this race and I will do everything in my power to put the truck in Victory Lane.”

NASCAR has reduced the field for Wednesday night’s race from 36 to 30 and only teams in the Top 20 in owner’s points are guaranteed entry in the field.

Both Blaneys are already assured a starting spot in the feature, which is especially important for Ryan, who remains in contention for the Truck series championship.

“It’s hard to say we weren’t looking forward to this one. The date has been the ‘wild card’ all season long for our team, knowing it’s going to be a wild one out there on the track,” Ryan said.

“There will be a lot of point shuffling after Wednesday night’s race; it’s just a matter of bringing the right package and executing it properly. Our team has been working on our dirt package all season, so I’m extremely confident.”

Utter: 704-358-5113

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