Wednesday, 21 February 2024

With the racing wrapped up for 2023, and the teams already looking forward to getting back to it next February starting with the Clash at the Coliseum, this is a time for Cup teams to reflect on what went right (or wrong) in 2023. And more importantly, what the future might hold in next year’s battle.

Below is part one of my reflections on the year that was, and what’s to come in 2024.

Team Penske
Results: Ryan Blaney (champion); Joey Logano (12th in points); Austin Cindric (24th in points)
Grade: A-

Team Penske was not the championship favorite all season, but the great thing about a playoff system is that sometimes a competitor will rise above expectations. 

Just as the New York Giants beat a previously undefeated New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, the formerly young Ryan Blaney won his way into the Final Four and then rose above the stiff Hendrick competition in the final race of the season to become the 2023 Cup Champion. That gave Roger Penske a second straight Cup title, following Joey Logano’s title in 2022. Blaney will be an excellent champion for the sport, and his win shows you can never count out the Captain.

Published in NASCAR

I remember the first time I had a hint of what was to come from young Ryan Blaney, in the media center at Michigan International Speedway in 2013.

It was back when he was quite young, still a teenager in fact, and I had just watched him finish second in an ARCA race at the track.

He was very fresh in the sport at that point, having competed in some Xfinity and Truck series races as an 18-year-old in 2012.

When Blaney showed up in the media room to take questions, he was agitated, almost pissed off the entire time. Why, you ask? He hadn’t won the race (coincidentally, the race was won by Brennan Poole and Grant Enfinger finished 5th that day.)

Published in NASCAR

BROOKLYN, Mich. — They say every lap counts in racing, but most importantly the last lap counts.

Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney proved that to be the case on Sunday at Michigan International Speedway, when he led the final 8 laps to take the victory in his Ford after the race was dominated by Chevy drivers Kyle Larson and William Byron.

A strong push by Kyle Busch on the last restart, reminiscent of the type of push needed to win at superspeedway tracks, helped Blaney’s cause as he battled for the win.

“Yeah, got a great push by the 18 on the restart, was able to get clear there. Michigan is a matter of pretty much running wide open and trying to play the air game. I hate you have to race that way. That's how you have to run. Worked out for us,” Blaney said.

Published in NASCAR

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