The Times West Virginian

April 12, 2014

FURFARI COLUMN: Blaney wins 100th Sprint Car race

By Mickey Furfari
Times West Virginian

MORGANTOWN — Stringing together some odds and ends that may be of interest to you:

• Dale Blaney, the all-time great West Virginia University basketball star, has achieved another historic notch in his athletic career as a Sprint Car racer. He posted his 100th career riding in the All-Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car Series at Attica Raceway Park in Ohio last weekend.

According to Jack Brautigan of the Morgantown Health Works, Blaney led all 40 laps while driving a brand new car for the first time. Blaney had become Sprint racing’s all-time winningest driver in history when getting his 99th triumph.

Incidentally, the WVU Sports Hall of Famer for basketball is proud that his daughter, Leah Blaney, has decided to enroll at WVU as a freshman student this fall.

• Ken Kendrick, the widely known owner of Major Leagues Baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks, is reported to be among West Virginia University’s most prominent and generous donors to the sports program. So I phoned his office recently and left word that I’d like to interview him. He politely responded via voice mail while I was out and I appreciated that. However, Mr. Kendrick said, “I am not interested in talking about WVU sports at this time.”

• Did you ever wonder how many former WVU baseball players have reached the Major League level in the program’s history? Well, Grant Dovey, assistant sports information director, has come up with the answer. The number up to date is 23 in the program’s history.

The most recent first baseman, Vince Belnone, was called up for just one day as a replacement with the Tampa Bay Rays before heading back to the minors.

This leaves just two ex-Mountaineers in the Biggies: Jedd Gyorko of Morgantown, in his second year with San Diego, and pitcher David Carpenter, of Fairmont, with the Atlanta Braves.

• In case anyone is interested, my columns no longer will appear in the Martinsburg Journal and the Elkins Inter-Mountain. I have enjoyed the many years of being a part of both Ogden newspapers, with headquarters in Wheeling.

However, my columns continue to appear in The Register-Herald, the Times West Virginian and the Bluefield Daily Telegraph.

All three are owned by Community Newspapers Holdings Inc.

All are fine newspapers in which my columns have appeared for a long time.

• More than 10,000 fans are expected for today’s annual Blue-Gold football scrimmage in Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium. It starts at 1 p.m. Matt Wells, assistant athletic director for marketing and sales, said net proceeds after expenses will go to WVU Children’s Hospital. More than $170,000 has been donated over the past 29 years. Tickets cost $10.

This obviously is a most worthwhile charity event.

• The WVU Board of Governors’ passage of Oliver Luck’s projected $106 million bonding expenditures for athletic facility updates has raised some questions that have yet to be answered about its advisability. Some think it’s wise, while many think it most certainly is not smart business on the part of the institution of higher learning, which this one is supposed to be. It’s not surprising, though. The BOG seemingly has put its unanimous stamp of approval on record spending athletically during the past three years or so.

 Keep in mind, coincidentally or otherwise, Luck was a member of the BOG from 2008-10 before being named A.D. by former WVU president Jim Clements, who is now at Clemson.