Dave O’Blenis is one of the most successful drivers in the history of Speedway 660. He’s an Auto Value 250 winner and also has won two A.L. Gullison Disaster Kleenup Pro Stock championships. This year, in addition to being a full time pro stocker, Dave is running a partial Sportsman schedule and working on two Hanwell Village Mart Bandolero cars for daughters Courtney and Alexandra. Dave, his wife Corrie and their daughters recently talked with Speedway 660 announcer Wade Wilson.
Dave, Courtney, Alexandra, Corrie (front left to right) and the O’Blenis pit crew (behind the car) celebrate winning the half-way challenge and a 2nd place finish at the 2011 Auto Value 250. Team O’Blenis is busier than ever in 2012, running a Pro stock and two Bandoleros full time and a partial Sportsman schedule.
Wade: Dave, you have been a top runner at Speedway 660 and other Maritime tracks for several years. What are some of the keys to your success?
Dave: Number one, I’ve got a great family behind me and they support my racing efforts in a big way. Number two, hard work. My family has an unbelievable work ethic and we are always trying to figure out how to improve and get better. Sometimes we may end up going a little backwards, but you don’t get better by standing still.
Wade: Can you tell us a little bit about your family’s racing history? Some folks may not know you weren’t the first O’Blenis involved in this sport.
Dave: Fast cars have been a part of my family for as long as I can remember. My grandfather George started it all in the 1960’s and 70’s. He raced in that era and then later owned the famous “Green Growler” that Walter Dunfield raced at the old Riverglade Speedway. Grampie also crewed for Caleb Dunn. Then, my Dad Allan and Uncle Roy showed cars in the International Show Car Association in the 80’s and 90’s. I grew up around fast cars and loved going to the races and car shows. I bought my first street stock back in 94 and I guess the rest is history!
Wade: You girls have been watching your Dad win races all your lives. When you were little, did you ever dream of driving a race car?
Courtney: I grew up going to the races cheering for Dad. It’s awesome that he has been so successful and won so many races over the years. I was the happiest person in the world when he got me a Bandolero car.
Alexandra: I agree, it’s cool having a Dad who wins a lot of races. When I was little, I used to dream about racing, when I was at the track cheering for my Dad. I never really thought I actually would get a chance to race, especially at this age. I want to thank my Mom and Dad for making my dream come true!
Wade: Dave, you and Corrie are proud of your daughters and I know that you both get pretty excited when you see them race in front of the Speedway 660 crowd.
Dave: We are proud of them for sure! I love seeing how they respond to the highs and lows of racing. I always get a kick out of the expressions on their faces when they get out of their cars. I know how rewarding it is to run well and the Hanwell Village Mart Bandolero division is a great place for kids to race because there are a lot of awesome young drivers and it sure is competitive.
Wade: Do you girls have a racing rivalry or do you just treat each other like any other competitor?
Alexandra: We certainly do have a rivalry, but at the end of the night we are still a race team and it doesn’t matter who did better or what happened during the races.
Courtney: Oh yeah, we have a rivalry for sure, but when all is said and done we are still sisters and always will be each other’s best friend, no matter what!
Wade: Corrie, I know you are the one who keeps this racing family focused and running smoothly! But it must be a little nerve racking watching Dave run those big, powerful pro stocks and your daughters compete in their Bandoleros?
Corrie: Actually, Dave started racing before we were married, so I kinda knew what I was getting into! I have gotten used to watching him race and this might sound a little weird, but I am more nervous about wanting him to do well than about him getting into a wreck. That’s mainly because he has convinced me that the cars are safe and I know safety is a priority for everyone involved in this sport. However, watching my babies in their Bandoleros is a completely different story. It is just as exhausting to watch as it is exciting. Just like any other division, racing things happen, accidents happen and I am always grateful to see them finish a race safe and sound and hopefully with smiles on their faces.
Wade: Are you girls looking to continue your racing careers by moving up through the ranks at Speedway 660 and maybe one day taking over the O’Blenis Pro Stock seat?
Courtney: Hopefully someday I might get to run Pro Stock, but Dad keeps telling me he’s not quite ready to pull the plug on his racing career. Seriously, I think I would like to run a Sportsman. I’ve actually tested the Sportsman car and it is amazing!
Alexandra: My goal is to race Sportsman too. Once I am too old for the Bando division, hopefully Mom and Dad will let me move up, maybe late next year or the year after. As for the Pro Stock, maybe someday, but not anytime soon!
Wade: Who are your favourite NASCAR drivers?
Dave: Paul Menard.
Corrie: I don’t have a favourite NASCAR driver, because the only racing I really like involves my daughters and husband.
Alexandra: Tony Stewart.
Courtney: Jimmie Johnson, because he is number 48, just like me!
Wade: Dave - I’ll leave the last word to you, because being the only man at your dining room table you probably rarely get the last word!
Dave: That is an understatement! My whole family is female - even the family dogs and I’ll bet those goldfish are female too. Seriously though, if this is the last word, I want to thank my wife Corrie for her support and dedication through-out all of these years.