New Hampshire Motor Speedway
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Dave Blaney and Travis Geisler Quotes
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Dave Blaney will practice and qualify the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger on Friday and Saturday here at New Hampshire Motor Speedway while Sam Hornish Jr. competes in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Kentucky Speedway. Blaney and Travis Geisler, Director of Competition at Penske Racing, spoke about the situation earlier today at NHMS.
Dave Blaney (No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T) HOW DID THIS SITUATION COME ABOUT FOR YOU TO BE IN THE No. 22 DODGE THIS WEEKEND? “Obviously they needed somebody to run while Sam was in Kentucky and I had actually planned to skip this race and go to Kentucky to watch Ryan anyway. He’s running Trucks and Nationwide and when it came up that they needed some help, it was easy for me to say yes and do it.”
WHAT IS THE MAIN OBJECTIVES THAT YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH IN THE CAR THIS WEEKEND? “Well obviously we’re making changes and runs that the 2 car (Brad Keselowski) can look at throughout the whole day today. That’s obviously the biggest thing we’re going to do, whether it’s kind of on the fly changes they want to try or they’re going to go one way and we go to the other, whatever it may be. Obviously that’s the whole key here, the goal.”
ARE YOU GOING TO FOCUS MORE ON RACE RUNS VERSUS QUALIFYING TODAY? “Today is going to be all qualifying runs. The team just told me four qualifying runs today only. I’m sure it’s changes that Paul (Wolfe, Keselowski’s crew chief) wanted to see.”
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE LOOK LIKE FOR DAVE BLANEY AS A RACE CAR DRIVER? “I don’t know. We’ll see what Tommy Baldwin is up to next year and what kind of plan they’ve got. They’re trying hard to get better equipment, race a little more, race a little harder. So, we’ll see how that goes. Honestly, I’m focused on Ryan’s racing or how he’s coming here lately. See how that goes as well and maybe determines what I do, maybe not, but really focus on him.”
IN A PERFECT WORLD, WOULD YOU STILL LIKE TO RUN CUP FULL-TIME? “Well, regardless of the situation, I feel like if Ryan (Blaney) is out here racing most of the time or full-time, I feel like I maybe need to be out here with him just to spend the summer with him. That may happen no matter what. But hopefully Tommy’s team can get a little help, get a little improved and I’d be happy to do that again. We’ll see.”
HOW BIG WAS THAT WIN LAST WEEK FOR RYAN? “I thought it was very big for Brad’s Truck team, for Ryan’s future. Hopefully, the Penske group can sell him more with that win or be more confident. Hopefully, they saw what they were hoping to see in him and he can keep improving. He’s been improving a lot, I think, lately and he’s been racing a lot more. The last three or four weeks, he’s raced steady. You see a big improvement anytime you can stay in, whether it’s in Trucks or Nationwide. The more you can stay in ‘em, the more comfortable you get, the more you improve. He’s coming along just fine.”
WERE YOU SURPRISED THAT HE WON SO QUICKLY? “Somebody else asked me this. I said well, don’t call me a jerk, but no, I wasn’t surprised. I haven’t been surprised at anything that kid has done since he was about 14. Obviously, I’ve seen everything that he’s done. He catches on to things so fast and it seems like naturally he can pick things up and just make good decisions. And that eventually helps him be in the hunt for race wins in ever series he’s been in. It didn’t surprise me. I don’t even know how to explain it. It was pretty gratifying to see him have that happen to him so soon. You get a little momentum going. It’s nice to keep it going so hopefully, he can continue that.”
Travis Geisler (Director of Competition, Penske Racing) WHAT WAS THE DECISION PROCESS TO PUT DAVE BLANY IN THE No. 22 DODGE FOR PRACTICE AND QUALIFYING THIS WEEKEND? “We’ve worked with his family in the past. Dave has driven for Roger (Penske) back in the Jasper days so I think there’s a lot of history there. We know that he does a really good job of giving good feedback on the car. We wanted somebody with some experience so we could still support the 2 team and their efforts going for the Chase deal this year and give this team some good information to figure out their setup for Sam on Sunday. The guys that we have are all down there, so we needed somebody to bring in from outside. It really makes sense to bring somebody like Dave in who’s got a lot of experience and certainly we have a lot of experience for him and how he’s handled himself.”
DO YOU TRY TO FIND SOMEBODY WITH SAM’S DRIVING STYLE OR SOMEONE MORE LIKE BRAD? “I think you’re just looking for somebody you feel like is adaptable and is able to kind of jump in and get up to speed with your program because we’re not going to be able to really change what we’re doing around what Dave needs. We’re going to have to ask him to do what we need for our other guys and we know where Brad and Sam stack up. I think as far as which one of those driving styles he has; I think as long as he can out and get the car around the track, we’ll be able to learn what we need to learn.”
WHAT WOULD BE A GOOD WEEKEND IN THIS SITUATION? “I think the best thing is that we can try some things that we learn from, do some changes that maybe we wouldn’t normally do because we were more worried about getting the driver perfectly balanced with the car. Let’s get outside the box a little bit and try a few things and maybe we can help our other team. You know when it comes Saturday afternoon, we’ll sit down with both teams and try to come up with one setup because that’s the way we’ll start the race with Sam having zero laps. It’s a different situation. It’s certainly not the ideal one maybe but you got to make the best out of what you can and Sam still has a great chance at the championship on the Nationwide side. We need to do everything for that group that we can. We felt like having him in Kentucky focused on that effort was going to generate the best results for us over there.”
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