Ryan Blaney on first-time Cup winners: "The odds aren't very good"
A recent influx of new and talented drivers in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series over hasn’t brought a corresponding increase in first-time winners.
Ryan Blaney, who will celebrate the one-year anniversary of his first series win this weekend at Pocono Raceway is also the Cup series’ most recent first-time winner.
But Blaney, 24, who moved from the Wood Brothers to Team Penske in the offseason, doesn’t find the lack of new winners all that surprising.
“I think it is so hard because it is the Cup Series. A lot of good teams. A lot of great race car drivers. They are in this series for a reason and it is because they are really, really good,” Blaney said Friday at Pocono Raceway.
“Not only the drivers, but the teams are amazing, as well. The crew chiefs and engineers know what it takes to win. When you have that combination of a team and driver that can win, like Kevin Harvick or Kyle Busch who are just dominating, that is trouble for everybody else.
“It is hard to break through. The odds aren’t very good. They aren’t really in your favor.”
As for drivers who he thinks may be next to find their way to Victory Lane, Blaney mentioned Chase Elliott, Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez.
“I think their teams are good enough and them as drivers are plenty good enough,” Blaney said. “It just needs to all work out for them.”
Those were all drivers who were mentioned as possibilities last season (Jones and Suarez were rookies) when Blaney grabbed his first win.
Even with more consistent and improved performance this season at Penske, Blaney has yet to be able to add a second Cup win to his resume.
It’s certainly not for lack of effort.
Blaney has actually led the third-most laps in the Cup series this season (418) behind only Harvick and Kyle Busch, who have combined for nine wins this year.
“We have one of the best teams in the garage as far as working with each other. I think our cars are pretty good to where they are close to where they need to be (but) we aren’t quite there yet,” Blaney said.
“Obviously there are a couple cars that are beating everybody week-in and week-out but I think we are right there. We just need to find that little bit and put a weekend together.
“As far as driving, I could do better. I make mistakes. I hit the wall. Just have to be a little smarter and I haven’t been that this year. I need to get myself cleaned up a little and if we make some gains on the car we will be right there with being at the top.”
Kyle Busch fastest in Friday's shortened Cup practice session
Ryan Blaney edges Kevin Harvick for Pocono pole