NASCAR: The opportunity Ryan Blaney ‘couldn’t pass up’

Ryan Blaney, Team Penske, NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Ryan Blaney, Team Penske, NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Blaney jumped at the special opportunity he was given for this upcoming summer, noting that he simply couldn’t pass it up.

NASCAR drivers competing in races outside of NASCAR has become more and more common, even during the heart of the Cup Series season.

Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney, who drives the #12 Ford full-time at the sport’s top level, is set to play a part in that trend this summer.

The second season of the Superstar Racing Experience (SRX) is scheduled to take place over the course of a six-week period in June and July, and the season is set to conclude on Saturday, July 23 at Sharon Speedway, a 0.375-mile (0.604-kilometer) dirt oval in Hartford, Ohio.

Ryan is set to compete in that race, along with his father, former NASCAR driver Dave Blaney.

So how did this deal come about?

“That really came about, that SRX series, they reached out to my dad, and my dad owns a dirt track up in Ohio,” Blaney explained to Beyond the Flag. “He grew up five miles from that track. His dad raced on it, he raced on it for a long time. I’ve been up there plenty of times, staying at my grandmother’s house. Heck, I used to sell tickets out there, used to answer phones. It’s just a really special place for my family, especially my dad.

“So when they asked Dad if we could run there, Dad called me, he said, ‘Hey, it would be really cool if we could run together, race against each other.’ Because a lot of people from Ohio, they adore my dad’s side of the family because they raced up there for so many years, and they grew up watching my dad and grandfather run up there, and they would love to see it.”

There is a Cup Series race that weekend at Pocono Raceway, but practice and qualifying are scheduled to take place earlier on Saturday afternoon, as the Tricky Triangle does not have lights. The race at Sharon Speedway is scheduled to begin at 8:00 p.m. ET.

“Luckily it’s going to work out that I can get there,” Blaney continued. “We’re practicing at Pocono that day, and then I gotta jump on the flight and go right to Sharon.”

This Cup Series race, recently named the M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400, is scheduled to take place on Sunday, July 24 at 3:00 p.m. ET.

“But yeah, super cool to be able to race with Dad,” Blaney said. “We raced against each other a couple times before, kind of some exhibition stuff. You never know when you’re able to do that with each other, and I don’t know how long Dad wants to race for.”

The opportunity was something he “just couldn’t pass up”.

“It’s something I just couldn’t pass up,” he concluded. “Really cool that we’re able to do that, especially at a special place like Sharon. So hopefully it goes well, hopefully the weather is nice to us when that race comes around, but it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

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Chase Elliott did something similar last year, joining his father Bill and competing in the season finale at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway. Chase won the race as a guest driver. Bill, a full-time driver, finished in a season-high third place.