Ryan Blaney is not just NASCAR Cup driver Dave Blaney’s son. The seventeen year old up and coming driver hopes to be NASCAR’s ambassador to the next generation of stock car racing fans.
[media-credit name=”Photo Credit: Ryan Blaney Racing” align=”alignright” width=”216″][/media-credit]The young Blaney has gotten his career off to a pretty good start, scoring a second place finish in just his second ARCA start at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis this past weekend.
Blaney, behind the wheel of the No. 15 Seal Wrap Chevrolet for Venturini Motorsports, was good as soon as he arrived at the track. He was also able to hold his own with some of the ARCA Series regulars, including Richard Childress talent and grandson Ty Dillon, who he battled for the win.
“We were decent off the trailer,” Blaney said. “We qualified second into the race and in the early part of the race, I thought we had the best car.”
“We would have had some rubbing going on for me to get by Ty,” Blaney said of his battle with eventual race winner, Ty Dillon. “So, I was happy to finish second and see that I can really run with those guys in the series.”
“Overall it was a pretty good weekend for us.”
Although still quite young, in fact so young that he cannot yet run many of the tracks on the ARCA Series schedule, Blaney has progressed steadily up the racing ranks. He started racing quarter midgets at the age of eight and then moved up to Bandeleros, Legends and Late Models.
But this year, with his father’s advice and counsel, young Ryan decided to do something different and move to a heavier car in preparation for the next step in his career.
“Me and my dad were talking and saying that we think it’s time to move up and try to get into heavier cars,” Blaney said. “He really wanted to prepare me.”
“The worst thing that can happen is to jump in a car when you’re not ready and look bad,” Blaney continued. “We made sure that I had enough experience to really go out there and look good. I think we timed it just right.”
“Next year I’m hoping to run a Truck and being full-time in a Truck would be awesome,” Blaney said. “If not, we will try some Truck and ARCA races to get as much experience as I can.
“This is really what I want to do and what I have a passion for,” Blaney continued. “My dad has put so much time and money into me that I’d be disappointed in myself if I didn’t make it worth it.”
“And I’m trying my very hardest to make it and pay him off some day.”
Does the young driver feel pressure, especially in light of his father’s Cup career? Not on your life according to Ryan Blaney.
“I don’t really feel pressure at all,” Blaney said. “If anything, it motivates me even more to be like him and actually try to be better than him.”
“He’s never pushed me and he’s always making sure that I’m sure about it,” Blaney said. “I accept the challenge of trying to be like him and get where’s he’s at and what he’s accomplished.”
Not only does Ryan Blaney strive to follow in his father’s footsteps, but he readily admits that his dad is indeed his racing hero.
“He is my main racing hero,” Blaney said of his dad. “He grew up on dirt and that’s what he lived for over 30 years and made a career out of that.”
“Then he jumped into NASCAR and had a career in that,” Blaney continued. “That’s what’s really special to me and impressive to me.”
As proud as Ryan is of his dad, the feeling is more than reciprocated by his proud papa. But dad Dave said, with a chuckle, that his son probably said those things “because he’s scared of me.”
“He’s been doing really well,” Dave Blaney said of son. “This year we’ve gotten him in a couple of K&N Series races and he ran well. And he’s run real well in his two ARCA starts.”
“Ryan’s coming along real well,” Blaney continued. “He’s only seventeen years old so he’s got lots of time.”
“He might actually be better than me now.”
As much as he wants to follow in his dad’s tire tracks, Ryan Blaney has another real ambition of his own. He wants to also attract the next generation to the sport of NASCAR that he loves so much.
“A lot of kids at school follow me and it’s cool how they’ve turned into race fans,” Blaney, who is going into his senior year in high school, said. “Last year, they didn’t know anything about racing and now they’re asking me how I did at the track.”
“They even know more about my stats than I do,” Blaney continued. “It’s cool how I have friends that can relate to me and not talk just about football.”
“I’m a seventeen year old that is trying to come up through the ranks,” Blaney said. “And I hope I am an ambassador for the next generation of NASCAR fans.”