V&V; talks with Lisa Blaney, wife of NASCAR driver Dave Blaney
V&V;: How do you keep it real?
Lisa: “My family. That’s my focus now. The biggest thing we do to keep it normal is we don’t go every weekend (to her husband’s races.) I know those who go every weekend, but those are the ones who complain they don’t have a normal life.
“A long time ago when he was racing dirt cars, we were out 110 nights a year. We’d be gone weeks at a time when the kids were little. We had a great life, but we knew one day our oldest (Emma) would be in kindergarten. And homeschool was not even an option for us. I think it would be pretty hard to come off the road and not have any friends in the neighborhood or have other kids be in school when we would get home. We knew what we were going to do right from the beginning. It was actually pretty easy when they were little. Now (with all their interests) it gets a little rough,” she said with a laugh.
V&V;: What’s the biggest challenge you face with keeping it real?
Lisa: “I feel my toughest challenge is the same as any other wife’s challenge: Keeping your kids morally on the right track; helping them make good choices; staying honest with yourself. The biggest challenge raising kids in society today has nothing to do with racing.
“I’ve never viewed Dave’s job as more than Dave’s job. It’s the same as being a firefighter or a doctor. I think anybody with a husband who travels a lot for their job, well there are times I have to make a decision when I’m home and Dave’s gone. Sometimes it’s harder when Dave’s gone, but it’s not any different than any other wife whose husband travels.”
V&V;: “How do you handle his exposure in the media?”
Lisa: “Except for the media exposure of NASCAR, which was a small adjustment, I can’t complain. Dave may be gone as many as 35 weekends, but we use to race 110 nights a year and would drive to (the locations) in our motor home. Now, if I want to hop on a plane, I can meet him and we’ll be at the same place all weekend. To me that’s easier.”
V&V;: “Has the that media exposure changed your family lifestyle?
Lisa: “To be honest with you, we’re not Dale (Earnhardt) Jr., or Jeff Gordon. They do have a different level of exposure. I really believe you can make your life pretty normal if you want it to be. I think 90 percent of the (fans) respect the privacy (of NASCAR drivers) if you’re keeping it normal. Dave is very quiet. He does his business, he does his media stuff, but Dave is racing to race. The other stuff is a part of it, but he’s not going to do anything to take away his character, the way he was brought up by his family. Dave just wants to race and race well. If you want that kind of exposure though, you’ll get it. Just walk around with four body guards and you’ll get noticed.”
“I also think being out of the hotbed of Charlotte helps. In fact, up to the last place we lived, we always had a listed number. The office is still listed in the phone book.”
V&V;: “Do the kids ever feel like ‘Hey, what about me?’”
Lisa: “I tell my kids, ‘You’re lucky you can go to see your dad (at the races).’ Very few families can join their dads at their job. Even at home, we can watch him on television.”
V&V;: How about keeping your marriage real?
Lisa: “To me, marriage is a work in progress all the time. It doesn’t matter what you do. Everyone has a challenge in their relationships. I feel more for military wives. Sometimes for three months or more, they don’t know where their husbands are.
“We are very open and honest with each other. I have a great philosophy. Dave knows I would never ask him not to do something (work-related) –– but if I did ask, he knows he would be really needed. It’s not just the racing, it’s testing, dates, appearances for sponsors. Like this week, we are going to the mountains, but he has to leave a day early (for his race in Phoenix) to do (a media event). We just go with the flow.”
“Dave is very organized and he runs off a list. I’m more play-it-by-ear. I can’t plan that far ahead. The kids with their events, anything can change at the last minute. But maybe that’s why we complement each other so well.”
V&V;: “How did you meet Dave?”
Lisa: “Through friends at the races. I grew up in Iowa and when Dave was racing dirt cars, he always used to race at an event in Iowa.”
V&V;: “Tell me what it’s like with your family now.”
Lisa: “I feel our family is in a good place. I’m not saying we don’t have our issues at times, but I’m satisfied. I always say I come from a good family and I married into a good family.
“The kids are very involved (with their lives in school and friendships), basketball and they all race. But sometimes I’ll say to the kids, ‘We haven’t been to the races in three or four weeks and Daddy needs us.”
V&V;: “All three children race?”
Lisa: “They all three race. Ryan is 12 and he’s starting to get real serious, just like Dave did with his dad, but he’s not racing for points because then we can’t take off to go places or go with Dave. Dave is trying to teach Ryan the basics of racing, when to pass, how to get in corners. It’s not about winning. It’s about racing right. That’s the thing that Dave misses. He can’t be at their races all the time.”
V&V;: “How about Dave’s fans?”
Lisa: “They respect our family life. They’re great fans. We even had a fan club meeting once where we lived. No one wandered around the property. It was fun. We cooked to feed ourselves and them. The kids got involved. We knew we could do it. We just had someone put up tables and tents.”
V&V;: “Any last thoughts?”
Lisa: “It’s been fun. I think anything you’re involved in, it’s how you want to make it. We’ve made great friends over the years, and I don’t think we’ve made any enemies. I’m very proud of that. He loves being back with the Davis’ (BDR Racing). They’re not running real well, but they’ll figure it out. We love being with them. They’re like us. They’re real.”
For more information, visit www.daveblaney.com or www.sharonspeedway.com
Lisa takes the driver's seat
V&V; talks with Lisa Blaney, wife of NASCAR driver Dave Blaney
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