Many people know the last name Blaney. It’s synonymous with dirt racing, talent, and speed. Dave Blaney drives the #36 for Tommy Baldwin in the Cup series, and his brother Dale is making it happen on dirt tracks. The latest addition to this racing trifecta is 18-year-old Ryan Blaney, who runs in the K&N Pro series and making waves during a few Nationwide Series starts.
Emma Blaney doesn’t race anymore, but she is still involved in the racing scene. The girlfriend of another K&N driver, Cale Conley, Emma plays the role of the silly one, showing everyone how normal their family really is. She tells me about her past racing career, watching her little brother grow up, and her infatuation with one Kasey Kahne.
1. Not many people know that you use to race. At what age did you start racing, and what did you wheel?
I started in quarter midgets when I was about 10. Bobby Labonte’s QM track opened up and it was real close to our house so my dad put my brother and I each in a quarter midget. I ran them until I was 16 (I suddenly got real tall and couldn’t really even fit into them anymore) and then let Ryan have all the glory. Those were some of the best years of my life, I swear. Got to travel so much and made so many close friends. I even met Cale through QM’s. In 2007, we raced up in Indy and Ohio and we spent about a month racing up there. I hated Cale for that whole month. I even beat him in one race we were both in.
2. When and why did you decide that racing wasn’t what you wanted to do as a career?
Well I turned 16 and got super tall. I was really into sports my whole life, racing was always just a fun thing for me. I played basketball and volleyball year round and so I had to choose what I wanted to do. I didn’t think I would be good at anything other than a little quarter midget, and I was right. Dad put me in a Bandolero twice, and I sucked terribly. So I went my way with sports, and I let Ryan take over the racing career. ;)
3. Your younger brother Ryan is starting to cause a stir on the Nationwide side. Is it weird to see him cope with the pressure that comes with that series?
It is a little weird. I guess I still see him as my tiny, wimpy brother with a big gap between his front teeth. But I think he is handling things pretty well for being 18. I think the biggest thing that has helped him is my dad. He has been through it all and he has always taught us, and especially Ryan, about how to handle this career. Ryan has 4 more Nationwide races this year and I have a ton of faith that he will do just fine. He has big dreams and won’t stop going after them, and we all support that. What’s weird is that the pressure and attention is on Ryan when he races. Our family is use to the Sunday afternoon NASCAR races, media, pressure and all that, but with my dad. And now, it is all about Ryan. But the real question is, when is it going to be all about me!? (just kidding :) )
4. How do you feel about Ryan having a girl fan base? Have you given him any tips to charm the ladies?
Haha, the girl fan base… Well it’s interesting. I’ll admit, he is a cute little thing, but my mom has always told him “Girls or racecars, choose.” You know a lot of girls usually think that I am his girlfriend, which I find completely offensive. I mean, come on. But I don’t really give him too many tips! I tell him to stay away from girls right now, and focus on his racing. Racing is your girlfriend, Ryan!
5. Ryan also races against your boyfriend, Cale Conley, in the K&N races. Is it hard to deal with that extra anxiety?
Yes the extra anxiety SUCKS. I highly recommend no girls have a boyfriend who races in the same series as your brother, it’s so stressful! But I honestly would not change it for the world. I love having both of them there, it’s exciting. My nerves go a little crazy though. They always joke about what if they were coming to the checkered 1 & 2 and one of them wrecked the other. I don’t find it so funny. But Cale has actually been racing with my family for awhile. Cale started out in sprint cars and raced them for 2 or 3 years and he raced against my Uncle Dale almost every week. In 2010, Cale, my Uncle and Dad were all in the Kings Royal up at Eldora, and also the 3 of them were racing the Knoxville Nationals too. So I have been through this for awhile now! I’m a pro.
6. Your whole family has been successful at many different levels of racing. How does the family deal with all the media attention that comes with it?
I get asked this question a lot, and I always try to think of a really cool answer for it, but I never can think of a good one. We aren’t any different from any other family. People seem to think that we have this great life and we really don’t. Yes, we are very blessed to be where we are, but there are flaws and hardships that come with this lifestyle. My family is not anything like the Gordons, or Johnsons, we don’t get that kind of attention but my siblings and I were always taught that “This is just what we do, this is just what our family does for a living, and this is what makes us stick together as a family.” I feel like my job in my family is to just show people how normal and silly we are, and show that we are personable people and aren’t anything to special. That’s why I enjoy Twitter, or Facebook or any social media so much.
7. Your uncle Dale also races. Between him, your dad, and Ryan, who’s the best driver?
I think I would get punched for answering this question! But they are all incredible. I think they are very similar in their driving techniques but they each bring something a little different to the table. They learn a lot from each other and that’s what I think is really cool about having an entire family that races.
8. I understand that you have a ‘small’ crush on Kasey Kahne. What is your favorite quality about Kasey?
Haha! Ohhhh Kasey. I do have a little crush, yes! And I am pretty sure he knows it, which is so awkward. I don’t know what it is about him, I just think he is beautiful. Not sure how my dad really feels about it…