Ryan Blaney, who is set to drive for Team Penske in the NASCAR Cup Series next season, says he wants to do the Memorial Day Double.
Ryan Blaney, 23, reportedly wants to attempt the Memorial Day Double at some point in his racing career, meaning he wants to race in IndyCar‘s Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana on Memorial Day Sunday before flying down to Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina to race in NASCAR‘s Coca-Cola 600 later in the day.
Blaney currently drives the #21 Ford for Wood Brothers Racing, but he is set to drive the #12 Ford for Team Penske next season as the team’s third driver alongside Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano. Seeing as how Team Penske also has a very successful IndyCar team in addition to a NASCAR Cup Series team, Blaney is in a good position to get a chance to do the Memorial Day Double.
That opportunity would likely not come next season, however, as Team Penske will only be running four cars in the 2018 Indianapolis 500. Three of them are set to be driven by the team’s three full-time drivers, who are Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud and Will Power, and the other one is set to be driven by three-time Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves, who will not be in IndyCar as a full-time driver for the first time since 1997.
“I would love to do it. I have a lot of respect for the people that have done it. That is a tough day of racing – 1,100 miles and the plane rides back and forth. When Kurt [Busch] and Tony [Stewart] did it, I thought that was really neat. It is something I have always wanted to do and hopefully I can do it one day. Maybe down the road.”
“The Penske group is pretty good at the Indy 500 so hopefully I will get that chance. My interest level is really high and I would love to do it to say I was a part of it and able to race that event.”
Only four drivers had ever raced in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on the same day, thus doing the Memorial Day Double. John Andretti did it back in 1994, Robby Gordon did it in 1997, 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2004, Tony Stewart did it in 1999 and 2001, and Kurt Busch did it in 2014.
Davy Jones also attempted to do the Memorial Day Double in 1995, but he failed to qualify for the Coca-Cola 600. He finished in 23rd place in the Indianapolis 500.
The only driver who has finished all 1,100 miles of the Memorial Day Double is Tony Stewart, who finished in 6th place in the 2001 Indianapolis 500 and finished in 3rd in the Coca-Cola 600 later that day.
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No driver has ever done the Memorial Day Double and won either of the two races. The best Indianapolis 500 finish among drivers doing the Memorial Day Double is 6th place, which was done by Robby Gordon in 2000, Tony Stewart in 2001, and Kurt Busch in 2014. The best Coca-Cola 600 finish among drivers doing the Memorial Day Double is 3rd place, which was done by Tony Stewart in 2001. Will Ryan Blaney get a chance to “do the Double” within the next few seasons?