CHARLOTTE, NC – Ryan Blaney, new driver of the No. 12 Menards Ford has had a great two seasons with Wood Brothers Racing. He not only made the Playoffs in his second season with the team, he won his first race at Pocono last year. He is one of the youngsters to watch in 2018, having moved over to the Team Penske stable. He talked with reporters during the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour at Charlotte’s uptown Convention Center.
“I’ve been so lucky to drive for some great teams over the past few years,” Blaney said. “With the Wood Brothers and now to drive a car full time for Roger Penske is a dream come true. Those are two of the most historic teams and names in the sport. I’ve been lucky enough to drive for them both.”
He made his debut in the No. 12 car at Kansas in 2014. Now as he returns to that car, and driving the Discount Tire Mustang in XFINITY Series races, the continuity cannot be denied. With the Wood’s close alliance with Team Penske, it may be more of same for the son of former driver Dave Blaney.
“It shouldn’t be a big adjustment at all,” Blaney said. “We have a lot of people over here that we had with the Woods last year and it’s really just a handful of people that are new. It will really be seamless, which is really what you want. You don’t want a huge change. I’m excited for the transition and it should be pretty simple.”
When asked about the Kyle Busch comments on the attention given to young drivers, Blaney was on point, turning it around and pointing to the established stars for the reason for all the attention.
“I have been really fortunate to get a lot of great chances from NASCAR to go do things outside of motorsports,” Blaney said. “NBC and NASCAR were a bit part of doing the Taken thing and the Cars voice and Logan Lucky. That was all really from NASCAR. I have always been very open to do a lot of things that they want me to do and it is not always stuff like that. You go do some markets where maybe you don’t think it will be a good market, but you do it anyway because it helps the sport and helps yourself. It is a win-win for everybody.
“I feel like if some drivers were more willing to do these things they would get asked more to do it. The reason I get asked to do it a lot is because I say yes a lot because I think it is good for the sport and myself. I can tell you personally that he (Busch) doesn’t like doing a lot of stuff so that is why they don’t ask him to do a lot of stuff. That kind of made me upset how he bashed that part of it. To each his own.
“If he doesn’t want to do anything, so be it. I just think it is really important to have not only young drivers but all NASCAR drivers trying to be pushing to get to new demographics of the world to get interested in our sport. Whether it is young fans or new fans that don’t pay attention to it who aren’t young. That is everybody, not just young drivers that will make people appeal to the sport. I think everybody should be more open to helping the sport out because that is how it is going to survive. I am trying to do the best I can at it and a lot of other drivers are helping too, just trying to get more and more every day.”