Ryan Blaney may not have a full-time ride in one select series for the upcoming season, but he is going to be busy across board in NASCAR in 2015.
“I think it’s going to be really good,” Ryan Blaney told OnPitRoad.com. “I have nothing full-time, but I’m racing so much that I think it’s seat time that is going to beneficial for us. Running a bunch of XFINITY races, a handful of truck races – just being in the racecar keeps us fresh and keeps our skills sharp, you could say, especially in tuning on the racecar – especially on double duty weekends. Some drivers like it, some don’t – I like to do that as it teaches you more about the race track. Perhaps a change worked in one session or the race before that will help the next race.”
Following a successful season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Blaney is scheduled to run at least 10 Sprint Cup Series races for the Wood Brothers Racing, along with some XFINITY races for Team Penske and a couple truck races for Brad Keselowski Racing.
“We’re really looking forward to it,” he commented. “I think it’s going to be a great time, great year with the Wood Brothers – especially with their alliance with Penske; I think it’s going to bring great things to this whole organization. I’m really excited for it. It’s been great to get to know the Woods – Eddie and Leonard and Glenn. To get to know them, it’s really special to me. To be part of such a historic team is going to mean a lot to me. I’m really excited to get going.”
Entering his first season of Cup racing, Blaney is hoping to do well and run up front, and thinks it possible based on the resources that WBR has through their alliance with Team Penske, and having Jeremy Bullins as a crew chief.
“I think both can share some insight in what we need to know to be successful and I think we can go out and run really well,” he commented. “We won’t know if we can contend for wins till we get going, but I know Jeremy Bullens and everyone at the Wood Brothers Racing is going to do a good job in making sure we’re ready for the season.”
Bullins crew cheifed for Blaney last year in XFINITY, where the pair scored a win (Bristol) and 13 top-10s in 14 races.
“I think it’s going to beneficial for me to have someone like Jeremy who’s a veteran crew chief,” Blaney shared. “He was a race engineer in the Cup Series a few years ago and having that race experience, I think that’s going to benefit him and myself. It’s going to be a good thing in where he has the experience and knows these races are so much longer than what I’m used to. I think it will be beneficial to have a veteran crew chief like that to help teach me along, and I think it will work out for the best.”
One of the benefits for Blaney as a young driver is having both Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano to lean on for advice through the alliance, a pair that he has already worked in sharing the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford in the XFINITY Series. The young man feels that they will be great to work with, espically with the Sprint Cup having a slightly new rule package for the new season.
“They’re kind of going into an unknown, too, with the new rules package – new aero and engine package,” the North Carolina native said. “I think it’s going to help us all out to be able to communicate about the new car. They’ve been great teammates so far, as I said. I’ve been fortunate to have two great guys that I can call friends off the track, and helpful at the race track. Been really great to have them, especially Brad giving me a chance on his truck team in 2012. I’ve gotten really close to him, and then Joey coming on board a couple years ago.”
Blaney commented that he’s excited to get to Las Vegas Motor Speedway as he hasn’t been there much, with only a couple races in the Truck, and also getting back to Darlington Raceway. But he admits its hard to pick just one track to be exited about.
“I really like all of these race tracks, and I’m just fortunate to be able to go to all these different great race tracks,” he expressed. “It’s hard to pick one out, but maybe the one that I’m most successful at this year will be my favourite.
Blaney comes into this year riding a wave of success after finishing second in the Truck Series Standings with a win (Canadian Tire Motorsports Park) and 17 top-10s in the 22 races.
“Towards the end of the year, we had some bad races – whether mechanical failures, or engines blown up, or races that just didn’t go our way,” he commented. “It was kind of a good year for us, but we know what could’ve been. That’s a part of racing. The XFINITY side went pretty well last year, and it was great to get some Cup experience even though they’re changing it all over this year with the new rules package. I thought last year was a good year for us, but hopefully we can step it up in 2015 and have an even better one.”
Running the pair of Cup races last year, with a best finish of 22nd, Blaney noted the biggest thing that stood out to him was how long the races were, compared to the XFINITY and Truck races.
“You have more time to work on it so you have to be more precise with your changes and not take big swings at it,” he noted. “I think that’s one of the things that really opened up my eyes to Cup racing is that you have so much longer to work on your car that you can dissect every problem that is wrong with it. There’s a lot more patient too, as you have a lot more miles and a lot more laps to get to where you need to be. Just comparing to the truck stuff, because that’s what I did so much, you have to go right away; there’s not a lot of time out there.”