Ford Performance NASCAR: Texas 2 (Ryan Blaney Media Availability)

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RYAN BLANEY, No. 12 Wabash National Ford Mustang 

HOW DO YOU SEE THE DRIVER CODE AS FAR AS HOW A NON-PLAYOFF DRIVER SHOULD BE RACING AROUND PLAYOFF DRIVERS AT THIS POINT IN THE YEAR? “I mean there isn’t a written code or anything. I think it is just being courteous to people that are running for a championship. I know when I got knocked out last year in the Round of 12 that you cut those guys a little bit more of a break in certain stages of the race for sure. Just being a little more courteous. You still have to race. If you aren’t a playoff guy and you are racing a playoff guy for a win or a top-five or something like that you are going to race him hard. You aren’t just going to pull over for him. But at times in the race maybe you cut those guys some breaks. I have done that in the past. You show those guys kind of some niceness. There is not really a code. They can race however they want to race. I am not going to be upset either way. Some drivers are different than others. I expect everyone to race hard but maybe cut the playoff guys a break, but I can’t speak for everybody.”

HOW IS THE TEAM MORALE WITH TEAM PENSKE BEING THAT THE TEAM HASN’T WON A RACE OTHER THAN YOU AT TALLADEGA? “I am worried about the 12 group and our morale is really high. Obviously we want to get two cars into Homestead. Me and the 22. That is tough to do but I think the best thing you can do is worry about your own group. Like I said, our group is on a pretty big high right now. Talladega is gone and in the past. We are really excited about these tracks coming up here. We had a strong showing at Martinsville and got a lot of stage points and finished decent there which kept us in the hunt. You go out and grab a bunch of stage points the next two races and finish good, if you don’t win the race obviously, you keep yourself in the hunt. These next two tracks, here and Phoenix, have been really good to us in the past and have been good to us this year. We are really looking forward to the rest of the way here and trying to keep chugging along.”

WITH RESTARTS SO IMPORTANT FOR TRACK POSITION, HOW DIFFERENT IS IT NOW AT PHOENIX WITH THE FLIP-FLOP OF THE TRACK THERE? “Yeah, I think you saw a good bit of it in the spring race there when they moved the start-finish line to that dogleg. You saw a lot of cars immediately drive to the apron as soon as you cross the start-finish line. I think that is just going to be the same. It will probably be even more intense. If you have to grab some spots. YOu saw us four-wide into one on a handful of occasions. You just hope you are in a spot going forward and not getting stuck three-wide, you are putting someone three-or-four-wide. We made that move work a couple times in the spring and had it done to me a couple times in the spring. Sometimes you can;t do anything about it. It just opens that door and before you couldn’t really do that. It just closes up into what turn three is now. I think it makes it exciting for the fans and gives drivers more opportunities and I think you are going to see that definitely take a step up when we go back next week.”

I KNOW YOU ARE A STAR WARS FAN BUT WHAT PROMPTED THE DECISION TO DRESS AS PRINCESS LEIA FOR HALLOWEEN AND WHAT HAS THE REACTION TO THAT BEEN LIKE? “I thought it was funny. I just thought it was a funny costume. Halloween you can dress as whoever you want and it was my house so I figured I could do whatever I wanted. I am a big Star Wars fan. I couldn’t find anyone to be Jabba with me. A lot of people didn’t know what I was. They were like, “What are you?’, I was like, ‘Watch the movie man.’ It was fun. That was the third time we have done that Halloween party at my place and we had a pretty good turnout and everyone has a lot of fun. What prompted me, I don’t know. I saw it online and thought it was funny. I have gotten mixed reviews about it. At the end of the day I don’t really care. I thought it was funny at the time.”

Ford Performance Notes and Quotes

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)

Friday, November 1, 2019

Page 2

RYAN BLANEY CONTINUED … 

IF YOU WOULD HAVE FOUND A JABBA WOULD THEY HAVE BEEN HOLDING THE CHAIN ATTACHED TO YOU? “Probably, probably for photos. Bubba doesn’t know anything about Star Wars and he wouldn’t have gone as that anyway. Maybe next year I will step it up. I thought that was a pretty risque outfit. Luckily it wasn’t too cold. It was okay.”

HOW LONG HAVE YOU HAD THE DARTH VADER TATTOO? “A lot of people thought they were fake. I wanted to be able to tell people they were fake and they wash off, but they don’t, no matter how hard you scrub. I have been a fan of tattoos for a long time and I have a handful now and am working on my leg there. I have a couple Star Wars one on my leg. They stop at my knee right now. I have a mother tattoo on my knee. It is something I have always enjoyed. One of them I have had for a couple years and the other one I just got in January.”

LAST WEEK AFTER THE RACE MARTIN TRUEX JR. SAID THAT HE HAS NEVER FELT AS MUCH INTENSITY AND PRESSURE IN THE PLAYOFFS AS THIS YEAR. THIS IS THE FIRST YEAR YOU HAVE MADE IT THIS FAR, HOW HAS IT FELT TO YOU? “Yeah, it is what your whole season is based around. He probably didn’t see the intensity at Martinsville because he led so much and was up front. It definitely gets intense. You saw emotions run high last week. There were a lot more small ones around that. You always get that at Martinsville. Any race, playoff race or not. I don’t really look at it any differently. If you make each round or whatever. At the end of the day you still have a shot at making it to Homestead. We have to do like last week, go to the track and do your job as best you can and run as well as you can and stay out of trouble and win the race. I have always had the same mindset throughout the whole year. I think if you change your mindset coming into the playoffs it is a little different. Why aren’t you in that mindset all year? That is kind of how we have always approached it and being aggressive when we can and approach the playoff races the same as any race. Maybe you are in some spots where you have to go for it. If you need to win the race you might do something you might not do in the regular season. The intensity is high. There are a lot of great cars. There are seven other cars in this round of 8 that are really great and there are only three spots left open to get in. You don’t want to see a playoff guy win at Martinsville if you aren’t that guy. It just locks a spot. Those spots are really hard to come by now. I could easily see a playoff guy winning this week. The tension ratchets up just like any playoff system in any sport. Everyone gets really emotional because you realize what you are going for and you have a shot at it.”

DO YOU FEEL GOOD ABOUT HOW YOU HAVE HANDLED THE PRESSURE OF ALL THIS SO FAR? “Yeah. Sometimes things get wound up and you get passionate about what you do because it is your life. We spend 38 weeks a year doing this. It is what our lives revolve around. The pressure side is never really something I look at. I have been doing it since I was a kid. I grew up watching my dad deal with it. Your mind is on different things if you are thinking about pressure and not thinking about how to win the race or make the car better and that isn’t good. I have never really thought about that.”

DID YOU NOTICE A DISCERNIBLE DIFFERENCE WITH THE PIT CREW ON SUNDAY? “I thought they did a really good job. They did a fantastic job on Sunday. They gained a lot of spots on pit road. My guys were gaining spots on pit road too. The other 12 guys, my original group. I just thought everyone did a good job last week.”

Ford Performance Notes and Quotes

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)

Friday, November 1, 2019

Page 3

RYAN BLANEY CONTINUED … 

WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE YOU NOTICED WITH HOW THE CAR HANDLED AT PHOENIX IN THE SPRING COMPARED TO PAST YEARS AT PHOENIX? “Just like any track. The downforce added, we were going a  good bit faster there through the corners and qualifying speeds were way up. You don’t take motor away there and you add a bunch of spoiler and a lot on the front splitter the cars go faster and you can drive them harder. I did notice something in that race that I thought was good. I thought we could run higher in one and two and even three and four than we did in the past. Part of that was putting the compound down on the race track and running the tirs. The drivers have been working with NASCAR a lot to do that at more places. Here we got that done in the spring and I felt it helped the racing. Certain tracks you won’t do it like Homestead. You don’t want to touch that because it has naturally aged really well. The cars are different but I think everyone has a pretty good feel of how the cars drive now and have been in traffic. It has been a long time since we were there at Phoenix in the spring. I think everyone has a pretty good idea of how you have to pass cars and drive them and we will go back there and be really comfortable right off the bat.”

DID MARTINSVILLE GO BETTER THAN YOU EXPECTED? YOU WERE RIGHT IN THE THICK OF THINGS FROM THE START TO THE FINISH: “No, I mean we have run really good at Martinsville in the past. It used to be a really big struggle for us the first couple of years going there. I think the spring race last year is when things really clicked and we led a lot of laps. I knew what it needed to feel like in practice then to have a shot in the race and how to drive it. Once you kind of click at a certain track that you have been struggling at it completely changes everything. I am waiting for that day to come at Richmond for us when it clicks and figure out how we need to be to be good in the race. I thought it went really well for us. I would have liked to finish better. Our car wasn’t very good on short runs. We needed 50 laps. Those late restarts hurt. That is what we needed to do, run up front all day, get stage points and stay out of the mess. We closed in on that gap which is what we need to do these next two weeks for sure.”

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