Ryan Blaney’s comfort level in new Next Gen car is growing

HAMPTON, GEORGIA - MARCH 19: Ryan Blaney, driver of the #12 BodyArmor Ford, and Brad Keselowski, driver of the #6 Kohler Generators Chevrolet, drive during practice for the NASCAR Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 19, 2022 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

There’s no arguing that defending Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 winner Ryan Blaney has shown excellent speed this season.

He simply hasn’t had results that reflect the strength of his cars.

Blaney’s fourth-place finishes at Daytona and Phoenix sandwiched results of 18th and 36th at Fontana and Las Vegas, respectively.

As the season has progressed, Blaney has grown more comfortable with the feel of the new Next Gen race car, but he’s still learning its nuances.

“I still feel like everyone is still getting comfortable,” Blaney said. “There are always things you can learn, no matter what car it is for how long you’ve driven a certain race car, but I feel like my comfort level is pretty decent now. You’re still learning things every single week, but going to three very different tracks on the West Coast, you kind of understood what the cars liked, what they wanted, what they didn’t want, what you could or couldn’t do in them.

“So that was a big help having those three races out there at different tracks, and you’re still learning on what changes do what and how much to change, and raceability of those things… They drive and they race really well, so that’s been nice. You’re never going to be fully comfortable, but you’re just trying to get a little more comfortable than everybody else quicker.”