Ford Performance NASCAR: Las Vegas (Ryan Blaney Media Availability)

Ford PR

Ford Notes and Quotes

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)

Pennzoil 400 Media Availability (Las Vegas Motor Speedway)

Friday, March 2, 2018


Ryan Blaney, driver of the No. 12 Menards/Pennzoil Ford Fusion, met with media members at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Friday morning to announce a new partnership with Body Armor and also discuss his start to the 2018 season and his outlook for this weekend’s race and the West Coast swing.

RYAN BLANEY, No. 12 Menards/Pennzoil Ford Fusion — WHAT IS YOUR OUTLOOK FOR PRACTICE AND QUALIFYING TODAY? “Today should be interesting. It is really windy here and we usually have a lot of wind at this race but today it seems like it is a lot more. I think tomorrow will be even worse. We will feel it for sure. Right now it looks like it is blowing into three and that will be a handful. Off of four it will hit you in the door. I am excited to get on the race track. The Fords have been really, really fast this year. At Atlanta last week, that is a place I struggle a lot. I thought we made decent gains there throughout the race. Vegas is a place I look forward to going to. It is a great way to start off this west coast swing. It is somewhere we have always run pretty good. Hopefully we can have a good run. We have Menards back on the car with Pennzoil on the hood. That is neat to have those guys with us this weekend. I am excited to get going and get practicing here.”

WILL WE KNOW AFTER THIS RACE WHO IS GOING TO BE GOOD THIS SEASON AND WHO STILL HAS WORK TO DO? “I kind of categorize that as you take all six races before the break to realize — you come here and it is different than Atlanta. You kind of show your strength here. Atlanta you can show strength but it is a different race track. You kind of see where your short track stuff adds up at Phoenix and then we go to a big two-mile and you really get an idea there. I think when the break comes and that off-weekend comes, you really know where you stack up and if you need to do a lot of work or if you have started off on the right foot. This place is really good to try to figure it out. I feel like you can get a good base of where you stack up.”

HOW DO YOU BALANCE THE SPEEDWAY SETUP OF PHOENIX WITH THE SHORT TRACK STYLE WITH SAVING YOUR BRAKES AND NOT MELTING BEADS? “It is different. You see a right front failure there once or twice a year. It just depends how far you want to go with camber stuff or how blocked off your brakes want to be. It is a super fast short track. I want to call it a short track. It always seems to have problems. There are people that have failures in the worst spot, off of four. It is a place we have run okay, but we need to get better. It is a playoff race so hopefully we can learn some stuff there and gather information. It is a good balancing game between how much you want to go for raw speed but then you have to make it last throughout a run.”

HOW DO YOU ADDRESS THE TRACK AT CALIFORNIA? “It is a good place to wrap it up. California is a super fun track. I wish we went there twice a year. It is a track where you can use all the lanes. It is so wide. You get crazy restarts. It is the first two-mile track we go to and you get a decent base. There and Michigan is a little different but they are both two-mile, super fast race tracks. Fontana is getting super bumpy. You can almost compare it to Atlanta as far as bumps and how your car rides. I like that place. I think it is a good place to end the west coast stint.”

HOW WILL THE WIND AFFECT QUALIFYING? “A bunch. It will affect practice and qualifying. You have to figure out if your car is actually doing something or if it is the wind pushing you around. It is going to hit you pretty hard in the left side door. Four is tight enough the way it is. We go so fast in qualifying trim, that makes it worse. The wind affects you more when you are going fast. We will see if it dies down later on today. it might. I think the worst time for the wind is kind of mid morning. Maybe it will clear out of here for qualifying.”

HOW DOES PHOENIX MOVING THE START FINISH LINE FOR THE PLAYOFF RACE AFFECT YOU GUYS? “It is a little different. I am excited to see where that ends up. How it will change everything. I initially thought they were going to put it after the dogleg. Now it is before. That will be interesting to see. It is cool. I am excited to see the facility and how it has changed. It is a good thing to do. You don’t see that very often nowadays of people changing where the start-finish line is. that is pretty neat that they are doing that.”

TEAM PENSKE IS OFF TO A GOOD START: “Atlanta is a great track for Brad (Keselowski) and he showed it. Joey (Logano) ran well. Atlanta is probably up there with the places I struggle the most and we ran okay. I am really looking forward to this race this weekend. I feel like we have a decent idea for this place. Hopefully we can run well or get a win. That would be pretty nice to do that early in the season. The Fords have been really fast. That just shows the hard work they did in the off-season. We will get a better idea in the next few races here where we truly stack up.”


DOES THE DYNAMIC OF THIS RACE CHANGE AT ALL NOW THAT YOU WILL BE BACK HERE TO START THE PLAYOFFS? “You try to learn every bit you can. You put it in your notebook. Even if the track is different you learn something or you don’t. The more and more you can build up your notebook and knowledge of things the better. We pay attention to every track whether we go there once or twice, playoff or non-playoff race. You try to get more knowledge. It is a little different coming back here but I think it won’t change that much. It will be fairly similar to how it is now. There might not be 30 mile-per-hour winds but we will pay close attention to it like we do every week.”

YOU DO ANY GAMBLING OUT HERE? “I used to gamble a lot when I turned 21 and I don’t anymore because I would lose. I don’t really gamble much anymore. I like to go to dinner here. There are some good restaurants here. I don’t really gamble here anymore. Only on the track.”

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.