We made a bit of a deal on Ryan Blaney’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut this past weekend at Kansas, by way of a “Penske Files” video. It was also a double duty weekend for him, between doing the Cup race and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race as well.
But as he prepares for another double this weekend, between Nationwide in Iowa and Trucks in Charlotte, Blaney took time Tuesday to address something that was weighing on his mind heading into Kansas: a wreck caused at Talladega.
Contact between Blaney and James Buescher during Saturday’s Nationwide race at Talladega, heading into Turn 3, caused a several-car accident.
While “the big one” is nothing new at Talladega, it can affect a young driver, and that was something Blaney had to overcome going into this past weekend.
“Especially when a young driver makes a mistake like that, when you’re the cause of a big wreck like that at a superspeedway, it definitely takes a toll on you,” Blaney told reporters on a conference call Tuesday. “You get a lot of heat on social media from fans. You get a lot of heat in the garage area, especially when it’s all your fault.
“It took me a few days to get over. It was really tough. Whenever you make a mistake as a driver, you keep reliving that moment, playing it over and over in your head of what you could have done different. But it’s not going to change anything if you keep reliving it. By the time I figured that out, it was Monday or Tuesday, and I was able to finally move on.”
Support came from both his boss, Roger Penske, and some other drivers in the garage.
“I had a bunch of help from other guys to help me forget that,” Blaney said. “Mr. Penske texted me and said to forget about it, that’s racing, things happen. I was at a tire test and Carl Edwards came up to me and talked to me a little bit. All that stuff helped me get over it and prepared me for the weekend at Kansas.
“It was a big weekend for us making my Cup debut. I had to have a clear mind. Hopefully I’ll never be in that situation again, but it was definitely tough for sure.”
Blaney now returns to the site of his first Truck win, with Brad Keselowski Racing, this weekend in Iowa.