Wednesday, Dec 06

Ford Performance - Ryan Blaney Talladega Advance

RYAN BLANEY, No. 12 Menards/Pennzoil Ford Mustang – IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN DO DIFFERENTLY TO TRY AND PREVENT PIT ROAD SPEEDING PENALTIES? “Yeah, it was definitely unfortunate, and I really didn’t think I was speeding. Like sometimes you’ll have those times when you’re coming to pit road or you kind of get bouncing on pit road and you lose your lights and sometimes you get nervous and you’re like, ‘I hope they don’t call my number.’ But that wasn’t one of those times. I never thought that I was gonna be over the limit. I feel like it’s one of those things I was kind of tucked behind the 11 and just trying to be as good as I can and as close to my lights and just barely went over. It’s one of those things. Those things do happen, but I never thought I was speeding as opposed to other times you think you are and sometimes you get away with it as far as you give enough back, but I just never thought I was to the limit. That obviously ruined our day from my mistake to going in the back and then getting caught up in the wreck after doing a good job by our team all day to get up through the field, to have great strategy calls, get good stage points, looking like we were gonna be able to run for a decent finish, maybe even contend for the win, and to throw it away like that and then just that extra gut punch of getting caught up in the wreck. It was self-induced by the driver, but it’s one of those things that unfortunately we’ll have to battle back from.”


DOES ANYTHING CHANGE FOR YOU AT THE END OF THE RACE AS FAR AS HOW MUCH HELP YOU MIGHT GET BY BEING THE ONLY TEAM PENSKE DRIVER STILL IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP? “Obviously, I think a perfect world scenario is we can get all three of us and the Wood Brothers car with Harrison kind of controlling the race. I think that’s all you can ask for is for all of us to survive until the end and for all of us to be up towards the front to where we can really utilize our numbers, so I hope we work together well as a team. We also do in that regard and that’s what has made us really successful on speedways as an organization is working well together. All of the Fords I think do that. Obviously, you have to rely mostly on your teammates. You have a little bit more comfort knowing that they’re behind you and knowing that they’re most likely gonna go with you and stick with you and help you out, so we’ll see. I mean, it’s just a matter of all trying to find each other and then being up towards the front to where you can either protect or try to make moves to get to the front and get to the lead when it counts.”


THE LAST 6 RACES AT TALLADEGA THE CAR LEADING GOING INTO THE LAST LAP HASN’T WON. IF YOU’RE NOT LEADING WHAT IS THE PATIENCE LIKE TRYING TO GET TO THE FRONT? “I think you kind of just understand whatever situation you’re in, whether you’re the leader coming down to the end, whether you’re in the top couple rows, if it’s side-by-side, and then I think if you’re 10th on back your mindset changes a little bit to where you have to be more aggressive to try to get to the front, but it’s all about positioning. I feel like the last pit stop happens and you have to be in a pretty good position and that’s what we’ve been able to do the last couple races there. I look back at the spring race this year. I look at the fall race last year. We did a really good job in the last stage of being there and having a good strategy day of where you can kind of establish yourself up front, your car is fast enough to where you can lead a lane well or you can push well to try to move a lane. You’re not really doing anything if you’re not in the first three rows of a lane. If you’re the third guy in a lane, you’re helping the second-place guy push the leader of the lane. Those are the only three cars that matter. If you’re fourth on back, your job is just to stay as tight as you can. You don’t want to be shoving on the guy in third and push him through second and first and cause a wreck. You see that all the time, but your sense of urgency definitely changes with wherever you’re at. I’ve always been most comfortable leading these races coming down to the end. It’s harder to defend in this car if you’re the lead, that’s for sure, but trying to find yourself in the first two rows is huge. Yeah, it is hard to be patient. It’s one of those things you have to be understanding of the situation and be patient, if you are in the second row, of not going too soon. Honestly, I look back in the spring and I probably went a little early on the 23 into one. We still had pretty much a whole lap to go, but it’s hard not to take those runs if you have them and try to establish yourself in the lead in case there is a wreck and you want to be leading. It is hard to kind of discipline yourself sometimes when you want to go, but I feel like patience pays off a lot at those racetracks, especially throughout the race. For the first two-thirds of the race patience is huge and then you get more aggressive at the end but have to pick your spots wisely.”


HOW HAVE YOU FOUND IT TO GET OVER THINGS MENTALLY WHEN YOU FEEL THEY COULD HAVE GONE BETTER? “Honestly, it’s hard. I was bummed out, but it’s 100 percent my fault that I sped on pit road and put us back in the pack, and then the snowball effect you get in a wreck. So it’s like, ‘Man, if we didn’t speed, obviously this would have happened, this would have happened and this wouldn’t have happened.’ So you’re hard on yourself, but you pick yourself up quickly and say, ‘Hey, we’ve got two more of these things in this round that you can make up for it.’ So I think a short-term memory is really good in these playoffs when things go bad. You learn from it. Obviously, you try to learn from your mistakes and get better at that stuff, but just moving on and looking forward to the next week and the next race and keeping your guys fired up and things like that. It’s easy to kind of dwell on that stuff, but you have to understand that there’s a race the next week and you have to be mentally strong going to the next weekend knowing that you have to kind of make up for it and show what you’re made of.”


CAN YOU TALK ABOUT HOW HARD IT IS NOT TO SPEED? “Obviously, don’t speed and put yourself in that position and, honestly, I’m not one that usually does speed very often. I always try to give myself a little tiny buffer. Maybe I’m not the fastest rolling time down pit road, I might give up a few tenths of a mile an hour here and there just to make sure I don’t speed and it’s just one of those things where we were up in the top five, I think we were fourth at the time. You’ve got to have a good pit stop and maybe you come out on the front row and you have a shot to go win this thing and move onto the next round. It’s the playoffs and you’re pushing everything and you’re trying to do your best to optimize everything, so it is tough. For people who don’t know, we don’t have a mile per hour gauge in there or a pit road speed limit or button. You’re literally going off of lights. Everyone does it different, but either a bar or dots where your dash is set up to where you run this amount of dots and maybe you have an extra dot to where if you flash it you’re getting close and if you hold it you’re gonna be speeding, so it’s hard to kind of judge that. These things don’t run incredibly smooth down pit road sometimes. Pit road is rough. They kind of get bouncing and stuff like that and it’s hard to regulate that stuff, and also you’re looking forward and then down at your tach and then forward again. It’s a tough thing to do, but we’ve done it so many times. It’s one of those things you’re pushing as hard as you can and you just barely step over. The penalty is way worse than the hundredths of a mile an hour that I was going faster than, so you just think of, ‘what are you doing?’ But in the moment it’s hard not to push. You’re trying to get everything you can and try to put yourself in a spot to win the race.”


WHEN IT COMES TO THE SCHEDULE IS THERE SOMETHING YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE ON IT? “Everyone has been kind of biting their nails waiting on the schedule to come out. I don’t know. I think of it every now and then. I really only think of it when I get asked that question. Some places I think would be very beneficial to us and our sport to go to is somewhere international, whether that’s up north or south. Those are kind of the rumors going around. Either one of those, I think, would be fantastic for our sport and I think the fans would really appreciate it too. I raced up north in MoSport. I did a truck race up there and they were amazing. The fans loved the event and I think it would be massive if we were able to bring a Cup race up to that area, whether it’s Montreal or whatever, or even Mexico City, where the Xfinity cars used to race. I never raced down there in that area, but I heard it was fantastic and people really enjoyed it – the fans did. So, I think that’s one of the bigger things that I would love to see. I think it would be huge for the sport. I think the international fan base would really enjoy it, so it’s probably the top of my list of what would be really neat if we could make that happen.”


WITH WHAT YOU HAVE BROUGHT TO THE ROAD COURSES THIS YEAR WHERE IS YOUR CONFIDENCE THAT YOU COULD HAVE THE DAY YOU MIGHT NEED TO ADVANCE AT THE ROVAL? “It’s hard to tell. I feel like honestly our road course program this year we’ve definitely not been the best. I look at the Glen, I look at Indy, COTA and even Sonoma. We’ve kind of struggled at the road courses this year, which last year I thought we were a little bit closer and this year we just lost a little bit of pace at those racetracks. We’ve been working really hard ever since the Glen and after all of them because if you don’t run good you’re constantly trying to do new things for each road course, but especially after Indy and the Glen you try to figure out because you know you’re gonna get to the Roval at some point and you hope you’re still in the playoffs and you have to compete there. You have to run well, so hopefully the changes we made, we’ve been working really hard to get that stuff better, but I have all of the good confidence in the world that we’ll do the best we can and come with some stuff that hopefully will have a little bit more pace than what we’ve had at the other road courses and see where we’re at. You never know where you’re gonna be points-wise after this weekend, so you just have to be prepared to go to the Roval and try to compete for a win. We’ll have a better idea next week about it.”


DOES THE TALLADEGA PLAYOFF RACE RUN DIFFERENTLY THAN THE SPRING RACE THERE? “Not a huge chance, I feel like. It’s an interesting one because it’s the second race of the round, so you don’t have any guys eliminated and needing to win like you do at Bristol with that being the last race of the round. Usually any last race of a round you have guys that are more than 30 points out you probably need to win the race, or like the Daytona race, the last chance to get in the playoffs. I think that one always gets wild and hectic because you have a ton of guys who need to win to get in the playoffs and that race always gets wild for that reason. This one, I don’t feel it’s much different. I feel like with this car it’s been more racy as far as like you don’t have guys hanging out in the back trying to survive. You might have that with a couple guys this weekend, but it’s harder to get to the front now. With the old car you could get to the front a little easier if you just kind of hung out and rode in the back and then tried to go forward at the end of the race. It’s hard to do that if we get two-wide and everyone is pushing hard and the speed is really fast the third lane it’s hard to move forward. That third lane really moves forward when guys are saving gas and to get down to the end of the race guys aren’t saving gas, so the third lane isn’t gonna really exist too much, so I feel like everyone is a little bit more focused on trying to get to the front, which could make it a little bit more hectic in trying to establish your position at the front of the field, and obviously at the end of the stage the stage points are huge, so you’re gonna have guys be aggressive for that, but I feel like they always are. Stage points are important no matter what race it is, whether it’s the spring or fall race, so I do think it gets a little bit more exciting than spring, but not like the Daytona race where guys are throwing haymakers trying to get the win. I feel like it’s a little bit calmer, but always exciting. Every plate track is exciting and we’ve seen that year after year.”


JOEY SAID THE OTHER DAY THAT THE REALITY CREWS CAN BE INVASIVE. WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THOSE CREWS SO FAR? “It’s been fine. It’s a little bit different in my situation than Joey’s. He’s got a few kids and you’ve got people in your house filming you and your kids. I feel like that could be a little bit more like, ‘Uh, I don’t want these people in my home with my children.’ It’s just me and my dogs and Gianna in here, so it’s a little bit more comfortable for me just by not having the kid aspect, but I understand what it is. I understand that these guys are gonna want to be around a lot, whether it’s at your house, around what you’re doing during the week at the racetrack. They’re always kind of there, so you just kind of learn to accept it and not even really notice them. That’s the best way to be is just they’re there, they’re gonna get their stuff, just don’t even really notice them. Just go about your deal, especially on the weekends, but the house stuff it’s all right. They keep asking me, ‘What do you do during the week? What fun stuff do you do?’ I tell them I stay at house. I go play golf. I hang out with my dogs and I work in my barn. I’m not traveling everywhere all the time. It’s not as exciting as you guys think, but it’s been fun. They’ve been filming some pretty unique stuff. I think people enjoy seeing kind of just the ins and outs of it, but I don’t really have a problem with it. I’ve done it a good bit, so it’s no big deal to me, really.”


HOW VALUABLE DO YOU THINK THIS KIND OF PROJECT CAN BE FOR NASCAR? “I think it’s good. Look what Drive to Survive did for Formula 1, especially in the U.S. I can’t speak for how it affected around the other parts of the world, I can just speak on experience because I live in the United States, but I had tons of buddies who don’t even watch racing in general, any form, and they’ve watched Drive to Survive on Netflix and they’re like, ‘Oh, man. I’m super into F1, NASCAR and IndyCar now. I just can’t get enough of it.’ I think that’s really neat. It kind of grabs a certain audience and so many people that stream on that source and you never know who it’s gonna grab their attention and pull them in because they like, whether if it’s they like the person, they love the sport. Maybe they don’t love the person, but they’re wanting to watch it. I think it can grab so many people and get their interest at a huge scale, at a big, big level across the whole world, so I think it’s great. I mean, why not do it, really? I think it’s gonna be good for the sport and I think it’s gonna give people, whether they’re fans of the sport or not, they’re gonna get a unique look at home life for us, the intensity and the toll these playoffs take on drivers and teams and families of how intense it gets. I think it’s gonna be a really unique look at the pinnacle 10 weeks of our sport and that’s something special to see, I think. Not many people have ever gotten to kind of be a part of that and see that. Now, a lot of people are gonna be able to see it.”


IS BEING 11 POINTS BACK AFTER ONE RACE STRESSFUL? “You’re gonna find yourself behind at some point in the playoffs, whether it’s in round one, round two or round three you’re gonna find yourself behind at some point and you’re gonna have to find a way to make up points and have really good days. I feel like I’ve been in this spot before. Heck, I was in this spot in 2019 I think it was after Dover. We had a mechanical failure and I was like 20-something points out and was probably gonna have to win, but Talladega was the second race and we ended up winning Talladega, so it’s like you have moments that you’re behind and you have to go run well. We don’t have to go win Talladega. We’re not in that spot. I was surprised I was only 11 points down after I saw the points after I wrecked, which shocked me. I thought I was gonna be way more out of it, so just understanding that you’re gonna have these moments and it’s kind of how you respond to them and how you rebound after a bad week and realize you still have two weeks to make it up. You still have two races to try to go run well and make up the points you lost. It’s just the way it goes sometimes and you have to be prepared, whether it’s protect your points or try to fight from below the cut line. You’re gonna have both if you continue to go in the playoffs. It’s not always gonna go great. You have to be ready to manage some down times and make up for it.”


WAS IT JUST A CHAIN REACTION AS FAR AS THE WRECK AT THE END OR WAS THERE SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED THAT YOU FELT SHOULDN’T HAVE HAPPENED? “I haven’t seen a great replay of it yet, but from what I kind of saw and piecing together was I guess Reddick went in the wall off of four, got high and got in the slick stuff and hit the fence. I was a car length behind the 43 and I guess he got high and hit the wall. I was kind of watching him, but I didn’t think he was in big trouble. He didn’t look to be in big trouble, like he was going to hit the fence until the last 50 feet before he hit the fence and if you get up in that stuff it’s like, boom, you’re gone and you’re already wide-open and then before I know it I’m in his bumper. I think a couple guys got high and just ran into the fence and I, unfortunately, was on the top and didn’t have time to even realize that he was in the fence. It was just such a quick kind of him in the fence, me hitting him, so just no one’s fault really, just a couple guys got a little high.”


Ford Performance PR


No right click

Please link the article.