Tag: Ryan Blaney

NASCAR’s Biggest Threat? NASCAR

In a season where the on track entertainment has been on unparalleled levels, off the track NASCAR has not missed an opportunity to shoot itself in the foot.

Killing the momentum of the great start to the season was NASCAR president (and public face) Brian France endorsing, with present and former NASCAR drivers, Donald Trump for President. Their personal opinions are fine to have, but you can’t do something as the president of NASCAR and not have media and fans associate NASCAR with it. The move led Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, to publicly call France an idiot for making an uniformed decision; and that’s from a company that gives money to NASCAR as a series sponsor.

Then there was the invocation debacle at Texas where a character (Phil Robertson) on the TV show Duck Dynasty thought it was a great platform to preach about what the country needs, all while alienating half its audience. Again, fine that he has that opinion, but in that forum it is unacceptable and something NASCAR should have seen coming. While they do not run the Texas Motor Speedway (who has a history of making bad decisions on controversial issues), they could have had some say in how the invocation should be done. Mainly, don’t talk guns and having a “Jesus man” in the oval office.

Then we go to last week during the media obligation for Ryan Blaney that has again brought NASCAR into the spotlight for not a good reason. Blaney did nothing like pledge his vote for Trump or swearing loudly into the microphone, instead he said the word “velvet” over…and over…and over. Did Blaney watch Super Troops recently and think it’d be fun to do this? Of course not! NASCAR instructed Blaney to do so.

While I’ve been in on some media sessions where the conversations with drivers have gone to silly areas, they at least were not staged conversations. Had Blaney thought of this on his own, it would be one thing, but specific instructions from the sanctioning body on what to do during his session is eye-rollingly appalling to those trying to write actual stories.

Such tactics shouldn’t be so surprising. FOX has nearly daily pieces on Danica Patrick’s yoga poses, so I guess NASCAR is just pandering to its supposed audience. Oddly there are some journalists out there who are actually journalists (not that I claim to be one) and for NASCAR to try to be “catchy” or all the buzz on social media is just sad.

Once you think that three strikes would be enough for NASCAR to wake up, this week happens. The sport welcomed back three time champion and star Tony Stewart, who has recovered from a broken back, for his final season. Prior to that announcement, Stewart “told it like it is” about the sport’s lug nut policy, and after his announcement NASCAR welcomed him back: with a $35,000 fine for speaking out against the sport. Let’s look past Greg Biffle saying the same thing earlier in the week, but really? You’re going to shadow over a big story like Stewart returning with some B.S. fine because you don’t like what he had to say (when it was the truth).

To add more layers on to this delicious cake of stupidity, was NASCAR Competition VP Scott Miller announcing yesterday the sport would look into their lug nut rules. What? So what Stewart said resonated so much with the higher ups in NASCAR that they both fined him and now realize their rule needs to be changed? They need to walk a fine line on this one, as we’ve seen the NASCAR driver council speak up and defend Stewart. How many more times will it take before drivers say “enough is enough” and stage some sort of strike? (Highly unlikely, but drivers and owners seem to be growing bigger balls when it comes to telling NASCAR what they’re doing isn’t right).

The easiest thing NASCAR can do is not another snap chat or dub smash, but let the racing do the talking. If they did that, there would be nothing but great things to be said.

2013 Season Recap: Ryan Blaney

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The champagne has dried and we have a champion for the 2013 Camping World Truck Series. Start ‘N’ Park Blog is taking a look back at the season that was by reviewing the top ten finishing drivers. Today’s entry is Ryan Blaney who came home sixth in points.

Stat Line

Points Position: 6th
Starts: 22
Poles: 2
Wins: 1
Top-5s: 8
Top-10s: 13
Laps Completed: 3,281
Laps Led: 154
DNFs: 1
Preseason Pick: Jason – 4th, Brittany – 4th, Michael – 1st

The Experts Say

Jason Schultz: “Blaney showed a lot of strength throughout the 2013 season. He continued making strides in his racing career with monumental milestones like his Nationwide win at Kentucky at Truck victory Pocono. The rookie stripe may have been present on his truck, but he didn’t race like one this season. ”

Marshall Gabell: “Ryan Blaney was impressive this year. The young man’s season was capped off nicely at Homestead finishing second and collecting the ROY title. Expectations were certainly accomplished, but I guarantee top five in points would have been a lot sweeter.”

Michael Metzger: “With my championship pick of Blaney, I expected more from this young driver. I should have known there would be some growing pains, but he has a lot to hang his hat on. He collected another win and was a threat most weeks. Now he can build on that for another go at the title in 2014.”

Furniture Row Racing Trying To Get Blaney?

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With how silly season has been going, anything might be possible, especially when you start talking about the Furniture Row Racing team. Their season within the season has had more twists and turns than a road course.

First they acted a bit too late in trying to re-sign current driver Kurt Busch. With Busch the team has made the Chase for the Sprint Cup for the first time in their history. Loose conversation didn’t lead anywhere and Busch jumped at the opportunity to sign with Stewart-Haas Racing for 2014.

The driver Busch is replacing, Ryan Newman, was the next talked about candidate for the ride. The all of a sudden it was announced that Richard Childress Racing (whom has a technical alliance with FRR) was parting ways with driver Jeff Burton. That opened the door for Newman to go to RCR for the 2014 season.

With less chairs available and somehow less drivers, Juan Pablo Montoya was the next hot rumor. The two sides began talking and Montoya even went out to visit the Furniture Row shop. Within a week Montoya had signed with Penske Racing. Not for NASCAR, but for IndyCar.

Now Furniture Row is at a cross roads, what’s available is a mix of older veterans and younger unproven talent. Sure a veteran can get them through this year or next season, but then they’ll be right back where they currently are. If they go with a young talent, they might not be in the Chase or compete for a win for a couple of years, but you’d have that potential there.

Whether they want him or not, but Sam Hornish, Jr. has been trying to sell himself to the team. Hornish has been in the thick of the Nationwide Series points battle all season long and is trying to prove he deserves another chance in the Sprint Cup Series. The problem with the 34-year old driver is he hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire when he’s been in the Sprint Cup Series. 130 starts have yielded three top-5 finishes and nine top-10 finishes.

Rumor has it that they are interested in a Penske driver, just not Hornish. Ryan Blaney is a driver whose name has been kicked around as of late. Currently he drives full-time in the Camping World Truck Series for Brad Keselowski Racing and part-time for Penske in the Nationwide Series. The 19-year old driver has two Truck wins and has shown potential. It’s just a question of if he’s prepared for the jump right to the Cup Series or if Penske will let him walk.