DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – It’s not a Madonna thing. Or even a Beyonce deal. Yet, there on the waist of Ryan Blaney’s uniform, it reads only Blaney. And his Twitter handle is @Blaney.
So why no first name?
It’s related to Twitter.
Ryan Blaney used to go by @RyanBlaney22. He considered changing the number to 21 with his move to the Wood Brothers this season. But with driving in all three NASCAR series this season – Blaney is expected to run 18 Sprint Cup, about 15 Xfinity and a few Camping World Truck races – it wouldn’t do any good to have a number at the end of his Twitter handle since he would race with different numerals.
OK, so why not go with his first and last name?
That Twitter name is taken.
“It’s some guy in England and he hasn’t used it in like two years,’’ Blaney said of the @RyanBlaney, whose last tweet was Feb. 2013. “We got with Twitter and we tried to buy it from him. I don’t know why he wouldn’t do it.’’
Well, it makes Blaney like Brad Keselowski, who goes by @Keselowski on Twitter.
“Kind of copying Brad,’’ Blaney quipped.
In more than one way. Blaney also is the son of a racer and will compete in some Truck races for Keselowski’s team.
Blaney’s focus, though, is making the Daytona 500 field. The Wood Brothers are not guaranteed a starting spot. Provided he makes the field, the 21-year-old knows anything can happen.
A 20-year-old Trevor Bayne won this race for the Wood Brothers four years ago. Blaney’s father, Dave, was leading the 2012 Daytona 500 when Juan Pablo Montoya crashed into a jet dryer, creating an inferno in Turn 3.
There were questions if the track could be repaired. Dave Blaney could have been declared the winner since the race was past the halfway mark. Instead, the race resumed after more than two hours and Dave Blaney finished 15th.
Ryan Blaney agonized during that delay. After spending Speedweeks at the track, he was home because he had school the next day.
“I was so excited that he had a chance to do it and then I wasn’t going to be there for it so I was angry,’’ Ryan Blaney said. “It may have been worse if he did it and I wasn’t there for it. That would have stunk. That was definitely an interesting situation that I don’t think anyone has seen before and I don’t know if we will see that again.”