Ford Performance NASCAR: Texas 2 (Ryan Blaney Media Availability)

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Ford Performance NASCAR Notes and Quotes

AAA Texas 500 – Texas Motor Speedway

Friday, November 3, 2017

Ryan Blaney, driver of the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion met with media Friday at Texas Motor Speedway to discuss his outlook for the race weekend.

 

RYAN BLANEY, No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion — WHAT DO YOU AND YOUR TEAM NEED TO DO HERE TO PUT YOURSELF IN POSITION TO WIN THE RACE AND ADVANCE IN THE PLAYOFFS? “I think we just need to have a solid weekend like we had in the spring race and try to finish it out better. We got behind there and slid through my box the last pit stop which put us back. We need to have a good, solid race. That is the best thing we can do. Cut down on mistakes like we have the whole playoffs. We haven’t had huge mistakes. We have been consistent and gotten good finishes. We are coming to a track that has been decent for us in the past and the 1.5 mile stuff has been really good for us. Hopefully we can have a solid weekend and a good run on Sunday and put ourselves in a decent spot going into Phoenix.”

 

HOW MUCH DO YOU FOCUS ON WHAT OTHER YOUNG DRIVERS DO OR HOW YOU WOULD REACT IN THE SAME SITUATION LIKE WHAT CHASE ELLIOTT HAD WITH DENNY HAMLIN LAST WEEKEND? “I thought he handled himself really well to be honest with you. We actually rode home together and talked about it a bit and I thought he handled himself great. I thought whether it was the post race interview where he stood up for himself when he should have, he did a good job. He is mature beyond his age. That is really cool to see. I don’t really think about how I would have handled the situation because I wasn’t in it. I had my own deal going on but I think he handled it great and I am sure that it makes him — it is not good for me because it makes him hungrier than ever and he will go out and run great. I think it speaks to his character.”

 

DO YOU THINK YOU YOUNG GUYS HAVE TO STAND UP FOR YOURSELVES TO SHOW YOU WON’T BE PUSHED AROUND? “I think so. I think there is a little bit of hazing just like any sport or series when you come in and you are a rookie. He is running great in the playoffs and contending for a bunch of wins and we have been pretty strong. I do believe we have to stand up for ourselves and not get shoved around. There is a respect you have to show. I respect really every one of the drivers we are racing against right now but you can’t get pushed around. It isn’t going to stop if you let it happen. You have to be respectful but at the same time you have to stand up for yourself.”

 

WERE YOU AND HARVICK MAD AT EACH OTHER AFTER THE RACE LAST WEEKEND? WERE THOSE JABS PLAYFUL OR LESS THAN PLAYFUL? “Obviously we weren’t happy with each other. Both of us had our conversations and what we were upset about. I felt like we handled it fine. It was a stern talking to. I have a lot of respect for Kevin. He helped me a lot when I got started a couple of years ago. It is just Martinsville racing pretty much. We had a talk and I think we are fine. I am sure we are over it. Those were just to reassure that we were good.”

 

WHEN YOU MADE IT INTO THIS ROUND OF THE PLAYOFFS, DID YOU KIND OF CIRCLE TEXAS WITH HOW WELL YOU RAN HERE IN THE SPRING? “I didn’t really circle it. You look at the round and yeah, we run pretty good here and in the spring race. The 1.5 mile tracks have been good to us. I was confident that we would hopefully come and run well here but you don’t know. You could come here and run 20th all day, you just never know how things can play out of how your car is going to be. I like coming here and I think we will be pretty decent but I will have a better idea here in about an hour. I go one race at a time. Before Martinsville, my main focus wasn’t Texas, it was Martinsville and getting out of there with a good run. I try to do one race at a time and don’t really mark down which track I look forward to than other ones. I think that takes away from the upcoming event.”

Ford Performance NASCAR Notes and Quotes

AAA Texas 500 – Texas Motor Speedway

Friday, November 3, 2017

RYAN BLANEY CONTINUED — A COUPLE MONTHS AGO YOU ELUDED TO THE MEMORIAL DAY DOUBLE AND MAYBE DOING THAT. WITH THE TEAM PENSKE CONNECTION, CAN YOU ELABORATE ON YOUR INTEREST? “I would love to do it. I have a lot of respect for the people that have done it. That is a tough day of racing. 1,100 miles and the plane rides back and forth. When Kurt (Busch) and Tony (Stewart) did it, I thought that was really neat. It is something I have always wanted to do and hopefully I can do it one day. Maybe down the road. The Penske group is pretty good at the Indy 500 so hopefully I will get that chance. My interest level is really high and I would love to do it to say I was a part of it and able to race that event.”

 

GIVEN YOUR SUCCESS HERE, IS THIS A MUST-WIN SCENARIO FOR YOU GUYS? “I don’t think so. I don’t think it is a must-win for us. I think we can have a solid run. Phoenix hasn’t been our best track but I think we can put together a solid race there. I don’t think if we don’t win this race there is no way we get to Homestead. I don’t look at it that way. I just want to come and do the best we can here. If we win the race, great. If not, we tried our best and get a good finish and move on and figure out what we have to do for Phoenix. I don’t think this is a must-win.”

 

THE HARVICK SITUATION. WAS THAT JUST MARTINSVILLE RACING OR IN THE CATEGORY OF SOMEONE TRYING TO PUSH YOU AROUND? “I think it was just Martinsville racing to be honest with you. The issue that I had was the first time he started running us over we were trying to pass somebody and I can’t go anywhere when you are beating the bumper off me when I am trying to pass somebody. After that we were struggling and that is when it happened again. I think it was just two things, it is Martinsville and we are in the Playoffs and I am not going to just let someone go, especially someone we are racing in the playoffs. In this round, there are so many good cars. I don’t think he was really pushing us around or being a bully or anything like that, it was just really hard racing. I have seen that plenty of times over the years at that place and watching on TV. It was nothing personal, just two drivers racing hard.”

 

LAST TIME HERE YOU WON THE FIRST TWO STAGES AND THEN HAD A FATEFUL PIT CALL STRATEGY. HAVE YOU TALKED ABOUT HOW YOU MIGHT APPROACH IT DIFFERENTLY THIS TIME? “Yeah, what happened in the first race is there was a caution with two to go in the second stage and we decided to stay out and try to win the stage and we did. That set a lot of us back. It set me and the 48 who was able to work his way up and win the race. It set a handful of us back there in the field, like 25th, we were really far back. I think we worked back to sixth or seventh and then I slid through my pit box on the last stop. We have talked about what we would do differently a little as far as staying out to win a stage or set ourselves up for the end of the race. Honestly, I look back at it and would have done the same thing. I agree with my crew chief, Jeremy Bullins, and what his call was. Stage points are so important and it’s not like none of us that pitted in that group got back up there because Jimmie got back up there and won the race. I thought it was the right call, things just didn’t work out for us. You talk about strategy and things like that. If there is a caution at the end of the stage, what will you do? It is situational stuff. It is an in the moment call but you try to plan for it as much as possible.”

 

WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THE CAR YOU ARE RACING THIS WEEKEND? “It is pretty similar to the car we had at Kansas. Similar in build and things like that. It is not the Kansas car but it is pretty close to that. We were pretty good at Kansas so hopefully we will be just as good here.”

RYAN BLANEY CONTINUED — DO YOU THINK HARVICK WOULD HAVE BEEN AS GRACIOUS IF YOU WEREN’T BOTH FORD DRIVERS? “I don’t know. I have no idea. We all try to work together. Our goal is to get at least two Fords in the final here. I think that helped maybe a little bit. It might have been not as friendly if this was last year. I think that might have helped a little bit but at the end of the day we are racing, racing hard. I am sure that didn’t hurt.”

 

HOW MUCH XFINITY RACING WILL YOU BE DOING NEXT YEAR? “I don’t know. We haven’t sat down and talked about our schedules and what Brad (Keselowski), Joey (Logano) and I will be doing. Or what the other drivers will be doing. We don’t really do that until the middle of the off-season.”

DOES RUNNING THE XFINITY RACES HELP YOU THESE NEXT TWO WEEKS? “I think it definitely helps. I am in the Xfinity car this week and at Phoenix. I like running those races a lot, especially a track like this where it is newly repaved and the track changes constantly and you can really get a good idea what your car is going to do and it is similar. I feel like it does help and I know the rule changes – I don’t know 100% what the rule is next year for Xfinity and Cup drivers. I know they cut back races but I know it does help and I enjoy running them whenever I am allowed.

 

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