Ford Performance NASCAR: Ryan Blaney Media Session at Bristol

Ford PR

Ford Performance Notes and Quotes

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)

Saturday, April 6, 2019

EVENT: Food City 500 Media Availability


RYAN BLANEY, No. 12 PPG Ford Mustang – WHAT WAS THE TRACK LIKE AND HOW WILL QUALIFYING BE?  “It was interesting.  No one went down in that bottom lane and it looks like no one still is going down in it.  I was kind of surprised, to be honest, but I was kind of surprised we didn’t go down in there.  I hit once with my left side tires and it was pretty slick.  You just need a lot of cars running on it to get it going.  I thought the XFINITY cars would run down there with them being in race trim and get it rolling, but it looks like they’re not, so I’m not sure.  I was kind of nervous.  I was thinking, ‘Oh, these XFINITY cars and K&N drivers are gonna run down in it and then we’re gonna have to be in it for qualifying and I don’t know how our cars are gonna be.’  No one will because no one is running it yet, so I don’t know.  You just kind of see and watch practice and kind of see where everyone is running and this might be a deal to where they use the middle up and they just go to the top and then we’ll all be at the top of the race track.  It’s kind of interesting.  The first handful of cars don’t go down in it and then everyone just says, ‘All right, we’ll just run the middle.’  It’s kind of weird how that flows and works, but you never know.  It might work down and we might be in it in qualifying, you just have to keep watching.”


THREE TOP FIVES AND FOUR FIINSHES YOU’D RATHER FORGET.  HOW FRUSTRATING HAS IT BEEN?  “There are moments you get frustrated at it.  You just wish stuff would stop happening.  We had that run there of really good finishes like we finished where we had been running.   I wouldn’t say it’s relieving, but it was nice to finally actually not have anything go wrong in those races, and then you look at last week leading the race and a part falls off and we end up blowing up.  That part is frustrating.  It kind of got taken out of context.  I was angry and like the one story that came out last week was I’m tired of looking at the positives, and the good thing about it is we have really fast cars, so that’s always the positive.  I kind of meant it as I’m tired of being in spots with a chance to win and just dumb luck happens and it just gets taken all away from you, so that part gets frustrating, but I’m really only frustrated for 10 minutes after the deal happens.  You move on and figure out what you can do to prevent stuff from like that happening and then you focus on the next week because there’s nothing you can do about it after something like that happens.  You just try to make sure it doesn’t happen again.  The good thing is we’ve had speed all year and sometimes it can get frustrating that we haven’t won a race yet because, honestly, I think we’ve had cars good enough to win almost every single one of them – at least have a shot at them – and, yeah, more bad things have happened than good – but as a whole group, as a whole Penske group, we have to stay on top of the circle here.  We’re at the top of our game and I think our cars are the fastest ones out there – us and the Gibbs guys seem to be the class of the field, and this all goes full circle.  You’ll have slumps, you’ll have good times and you just try to capitalize on the good times.”


IS THAT WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO GET A WIN NOW BECAUSE YOU HAVE AN ADVANTAGE?  “Yeah, I think we’re in contention to win all year.  Our team is capable of that, but when we have so much speed right now as a whole group, yeah, you want to capitalize on it.  I mean, you want to rack them up as much as you can as quick as you can when you can, so that part kind of stinks sometimes, but I’d rather have fast cars and things happening when we’re in contention to win races than be running 15th and wondering, scratching our heads where the speed is at.  They’re both frustrating, but I’d rather be in this position and you just keep having fast cars and running up front.  You hope the problems stop and you hope you can figure out a way to try to pull through at the end of one of these races.”


IS THERE MORE PRESSURE BEING THE ONLY PENSKE DRIVER WHO HASN’T WON YET THIS YEAR?  “I don’t feel pressure at all.  Yeah, you want to be part of the group, but we have the ability to do it and it’s just a matter of kind of getting it done.  Everybody knows that, my whole team knows and all of Penske knows and all of the competition knows that we’ve been one of the best cars all year.  Yeah, you still hate to have a zero in that column even though it’s still really early in the year, but, no, the pressure thing I used to let get to me a handful of years ago and then it doesn’t help you, so you just try to stay pressure free no matter how good or bad things are or how things look, so, no, there’s no pressure just because Brad and Joey have won.  You just try to focus on your deal and what you need to do to try to get your team in victory lane and help your teammates and your team the best you can, but you just try to overlook all that stuff and just focus.”


THOUGHTS ON RICHMOND NEXT WEEK.  “I’m curious about that.  We’ll have to see.  It’s kind of hard to judge that.  It’s been hard to really even, you know we haven’t been to a place like Richmond yet.  Phoenix is way different.  Here is way different.  Martinsville obviously is way different, so Richmond will kind of be the first of its kind with this new package, so I’m not really sure how it’s gonna race with the cooler temps and being able to move around maybe a little bit more with these cars and things like that, so it’s kind of hard to tell right now, but I’m optimistic for it.  Richmond hasn’t been our best place and I feel like we’re starting to turn it around there, so hopefully we can keep it going, but it’s kind of hard to judge right now.  It’s hard for me to give you an answer of how the racing is gonna be, but I’m optimistic about everything.  I think this package this year has shown some pretty decent races.  It’s obviously worked the bugs out of it and things like that, but I think Richmond will be a good race.  It always puts on a pretty good show there and the night race there, I think, is pretty cool under the lights.  It should be a good one.”


DID YOU THINK YOU WOULD BE FASTER HERE WITH THIS PACKAGE?  “What did we qualify last year?  (15.0 or 15.1) We were 14.8.  I feel like some of that.  I feel like we would be a little bit faster if we were on the bottom.  I think last year we were on the bottom right away and I don’t know what that was from, from the sun being out all day or just cars committing to it right away.  I’m not sure.  It might not have rained so much, so there as a little bit more on it.  I was guessing we were gonna be running 14.6’s, so I was a couple tenths off, but I felt like we’d be a little bit faster if that stuff on the bottom was good to go, but, no, you can feel it.  Two tenths here is a lot.  That’s a lot faster than what you’re used to is throttle time and how hard you get in the corner compared to last year, but you knew you were gonna be up.  I think speeds are gonna be way up here, Dover is gonna be fast – really fast with this package, so that will be interesting – but, yeah I expected us to be a little bit faster, but that’s just the way it is.”


SO DO YOU EXPECT THIS TO BE PHYSICALLY DEMANDING FOR 500 LAPS LIKE BRAD SAID?  “This race is always tough.  It’s a long race, one of the more physical race tracks that we go to – physical and mentally challenging – but as far as just holding on for dear life so much more than we were last year?  Not really.  I don’t really expect that to happen.”

Greg Engle