Ryan Blaney: A young driver who respects old-school

(Getty Images)

BROOKLYN, Mich. – In relation to the magnitude of the moment, Ryan Blaney’s victory celebration last Sunday at Pocono Raceway was positively subdued.

Blaney had just won his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup race, passing 2015 series champion Kyle Busch with nine laps left and held off 2014 champion Kevin Harvick over the final eight circuits.

The victory was the 99th for the Wood Brothers, the most venerable organization in NASCAR racing. Yet Blaney refrained from a celebratory burnout, preferring to keep things “old-school” in deference to his team owners.

“This year I kind of decided that I didn’t really want to do one anymore,” said Blaney, who will turn 24 on New Year’s Eve. “When I was younger, I used to do them and love them. They are fun to do. I just thought it was fitting not to do one in the Wood Brothers car because, traditionally, that is not how they used to do it.

“They used to just kind of go around and wave at the fans, so I figured that is what we would do. Probably the biggest regret of not having my radio working (it was broken during the race) was I couldn’t find these guys (team owners Eddie and Len Wood). I couldn’t find where they were and pick them up. I didn’t really see any negative things about not doing a burnout. I thought it was fitting for the Wood Brothers team.”

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 Examiner.com 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.