NCS Saturday – Ryan Blaney Media Availability

RYAN BLANEY, No. 12 Menards/Richmond Water Heaters Ford Mustang – DID YOU HAVE ANY SATISFACTION IN MAKING A STATEMENT THAT YOU CAN STILL WIN? “I didn’t have satisfaction for that. I had more satisfaction, enjoyment and excitement of winning again, and winning with the great group of guys I got. It’s a bit satisfying not having to answer when you’re going to win again. That really wasn’t at the top of my list. It was just really nice to get into victory lane, and to win the race we did was really cool as well stacked on-top of that. So, yeah. More enjoyment out of just finally winning. I hadn’t had that feeling in awhile. It was nice to get back to that headspace – get our first one with Jonathan [Hassler] too, that was definitely very special.”


WHAT DID YOU THINK ABOUT CHASE ELLIOTT’S SUSPENSION, AND DOES IT SET THE TONE THAT THOSE TYPES OF MOVES ARE NOT GOING TO BE ACCEPTED? “In their position, what happened to Bubba [Wallace] last year is very similar to Monday night. I feel like if you’re going to make a call on one guy for doing some move, you have to be consistent in what you call on another guy for doing a move. That’s just kind of what it is. It’s good that they were kind of consistent in the calls for the exact same kind of retaliation, and I think that’s how it should be. That’s kind of the most dangerous move I think you can do to somebody is the hook deal. But, yeah, it was good NASCAR was consistent. I haven’t really thought about it too much, but you have to make the same call for the same move on everybody.”


DO YOU FEEL LIKE DATA NOW HELPS NASCAR DEFINITIVELY DECIDE BETWEEN WHAT’S INTENTIONAL OR A MISTAKE? “You got data and you have more information than you’ve ever had, and you can go back and look at that stuff. Obviously, Denny [Hamlin] poured it out over the internet kind of pleading his case. But, the data is one thing. The other thing is that things happen so quickly and it’s in the spur of the moment. It’s super hard to go off of just data. There are other things and things happen really fast. You don’t know the emotions of somebody. You don’t know if – and I’m not saying this was the situation – something was broken or it was a genuine mistake. I don’t think you can heavily rely on data. You can maybe look at that, but then you’ll have to look at the situation, you have to watch videos of it – I think there are a lot more things going on. I wouldn’t say it’s a big factor in the decision they made, but it’s definitely something I’m sure everyone is going to be… ‘Look at what this guy did to me. There’s his data. He was wide-open. He never lifted. He turned right or turned left.’ I don’t think you need to get too into this. Honestly, you know when you get wrecked. But yeah, the data side is out there for the whole world to see, and it’s a good tool to use if you want to try to get someone in trouble. It’s almost like tattletaling to the principal to be honest with you. Everyone goes about it their own way.”


WOULD IT BOTHER YOU IF DATA WAS POSTED ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND SHOWN TO THE PUBLIC? ARE DRIVERS PROTECTIVE OF THEIR DATA? “It’s a little different, right? That data really isn’t public knowledge – no fan has SMT. It’s just the teams, and drivers look at every drivers’ SMT, right? During practice, you look at it. That’s what’s going on in the garage. It’s not like a race scanner where fans get that. You have it on the broadcast a little bit, but it’s not as sophisticated as what the SMT stuff is. Me, personally: I don’t mind. If someone wants to look at my data, they can. There’s nothing special on there – steering, brake, throttle and stuff like that. It’s really nothing special. But yeah, it is a little different. The fans don’t really have access to that stuff, at that level. But I really wouldn’t mind.”


IF IT WAS POSTED, WOULD YOU BE FOR THAT? “I don’t think you have to do that. Data has been around for a very long time – SMT and stuff like that. That’s kind of the first time I remember seeing someone using it to plead their case. Yeah, I don’t think we make that the norm, but everyone goes about it differently. Denny’s a big data guy. He always looks at that stuff, relies on that stuff. Like I said, everyone’s different. I don’t know if it needs to be the norm, but I can’t really do anything about it if someone wants to put it out there.”


WHAT IS IT LIKE WINNING A CROWN-JEWEL IN THE COCA-COLA 600? “It kind of easy to overlook the 600 because it was our first win in a long time. So it was like, ‘Man, it’s cool to be in victory lane.’ I kept reminding the guys that it’s a cool one to get because it’s a crown-jewel, it’s the 600 and it’s a super difficult race to win obviously. You just try to keep that in your head, too, if you just won a really, really big race, an important race as well stacked on-top of the first win with a lot of these guys that I’m working with – me and Jonathan’s first win. It really meant a lot. I grew up going to the 600, watching my dad race, for a very long time. It was super special to have them there, and it kind of put the cherry on-top to have my mom, dad and sisters there. It sinks in during the week, until about Wednesday or Thursday, and then you’re focused on trying to get another one.”


CHASE ELLIOTT’S MOVE SEEMED UNCHARACTERISTIC. DO YOU THINK IT WAS REACTIONARY? “People snap at some point – it doesn’t matter who they are. Outside looking in, I think he got tired of getting run into the fence two or three times – just had enough of it and reacted the way he reacted. If it’s not their character, you sometimes have moments when you’re just over it. You’re sick of getting run into the fence or something like that. You see uncharacteristic things when that happens.”


TEAM PENSKE NOT ONLY WON THE INDY 500 ON SUNDAY, BUT YOU ALSO WERE VICTORIOUS ON MONDAY. WHAT WAS YOUR CONVERSATION WITH ROGER PENSKE LIKE AND HOW SIGNIFICANT WAS THE WEEKEND OVERALL FOR THE TEAM BRAND? “That was huge and amazing. Sitting in the rain on Sunday watching the [Indianapolis] 500 was exciting, and those last restarts were nail-biting. You know what’s at stake. You know Mr. Penske is sitting on 18 [victories], and they have a great chance to win it. Haven’t really been in that spot in a few years – like a legit shot to win the 500. Gosh, Josef [Newgarden] did an amazing job. I mean, he is a stud. He does such a cool thing over there. It’s like, ‘Ok, this is a big pressure on us whenever we do get going.’ Personally, I didn’t know until Monday that the sweep has never been done before – pretty amazing that a company and person like Roger, who’s done so much in motorsports, that it’s never happened. It was cool to be a part of it, be a part of finishing the job and completing the sweep. Yeah, I was able to call him Monday night around midnight. They were all on a plane headed back to Michigan after the Indy banquet, and it was cool to talk to him for a little bit. It was him and Ms. Penske, and they were really excited. He said they were at the Indy banquet and had their phones under the table watching the end of the race. Then I talked to him like three times the next day. It’s super cool to contribute to something like that, especially for R.P. who’s done so much for me. The Tuesday afternoon win celebration with Pensk, the IndyCar and NASCAR folks, was a very cool moment, too.”


WHERE’S THE COCA-COLA MACHINE GOING? “I got a spot for it in a bar I have built. I haven’t got it yet. But, I have a pretty good place for it. That thing is pretty cool.”


COREY LAJOIE HAS A BIG MOMENT AHEAD OF HIM IN THIS WEEKEND’S CUP RACE. HOW WOULD YOU APPROACH THE SITUATION IF IT WERE YOU? “For him and under the circumstances, it is an amazing opportunity. He’s put a ton of work in and he’s done a great job with anything he’s given – especially the No. 7 car, he’s done an amazing job. For him to get a chance with the Hendrick Motorsports team – that’s great for him. He’s a fiery competitor, he tried extremely hard and he has the talent. The way I’m looking at it, is that he can go out and win this race. He has to take every opportunity he can to try to achieve that. I’d say, don’t do anything different from what’s got him here. He’s done great, he’s done amazing and he’s got great finishes – got everything out of the car. Now, you’re in some better equipment, a good team around you – just continue to do your thing, and run the way you know how to run. Hopefully that is enough to contend for the win. That’s just the way I look at it and my mindset. He’s good enough and has done a great enough job. If he’s just himself, he’s going to be in contention.”


IT WAS A DIFFICULT START TO THE SEASON, BUT HAS THE TEAM FOUND SOMETHING THAT CAN APPLIED TO FUTURE RACES? “I hope so. It’s no secret that we’ve struggled a bit on the intermediates, mile and a halves, just searching for speed and figuring out the new nose we have. It’s been a little bit of a struggle. I’m really proud of the efforts from everybody – Ford, Penske and Roush Yates Engines. I mean we were all working around the clock, trying to get better. I think hopefully what we found at Charlotte, to have the speed we had to contend with the cars that have been really good on the mile and a halves, hopefully we can carry that forward to other mile and a halves, and maybe even everywhere else. Everything kind of matters. So, that was definitely a shot in the arm, for sure, and hopefully we can continue that success and that speed.”


Ford Performance PR