Ford Performance NASCAR: Texas 1 (Ryan Blaney Media Availability)

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Ford Notes and Quotes

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)

O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 Media Availability (Texas Motor Speedway)

Friday, April 6, 2018


Ryan Blaney, driver of the No. 12 Menards Ford Fusion, met with media at Texas Motor Speedway prior to qualifying Friday afternoon.


RYAN BLANEY, No. 12 Menards/Richmond The Water Heater Experts Ford Fusion — CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE SEASON SO FAR? “It’s been a good year for our team. I think Ford, in general, obvious has a ton of speed. It’s nice to be in that camp. We’d like to get a win on the Penske side. When Ford is winning it’s helping everybody. We’re really close. We just need to close that little bit of a gap to beat the best cars out there. We’re getting there. I thought we had potential in first practice today. We’ll see where we’ll qualify. Yeah, this a fun race track. It’s aging well. It seems to be winding out a little bit more. I think that will be even better in the race. It’s just a matter of time and the tire dragging deal. We’ll see what we have for ‘em on Sunday. Hopefully we’ll be competitive and have a shot.”


WHERE WOULD YOU SIZE UP WHERE YOUR CAR IS RIGHT NOW FROM LAST YEAR? “It’s hard to tell. We just did mock runs today. Qualifying trim that first practice. I think we’re just as good as we were. In practice last year in the (Cup) race I didn’t think we were great and we fired off the race, started second, led a ton of laps and our car was a lot better in the race than we were in practice. It’s kind of hard to judge that unless you’re just dominant in practice. I think we’re right there. There are a few Haas cars that were fast in first practice. I think we are pretty similar. You never really know where you stack up until everybody gets in race trim and starts running laps then you can kind of see after 10 laps, 15 laps and things like that. It’s a little bit early to tell.”


CLINT TALKED ABOUT YOUR VISIT TO THE STAR CENTER LAST NIGHT. HOW DID THAT GO? “Yeah, that was really neat. I was at the Cowboy stadium before about five years ago where they play. It was really cool to see that new training facility that they got that’s only a year and half old. It’s amazing. I know if I was college kid coming out trying to figure out what team to go to. That would sell me. Where do I sign? It’s really impressive. We sat in their war room and had dinner where the draft happens and where they sit there for the draft. That was really cool. They opened it to  us a lot. Ford and the Cowboys made that happen. Played flag football. I never played flag football as a kid. I think it was 7 on 7. It’s good that there were 11 players on each side. It’s a big field. That’s a lot of ground to cover. We were huffing and puffing. It was a good time. Nobody got hurt. Clint didn’t throw-up. It was fun. It was super cool to see. That place is amazing. They did a really good job building that and making it professional.”


I’M SURE YOU SAW THE BANNER THAT EDDIE GOSSAGE PUT UP. HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE PART OF THE NEW KIDS ON THE TRACK? HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF THE NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK? “I’ve heard of the New Kids on the Block. I’ve never listened to any of their songs. I may know one of their songs. I get them and Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch mixed up. I thought that was pretty funny. I saw a picture of it last night. I don’t know who Tweeted it, (Jeff) Gluck or somebody. I thought that was pretty neat. Eddie has always done really well at making things fun and light and things like that. I saw the average age sign and the small one next to it. I thought that was pretty funny. It’s just cool to be a part of that group. I’ve said it all along. it’s just really fortunate to be involved in not only in NASCAR but involved in this younger driver group with some of those guys. I don’t really look at age. They’re just competitors to me. I don’t really understand the hate that everyone gets for the younger veterans. It’s not a rivalry. It’s not a competition. I don’t care if you’re 18-years old of 50-years old, we’re just competitors. I think it was a pretty neat thing that Gossage did. I laughed at it. I like how it has me throwing up the peace sign too. I’ve never done that in my life.”


RYAN BLANEY CONTINUED — DID YOU TRY THE TOP GROOVE IN PRACTICE? IS THERE ANY RUBBER UP THERE? “Not willingly. I kind of just ended up there. I think that it’s better than what it was in the fall last year, for sure. The biggest thing that I noticed is that your arc into 1 is way wider. Before we were just driving straight into 1 and it was hard to pass people and things like that. And now you can get a pretty big arc in there. It’s just getting better and better as the weekend goes on. That’s huge. That’s going to make it easier for people to pass each other into 1. Honestly, you can use up more race track in 3 and 4. Last year you had to be right on the white line and now you can get up probably a car width. We saw that in the race last year. We’re getting there. It takes time. It’s hard to rush these things. They’ve done the the best they can to rush it. I think it’s progressing nicely, better than some of the repaves that we’ve seen.”


Greg Engle
About Greg Engle 7421 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.