The continuing education of Ryan Blaney
RELATED: See how Blaney won at Kentucky On the surface, it's a bit of an unorthodox NASCAR schedule for Ryan Blaney . The 21-year-old is running part-time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with Wood Brothers Racing in the No. 21 Ford and the NASCAR XFINITY Series with Team Penske in the No. 22 Ford, all while making a handful of starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for Brad Keselowski Racing in the No. 29 Ford. "By the time all the races are added up, it's almost a full schedule," Blaney told NASCAR.com last weekend at Kentucky Speedway . "It has its positives and negatives to be running part-time in everything. The great thing is I get to run three great series with amazing race teams that I know will go out and have a fast car or truck every weekend or every time I get in them. Those are big positives that I can drive different things every single week." And the negatives? "It's hard to get in a rhythm of running the same car, so that's kind of tough," Blaney said. "That takes myself and the team time to get back acclimated to the driver and me to the race car. It has its ups and downs, but I'm fortunate to be with three great race teams and be able to do what we love and be competitive." Blaney did not have trouble finding a rhythm as he wheeled the No. 22 Ford to Victory Lane in the XFINITY Series VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 at Kentucky Speedway . He led a race-high 81 laps and used a strong restart on a green-white-checkered finish to take home the win. The victory was the second time in three years that Team Penske has swept the season's two Kentucky XFINITY races. "Honestly, I've never seen a team be so dominant at a race track," Blaney said after the win. "It feels like every time we come here, the 22 car is one of the favorites to win and usually does it." Greg Erwin, the No. 22 team's crew chief, has noticed Blaney's growth firsthand since seeing him in 2013. In addition to the Kentucky win, Erwin and Blaney teamed up for a win in August at Iowa Speedway . "He's certainly a little more polished," Erwin noted of Blaney's development as a driver. "I think his communication is a little more precise. I think his confidence is certainly high and I think he's got the talent, certainly that it takes, and the rest of that will come with time behind a steering wheel. That's the hardest thing right now I think, is jumping in, running in all three series and getting as much time on the race track as he can." In his young career, Blaney has four wins each in the XFINITY Series and Camping World Truck Series. And in his first part-time Sprint Cup Series season, he scored his best Sprint Cup finish in May at Talladega with a fourth-place result. His Wood Brothers No. 21 team has had speed, but qualifying rainouts have been the bugaboo. RELATED: Blaney discusses 'very frustrating' Cup qualifying rainouts Along the way to becoming a rising young talent in the sport, Blaney has had some guidance, namely from his dad, Dave , as well as 2012 Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski . "Brad's been one of the biggest mentors for me right after my dad," Blaney said of Keselowski's impact on his career. "He gave me an opportunity in 2012 to drive his trucks for him and I did that for a couple years, which opened the doors at Penske and it opened the doors at the Wood Brothers. He's kind of been the main guy that’s started me off in my career getting racing in the top three series and I can't thank him enough for that. He's taught me so much on the race track, off the race track. He's been really helpful to me. "Brad's a unique teacher. To be able to drive for him has been really cool too, because you can kind of see the owner in him. And then when he would drive the other truck sometimes and I could race against him that was really, really neat. ... You'd ask him a question and he'd give you part of an answer and then you would kind of have to figure the rest of it out, and I really liked that. It's kind of the way my dad did it. "He's obviously one of the smartest racers out there, I feel like, when it comes to strategy and always thinking inside the car. That's something I've tried to take from him. ... Not only on the racing side, just thinking of other things too, whether it's underneath the car to try to make it faster, things like that." Dave Blaney , a veteran of 473 Sprint Cup Series starts and the 1995 World of Outlaws Champion, has impacted his son's career as well. Ryan credits his dad with teaching him a lesson that has become invaluable to him with extended seat time and longer races in the Sprint Cup Series. "Patience is one of the biggest things in racing, especially now that I've gotten started doing some Cup stuff," Ryan Blaney said. "Five-hundred-mile races, one 600-miler that we do ... those are long races. A lot longer than Truck and XFINITY races and that's really been a big learning curve for me of how you have so many opportunities to work on your race car and you have to be really precise with how you change things. "That was the biggest change to me. Running Trucks for a couple of years, the races are so short. You only have a couple of chances to work on your truck, so you take huge swings. In the Cup car, you can't really do that, you have to take littler steps and kind of fine-tune things. That was one of the biggest things he taught me early and now I'm kind of figuring it out for myself." And with silly season talk running rampant throughout the garage and in the media, Blaney remains focused on finishing out 2015 strong. With a Kentucky win in his pocket, Blaney is on the entry list for Saturday's XFINITY Series Hisense 200 at Dover International Speedway (3:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). "Honestly, we'd like to do more races but that's a lot easier said than done," he said. "I think the best thing we can do is try to focus on winning races in this 22 car, try to bring home a (owner's) championship (in XFINITY ) and finishing out the season strong with the Wood Brothers is going to be really big for our cause. We're working on it. Hopefully, we will know something soon."
Blaney talks full-time Cup possibilities, running Coke 600
Driver focused on current job, says 'the future will work itself out' NEWTON, Iowa -- Some way or another, it seems inevitable that Ryan Blaney , currently running part-time schedules in both the Sprint Cup Series (for Wood Brothers Racing ) and XFINITY Series (for Team Penske ) is bound for a full-time Cup ride in 2016. With Roger Penske only fielding two full-time Cup entries for Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano in 2015, he loaned his developmental talent to the fellow Ford organization for roughly 18 starts to get his feet wet while future plans for the son of long-time Cup driver Dave Blaney get sorted out. As of Sunday, there have been no conversations about adding a third Cup team for Penske next season. "There hasn't (been any talk about a third Penske team)," Blaney said after wheeling the No. 22 to a fifth-place finish in the 3M 250 XFINITY race at Iowa Speedway . "We're working hard at doing what we can for the future, and that's with whatever team, you know? Our main focus is trying to finish out this year strong with the Wood Brothers." Talks about Blaney's future have intensified after the 21-year-old started third and finished fourth at Talladega Superspeedway earlier this month. An Associated Press report was published on Saturday in which Penske also confirmed that his organization isn't currently interested in expanding to three cars, but that a full season with Blaney in the No. 21 Fusion is possible, provided that enough funding is secured. "I'd hope there can be an extension … we're going to run him in about 18 races, so if we can get sponsorship for him, that gives him a chance to take a look at extending that through a full season next year. That would be our goal," Penske told the AP. "This is a partnership really with Woods' people and ours … we've got the technology and the ability to build the right pieces for them. It's like a brother-in-law." In the meantime, Blaney knows he can only control what happens on the race track, and his focus is on making the most of his time behind the respective wheels of both the Nos. 21 and 22. "We're excited to go to the (Coca-Cola) 600 next week. We're really pumped about that," Blaney said. "After our good run at Talladega and we tested at Charlotte and I thought it went really well; just really excited to get back there and we're always working to get towards the future. We can definitely have wishful thinking. "We really just focus on here and now," said Blaney . "I always say 'You do your job here in the present and the stuff for the future will work itself out.'" FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
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NASCAR Illustrated Friends and Family: Emma Blaney
Learn more about the sister of Ryan Blaney and the daughter of Dave Blaney RELATED: Subscribe to NASCAR Illustrated Editor's note: Photo by Jim Fluharty Hometown: "I was born in Warren, Ohio, but moved to High Point, North Carolina, when I was 7. High Point is a small town that is fun and friendly. I've recently moved in with my parents in Concord, North Carolina — they love having me home, I'm sure. Charlotte is one of my favorite cities, so I'm happy to be so close." My boutique: "In March of 2014, my mom and I opened EmLeigh’s and Mama B’s in Concord. It's been a dream come true. I wake up every day excited to go to work. I am working in my dream closet. What 24-year-old girl (Emma turned 24 on Tuesday, Jan. 20) wouldn't love that?" Fashion: "I have always been the girl who isn't afraid to wear just about anything. Fashion and style are just ways of being yourself. You need to show you through anything you do, and one of the easiest ways to speak without saying anything is through what you wear." Favorite midnight snack: "I can tear up some edamame and some Cosmic Brownies. I have the appetite of a 5-year-old, so you'll always see me with Nerds Rope, Pop-Tarts, honeybuns or chocolate milk." Favorite app: "Instagram or Vine. I can easily waste two hours looking through pictures or watching hilarious videos." Music that moves me: "Physically, hip-hop or rap. I do an awful lot of unattractive dancing, but it's just so fun for me. If good music is playing, I'm dancing. Mentally, John Legend. In my head, he is singing all those cute love songs to me, and it turns my bad days into good ones." Favorite movies: "My all-time favorite is 'The Sandlot.' I watched it growing up and it never gets old. But I also love just about any movie starring Jim Carrey." Favorite websites: "I am married to a little thing called Pinterest. I know it is just so typical 'girl,' but whoever thought of Pinterest deserves Edible Arrangements every week because they are making the female population very happy." Habit I'd like to kick: "Putting on workout clothes but never actually working out. I find myself putting on workout clothes and walking to the Waffle House all too often." Biggest influence in my life: "My family. I have a dad who has worked hard his entire life, has never given up on what he loves and would do anything for our family. I have a mom who has kept us all in line. She has a lot on her plate but makes sure all of us are always taken care of. I have a younger brother who is doing big-boy things and living out his dream. And I have a younger sister who is always supportive of everyone and can make anyone smile at any time." SUBSCRIBE NOW!
Blaney spins, brings caution
Dave Blaney gets loose and spins out, leading to a caution at Kansas.
Almirola takes Blaney for a spin
Dave Blaney goes for a spin late in the race after slight contact with Aric Almirola.
Ryan Blaney asks 'American Idol' winner Trent Harmon 21 questions
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Ryan Blaney caught up with the 2016 'American Idol' winner Trent Harmon at Richmond International Raceway to ask him 21 questions.
Blaney takes the bet? Driver sneaks silly word into presser
If Friday's press conference was any indication, it goes without saying that Ryan Blaney 's favorite band is The Velvet Underground. Typically, it's the rookies who get hazed, but instead it was the rookie hazing the media at Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday, taking on NASCAR.com's dare to slip the word "velvet" into his presser as many times as possible. It basically went down like this, as media members slowly realized that something strange was afoot. "Hopefully, this race will go as smooth as velvet," Blaney dead-panned. "And we'll hopefully be able to buy some new velvet sheets or something like that," the rookie said with a straight face. The tweets started to roll in. Three minutes into an interview, @ blaney has already said the word "velvet" twice...like going out of his way to say it. Hmm — Jeff Gluck (@jeff_gluck) April 15, 2016 "The further you move up, this track is really smooth ... pretty much like velvet," Blaney sa-- ... okay, something's going on ... he couldn't finish that last sentence without cracking himself up. Welp, he just said it again. "Velvet." Now he's cracking himself up. He can't make it through the answer. LOL. @ blaney — Jeff Gluck (@jeff_gluck) April 15, 2016 When asked what was going on, he said he "just really likes the word." First, those hilarious Snapchat videos , now this. MORE: Behind the scenes of Bubba, Blaney's Snapchat road trip Well done, Blaney . Lou Reed would be proud.
NASCAR Dave Blaney | Drivers : NASCAR Drivers, Race Standings & News | NASCAR.com
Get the latest Dave Blaney news, media, stats, and standings for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver only on the official site of NASCAR.