By Caleb Slouha
Dave Blaney’s son Ryan may be only 18, but that doesn’t mean that will stop him from success in NASCAR. Blaney participates in the K&N Series, but last night, the 18-year-old made his Nascar Nationwide debut at Richmond International Raceway.
Yes. That’s cool….right? So what? Several others made their Nationwide debut too, including Travis Pastrana… But what makes his first ever run in one of Nascar’s biggest and toughest series is how well he did and where he finished.
Ryan qualified his number 36, Seal Wrap Nationwide car in 8th, a great preview for Friday night. When the green flag flew, so did Blaney. Within the first few laps, the 36 car was moving up into the top 5, and showed no signs of slowing down. The crew chief reported that Ryan was losing no ground to the leader, Harvick, or was gaining on him.
When the caution came out, it was time for pit stops. The first stop proved to be tricky as the gas can top came off and fuel spilled everywhere, costing precious time and pushing Ryan out of the top-10 for the restart. That didn’t seem to phase the young driver though, because before the restart he got on the radio to his crew, “Guess what guys? We were just about to pass DENNY HAMLIN for 3rd.”
His crew also asked him about halfway through the race: “Having fun yet?” And his glowing response was, “You have no idea….” When the green flag came back out, Ryan kept moving forward, the only problem was dirty air and short track racing. These problems made it harder for Ryan to go toward the front and have a better finish. All in all, he had a great night, and finished 7th.
Is there more in store for Ryan Blaney? Certainly. In 2 weeks, he plans to be back in the Nationwide series at Darlington. His schedule also shows him making starts at Kentucky, Bristol, and Charlotte. You can keep up with all of Ryan Blaney’s Nationwide success on our site as well as his at http://www.ryanblaney.com/index.html