For Ryan Blaney, it’s honor thy (grand) father

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Ryan Blaney would prefer to be at Sharon Speedway on Saturday night, honoring his grandfather. Instead, Blaney will race in the Monster Energy Cup race at Kentucky Speedway.

Even though he will be competing, Blaney will honor his grandfather, as he does every day.

Blaney has two tattoos that pay tribute to Lou Blaney, who won more than 600 races, primarily in sprint cars and modifieds. Blaney has his grandfather’s No. 10 on his chest and an image of his grandfather’s 1970 sprint car around his ribs.

“He’s the one who really started the whole racing deal in the Blaney family,’’ Blaney said of his grandfather. “He got my dad (Dave) and uncle (Dale) in it and ultimately got me into racing. 

“I feel like tattoos are something to have meaning, close meaning, and family to me is, I think, the biggest meaning in life.’’

While Blaney races in Kentucky, the Lou Blaney Memorial will be held at Sharon Speedway, a 3/8-mile dirt track in Hartford, Ohio. Tony Stewart won the inaugural event in 2009, just a few months after Lou Blaney died at age 69.

“It’s unfortunate I can’t make it out there,’’ Blaney said. “It’s always a pretty cool night. They have a bunch of drivers out, and it’s always nice to kind of meet everybody from that area where they talk about my dad when he was racing up there just getting started, or my grandpa when he was racing back in the ’70s or really all the way up to the early 2000s. I always like to go to that night.’’

Many are talking about Blaney and what he’s done in NASCAR. He scored his first career Cup win last month at Pocono and talk has centered on if he’ll be brought into the Team Penske fold after this season. Blaney is a Team Penske driver who has been loaned to Wood Brothers Racing since 2015.

“There’s been talks about it for years, really ever since I got with the Penske group, and things just haven’t really come together,’’ Blaney said. “I love the Wood Brothers, and driving for them has been really special for me and my family. I couldn’t ask for a greater group of people.

“But the things I’m mostly concentrated on now is trying to win race 100 for the Wood Brothers.  That’s something I would really like to achieve, and I think we can do it. I believe we can really do that.’’

If he scored that win at Kentucky, on the same night as Lou Blaney is being honored at his home track, it would be even more meaningful for the driver who carries his grandfather with him in every race.

 

Roatan, Honduras was awesome yesterday. Talk about some great times with some great friends.

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Cole Pearn to honor late friend with fundraiser for family next month in Toronto

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A testimonial to Cole Pearn’s best friend, who unexpectedly passed away in early August, as well as a fundraiser for his family will be held Friday, Jan. 5, at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

Pearn’s lifelong friend, Jacob Damen, died unexpectedly after contracting a fast-moving bacterial infection on August 3.

Pearn, crew chief for the 2017 NASCAR Cup championship for Furniture Row Racing, will oversee the gala event, which will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. ET.

The evening will also include an appearance by 2017 NASCAR Cup champion Martin Truex Jr., silent and live auctions, the opportunity to meet both Pearn and Truex and other events.

All net proceeds from the evening will be given to the Damen Family Fund.

“We miss our buddy Jacob dearly,” Pearn said in a media release. “We all have family and friends that fill a space in our hearts that is irreplaceable.

“Jacob filled the hearts of his wife Carolyn, his sons Lucas and Nolan, his parents Jerry and Kim Damen, twin brother Tyler, sister Julia and countless friends.

“We are going to celebrate his life at the perfect spot, the Hockey Hall of Fame, to support his beautiful wife Carolyn and the two boys, Lucas and Nolan. I can’t wait to get home to celebrate with everyone.”

Click here for more details and to purchase tickets to the ‘Jacob Damen Friend and Fan Remembered’ event.

NASCAR Fan Appreciation Day scheduled for Jan. 20

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The annual NASCAR Fan Appreciation Day will return to the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina, next month.

The event is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 20, the day after the 2018 Hall of Fame class is inducted.

Fans will be able to take part in an autograph session with current national series drivers, Hall of Famers and members of the NASCAR Next class, as well photo opportunities and question-and-answer sessions with a number of NASCAR legends.

Admission to Hall of Fame will be free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis

Admission to driver autograph sessions is free but will require a ticket for participation. Fans can register for the driver autograph sessions at nascarhall.com beginning Saturday, Jan. 13 at 10 a.m. ET. A full driver autograph session schedule will be announced at a later date.

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Ryan Blaney to guest star on NBC’s ‘Taken’ next year

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Ryan Blaney has a particular set of skills; skills that he’s developed through years of professional auto racing.

The Team Penske driver will get to display those skills next year on NBC’s “Taken” TV Series.

The show serves as a prequel to the 2008 Liam Neeson film of the same name.

Blaney, 23, will guest start on the second season of the series, which premieres Jan. 12. He will appear in an episode titled “Imperium” as a special agent who knows his way around a car.

Here’s the plot synopsis for the episode.

“When a dangerous weapons dealer smuggles his wares into New York City, Bryan Mills (Clive Standen) teams up with the FBI in a race to stop him before he reaches the safety of international waters.”

This won’t be Blaney’s first time in front of a camera playing someone else. He had two movie cameos this year in Logan Lucky and Cars 3.

Blaney was filming his role in “Taken” on Tuesday in Ontario. See his tweets from the set below.

NASCAR Hall of Famer Jack Ingram update: Leaves ICU, moves to acute care facility

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NASCAR Hall of Famer Jack Ingram’s condition continues to improve following a serious car crash in his native Asheville, North Carolina on Dec. 3.

According to an online post by his daughter, Ingram was taken out of Intensive Care on Tuesday and moved into an Acute Care facility, which is not as serious as ICU is.

Ingram did suffer a small setback in his recovery, developing a slight infection that is being treated with antibiotics.

Added the note from Ingrid Jones, Jack’s daughter, “The acute care facility will work to start decreasing his pain meds, over time, and put him on less narcotics and more simple analgesics (like really strong Tylenol, but without narcotics).

“Also they will continue his therapies, physical and occupational, as he’s able. It is still hard to know what his long-term health future will be, but we think his color looks really good, and we have no doubts that he has the will and determination to see this through.

“So if it is humanly possible for him to overcome, he will.”

We’ll continue to have periodic updates on Ingram’s condition as they become available.