Monday, May 23

Ford Performance NASCAR: Ryan Blaney Martinsville Media Availability

RYAN BLANEY, No. 12 Advance Auto Parts Ford MustangCAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR PAINT SCHEME THIS WEEKEND?  “Yeah, it’s a little bit different Advance scheme than we’ve had in the past.  It’s something they’ve been wanting to do, kind of more of a black car and yellow logos.  It reminds me a lot of the Rusty Miller Genuine Draft car, so it was great to work with those guys on it.  They do a great job and also promoting the Advance My Track Challenge that’s coming back this year.  That’s a really cool program those guys are doing to support local grassroots racing, so awesome to have them their first primary of the year.  I couldn’t think of a better spot for a company who loves short track racing and local roots than Martinsville, so it should be good.”

 

HOW DO YOU FEEL THE NEXT GEN CAR DRAFTED AT DAYTONA AND WHAT KIND OF RACE DO YOU SEE AT TALLADEGA?  “Daytona, first race of the season pretty much with that new car beside the Clash, and I learned a lot during Speedweeks at the superspeedway and kind of how they draft.  We’re not gonna be able to practice at Talladega.  You just kind of qualify and line up and race, and hope you remember how they drive Daytona.  We kind of see differences from Daytona to Talladega.  Your car is gonna handle better at Talladega, just wider and a little bit more grip, so we’ll be running three-wide more.  I was honestly surprised at the lack of three-wide racing at Daytona.  It seemed like you couldn’t really shoot the middle as good as you could in the past, for whatever reason.  No one even really tried it.  I think it’s because you just hit a huge wall of air and you couldn’t make that move happen as good and make progress.  Another part of it might have been guys not wanting to force the issue and kind of get in a wreck, and then late in the race there was just no opportunities to do it.  It’s hard to tell, but I think everyone has kind of gotten a little bit more of a handle on this car of what you need and look at Daytona, ‘OK, how can we change up our stuff and kind of refine things.’  I think you’ll see more three-wide racing and guys making a little bit more aggressive moves just because it’s wider and got more grip, but I think that’s pretty common at Talladega.  You won’t be able to practice all that stuff.  You’ll have to learn it under fire, but we’ve got two years of that, so be able to hopefully everyone will get back into the speedway swing of things pretty soon.”

 

HAVE YOU TALKED TO ANYBODY ABOUT THE TEST FRIESEN DID AT BRISTOL?  “I saw it and it looked pretty nice.  It looked like he had pretty good speed around that place.  From what I know, I feel like the tire is better than what it was last year, just the tread on it number one, and it’s gonna be better because this tire is wider.  The tire is wider, so it’s gonna make it a little bit more racy, which will be good.  Hopefully, adding banking up to the top will let it kind of widen out.  Being a night race is gonna help.  As far as the windshield goes, I know they tried a screen.  I know they took the windshield out and tried a screen and kind of ran it behind, I think they had a modified or a late model up there they ran behind and, I mean, me personally I think anybody in the garage will tell you they’d rather run a screen because they can have the track a little bit nicer, just keeping moisture in it, but I don’t know if we’re gonna go that route this year, unfortunately, just from what I’ve been hearing.  We’ll see.  I think it’s gonna be better than last year, a little bit more racy just kind of the things you learn and go back with, but, unfortunately, I think they tried to test that screen too late.  Testing it this week it’s a week before the race.  It’s kind of a little too late to test something like that, but you’re limited because when is the track gonna be ready?  It’s not ready months ahead of time where you can make these changes.  I would have liked to see a screen, but I don’t think that’s gonna happen, so we’ll just go there.  I think the wider tire is gonna help the racing, hopefully let us move around and we’ll find out.  If the weather is nicer to us, hopefully it’s not a downpour like it was and that kind of hurts the racing and hurts the track, but I think the tire is the big thing that’s gonna help that track out a lot and make it a little bit better show.”

 

DOES BODY OF THIS NEXT GEN CAR ALLOW THIS RACE TO BE MORE PHYSICAL POTENTIALLY?  “I think the fans are already fired up about any race at Martinsville.  I think this car is pretty resilient compared to the last one.  Bodywise, I think it’s way more resilient, so I think the bumpers – front and back – are a lot stronger than what they were last year.  I felt like if you got hit in the left-rear quarterpanel or you kind of tried to move someone out of the way with the right-front fender, you could damage pretty easy.  You didn’t have a lot of support in the noses before.  Now, they’re solid, so I feel like it’s gonna be a little bit more physical here tomorrow night, not only because it’s 100 laps shorter, the cars can take more and I think you’re gonna see a little bit more aggressive styles of racing.  That’s what Martinsville is all about, and I think you get a car that can take it you’re gonna see more of it.  I don’t see anything kind of dumb happening or stupid aggressive, but I think you’re gonna use the bumper a little bit more, and you might use it a little quicker than you would with the previous car, just because it’s beefed up a little bit more.”

 

HOW DO YOU VIEW THE STAT OF YOU LEADING OVER 100 LAPS AND NOT WINNING ANY OF THOSE RACES YET?  “I don’t think it’s frustrating.  It stinks you lead laps and win stages and don’t end up winning the race.  That’s a bummer, but I’ve always just tried to look at it like, ‘Hey, we were leading laps.  We’re running fast.’  I’d much rather this be going on, leading laps, running up front and not being able to close out the win from running 20th every week.  We’re running 20th and getting lucky and running 13th.  I’d rather our cars be fast like they have been and just try to clean up things to where you can put yourself in better spots to win the race or adjust on your car a little bit better throughout the race to try to be a little bit quicker at the end.  There are definitely worse problems to have, so I’m not frustrated by any means as far as leading laps and not winning, just gotta keep running up front.  You just hope you keep that speed and you work on the execution side and hope it comes with it.”

 

400 LAPS THIS WEEK.  DOES THAT CHANGE ANYTHING?  WILL IT BE NOTICEABLE?  “Yeah, you’ll understand that the stages will be shorter and things like that.  Track is gonna be really cold, so not really sure what rubber is gonna get laid down, but there are periods of this race – like early on, the first third or like lap 50-300 is pretty tame, I would say for the most part.  I don’t think you’ll have that as much this year just because it’s 100 laps shorter and you’re gonna have to make moves a little bit quicker.  I can see the aggression level being raised a little bit and I don’t mind it being 100 laps less, 100 laps longer, I don’t care.  You base your race around how many laps we’re running, so I could see the aggression being a little bit higher, that’s about it.”

 

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT RICHMOND, MARTINSVILLE AND BRISTOL BEING BACK-TO-BACK-TO-BACK?  “I don’t care if we went Richmond, Talladega, road course.  I don’t care.  It’s just what the schedule is and you adapt to each place each week, but I like it.  It kind of keeps you in the short track mindset, I guess.  I think we’re able to switch up mindsets pretty good from track to track or different sizes, but it kind of keeps you in that mindset and it’s kind of nice to base things around like Bristol is an oddball.  You can’t really take away anything from other tracks with it being dirt, but you take some stuff you learned at Richmond last week and maybe you can apply it here as far as setup stuff, just thoughts of everyone trying to learn the car.  It kind of keeps you in that mode a little bit more, but I think it’s a pretty cool three-week stretch – three short tracks, three very famous short tracks and I don’t mind it.  I think it’s something cool.”

 

IT’S 75 YEARS OF MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY, WHAT IS THE KEY TO HAVING SUCCESS HERE?  “It’s a tough place.  I struggled here the first couple years I came and really couldn’t figure it out.  I did a lot of homework.  Brad back in like 2017, 18, 19 was awesome here and I really started looking at his data and was like, ‘OK, what do I have to do each part of the run to be like Brad, how he drives this place and finds himself up front?’  We worked really hard on that and the fall race in 2017 or I’d probably say the spring race in 2018 it just kind of clicked.  It’s like, ‘OK, this is what I need to do.  I need my car to drive like this.  I need to drive like this.’  And all of a sudden you’re leading laps and contending for a win and all that stuff, so it’s one of those weird things to where if it clicks for you all of a sudden, you’re like, ‘Now I know what to do.’  Some tracks it takes maybe a little bit longer than others.  Richmond has kind of been like a slow, get a little bit better there each time we go back for me.  Martinsville was like a one race, ‘OK, this is what I need to do.’  So it’s kind of weird how that works, but I’ve kind of been a curb hugger here.  I just ride along the curb.  That’s kind of how I’ve found success.  Is it gonna translate over to this car?  I don’t know.  I’ll find out here in about an hour, but we’ll just have to see.  You just have to keep your car turning good and rotating.  That’s one of the biggest things I’ve learned and kind of how you modulate the brakes getting into the corner.  That’s one of the big things, so all that kind of changes.  It’s still the same Martinsville, but a little bit different car and you’ll have to adjust for that.”

 

DO YOU HAVE A SPOT IN YOUR HOUSE PICKED OUT FOR THAT GRANDFATHER CLOCK IF YOU WIN TOMORROW?  “I’ll find a spot for it.  I think anyone will clear space out for that.  It’s something we’ve been really close to a couple times.  I feel like all my friends have grandfather clocks and it’s definitely something special.  Growing up in High Point, right down the road, it’s kind of home track for me.  I lived closer to here than I did to Charlotte growing up.  This I kind of base as a home race for me and always wanted that grandfather clock ever since I was a little kid watching dad run here and thought it was the coolest thing ever.  I’ve been really close to getting one and hopefully we can get one here this weekend, if not really soon.  I’ll definitely find a spot for it.  That’s not the biggest thing I’ll think of.  I’ll put it right in the center of my living room, if anything, but you’ve got to get it first and then you kind of figure that out.”

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