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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Erik Jones tops final Cup practice for Brickyard 400

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Rookie Erik Jones was fastest in the final Cup Series practice session for the Brickyard 400 with a top speed of 185.845 mph.

Jones’ top speed came on his third of nine laps around Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Completing the top five were Kevin Harvick (185.824), Ryan Blaney (185.816), Jimmie Johnson (185.487) and Jamie McMurray (185.460).

Matt Kenseth, 20th fastest, recorded the most laps in the session with 34.

Johnson had the best 10-lap average at 180.951 mph. Kyle Busch followed him at 180.864 mph.

Click here for the full practice report.

During the practice session the spotter for Harvick, Tim Fedewa, told the driver over radio that he had his hard card taken by NASCAR after the sandwich he was eating fell from his perch on the Pagoda. NASCAR confirmed it returned his hard card after practice.

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Toyotas dominate opening Cup practice at Indianapolis

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Toyotas took the top three spots and four of the top six spots in the opening Cup practice session Saturday morning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Denny Hamlin, driving a Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, led the way with a lap of 187.414 mph. He was followed by Furniture Row Racing’s Martin Truex Jr., whose Toyota went 185.559 mph. JGR driver Matt Kenseth was next at 185.200 in his Toyota.

Kasey Kahne was fourth for Hendrick Motorsports, leading his Chevrolet to a lap of 185.151 mph. Kyle Larson was next at 185.002 mph in his Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. The top Ford was Ryan Blaney. He was eight in his Wood Brothers Racing ride at 184.453 mph.

There were no incidents in the 55-minute session.

Final Cup practice is scheduled to go from 11 – 11:55 a.m. ET on CNBC.

Click here for full practice report

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Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch among those penalized practice time at Indy

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NASCAR announced that the teams of Jimmie Johnson and Corey LaJoie will miss 15 minutes of practice in Saturday’s first session at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for being late to inspection before last weekend’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

The teams of Kyle Busch and Austin Dillon will each miss 15 minutes in Saturday’s final practice session for multiple inspection failures before last weekend’s race at New Hampshire.

Today’s Xfinity race at Indianapolis: Start time, weather, TV/radio info

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Points leader Elliott Sadler continues his quest for his first Xfinity Series championship in today’s Lilly Diabetes 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Sadler has made five previous Xfinity starts at the historic Brickyard. His two best finishes there have come in the last two races – fifth in 2015 and sixth last year.

Sadler holds a 45-point edge over JR Motorsports teammate William Byron and a 90-point lead on teammate Justin Allgaier.

Here are the particulars for tonight’s Xfinity race:

(All times are Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given at 3:37 p.m. Green flag is set for 3:49 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 100 laps (250 miles) around the 2.5-mile speedway.

COMPETITION CAUTION: Lap 15

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 30. Stage 2 ends on Lap 60.

PRERACE SCHEDULE: The Xfinity garage opens at 9 a.m. The driver/crew chief meeting is at 2:15 p.m. Driver introductions are at 3 p.m.

NATIONAL ANTHEM: Corey Cox will perform the Anthem at 3:31 p.m.

TV/RADIO: NBCSN will broadcast the race. Coverage begins at 3 p.m. with Countdown to Green. Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network will broadcast on radio and the Performance Racing Network at 3 p.m. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the IMSRN/PRN broadcast.

FORECAST: The wunderground.com site predicts 90 degrees at race time with a 23 percent chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST YEAR: Kyle Busch started from the pole and led 62 of the race’s 63 total laps. Kevin Harvick finished second, while Paul Menard was third. Busch also won the 2015 race.

STARTING LINEUP: Qualifying begins at 12:45 p.m.