Ford Performance NASCAR: California (Ryan Blaney Media Availability)

Ford Performance Notes and Quotes
NASCAR Cup Series (NCS)
Friday, February 28, 2020
EVENT: NASCAR Cup Series Media Availability

RYAN BLANEY, No. 12 BodyArmor Ford Mustang

YOU ARE RUNNING A SPECIAL PAINT SCHEME TO HONOR KOBE BRYAN THIS WEEKEND, YOU GOT TO MEET HIM RIGHT? “Yeah,I got to meet him In 2018 and talked to him for 20 minutes or so at a dinner. I will never forget that experience. It was really, really cool. I grew up watching Kobe and adorning him and admiring what he did and his work ethic. It was really cool to talk to him about my sport and he was really interested in what I did and how it all worked. I definitely will never forget that. The paint scheme and the t-shirts and all that is going to the Mamba On 3 Foundation of his. It is something to honor him. He was a big part of BodyArmor. We were fortunate that they let us do it and the Bryant family and the families of those in the accident as well. It is a special tribute for someone who meant a lot to a lot of people and honoring his daughter and the other victims as well.”

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HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO GET OVER LAST SUNDAY? “About 10 minutes after the race.”

REALLY? “Yeah, it was over. Moving on. I went and stayed in a teepee and forgot about it.”

THAT EXPERIENCE OF STAYING IN THE TEEPEE AND WHAT COMPELLED YOU DO DO THAT? “I already had that planned no matter what happened. I like camping. I was out on a ranch in the middle of the desert for a couple days and just hanging out and all that stuff. It was fun. I enjoyed it. I was just myself. I met some interesting people in the town and got to talk to them for a little while and had a good time.”

WHEN YOU DO SOMETHING LIKE THAT AND NOBODY REALLY KNOW WHO YOU ARE, WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT? DO YOU MEDITATE? FEEL THE FORCE? “I don’t meditate, no. Find stuff to do. Go hiking a little bit. Cook by the fire. Clear your head. It is just relaxing. I have always kind of been that way. It was nice to get out there. I was out there. I had to be out there for Tuesday night anyway and figured I would stay somewhere other than the strip. I can’t do the strip for very long. I wanted to stay somewhere opposite to the strip.”

AFTER DAYTONA A LOT OF PEOPLE WERE CONCERNED ABOUT YOU. HOW ARE YOU DOING? “Good. Getting better. Obviously that Monday night was a tough situation. Nobody knew anything. That was a tough night for a lot of people I believe. Actually Tuesday I got to talk to Greg Newman, Ryan’s dad. I called him on the phone Tuesday night and talked to him a little bit. I told him I would love to talk to Ryan whenever he was up and feeling alright enough to do it. Ryan called me Wednesday night. That was really nice to talk to him. We only talked for five or 10 minutes but I really – that did a lot for me talking to him. There were no hard feelings or anything like that. I look forward to seeing him soon. It is amazing how fast he has recovered from that stuff. Like I said in my little post, I don’t think you will find anyone tougher than that guy. It is remarkable. As he progressed and got better it made me feel better as well.”

WHAT WAS THE REACTION LIKE FROM YOUR FRIENDS AND THE COMMUNITY? “I didn’t want to talk to many people at first. I just wanted to be by myself but my parents insisted. They met me at my house. They were in my house when I got home. That was nice for them to be there. Bubba (Wallace) came over on Tuesday and hung out for a few hours and we talked about some stuff. I stayed off social media and all that stuff. You have people that aren’t even involved and have never even watched the sport that have their own opinion on bad things. The outreach I got from the calls from former drivers and current drivers that week was pretty remarkable. Their support was good. Even though it is unintentional and it is racing it still takes a toll on you when it is off of your nose. You never wanna see anyone get hurt in this sport. We are all competitors but we are also a big family. Ryan and I have gotten along really well and that was just a bad circumstance and it is great that it worked out for the best. It was nice to have the friends and family and drivers and teams support. That really helped me out.”

WERE YOU SURPIRSED BY ANYONE IN PARTICULAR THAT REACHED OUT? “No, not really. I just had a bunch of people reach out. A couple of drivers called me. Jeff Burton and Bobby Labonte called me, people that I looked up to a lot as a kid. It was neat that they called me and gave me their peace of mind. That was good. Nobody really surprised me, it was just nice to have that many people reach out. It just showed how many people cared.”

HAVE YOU SEEN A REPLAY OF IT YET OR HAVE YOU AVOIDED IT? “I saw it about two minutes after I got out of the car. I didn’t know how bad it was to be honest with you. That happens, you lose the race by a foot, you get out of the car and then you see a replay of that. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ It was a big, big range of emotions within 10 minutes. It is tough to watch it. I don’t want to see the in-car high speed camera. I don’t want to see that. Yeah, I did see the wreck and it is not comfortable to watch. I don’t think it is comfortable for anybody to watch. It is literally the worst place you can get hit with these cars. It proves a lot about the safety of them for that to happen and Ryan to be okay but there is still a lot we can do to keep these things on the ground and not get over and be in a position to get hit like that. It is definitely not comfortable to watch. I don’t try to watch it.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE STRENGTH OF YOUR 12 TEAM? “It has been a pretty decent start. Last week stunk. It is just kind of the way things go. You get to the lead and caution comes out. That is a tough call for Todd to make in that situation. We ran a lot of laps on tires and with two to go as the leader that is tough. A lot of people are going to do the opposite of what you do. The 88 and I did the same thing. That is just a tough spot. We did a great job of getting better throughout the race. I didn’t think we had a fast enough car to win that race early on and we worked on it a lot. The same today. We unloaded today and I don’t think we were very good but we got pretty decent there in the second practice. It has been good so far working with Todd and everyone on that group. They are great guys and I am proud of the speed in our cars currently. We have to keep that up. That is a big thing.”

WORKING WITH TODD NOW, IS THERE SOMETHING THAT STANDS OUT ABOUT HIM THAT MAYBE YOU NOTICE NOW THAT YOU HADN’T NOTICED IN THE PAST? “Yeah, you know all those guys from working at Penske but you don’t know them as well as your old group. I didn’t know Todd as well as I knew Jeremy because you don’t work with him every single weekend. Something that sticks out to me is that he is a very calm voice. Jeremy was the same way. Todd is very thoughtful with the way he goes about things. He and Miles Stanley, my engineer, work very closely together. Yeah, I just think he is really thoughtful with how he goes about things. Not saying that Jeremy wasn’t, it is just a different way they go about it. When you work with somebody you get their flow and how they enjoy doing things and certain changes that they like to do. I just like the way that he and Miles plan everything out. It is very good. We seem to get each others language already which is nice and that has really been showing. I know it is early but it has been good so far.”

LOGANO DESCRIBED NEXT WEEK’S RACE AS THE MOST IMPORTANT OF THE REGULAR SEASON WITH IT BEING THE SITE OF THE CHAMPIONSHIP. DO YOU AGREE? “Yeah, it is obviously a huge race. Usually you only go to Homestead once, so you don’t have a chance to kind of get a race under your belt there in the spring. It is also important because we are back to the low downforce stuff there. That part is really important to try to get your car right and see where you stack up. I know they changed the PJ-1 a bit so that will change up how we run it. It is a really important race for multiple reasons, the championship and the low downforce stuff. It is really important to get some good notes from there and hopefully make it back there for the championship.”

ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO THE NEW PACKAGE THERE? “Yeah, I am. It is pretty close to what it was in 2018. The spoiler is a little bit bigger, a tiny bit, an eight of an inch or quarter of an inch. I think it will help the racing on the short tracks a little bit. The high downforce stuff on the short tracks struggled at some places, we saw that. I think it will help it. At least we hope it does. We will see.”

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