Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Sports

Dave Blaney pulls out of Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH — Dave Blaney is down to one reason to stay at Daytona International Speedway: His 20-year-old son, Ryan, is racing in the truck series.

When Ryan's season opener is over today, dad will be hitting the road, too.

Dave Blaney withdrew from the Daytona 500 on Thursday, one day after he totaled his only car in the first full practice for NASCAR's Sprint Cup opener.

The 51-year-old posted the slowest pole-qualifying speed Sunday and was set to start last in the first of two Duel qualifying races that set the 43-car field for the 500.

But Blaney got caught up in a seven-car accident Wednesday, a setback that cost him a shot at making NASCAR's premier event.

"We didn't want to go home with a junk race car and not even a shot to make it," Blaney said, "but that's where we're at."

Blaney had made 13 of the previous 14 Daytona 500s, missing only the 2010 race. He finished 15th in 2012 and was 17th last year, proving he can get around the 2½-mile speedway even while driving for underfunded Tommy Baldwin Racing.

Blaney signed with Randy Humphrey Racing this year, another shallow-pocket team trying to leave Daytona with a huge check; the last-place finisher in 2013 received $264,354.

"It sure would have been nice to have that moving forward," Blaney said. "But I think Randy knew coming in that you can't bank on that happening, so it's fine. We've just got to come back next week, be solid, make the race and go forward."

ROOKIE'S RECOVERY: One day after flipping his car for the first time in his career, rookie Parker Kligerman landed a sponsor. LendingTree will be on the No. 30 Toyota on Sunday. Kligerman's car went airborne and was destroyed in Wednesday's first practice. "I assumed it would be rougher. But it was actually really soft,'' the 23-year-old driver said. "I remember everything. I saw the whole thing go down. I was up in the fence kind of floating along. Then it just flipped over softly, and I slid on the roof."

ROAD RASH: Landon Cassill raced into the 500 just days after getting hit by a car while riding his bike. Cassill had road rash on his chin, arm and both legs, as well as a black eye and bruising. Cassill said he was T-boned by a driver who ran a stop sign and ended up in the hospital on Saturday. NASCAR medical cleared Cassill to drive Sunday. "I was really lucky. My face really took most of the fall," he said. "It's really not funny. I could have got really hurt."

Wire problem: Chevrolet's newest pace cars are painted fire-engine red, which is fitting since the automaker needed a real one last week at the speedway. Chevy unveiled its latest pace car lineup on the same day it said a pinched wire likely caused a trunk fire in the Chevrolet SS pace car during the Sprint Unlimited race on Saturday. "It appears we had a pinched wire in one of the strobe systems," said Jeff Chew, marketing manager for Chevrolet Racing. A Silverado 1500 will be the pace vehicle for the truck series opener today, a Camaro SS for the Nationwide opener Saturday and a Chevrolet SS for the 500. All three have LED lighting, which don't use the wiring that seemingly started the fire.

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