CONCORD, N.C. – Ten minutes is the time it takes to heat a pizza in the oven, and at times it’s the length of a World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series feature.
It’s also how long it took for Dave Blaney’s Outlaws career to go from moderate to elite.
His 1992 season in the No. 7c Sprint Car — his fourth year in the car — was going poorly. Coming off a six-win season the year prior, Blaney picked up a couple of wins at the beginning of the year and juggled top-five and top-10 finishes for the remainder of it.
At 30 years old, in his prime, Blaney said he was desperate to run better. He knew he had to do something different.
Coincidentally, Casey Luna’s team – crew chiefed by Kenny Woodruff – was looking for a new driver.
Knowing Woodruff already, Blaney called him to ask if he could drive Luna’s No. 10 car.
“He said, ‘Heck yeah.’ He called Luna and 10 minutes later it was done,” Blaney said. “Nothing elaborate. Let’s go race. We were both ready to run good.
“It was one phone call.”
That one call took Blaney from a three-to-six-wins-a-year driver to a 10-to-15-wins-a-year driver for the rest of his full-time Outlaws career. It also made him a champion in 1995.
The pair hit the ground running in their first season together in 1993, winning the first race of the year at Houston Motorsports Park and 14 more after, ending the year second in points to then 12-time champion Steve Kinser.
Blaney finished 107 points behind Kinser, which was a major feat, considering Kinser had won the championship for the three previous seasons by more than 500 points.
“I think we surprised a lot of people in 1993, honestly,” Blaney said. “We stayed close to Steve all year in points. We ran better than even I expected, as far as winning big races, running up front a lot.”
Blaney attributed a lot of that success to his compatibility with Woodruff. They fit well, together. Woodruff wasn’t one to chit chat – much like his father Lou Blaney, he said. So, he was used to that and comfortable with that. The two were equally focused on winning.
There were about four to five events Blaney considered the echelon of races each year due to their significance and payout. In 1993 he won two of them – his first Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway and second at the Syracuse Mile at the New York State Fairgrounds.
He lucked into the Kings Royal victory, he said. On the final lap, going into the last corner, he was side by side with Jac Haudenschild. However, Haudenschild had the top while Blaney was in the middle.
“He had me beat,” Blaney said.
As they were rounding the turn something happened to Haudenschild’s engine. He fell and Blaney went on to secure the $50,000 win.
While he didn’t feel like he fully earned the win, in 1995 Blaney said he came back and “whipped” the field to win his second Kings Royal. That made up for it.
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