HARTFORD - On most weekends NASCAR drivers Tony Stewart and Kasey Kahne are busy rubbing paint with Dave Blaney.
Once a year Stewart and Kahne rub shoulders with Blaney for a common cause Alzheimer's disease.
The two Sprint Cup stars made it four straight years as a participant in the annual Lou Blaney Memorial sprint car race Tuesday at Sharon Speedway. Proceeds from the event go to the Alzheimer's Association. Lou, the father of Dave and sprint car driver Dale, died of the disease in 2009.
Tribune Chronicle / Michael Taylor
From left, NASCAR drivers Kasey Kahne, Dave Blaney, Ryan Blaney (Nationwide Series) and NASCAR driver, owner and three-time champion Tony Stewart talk during a question and answer session Tuesday before the Lou Blaney Memorial at Sharon Speedway.
Dave, a 15-year NASCAR veteran, is grateful for the assistance he receives from Stewart and Kahne. The two are among the most popular NASCAR drivers, adding major drawing power to the memorial.
"It's been a very cool thing," Dave said. "That's pretty special that they'll take the time to come up and do it. It's been a fun event. Everybody at the speedway works hard to make it happen."
Stewart, who won the Sprint Cup points championship last season, has sprint car roots that date back to his pre-NASCAR days. He made several appearances at Sharon Speedway when Lou was still alive.
410 Sprint Feature: 1. Brad Sweet, 2. Dale Blaney 3. Kasey Kahne 4. Dave Blaney 5. Carl Bowser 6. Mike Lutz 7. Dan Kuriger 8. Brandon Spithaler 9. Jason Dolick 10. Roger Campbell 11. Adam Kekich 12. Eric Williams 13. Brandon Matus 14. Gary Edwards 15. Brent Matus 16. Bob McMillin 17. Jimmy Morris III 18. Jack Sodeman, Jr. 19. Adam Anderson 20. Tony Stewart 21. Sam Hafertepe, Jr. 22. Danny Holtgraver-DNS.
Big-Block Modifieds: 1. Kevin Bolland (777) 2. Rex King (65) 3. Kevin Hoffman (17H) 4. Chad Brachmann (3) 5. Jim Weller, Jr. (31) 6. Eric Gabany (3E) 7. Brad Rapp (11R) 8. Jimmy Weller III (31W) 9. Chris Haines (35H) 10. Tom Glenn (83T) 11. Carl Murdick (6) 12. Tom Mattocks (69) 13. Dillion Barr (15B) 14. Don Brown (71B) 15. Bob Warren (96B) 16. Jeremiah Shingledecker (37MD) 17. Rob Curtis (McElhaney 6 7/8) 18. Rex King, Jr. (165) 19. Skip Moore (17M) 20. Justin Rasey (21) 21. Randy Chrysler (21K) 22. Dean Pearson (8J) 23. Steve Barr (25B) 24. Brian Fink DNQ: Rob Kristyak (00), Jim Rasey (32), Rick Ryder (Snider 189), Del Rougeux, Jr. (20D).
"It's not like he knew my dad really well, but he knew him enough to go up and talk to him anytime," Dave said. "He's a really good guy. A really loyal guy. He's been great about coming. He's been running more and more sprint cars. The first time he won in a 410 sprint car was the first memorial race. Since then he's won a bunch of wing races, and he's gotten really good at it."
Stewart has no plans of breaking his streak of attending the memorial races. It's a special day for him.
"Kasey and I are obviously very passionate about doing it," Stewart said. "It doesn't take much for us to come to a dirt race. Even if he (Dave) doesn't know what's going to happen next year, we always leave this week open just in case. We never want to miss that opportunity."
Kahne also has dirt track experience running sprints. Like Stewart, he enjoys being able to help the charitable cause.
"It's nice how much the fans get behind what all of us do over the years and how they supported him (Dave), and at the end of the day how much money we were able to raise for great causes," Kahne said. "It's neat to have that, and the drivers are the same way, just trying to help everybody out."
Brad Sweet of Grass Valley, Calif., won the race, while Dale Blaney took second. Kasey Kahne, Dave Blaney and Carl Bowser of Sarver, Pa., rounded out the top five. Tony Stewart took 20th.
And, Kevin Bolland of New Brighton, Pa., beat out Bristolville's Rex King to take the Big Block Modifieds feature.
Meanwhile, stepping away from NASCAR's national spotlight is special for some drivers. They know that fans at a small track in northeastern Ohio are some of the purest race fans going.
"They probably haven't been to a lot of NASCAR races," Kahne said. "They just enjoy coming and watching a sprint car race and see you do something different from what they see on TV with the NASCAR stuff. It's always a great crowd at Sharon and it's fun to come here and race."
Stewart is coming off a Sprint Cup win in the Coke Zero 400 last weekend at Daytona. He's currently fifth in the standings, 90 behind leader Matt Kenseth.
Kahne is 16th and battling for one of the spots in the Chase.
Stewart has many NASCAR achievements, but one of his biggest claims to fame was winning his first World of Outlaws sprint race last year in Canada.
"It was cool," Stewart said. "It's so much fun because I've always watched Doug Wolfgang, Sammy Swindell, Steve Kinser and Dave Blaney and always wanted to run with them. We had an awesome night there. That was a big checkmark on my bucket list.
"It doesn't quite get to the Brickyard (at Indianapolis), but it's close. That was a big deal to me. Much bigger than most people understand."
Running at Sharon in the Lou Blaney Memorial is obviously another important race for Stewart.
DREAMRACER: The Dreamracer, a race simulator designed for children that suffer from cancer, was on display at Sharon Speedway. One Dreamracer costs $9,500. Donations have allowed a Dreamracer to be placed at the Pittsburgh Children's Hospital. Donations are being accepted to place one in the Akron Children's Hospital.