He’s back for his first NASCAR Xfinity race at Dover International Speedway since 2012, but there’s another anniversary to note this weekend for Ryan Blaney.
It was a year ago that he locked Darrell Wallace Jr. in a portable toilet at Dover. It came during a rain delay for Camping World Truck practice. Blaney stacked four tires against the door keeping Wallace from exiting.
So how did Wallace get Blaney back?
“I don’t think he did, to be honest with you,’’ Blaney said. “I think I got him two in a row. I snuck into his apartment and scared him pretty good.’’
Blaney is doing a different kind of double this weekend instead of playing a prank on Wallace. Blaney is driving one of Brad Keselowski Racing’s trucks and competing for Team Penske in the Xfinity Series. Blaney was sixth on the speed chart in Thursday’s Camping World Truck Series practice at Dover.
This comes after he had a strong run going in last weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 before a motor blew in his Wood Brothers Racing ride.
Blaney ran inside the top 15 for much of the race before the motor expired. He said it was a good learning experience to race near the top 10 and be around such drivers as Matt Kenseth, Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman and eventual winner Carl Edwards.
“It’s really neat to be able to run with those guys, see how they race,’’ Blaney said. “You learn a lot. I got to race around Dale (Earnhardt) Jr. and Jimmie (Johnson) for a little bit. How great Jimmie has been at that racetrack over the past few years, I found a few couple of things that helped us out a little bit.’’
Blaney says the racing changes the closer one moves to the front.
“You’re always fighting as hard as you can and no one is ever really going to pull over for you (but) there’s definitely a change,’’ Blaney said. “There’s a little bit more give and take. My personal opinion about it, guys that are running up there, they have pretty good racecars and they just need little adjustments. Racing someone really hard and putting yourself in a position to possibly wreck, that’s not going to get your car better. Guys that are running back there, it’s harder for them to get their cars better, so they have to fight for every position they can.’’
Blaney will be back in a Cup car at Michigan and then run Kentucky and Daytona in the coming weeks. That Daytona weekend, winners of the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills National Finals will get to shadow Blaney and his team. Student teams will be tested June 7-9 at the finals in their automotive skills and also be required to discover an issue with a car and fix it.
Blaney also is scheduled to run in the Xfinity Series at Chicagoland Speedway in June. He plans to run three races at Bristol in August, competing in the Truck, Xfinity and Cup series.