Captain's Corner - Five Questions with Ryan Blaney

The next installment of a weekly series with members from Team Penske.

Captain's Corner - Five Questions with Ryan Blaney
Ryan Blaney, Wood Brothers Racing Ford
Ryan Blaney, Wood Brothers Racing Ford
Ryan Blaney, Wood Brothers Racing Ford
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota and Ryan Blaney, Wood Brothers Racing Ford
Ryan Blaney, Wood Brothers Racing Ford
Ryan Blaney, Wood Brothers Racing Ford
Ryan Blaney, Wood Brothers Racing Ford
Ryan Blaney, Wood Brothers Racing Ford
Ryan Blaney, Wood Brothers Racing Ford
Ryan Blaney, Wood Brothers Racing Ford
Ryan Blaney, Wood Brothers Racing Ford, Kurt Busch, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
Ryan Blaney, Wood Brothers Racing Ford

As part of Motorsport.com’s content partnership with Team Penske, we will provide fans with exclusive content each week from the organization’s drivers, crew members and staff throughout the 2017 season.

This week, we talk to Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Blaney, who will make his season debut for Team Penske in the Xfinity Series this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway.

Q: Now that you are full-time in the Cup series, what are the benefits of driving in the Xfinity Series?

Blaney: I think what any driver wants is more track time and that’s why a lot of Cup drivers want to run Xfinity and Trucks is to help prepare them for Sunday. At a place like Phoenix, I think it’s a great place to start. I can’t say the Cup and Xfinity cars drive very similar but it’s nice to know ow the track is and you might pick up something in the race that can help you. It’s nice to get some more track time, more seat team and more experience is always a benefit.

Q: You have never run a full season in Xfinity, but you have been a part of Team Penske winning owner’s championships. What was that like for you?

Blaney: I got started in 2012 and in 2013 was the first year we won the championship. It was just really special to be a part of it. I didn’t do that many races that year, but I was able to contribute more in 2014 and 2015, that makes you feel pretty good. To share the titles with Brad (Keselowski) and Joey (Logano) – that was neat to get their take on things and see how they like their cars. That helped me out a lot when I was just running part-time in Xfinity. We were strong at that time period, I was just getting started (in my NASCAR career) and it was awesome to be a part of an organization like that. It kind of spoiled me to be honest.

Q: You first worked with your current Cup crew chief, Jeremy Bullins, while you were running in Xfinity. How did that time together help develop the relationship you have in the Cup series today?

Blaney: It’s helped a ton. Any driver will tell you that communication between themselves and their crew chief is a huge deal. Being with Jeremy since I’ve been with Penske, and really in the NASCAR ranks, it’s been a big benefit on the Cup side. Granted, it’s a lot more work and it’s different but being able to become friends with him off the track – that’s a big part of it, too. It kind of makes you be honest with him and it helps make it feel less like a job. It feels like something that’s a lot of fun.

Q: Team owners like Roger Penske and Joe Gibbs have pointed out how important their Xfinity programs are to developing talent, whether it’s crew members or drivers. Now that you’re in Cup, can you see where that commitment adds to the organization?

Blaney: It certainly does. Jeremy came from the Xfinity side and now he’s a Cup crew chief. Andrea Mueller, she was an engineer on the No. 22 Xfinity car for a while and now she’s a Cup engineer. We grow a lot of people from the Xfinity side and sometimes even from Brad’s Truck teams. That’s where we really build and mold personnel. It’s a great starting point for them.

Q: Penske has had Discount Tire as an Xfinity sponsor since 2010 and all four of your series wins have come with them as sponsor of your car. How special would it be to win at Phoenix, their home track?

Blaney: The relationship with Discount Tires has been great and it’s been amazing to get to know those guys over the years. They are a very unique company. They put an event in Lake Tahoe once a year and they invite 300 to 400 employees out there and treat them for three or four days. I don’t know a lot of companies that do that. They have shown a tremendous commitment to the racing industry and especially to the Penske group. You see that a lot with Penske, with sponsors like Pennzoil and Miller Lite. They keep their sponsors for a long time. It means a lot that they continue to stick by us and it would be really cool to get them a win at their home track.

 

shares
comments
NASCAR will not penalize Kyle Busch or Joey Logano for Vegas fight
Previous article

NASCAR will not penalize Kyle Busch or Joey Logano for Vegas fight

Next article

NASCAR HOFer Mark Martin sees no issue with Vegas altercation

NASCAR HOFer Mark Martin sees no issue with Vegas altercation
Load comments
How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory Prime

How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory

From villain to hero, Kyle Larson had to reach his lifelong goal the hard way and go through a very public shaming after a ban for using a racial slur, but his talents shone long before his name grabbed the headlines...

NASCAR Cup
Nov 10, 2021
How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022 Prime

How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022

It’s not just Formula 1 that’s set for upheaval in 2022, as the NASCAR Cup series adopts its Next Gen cars that will cast any in-built advantages aside and require teams to adopt a totally new way of operating. Far more than just a change of machinery, the new cars amount to a shift in NASCAR's core philosophy

NASCAR Cup
Oct 12, 2021
Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR Prime

Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR

Bubba Wallace claimed his maiden NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega on Monday to become the first Black victor in the category since Wendell Scott in 1963. Both Wallace and Scott had faced obstacles and racism in their paths to their breakthrough wins, and NASCAR is trying to put it right with its range of diversity programmes

NASCAR Cup
Oct 5, 2021
Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI Prime

Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI

In a career that has had many ups and downs, Kurt Busch has been written off many times before. But facing career uncertainty after the sale of Chip Ganassi's NASCAR team, the 2004 Cup champion has found a new berth at Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan's 23XI organization - which underlines his enduring value

NASCAR Cup
Aug 31, 2021
From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview Prime

From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview

The death of Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500 shocked NASCAR to the core. At the Daytona 24 Hours, two weeks before his fatal accident, ‘The Intimidator’ shared his expectations of challenging for an eighth Cup title with JONATHAN INGRAM, in an article first published in the 15 February 2001 issue of Autosport magazine. Little did we know then what tragedy would unfold…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death Prime

The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death

On February 18, 2001, seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Dale Earnhardt – the fearless ‘Intimidator’ – was in his element at Daytona International Speedway. While his own DEI team’s cars ran 1-2 towards the finish line, his famed #3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo was playing rear gunner to block any late runs from the chasing pack. As the cars tore through Turns 3 and 4 on that fateful final lap, Earnhardt maintained the strongarm tactics that encapsulated his persona… but his actions in those moments sadly proved to be his last.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR Prime

Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR

The NASCAR Cup Series is changing. Whether it be the gradual morphing out the seasoned drivers of yesterday as the next generation step up, a radical calendar shake-up featuring more road courses than ever before and the prospect of an all-new car on the horizon, stock car racing’s highest level is nearing the end of a huge facelift.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2021
The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021 Prime

The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 13, 2021