by Bob Bocras
NASCAR FOX Sports activities author

Ryan Blaney He comes from a household of race automotive drivers. He was taught from a younger age that the game of racing, like all sports activities, will not be at all times truthful.

However the potential of lacking the playoffs when statistically talking he’s having among the best years of his profession? It may be laborious to bear.

As a lot as Blaney tries not to consider it, he can not help however take into consideration the likelihood. The 16-driver qualifying discipline consists of the common season champion in addition to the following 15 drivers primarily based on wins with factors ties damaged.

Blaney, who’s third within the standings with a median end of 12.2, can also be in third place. However 14 drivers have gained this 12 months and with six races remaining within the common season, there’s an opportunity that solely first-time winners within the qualifying period qualify for the playoffs with no locations out there for factors.

“I do not get too nervous about it,” Blaney mentioned. “I do know behind my thoughts, like, OK, issues are prone to occur.

“However instantly I feel if we win a race we’re advantageous. So I simply attempt to deal with successful. That is simply the principle factor, and far simpler mentioned than carried out. All 12 months lengthy. It is only a matter of placing all the things collectively.”

Ryan Blaney within the playoffs

Ryan Blaney in the playoffs

Earlier than Atlanta, Ryan Blaney was already apprehensive he won’t be in qualifying regardless of having probably the most of any driver with no win.

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If Blaney ever wants distraction, this weekend might be a approach for him to neglect his place in NASCAR Cup Collection Playoff bubble.

Blaney will compete Saturday night time within the Celebrity Racing Expertise (SRX) Collection at Sharon Speedway, a 0.375-mile Ohio grime monitor he is aware of all too nicely. His father Dave is a co-owner. His father may even race within the occasion for the collection, which consists of each former and present drivers from numerous motorsports disciplines racing on par with the completed vehicles.

“I am excited,” Blaney mentioned. “I am unable to wait to race with my dad… He’ll most likely be listener for me. It will be nice to race with him.

“We have carried out it just a few occasions earlier than. We have raced collectively for years, and I do not know if I will get one other likelihood earlier than he stops racing. I undoubtedly could not get previous that likelihood.”

Blaney at his father’s race within the SRX Collection

Ryan Blaney is trying ahead to competing in opposition to his dad at Sharon Speedway (the place Dave Blaney is among the house owners) this weekend within the SRX race. Ryan: “He would most likely polish me nicely.”

This would be the homecoming of all these returning to a spot the place followers know all about Blaney. Dave’s father, Lou, was a well-known modified and dash automotive racer and was a co-owner of the monitor. Dave starred in dash vehicles on grime earlier than transferring on to the NASCAR Cup Collection. Dave’s brother, Dale, continues to race motorsports whereas Ryan has centered on inventory vehicles and NASCAR.

“Similar to Andrettis, you’ve gotten that sort of historical past in that household identify in motorsport like no different,” mentioned Tony Stewart, who competes and operates SRX.

“It is nice to have the ability to not solely race in opposition to Dave once more however to race in opposition to Dave and Ryan on the similar time is one thing which will or could not occur once more.”

For Blaney, Saturday’s race ought to be enjoyable. Trophy race on Sunday on the Pocono Raceway? That continues to be to be a sight.

Previously two weeks, Blaney has gone 33 factors behind the factors chief Chase Elliot to 78 factors, which makes Blaney win the common season title for an computerized playoff bid.

After the races, Blaney was peeking over the factors to see how shut he was to Elliott. Now he has to deal with successful. If nobody else wins, they are going to be comparatively secure on factors as they’re 37 factors forward of the following driver who would not win (Martin Truex Jr..) and 105 factors earlier than the following (Kevin Harvick).

“There are guys who have not gained but and I anticipate to win from us, the 19 [of Truex]4 [of Harvick]Blaney mentioned.

“Anybody can win. You may see somebody who’s going to point out up for one week and soar and win and do nicely, they usually’re 20 in factors, they usually’re there. So, it’s a loopy time now. You by no means know what might occur.”

If there’s Blaney’s trait, it is the flexibility to deal with the race automotive and race at hand and never get caught up in all the things else. Balanians are identified to be comparatively calm folks and do most of their speaking heading in the right direction. Ryan, as soon as rising up when his dad was in NASCAR, is probably the most extroverted of the group.

This helped him construct a deep fan base. It most likely will not assist him a lot on Saturday night time.

“It is laborious to be in my father’s head,” Blaney mentioned. “He would not speak a lot. So he cannot actually get into my head, I am unable to actually get into my head. As she will get nearer, I’ll begin throwing some little jabs. Nothing too apparent.”

And whereas he is accustomed to Sharon Speedway, he would not really feel it might be an enormous benefit (and positively not a bonus when contemplating his dad has many extra laps than he does).

“I grew up there quite a bit with my grandparents and issues like that, however I had very restricted follow-up time,” Blaney mentioned. “That may be factor with SRX objects. The much less I do know, the higher most likely.”

What to look at

Goodyear will carry a right-hand aspect tire that options an improved construct beginning with the Pocono. Building is all the things beneath the tread degree of the tire (primarily the grit and layers of rubber apart from the outer layer.

The hope is to present drivers extra traction and stability because it has been frequent for drivers to distance themselves this 12 months.

Goodyear examined this proper tire in Pocono and Charlotte.

“We see this uptick in efficiency as important, because it has been constructive on the mile-and-a-half tracks, in addition to the distinctive configuration of the Pocono, with its three distinct corners,” mentioned Greg Staker, Goodyear Racing Director.

Something that helps with stability is sweet for drivers. They should hope it is going to even be extra sturdy as Goodyear has confronted its challenges with the following technology automotive and groups engaged on discovering the precise steadiness of air stress and camber that will get the automotive transferring quick whereas not penalizing the tire to the purpose the place it turns into a failure.

Hundreds on the tires can be a major concern in Pocono because of the three completely different cornering configurations and better speeds on the two.5-mile monitor.

assume out loud

Petty GMS Racing launched Ty Dillon After the season, the choice introduced final week isn’t any massive shock. Generally issues do not work out.

Dillon New Hampshire entered twenty seventh within the standings and slipped to twenty eighth after an early crash. His common end this season is 22.15 in comparison with his teammate Eric Joneswhich is 17.35.

Jones apparently has clicked together with his chief of workers Dave Ellens, who was introduced on previous to the merger when GMS Racing purchased Richard Petty Motorsports. Dillon and crew chief Jeram Donnelly by no means discovered collaboration.

Will Dillon discover one other place to race? It is doable, though it might find yourself in vehicles or the Xfinity collection.

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Bob Pokras has spent a long time protecting motorsports, together with the final 30 video games of the Daytona 500. He joined FOX Sports activities in 2019 after working for ESPN, Sporting Information, NASCAR Scene and The (Daytona Seaside) Information-Journal. Observe him on Twitter and Instagram @Popocras. On the lookout for extra NASCAR content material? Subscribe to the FOX Sports activities NASCAR E-newsletter with Bob Pockrass!

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