Ford Performance NASCAR: Las Vegas Media Day (Ryan Blaney)

Ford Performance Notes and Quotes
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Thursday, September 12, 2019

RYAN BLANEY, No. 12 Ford Mustang

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR TEAM’S PERFORMANCE SO FAR THIS SEASON? “Obviously we would like to have a better year. You always want to do better. There are some races I wish we could have back but at the end of the day it is nice to be a part of the playoffs. I think our team is plenty capable and I think we have a shot at making a good run. We just can’t have any mistakes and things like that. We have the team to do it, it is just a matter of maximizing your full potential and seeing what happens.”

American Muscle

DO YOU THINK THE ADDED EXPERIENCE OF BEING IN THE PLAYOFFS BEFORE GIVES YOU AN ADVANTAGE AT ALL? “It might help. Experience never hurts, that is for sure. I look at kind of the end of our playoffs last year and we had a terrible second round from running out of gas to getting in wrecks. We just barely missed it. Then we had a really great final three races that I wish we could have back. At the end of the day you take all the experience you have. THings always change and you will rarely find yourself in the same scenario as before but you try to take that experience and apply it and utilize it well.”

QUESTION INAUDIBLE: “Yes and no. It is different, right? Growing up as a kid, this wasn’t part of it. I think I got used to it a little bit early because watching my dad do it all and being around him at the race track and going to events with him like this. I got used to it. I don’t mind it. I enjoy coming out and telling your story and it is just part of the deal. I definitely don’t dislike it, for sure. At the end of the day, racing is the main thing and this just comes along with it.”

QUESTION INAUDIBLE: “A little bit. It is about being smart, right? I try to be myself all the time, whether it is at home or in front of media at the track. There are some things that you have to be different towards. You can’t just have no filter all the time. There is a time and place to be professional but at the same time you don’t want to change who you are. You don’t want to act to be someone at the race track and someone completely different away from the track. That isn’t me. It is a fine balance of controlling those two sides of it, I think.”

WHAT IS THE MOST INTERESTING QUESTION YOU HAVE GOTTEN TODAY SO FAR? “They have all been pretty good. What time I went to bed last night, I got asked that question.”

WHAT WAS THE ANSWER? “Too early. Too early this morning.”

QUESTION INAUDIBLE: “Yeah, I think so. Honestly I don’t really like to change up kind of the way you go about things in the playoffs. Honestly, if you get to playoff time and then you start driving 110% now, I try to do that all year. Yeah, the intensity level picks up in some scenarios but I just try to be the same because at the end of the day it is the same goal as all year. Racing and winning races and getting points. You know what the end goal is. You can’t have mistakes. You can’t have blow up days that really hurt you, especially as you get later in the rounds. It is hard to make those points back up. You have to be really consistent. The easiest but hardest thing to do is win. Perfect scenario you would go out and win the first race of every round. That is easier said than done for sure. You have to be aggressive but you can’t afford to have really bad days that take you out.”

QUESTION INAUDIBLE: “Not really, I mean, yeah, we didn’t make it to round eight last year. We had a really bad second round from when we had ran out of gas and got in a wreck at Dover. Just actually barely missed by like three points at Kansas. I don’t really like to set the expectation side. You want to get to Miami. That’s the whole thing. And you’re bummed if you don’t get there but from previous years the next year’s I don’t really like to compare just because honestly even though we didn’t make it we made to the round of eight in ‘17 and didn’t make it there last year I thought our last year was better than ‘17 as far as how we performed and and our cars speed it just kind of stunk a couple of races in there. I just treat each year like a new one.”

DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE WHERE YOU SHOULD BE RIGHT NOW IN TERMS OF YOUR CAREER? “I’d like to be doing better. You want to be winning races with your teammates, right? I mean, your teammates winning races you want to win races and you know, it sucks that we haven’t won a race yet this year. There’s a handful of them I wish we got back but you just try to move forward and move on and try to do the best you can. Indy stunk how it kind of played out and ended there. But you definitely want to be doing better. Do I think that I’ve done the best jobs throughout this year and before this? No, I could do a lot better. So that’s kind of a ‘on me’ thing. So you just try to keep learning, keep getting better. You see your teammates winning and you want to be there just to prove that. You want to be part of the part of the show. You want to be in that group. You want to be in that winning group, and hopefully we can figure things out.”.

QUESTION INAUDIBLE: “I never really looked at that, though. They’ve been with those guys for a while, and they’re great race car drivers, and they do a good job of figuring out but I, I don’t know, I want to get to where they are now. I know the experience helps. But, man, I just want to do well and I compare myself to those guys a lot and I feel like I don’t meet expectations. So that part stinks. Personally, you want to do well, but at the same time you just try and do the best you can learning and figuring out what you need to do to get to that level. You know, I think Brad and Joey are two of the best guys out here, smartest guys really great race car drivers and do a great job of figuring it out. And you just try to compare yourself to those guys. It’s hard compared to them because they’re so good and past champions. But I think if you try to meet that bar, and you kind of push yourself to be there, hopefully one day you do achieve that goal and get to where those guys are at.”

CAN YOU COMMENT ON MATT DIBENEDETTO GOING TO THE WOOD BROTHERS NEXT YEAR? “I think he’s going to work there very, very well. I was really excited when I heard the news this past weekend. I was really happy for Matt. I’ve always enjoyed Matt. I think he does a really good job. And it was a shame about what happened with the 95 deal with him not being there. But as soon as he announced that he wasn’t going to be there. I was like, well, maybe we can get him. I didn’t know that Paul was going to retire this year or anything like that. But I thought it would be cool to kind of try to get him in our organization somehow and I’m happy it worked out.I I think he will do really good for those guys. He will enjoy the Wood Brothers. I was texting with him a little bit and the Woods will definitely welcome him very well. Hopefully Paul finishes out of the year really well. I want Paul to get their hundredth win. That’d be pretty cool.”

QUESTION INAUDIBLE: “Yeah, definitely, A little bit. It just shows you how critical it is. We went from the Talladega race where we ran out of gas we were going to restart fifth and ended up running out of gas and finished 25th. If we could have gotten four spots better we would have been fine. You dwell on those things but you can’t change those things. It kind of irks you but there is nothing you can do about it now.”

QUESTION INAUDIBLE: “You have confidence in your team. There’s not one part of my mind where if they say go for it and I know we’re close on gas or something let’s say hypothetically and they say go for it, I’m not going to say, ‘Oh no I think I’m too close on gas.’ I trust them that we can make it things like that you know, there’s never a thought where you’re second guessing your team that’s not a good thing.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE FINISH AT THE ROVAL LAST YEAR? “We got the third there on that restart and kind of put ourselves in a good spot. Honestly, those guys were kind of too far ahead of me For me to kind of run them down in two laps or whatever by the time I got to third. So we were into the next round already, you know, we were good on points. Then I saw them really close off the chicane there and I didn’t think anything of it and we went down in there and saw a bunch of smoke and them boys got into each other and we just kind of snuck away through it. That one just kind of worked out for us. I have never won a race like that in anything. Not in any kind of car I have ever driven so I didn’t really know how to react to it. You don’t feel undeserving of it but you are kinda like, ‘Did we really deserve to win the race?’ You look back on it and we put ourselves in position to capitalize on an opportunity. It is the way it worked out for us that day. They rarely work out in your favor. I feel like a lot more of them don’t go in your favor so you get those lucky moments sometimes. A chaotic race for sure.”

WHEN DID YOU REALIZE THAT YOU JUST GOT A GIFT THERE? “When I crossed the line. I saw them kind of spinning and I about wrecked myself trying to get to the last chicane before they got going again. You don’t know how fast those guys are going to get back going again and if they are. I crossed the line and it kind of worked out for us. I couldn’t help but just smile and laugh just because it was unexpected. You didn’t expect anything like that to happen. Those are definitely interesting ones for sure.”

WHAT ARE SOME POSITIVES YOU ARE CARRYING INTO THE PLAYOFFS? “We have speed in our cars. We took the lead away from Kevin at Indy on the restart and drove away from him by two-seconds and they got fortunate on that caution coming out when it did when they pitted and it gave the lead back to him and he was able to control the restarts. I was surprised he gave me the top when I took the lead away from him. He didn’t take the bottom again. If you control those starts you can pin that guy down. It was hard to take it back. I needed a really good push. It gave us a lot of condence of taking the lead away from him, driving off from him and I think our cars do have speed, it is just that things have to work out for us. I think the best thing we can do is just do our jobs as best we can and not have any mistakes on all sides. On my side, on the pit stop side and just see where we end up.”

HOW HAS RESTART SKILL CHANGED WITH THE IMPORTANCE OF THEM THIS YEAR? “This year I think they are more important for a few reasons with the high drag stuff and lower horsepower making it harder to get up to speed. YOu really need that push behind you. It is harder to spin the tires now at the 1.5 mile tracks so you can accelerate hard and it is easier for that guy behind you go get to your bumper and push you out. That part is really important and there is a big emphasis on it. You see a lot of guys playing games on restarts or laying back and trying to get hooked up. That is a skill. YOu have to be able to time it well. If you are the pusher, you have to be able to time his run, when you think he is going to take off and be coming at him when he does go. It has gotten more important this year with how the cars are. It is a lot more important to get a good restart and push.”

HOW DO YOU GET BETTER AT THAT? “Experience. Personal experience. A lot of it is just reaction. It is anticipating and reacting to going with that guy. You kind of can get better at it by playing around with how you are creeping toward that guys bumper getting into the zone and sometimes you just time it wrong. Sometimes they go at a spot where you weren’t expecting them to and you just miss it and time it wrong and don’t get to their bumper. That is kind of the thing. I have always thought I have been pretty decent at the pushing side of it and reacting really quick to when they get on the gas and you get on the gas. It is a blink of an eye that you have to get on the gas with them. It is hard to anticipate sometimes.”

IS IT EASIER OR HARDER IF YOU ARE BEHIND THE LEADER AND ANTICIPATING WHEN THEY WILL GO? “I think it is easier to push – it kind of depends I guess on how good of a start that guy behind you gets. It is almost easier to push the second place guy because they usually don’t get as good of a launch because they are a little behind that guy so they are a little slower and you are coming at them. Let’s say third and fourth are coming at the front row at equal speeds. So the leader is always going to accelerate a little harder before because he is controlling it. YOu are keying off the leader and coming at equal speeds so you will get to that second place guy faster. You are always going to be just a little bit behind.”

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