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.

 

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Two crew chiefs fined for loose lug nuts at Kentucky

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NASCAR has issued two fines to crew chiefs for loose lug nuts last weekend at Kentucky Speedway.

Brian Wilson, crew chief for Paul Menard in the Xfinity race, was fined $5,000 for a loose lug nut. Menard finished ninth.

Kevin Bellicourt, crew chief for Justin Haley in the Camping World Truck Series, was fined $2,500 for a loose lug nut. Haley finished 10th.

There were no other penalties.

NASCAR America: ‘Big 3’ achieves mark not reached since 1974

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The drivers labelled the “Big 3” keep reaching new milestones as they tear through the 2018 Cup season.

Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. are the only drivers to win on 1.5-mile tracks this season, sweeping all seven so far.

They’ve combined to win 14 of the first 19 races this season, with Truex claiming the latest on Saturday at Kentucky Speedway.

Truex’s win gives him four this season while Busch and Harvick have five each.

With Truex’s victory, the “Big 3” are the first trio of drivers to win four or more races each through 19 races since 1974.

That year, the “Big 3” were Cale Yarborough (eight wins), Richard Petty (six) and David Pearson (four).

On NASCAR America, Steve Letarte said despite their dominance so far, he doesn’t believe all three members of the “Big 3” will make the Championship 4 in November.

“I don’t think the three in any way shape or form are guaranteed to make Miami,” Letarte said. “Everybody’s ready to put the ‘Big 3’ in Miami in the final four, I’m not. There’s way too many challenges along the way. I’m confident that all three won’t be at Homestead.”

Watch the videos above and below for more.

Cup teams to test Charlotte road course today

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The second half of Cup tests on Charlotte’s road course will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET today. It is open to the public.

Testing today are: Kyle Busch, Erik Jones, Clint Bowyer, Aric Almirola, Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano, Jamie McMurray, Alex Bowman, William Byron, Austin Dillon, AJ Allmendinger, Trevor Bayne and Ty Dillon. Chris Buescher is in a Chevy wheelforce car.

Last week, several Cup drivers tested on the course for a day. Bubba Wallace crashed early and left the test because his team did not have a backup car.

Jimmie Johnson had the fastest lap in last week’s session, according to NASCAR timing and scoring. Johnson had a lap at 1 minute, 17.4 seconds. Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin each had a lap at 1:17.5 last week.

 

 

 

NASCAR America: Paul Menard, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. among winners, losers at Kentucky

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On Monday’s NASCAR America, Steve Letarte and Jeff Burton discussed the winners and losers among drivers in Saturday’s Cup race at Kentucky Speedway.

Letarte singled out Ricky Stenhouse Jr. as one of the losers after he failed to overtake Alex Bowman in the playoff standings. Bowman entered the race as the last driver above the cutoff line for the 16 driver field in the playoffs.

Bowman earned his first DNF after he crashed from a flat tire and finished last.

Meanwhile, Stenhouse finished 26th, one lap down after he had to pit twice early in Stage 1, the first time for a cut tire. He is now nine points behind Bowman for the final playoff spot.

“To only gain 10 points on a driver who finished last in the field is a huge missed opportunity,” Letarte said. “When you look at drivers scoring 30, 40, 50 points each, Paul Menard picked up over 30. So the chance was there to gain (on) that bigger group and he just didn’t do it. So when I look at what Ricky Stenhouse did, he really missed probably 15 or 20 points. I know it was a flat tire, there’s always a reason. But in the end you have to make the playoffs, you have to go out there and take it from Alex Bowman, who has put him in that position.”

Burton picked Menard as a winner. The Wood Brothers Racing driver placed 11th Saturday after finishing fifth in Stage 1 and 10th in Stage 2.

He is now 18th in the standings, 23 points back from Bowman

“They performed well, got good stage finishes and did what they needed to do,” Burton said. “This team is starting to get a little bit better every single week. I find it very interesting that back there for that 16th spot it’s really a fight of mediocrity, to be honest with you, and who is going to not mess up.”

Watch the above video for more.