Daniel McFadin

When it comes to promoting NASCAR, Ryan Blaney isn’t afraid of saying yes

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CHARLOTTE, North Carolina — Ryan Blaney took exception to comments made by Kyle Busch on Tuesday criticizing NASCAR marketing and publicity campaigns that focus more on young Cup drivers over veterans like Busch.

Busch described the strategies as “stupid” and “bothersome,” saying veteran drivers and their sponsors have paid their dues.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver also said young drivers “are bullied into doing more things than the older guys are because we say no a lot more because we’ve been there, done that and have families.”

Blaney said the comments “kind of made me upset how he bashed that part of it.”

The 24-year-old Team Penske driver is entering his third full-time Cup season after two years with Wood Brothers Racing.

Blaney made clear he’s never been bullied into doing something to promote the sport.

“I’ve been really fortunate to get a lot of great chances from NASCAR to go do things outside of motorsports,” Blaney said Wednesday during the NASCAR Media Tour. “NBC and NASCAR were a big thing in getting me to do “Taken,” the Cars (3) voice and Logan Lucky. That was all really from NASCAR. I’ve always been very open to do a lot of the things they want. It’s not always been stuff like that. You go do some markets where maybe you don’t think it’s going to be a very good market, but you do it anyway because it helps the sport and it helps yourself. It’s win-win for everybody.

“Maybe (Busch) doesn’t like doing it. I feel like if some drivers were more willing to do these things they’d get asked more to do it. The reason I get asked to do it a lot is because I say yes a lot. Because I think it’s good for the sport and myself. I can tell you personally he doesn’t like to do a lot of stuff so that’s why they don’t ask him to do a lot of stuff.”

Blaney was among many current and former Cup drivers who appeared in Logan Lucky in cameo roles, including Busch. They joined Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson, Carl Edwards and Joey Logano.

Blaney stressed the importance of all drivers, not just those in his age bracket, making the effort to push NASCAR toward “new demographics of the world.”

“Whether it’s from younger fans to new fans who don’t pay attention to it who aren’t young,” Blaney said. “It’s not just young drivers who are gonna make people appeal to the sport, it’s the whole lot.

“I think everybody should be little bit more open to helping the sport out because that’s how it’s going to survive. I’m trying to the best that I can at it and a lot of other drivers are helping to. It’s just trying to get more and more every day.”

Ty Dillon, 25, “laughed a little bit” at Busch’s comments.

“Kyle’s got a good reach himself,” said Dillon, driver of Germain Racing’s No. 13 Chevrolet. “The fact that he’s such a good driver and winner, I don’t know if he realizes how much a following and push that he gets as well. I think it’s good that NASCAR is pushing the younger demographic, we need the younger fans. We need to keep getting those fans. But you shouldn’t have to rely on NASCAR to go all your social and your reach out for you. We have such great platforms to be able to do things like that with. If he feels that way, that he’s frustrated, he should use his platforms to go after that fan base himself.”

 and on Facebook

Brad Keselowski wins pole for New Hampshire Xfinity race

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Brad Keselowski will start first in Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Keselowski claimed the pole for the Lakes Region 200 (4 p.m. ET on NBCSN) with a speed of 130.296 mph.

It’s his second pole in three starts this season and his fifth pole in 10 starts at the 1-mile track.

Keselowski is trying to win his fourth straight Xfinity race.

The Team Penske driver will be joined on the front row by Christopher Bell (130.126 mph).

The top five is completed by Ryan Preece, Cole Custer and John Hunter Nemechek.

Ryan Truex, Matt Tifft, Austin Cindric, Kaz Grala, Jeremy Clements, Michael Annett and Ross Chastain did not advance out of the second round.

During the first round the red flag came out with 6:25 left due to fluid on the track from Ryan Reed‘s No. 16 Ford.

Reed will start last.

Click here for qualifying results.

 

Today’s Xfinity race at New Hampshire: Start time, lineup and more

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Last year, Ryan Preece finished second to Kyle Busch in this race. Preece takes over the car that beat him last year and hopes to improve by one position. He’ll have to beat Cup regulars Brad Keselowski and Austin Dillon to do so.

Here’s all the info for today’s Xfinity race.

(All times are Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given at 4:07 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 4:16 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 200 laps (211.6 miles) around the 1.05-mile track.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 45. Stage 2 ends on Lap 90.

PRERACE SCHEDULE: Garage opens at 7 a.m. Qualifying is at 11:05 a.m. Driver/crew chief meeting is at 1:30 p.m. Driver introductions are at 3:30 p.m.

NATIONAL ANTHEM: Boston Sports Team Vocalist John Robert Murphy will perform the anthem at 4:01 p.m. The Canadian National Anthem will be performed by Jodie Cunningham at 3:58 p.m.

TV/RADIO: NBCSN will broadcast the race beginning at 3 p.m. Coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. with Countdown to Green on NBCSN. Performance Racing Network’s radio broadcast begins at 2:30 p.m. and also can be heard at goprn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will have PRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: wunderground.com calls for partly cloudy skies with a high of 78 degrees and a zero percent chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Kyle Busch beat his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Ryan Preece by more than 10 seconds. William Byron came home third, with Cup regulars Kyle Larson and Brad Keselowski rounding out the top five.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for the starting lineup.

Denny Hamlin posts fastest lap in Saturday morning Cup practice

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LOUDON, N.H. – Denny Hamlin had the fastest lap in Saturday morning’s Cup practice at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, leading the field with a lap of 132.942 mph.

He was followed by Ryan Blaney (132.526 mph), Martin Truex Jr. (132.462), Kyle Busch (132.406) and Kevin Harvick (132.356).

Harvick ran the most laps at 50. Harvick told NASCAR on NBC broadcaster Rick Allen in the garage that he ran so many laps to see how much the speed falls off as the tires wear. Jimmie Johnson was next with 42 laps run.

There were no incidents in the 50-minute session.

Ryan Blaney had the best 10-lap average at 131.767 mph.

Click here for the speed chart.

Start time of Sunday’s Cup race moved up to 1 pm ET

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LOUDON, N.H. – The start time for Sunday’s Cup race has been moved up to 1 p.m. ET because of the threat of rain, NASCAR announced.

NBCSN will broadcast the race. NBCSN’s coverage begins at noon ET.

The wunderground.com forecast for 1 p.m. ET Sunday calls for a 49 percent chance of scattered thunderstorms. There is a threat of rain throughout the day.

Kurt Busch won the pole for Sunday’s race.