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Local Sports

Blaney going full tilt at Iowa Speedway in Sunday’s Fan Appreciation 200

Ryan Blaney knows what he has to do with just eight races remaining in the 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

“When you have the luck we’ve had this season and get behind in the points race, your game plan changes. You make a plan at the beginning of the season. We’re going to have solid runs, if we’re running 10th, we’ll finish 10th and not take chances and wreck,” Blaney said.

“This year we’ve had some bad luck and have wrecked and are behind. Now, my outlook on it is that we have to go out there and get wins. That’s how we are going to try to fight our way back in this championship. We might have to take some chances and be more aggressive on the tracks than we were earlier in the season.”

So, in Iowa Speedway’s Second Annual Fan Appreciation 200 presented by New Holland, Blaney, driving the No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford, is going out for the win and stepping up his game on the track. The race is 1 p.m. Sunday.

The NCWTS drivers will run practice laps from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday before the ARCA drivers take to the Speedway track The ARCA Series Prairie Meadows 150 is Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

The NCWTS drivers run qualifying laps for Sunday’s Fan Appreciation 200 at 6 p.m. Saturday for Sunday’s race.

Sunday’s Fan Appreciation 200 is the seventh NCWTS race held at the track and the second consecutive season in which the track has hosted the series twice in a season. Timothy Peters enters the race as the only repeat winner at Iowa with two wins. Peters won the truck race in July at Iowa. Should he win this weekend, he will be the first back- to-back winner of races at the .0.875-mile track.

Matt Crafton pursues his 15th consecutive top-10 finish of the season in Iowa where the points leader has a victory (2011) and six straight top-10 finishes. Blaney sits in seventh in the NCWTS points list, 82 points behind Crafton, and 12 points behind Peters, who is in sixth.

Blaney is the defending champion of this truck race at Iowa Speedway. His first NASCAR major series victory came at Iowa a year ago. It was only his third start in 2012 and he earned a full season of truck series racing. Blaney pointed out it was the first wins for Brad Keselowski Racing and his sponsor, Cooper Standard.

“It’s always been a special track to me. I got my first start here in a K&N East car a couple years ago, and fell in love with the track ever since. It’s such a fine race track,” Blaney said. “It’s just fun, especially when you get a win here like I did last year, which makes a track that much more special.”

Another aspect of Iowa Speedway, Blaney said he likes is how family friendly the race track and its facility is for fans. He said he’s down some appearances in the suites and all the fan activities that go on behind the grandstands.

“It’s pretty cool. They’ve always got some cool event going on for the fans. And a big part of my family is from here. My mom is from Sheridan so I’ll have a lot of family here to watch the race,” Blaney said.

“This weekend they have so many special offers for this for fans. Not many tracks do that for fans. I know they want to thank the fans here at Iowa Speedway for their support and to give them discounts to come out and enjoy races here. That’s a great
opportunity .”

Blane said he got his first Nationwide start in the Penske car in the Iowa Speedway’s first Nationwide race this year in June. He said BKR flew him in and put him out there after the race was delayed by rain and Joey Lagono had to go to Pocono (for a Sprint Cup race).

Blaney said BKR has signed him for a full season of truck racing in 2014. He said he just was told he will be driving in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race in Kentucky Sept. 21.

Blaney is another young driver, who grew up in the sport of racing with his father and grandfather racing. He said not all sons of race drivers take up the family business but he knew it was for him the first time he got in a race car.

“You get a passion for it. You try it out and if you like and are good at it, you keep doing it, just like any other sport,” Blaney said.

Blaney said he is hoping for more opportunities to drive in the Nationwide Series but right now he is concentrating on his truck races right now. He is coming off a 16th place finish in the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, won by Chase Elliott.

“We’re going into this weekend to have a fast truck and get a win. We’re coming with a new truck, a different style, and I’m excited about it from all the simulation stuff we’ve gone through with it leading into this race,” Blaney said.

“As a driver, you know when the truck is right on the track. This is a daytime race and it’s going to be hot. A hot track gets slick and you slide around more, which being a dirt guy, I really like daytime races and a lot of fun.”

Penalties were issued to teams in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series following last weekend’s Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

Bryan Berry, crew chief of the No. 6 team, has been fined $2,500 for violating Sections 12-1 and 9-4A (Crew chief assumes responsibility for the actions of his team members). Mike Skeen is the driver of No. 6.

Kelly Heaphy, who was with the No. 6 team at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, has been fined $2,500 and denied access to all NASCAR events indefinitely for her involvement in an altercation with a competitor following Sunday’s race.

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