Ryan Blaney not banking on the fan vote, aims to win the Showdown

Earning the fan vote for Saturday’s All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway isn’t part of Ryan Blaney’s game plan.

Ryan Blaney not banking on the fan vote, aims to win the Showdown
Charlotte Motor Speedway
Ryan Blaney, Wood Brothers Racing Ford
Ryan Blaney, Wood Brothers Racing Ford
Ryan Blaney, Wood Brothers Racing Ford
Ryan Blaney, Wood Brothers Racing Ford
Race winner Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Ryan Blaney with father Dave Blaney

The 22-year-old rookie expects to race his way into the main event from the Sprint Showdown in the iconic No. 21 Motorcraft Ford.

“We have figured some strategies that I’m sure some teams have, but whether it’s going out and trying to lead every segment and having to start 10th or 11th in the last little segment, or maybe someone else has a different strategy in being able to start on the front row for that last one, so it kind of depends,” said Blaney, who is currently 15th in the standings.

“But, really, we’ve just been focused on trying to make it in there, and then we can work that stuff out.”

Blaney believes tire strategy will come into play, and the new rules package will enable the drivers to pass more easily throughout the field.

Despite gray skies and rain-delayed practices, the third generation racer is “excited” about making his All-Star debut — should he qualify. Blaney remembers the family trips from his home in High Point, N.C., south to Concord watch his father Dave compete in the preliminary to the All-Star Race. The elder Blaney never transferred into the main event, something Ryan Blaney hopes to accomplish on Saturday.

“The All-Star Race has always been really cool to me,” Blaney said. “I come here every year. Even if my dad wasn’t running it, he’d always run the Showdown and it was just a cool event to come and watch, and a cool race under the lights here.

“As a kid I always wanted to be a part of it, so it’s something neat that we’re gonna attempt to do. Hopefully, we can get in, whether it’s the segments or the fan votes, so that’s something I’m looking forward to.

“It’s gonna be just a fun race. I’ve never been part of a race like this, having no points and no holding back, just going for a big prize. It’s gonna be a lot of fun to race in and then race the other drivers in it as well.”

What would Blaney do with a million dollars?

So what would Blaney do if he won the million-dollar prize?

“It hasn’t really crossed my mind, to be honest with you,” Blaney said. “I can figure that out if we would do it. I don’t really know. That’s a good question. I don’t really have a lot of needs. I wouldn’t go buy a bunch of stuff. I don’t really care about that stuff.

“I don’t know. Maybe put some money back in my dad’s race shop or something, fund his racing team for a little bit. That would be kind of neat.”

What the funds won’t be allocated to is rebuilding Dave Blaney’s car from Eldora Speedway. Dave wrecked in a qualifying crash on May 6.

The younger Blaney acknowledged, “That thing is in the trash. He junked it, but I think it would be really cool maybe going to find one of my grandfather’s (Lou Blaney) old cars. I think that would be really neat to go find it and restore it, so that would probably be a start.”

 
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Five drivers advance to All-Star Race after spectacular Showdown

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