NASCAR: Team Penske, Cup Series Driver Ryan Blaney Agree to Long-Term Contract Extension

by Nick Geddes

NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Blaney inked a long-term contract extension with Team Penske on Wednesday, keeping him behind the wheel of the No. 12 car for the foreseeable future.

Terms of the deal have not been disclosed. Team Penske, however, indicated the deal with keep Blaney on its roster “well into the future.” Blaney, 28, told that he’s looking forward to the future having been a part of the race team since 2012.

“It’s really nice to get something done. Me and [Roger Penske] got talking this year that it’s hard to believe that I signed with them in summer or fall of 2012,” Blaney said. “So it’s been 10 years, which is pretty unreal, blew my mind to be honest with you. So they’ve been just amazing to me.”

Blaney broke through as a full-time Cup Series driver in 2018 with Wood Brothers Racing. He then made the jump to Team Penske, where he’s been successful. Blaney has picked up six victories with Team Penske with top-10 finishes in the points standings each season.

Blaney Excited to Remain With Team Penske

Ryan Blaney called the folks at Team Penske his extended family and said he couldn’t imagine driving for another team.

“The people make you feel at home and make you feel welcome, and to know that they look up to you so much to perform well for them, it gives me extra motivation to want to do well for those guys and girls who are working at the race shop and maybe don’t even get a chance to go to the track,” Blaney said. “People that have never been to the track, who are engineers that are solely based at the shop, they even make you feel like home as well and you try to give it back to them.

“So I mean, that’s been the biggest thing to me is they’ve treated me great. And I couldn’t picture myself being anywhere else where they would treat me as good as the Penske and Wood Brothers folks have over the years.”

Ryan Blaney Fighting to Keep NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Spot

With his future determined, Ryan Blaney can turn his attention back to the current season. Blaney has accumulated more points (766) than anyone not named Chase Elliott, but isn’t locked into the playoffs. There have been 15 different winners through 24 races this season. None belong to Blaney, who sits in the 16th and final spot in the points standings as a result. Blaney is clinging to a 26-point lead ahead of Martin Truex Jr.

Like Blaney, Truex Jr. has yet to make his way to victory lane this season despite strong results. With just two races remaining in the regular-season, it’s now or never for Blaney. It didn’t happen at Richmond this past weekend, as he finished 10th. His next opportunity is Sunday in the Go Bowling at The Glen at Watkins Glen International. It’s Blaney’s last chance to win before Daytona, where we know anything can happen.

“I mean, if there’s a new winner this weekend, then we know our job going into Daytona,” Blaney said. “And if we’re the bubble car into Daytona, then you know your job of trying to win the race, trying to do your best to stay up there and just contend for a win and hope that a new winner doesn’t emerge and you’re punched out. So at the same time, you still have to be aware that you’re still racing the 19 [Truex Jr.] for trying to have a points cushion, especially going into Daytona.

“So, yeah, just trying to win, trying to build the point gap and just doing what we can. I try not to get too fixated or distracted from what other teams are doing, even though you’re noticing what the 19 group does and other groups, but I think the best thing you can do is just focus on yourself, because you’re not going to change other people’s outcomes, you can only control your own.”