STEVE PHELPS: It’s time to present some hardware to the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series champion. How about that show? Ryan, what an incredible day. Congratulations to you, Jonathan and the entire 12 team. Just incredible. Quick shut out to your competitors in the Championship 4. Felt bad for Christopher. The battle that you put on with William and Kyle was incredible. In the end there could only be one, and that was you. On behalf of NASCAR and our entire industry and the best brands in the world, I want to present to you the Bill France Cup and crown you our 2023 NASCAR Cup Series champion. How much of the story of this 12 team this year is about never giving up and overcoming adversity?
RYAN BLANEY: Yeah, I mean, I think we did an amazing job of that. I mean, it’s somewhat of an up-and-down year, but you’re going to have those moments. Through the summer we just worked really hard to try to get back where we needed to be. Kind of said a deadline for the Playoffs. We met that deadline.
Just super proud of the effort by everybody at Team Penske who put tons and tons of hours into hard work. No one really got down. They just put their heads down and they decided to really put in a lot of work, and it showed up, especially these Playoffs, especially the last five weeks.
So cool to have all their hard work pay off, so they should be proud.
STEVE PHELPS: Your dad, Dave, has been your biggest cheerleader of late. How much has family meant to you to get here?
RYAN BLANEY: It’s meant everything. Obviously I come from a family of racers, my grandfather, dad and uncle. Dad is obviously who I grew up watching and admiring, wanted to be like.
To be able to do what he did, ’cause as a kid I just wanted to do what dad did, so to be able to race and let alone compete for wins and championships, still have my parents around, people that you look up to that are still around, it makes it even more special.
STEVE PHELPS: Second-year crew chiefs aren’t supposed to win a Cup Series championship. How much has Jonathan Hassler changed the trajectory for you?
RYAN BLANEY: He’s been amazing. A fun two years. We had a shot to get here last year. I made some mistakes that kept us out. We worked really hard in the winter to try to get back to where we know we can be.
He’s such a dedicated, hard worker. Every single person on this 12 group is from pit crew to mechanics to truck drivers. Everyone has a part in it. They worked their asses off. It’s cool to see all that stuff pay off.
Yeah, fun to work with Jonathan. Hopefully we can get some more.
STEVE PHELPS: This young man over in the corner, Roger Penske, what has he meant to your career?
RYAN BLANEY: It’s been amazing. It’s been over 10 years when I walked through the doors of that place. It’s hard to believe. Just gone by so fast.
I was telling everybody all week having the opportunity to go back-to-back Cup championships for Mr. Penske. Not often you get to do something in motorsports that RP has done. He’s done everything, accomplished everything. To accomplish this, be another driver that brought him a championship is very special.
It’s been a fun decade, hopefully another fun decade again.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports