Ryan Blaney is one step closer to looking like an employee of Team Penske.
He has spent much of his offseason resembling a younger version of the late Tim Richmond.
Now the 24-year-old driver has subjected himself to a preseason haircut that makes him look more like Terry Labonte or Dale Earnhardt, depending on your taste in mustaches.
You can see Blaney’s transformation below, but enjoy the mustache while you can. Blaney says it’s coming off tomorrow.
“It’s just hair,” Blaney said earlier this week about his looming appointment with the clippers. “It’s facial hair. It’s dead skin that grows out of your head. It’s nothing anything too major. I actually laugh at fans that give me a hard time whether I’m going to cut it or not. It’s just hair. There’s a lot more important things out there, but it’s funny to see the reactions. You can cut anything off that you want and it’s not going to change (me). Personality-wise I’m going to be the same person but just look a little different.”
The former Wood Brothers Racing driver is planning to donate his lopped-off locks of hair to a good cause.
Erik Jones kept looking for speed in his Toyota Camry — and continually found it — to the point where he earned the pole for tonight’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 300.
Jones scored the pole with a speed of 191.272 mph.
Cole Custer was second (190.101 mph), followed by Matt Tifft (189.954), Ryan Blaney (189.900) and Elliott Sadler (189.653).
Sixth through 12th were Daniel Hemric (189.567), Austin Dillon (189.474), Christopher Bell (189.301), William Byron (189.235), Kyle Larson (188.580), Brandon Jones (187.793) and Brennan Poole (187.292).
Tonight’s race starts at 8:30 p.m. ET and will be televised on NBCSN.
Click here for the full qualifying speed chart.
Kyle Larson had the hammer down in Friday’s second and final Xfinity series practice at Texas Motor Speedway.
Larson covered the 1.5-mile oval with a run of 190.631 mph, more than 2 mph faster than Ryan Blaney (188.488 mph).
Erik Jones was third (188.436), followed by William Byron (187.885) and Elliott Sadler (187.800).
Blake Koch, who was fastest in the first practice session of the day, was sixth in the final practice (187.650 mph), followed by Austin Dillon (187.591), Cole Custer (187.572), Christopher Bell (187.396) and Matt Tifft (187.350).
The session was cut short by approximately 15 minutes after Daniel Hemric spun and backed into the wall, sustaining heavy damage.
“Something in the rear end broke and that was it,” Hemric said after being checked and released from the infield medical center. “It’s not ideal by any means, but I have faith in these RCR guys (will get his back-up car competitive).”
NASCAR officials tried to clean the track to allow cars additional practice time, but time expired and NASCAR was unable to add time because the NASCAR Cup qualifying session was slated to start shortly afterward.
Click here for the final practice speed chart.
Blake Koch was fastest in the first of two NASCAR Xfinity Series practices this afternoon at Texas Motor Speedway.
Koch covered the 1.5-mile oval at 189.347 mph, nearly 2 mph faster than second fastest, Daniel Hemric (187.461 mph).
Kyle Larson was third (187.350), followed by Erik Jones (187.207), Ryan Blaney (187.201), Austin Dillon (186.851), Ty Dillon (186.670), Elliott Sadler (186.316), Christopher Bell (186.258) and Matt Tifft (186.079).
The second practice session takes place at 5 to 5:55 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports App.
Click here for the first practice speed grid.
Tyler Reddick claimed his first career Xfinity Series pole Saturday at Kansas Speedway, winning the top spot with a speed of 181.117 mph.
Rounding out the top five are Erik Jones, Ryan Blaney, Christopher Bell and Austin Dillon
William Byron was the highest qualifying playoff driver in sixth, but he will start from the year because of unapproved adjustments.
Reddick’s pole comes in his 17th Xfinity start. It also continues an impressive stretch for Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 42 Chevrolet. Both Reddick and Alex Bowman earned their first Xfinity wins in the last three races. Reddick won at Kentucky Speedway. Bowman won at Charlotte Motor Speedway two weeks ago.
“This cooler weather might be helping us,” Reddick told NBCSN. “We were really tight yesterday. I think that’s going to help us in the race.”
The pole also comes the week after one of his grandmothers, Carolyn Joyce Brown, passed away. Her name is on the roof of his car.
“The last two weeks have been rough,” Reddick said. “She was battling health for a long time and just finally lost the battle. She watched every single race and ever lap on track. She was there watching it at the race track or at home. Hopefully we can do something special for her. This will be the first race she hasn’t been here to see.”
Here is where the playoff drivers qualified:
William Byron – sixth
Cole Custer – seventh
Matt Tifft – eighth
Brennan Poole – ninth
Daniel Hemric – 10th
Elliott Sadler – 11th
Justin Allgaier – 13th
Ryan Reed – 15th
Click here for the qualifying results.