In his sophomore year in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS), Ryan Blaney, 20, has turned a lot of heads with his driving skills. He’s won races in the NCWTS and in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and he keeps getting better.
We could very well be witnessing his championship year.
Blaney finished in sixth in last year’s championship standings for Brad Keselowski Racing and came home with the honor of being named Sunoco Rookie of the Year. While he’s winless this year, his string of top-10 and top-5 finishes as of late have launched him to the top of the points standings.
NASCAR Sprint Cup driver and owner of Blaney’s No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford F-150, Brad Keselowski, says he’s pretty proud of Blaney’s season thus far.
“Really, really pleased to see him in the points lead,” commented Keselowski. “I think he’s got a long way to go. He would acknowledge that, as well. He’d rather be starting from the lead than in a hole. With the amount of races we have left and the way that team is gelling together, I think they’ve got a great shot at winning the championship.
“The end of the season can’t come soon enough for me. I mean that in a happy fashion. Excited and thrilled to see what’s going to happen.
“To be able to win a Truck Series championship would mean so much to me, one because of my family and their involvement in the series for a long time, then my own personal involvement, and then also being one of the few guys in the sport that can claim to have a championship in all three series and join some elite company there with Jack Roush, Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick, and Dale Earnhardt. It would take winning a Truck championship to do that, even if it is as an owner.
“Even if we don’t win the championship this year, there will be a lot more opportunities to do it. I can’t wait for that.”
Blaney steadily climbed the points ladder from ninth to second in a matter of a few races. He said he’s gotten all of the bad finishes out of the way and now it’s time to focus on the championship.
“It’s a big confidence booster for the driver and the team when you’re steadily climbing the standings,” commented Blaney. “We just need to get a one in that win column. We’ve got to get that goose egg out of there. We’re close.”
At Chicagoland Speedway, he said he was looking forward to hitting the dirt at Eldora Speedway and finishing well there to possibly claim the points lead.
And he did.
Michigan International Speedway is a place where Blaney could replace the egg with a one in the win column. He’s looking for a little redemption at that track as he had an accident on the first lap of his first-ever race last year. Darrell Wallace, Jr. came down the track in the opening lap and hit the right front of Blaney’s truck which sent Blaney onto the apron and screeching into the inner SAFER barrier.
The day ended early for Blaney in 2013, but can Blaney put the field to the test and end up in Victory Lane in 2014?
“You always keep your eye on the big picture but at the same time we want to win and we want to win a bunch of races. We want to get Ford and Cooper Standard back to victory lane. It’s a little too early to be in a total point mindset but it’s always in the back of our mind,” stated Blaney.
The Careers for Veterans 200 Presented by The Cooper Standard Foundation and Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation will begin Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET.
He’s ready. He’s focused. He’s got 11 more races to prove he’s a champion.