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NASCAR Media Conference

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  NASCAR

NASCAR Media Conference

Ryan Blaney
April 17, 2012

THE MODERATOR:  We are now joined by Ryan Blaney, driver of the No. 6 Seal Wrap Repair Tape Chevrolet for Tommy Baldwin Racing.  Blaney is a third generation racer and son of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver, Dave Blaney.  He will make his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut next weekend at Richmond on Friday, April 27th.
Ryan, going into your first NASCAR Nationwide Series race, what can you learn from racing in the K&N race the day before?  Has your father given you any advice?
RYAN BLANEY:  Yeah, it's going to be a big advantage racing the day before.  I raced in the K&N series last year, it was my first race in K&N, and I really like the track.  It's one of my favorite racetracks that we run at.  I think they're around the same time we'll be racing Nationwide at K&N.
So it gives you a good concept of what the track will do from day to night.  What it will do later in the race.  Where you might get an idea where the groove might move to.
Yeah, that's why all the Cup drivers, a lot of them run Nationwide Series the day before, so they can get a feel of what the track's going to do later in the race.  So it's going to be a big help for me, a big learning experience to see what will help us out later in the race.  So it's definitely an advantage having to race the night before.
Yeah, my dad and I have definitely talked about it.  We've sat down and he discussed Richmond to me.  He's always been really good at that racetrack, so it will be really good being able to talk to him and relate what he feels from what I feel.  We can definitely try things that we think will be better that he tells me.  So it's going to be a giant help both ways there.

Q.  Being a third generation racer, what do you think some of the advantages or disadvantages, if there are any, of being a third generation racer?  What is your advice to other young drivers wanting to move up like you are?
RYAN BLANEY:  You know what, I really think it's helped me out a bunch.  But I've got a dad that I can always talk to that has run all the track that's I'm going to run at this year in the Nationwide Series.  It's definitely a big help.  My uncle Dale has been a racer for a long time on dirt.  So I can always ask him about it.
So it's definitely, I think, a plus being a third generation race car driver.  You've just got so many people you can ask about what they see and they've got the racers intellect.  We kind of think alike, all racers kind of think alike.  So it's definitely a big help that I've got somebody that thinks like that and they're really close to me that I can talk to them always.
I don't see it as a disadvantage.  The only one would be not living up to what they've done already.  If anything, that kind of motivates me to make them‑‑ maybe to make me be better than they are and to achieve more.  So I really see it as kind of motivates me to be just like them or be better.
Advice for kids trying to make it, it's definitely tough nowadays.  Everyone understands that.  You've just got to work hard.  I'm at the shop every day for six hours a day, and I'm also doing school.
You've got to be really motivated.  There are so many factors that come into making it nowadays.  You have to have a talented driver, a good crew chief and good funding.  I know that's nothing a real race car driver wants to hear.  Funding is an issue.  You've got to work really hard and try not to get discouraged if something bad happens if you want to make it through the ranks.

Q.  As far as a driver, do you think you've picked up the instincts of your family to help you through the race?
RYAN BLANEY:  I definitely think so.  I think from my uncles and my dad I think it's kind of a hereditary thing, race cars and all that.  We definitely think alike.  I've picked up the instincts and all that stuff from my dad, uncle and grandpa.

Q.  When you were talking about funding and everything, can you talk about how do you balance wanting to perform so well in order to obviously attract sponsors versus just trying to keep it clean and finishing and maybe just taking whatever the car and the track are giving you?
RYAN BLANEY:  Yeah, that's a really big thing.  You can't go out there‑‑ you can try to win the race, but sometimes it's hard to do as a racer.  Sometimes you've just got to get it in your head that you might not have a good enough car to win the race on that certain weekend, and you might have to settle for second or third.  That plays in big when you're in it for a points championship.
But your funding is kind of taken away if you go out there and be a little reckless and try to win the race.  When you don't have the car to do it, and you wreck, that sets you all the way back.
You know, it's a tough mindset you've got to have of going out there and trying to run the hardest that you can.  Then on the other hand, you've got to keep your car clean, especially for the end of the race.  You can't have a wrecked race car and expect to win the race.
It's a hard game, if you don't have a good enough car to win.  It's hard to lay back and try to accept not a win.

Q.  Was there any particular reason Richmond was chosen for your debut?
RYAN BLANEY:  No, well, my family and the Seal Wrap people and Tommy Baldwin Racing kind of all decided on.  It's always been a good track for Tommy Baldwin Racing.  My dad's always run good there in past years, and I really like the place.
I loved the place when we ran K&N there last year.  I'm really excited to go back there in the K&N and make my first start there.  So we wanted to go to a track that I was really comfortable with, and that the teams run good with.  So hopefully we can get a good result.

Q.  What were you thinking when you saw your dad a burnt up racetrack away from being the Daytona 500 champ?  Since they used Tide to clean up the racetrack, I asked your dad if he had banned your mom from using Tide in the household, and he said he wasn't sure.  He was going to check on it.  Do you know if they've banned Tide from the household?
RYAN BLANEY:  I'm not really sure if my mom used Tide to begin with.

Q.  He wasn't sure either.
RYAN BLANEY:  Yeah, I'm not too sure.

Q.  What did you think when you were sitting there and saw your dad out there?  I mean, if that race ended, he was the Daytona 500 champion.
RYAN BLANEY:  Yeah, that was the one time I've ever prayed for them to stop a race early.  It's not the best way to win a Daytona 500, but you'll take it, you know.  They played their strategy out perfect‑‑ well, not really perfect.  But it was a chance of rain coming, so they took a gamble, and the whole jet dryer thing kind of made it a whole lot bigger that they stayed out.
Yeah, it would have been amazing if they could have won a Daytona 500.  I might have been‑‑ I was there for two weeks, and i had to leave because we were testing at Bristol.  But I had to leave the day of the 500.  It definitely would have been amazing if they could have pulled that off.  From such a small organization, it would have really put a name on that racing team.  That's everyone that's involved in that team.

Q.  Do you feel you're ready for the next step in the Nationwide?  Are you ready?
RYAN BLANEY:  I think so.  We've done a lot of stuff.  We ran our normal late models and ran a handful of K&N races and ran a handful of ARCA races and did really good in them.  So I think that we've taken our time in making sure we're ready for this Nationwide debut, and hopefully I am, and we'll see you here in a couple of weeks.
THE MODERATOR:  I have seen and heard several of the more experienced Cup drivers talk about your talent, namely Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick.  Can you talk about your relationships with them?  Have they given you any advice as your career has gone forward, and have you talked to them leading into Richmond?
RYAN BLANEY:  Yeah, I have a really good relationship with Mr.Stewart.  He always comes and races at my dad's dirt track at Sharon Speedway every year for my grandfather's memorial race.  So I see him a lot.  And he's always racing a Sprint car somewhere.  So I see him if I go to a Sprint car race, and in the garage I talk to him.
Like I said, I have a really good relationship with him.  And for them two guys to say that means a lot coming from race car drivers that their names will probably go into the Hall of Fame.  Actually, it means a lot for them to say that.  I haven't really talked to them heading up to Richmond.  I've just been watching a lot of tapes and trying to learn as much as possible.  I'll be on the prowl, I guess you could say, next week of talking to drivers about what Richmond's like and what they think of it.
Yeah, I really can't wait for it.  I think it will be a really good race, both races I'm in.

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