Ryan Blaney’s breakout performance at Richmond didn’t go unnoticed.
Thanks to an opportunity with Penske Racing, Blaney will return to the .75-mile short track, where he finished seventh in his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut in April, in a championship-caliber car.
Blaney, the 18-year-old son of current NASCAR Sprint Cup driver and former World of Outlaws sprint car champion Dave Blaney, has signed a development deal with Penske that will put him behind the wheel of the No. 22 Dodge in at least three Nationwide races this season, the team announced Tuesday.
Blaney will race Aug. 4 at Iowa Speedway, Sept. 7 at Richmond and Sept. 22 at Kentucky, where he finished 15th in his most recent race in the series, his third to date. Blaney has been driving cars fielded by Tommy Baldwin, his father’s Sprint Cup owner.
“Ryan is a driver with a great racing pedigree, and we believe he has a very bright future in NASCAR,” said Tim Cindric, president of Penske Racing. “We’ve been keeping an eye on Ryan’s development and we feel he’ll be a great addition to the No. 22 Nationwide Series team.”
The addition of Blaney lightens the load for Brad Keselowski, who has won twice this year in the No. 22 Dodge, the same car he drove to the series championship in 2010. With three victories in the Cup series, Keselowski is a virtual lock to make the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, where the quest for a title will occupy his attention late in the season.
Blaney is delighted to get a shot in such a strong car.
“I’m very excited about the opportunity to drive for Penske Racing for the rest of this season,” Blaney said. “With the team’s strong tradition of success and the winning program they’ve established in the Nationwide Series, I believe I can learn a lot, and hopefully we can produce some strong finishes in the No. 22 car.”