NASCAR's Ryan Blaney discusses steps to repeat as Cup Series champion

Ryan Blaney added his name to the history books last year when he won the NASCAR Cup Series.

The 30-year-old grew up in a racing family. His father, Dave Blaney, is a former driver, and his grandfather was a stock car racer. For Ryan, winning it all was a “full-circle” moment.

“It’s something that I always wanted to achieve since I was a kid. I had a dad who raced. I grew up watching every race and was around the sport at a young age, saw everybody, these greats that I idolized, win championships. And, as a kid, you want to be that,” Blaney said in a recent interview with Fox News Digital. 

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“You just want to be that person who achieves those things. It’s all come full circle. To know the hard work paid off, the 15 guys you go to battle with every weekend on your team, to share it with them, too, I think is one of the most special things on top of that.”

But his quest to repeat didn’t start off hot. He posted a 30th-place finish at the Daytona 500 after a wreck.

“Got in one of those late-race wrecks and ruined our chances,” he said.

But he immediately ripped off three consecutive top-five finishes (second, third, fifth). He also finished fifth at Martinsville and seventh at Dover. As of Sunday morning, he ranks eighth in the standings.

“We strung together a few good weeks, trying to keep that momentum, and you’re just trying to get hot at the right time,” Blaney says.

One of the keys for Blaney has come from one of his partners, BodyArmor, a hydration drink with no artificial flavors that keeps him level-headed throughout the weekend.

“Hydration’s such a big part in what I do. These cars can get up to 130-plus degrees, so it’s a big part of all the pre-race prep, and also through the race and recovery afterwards is huge. So BodyArmor’s been great to have right there with us. It’s a product that I rely on throughout the weekend, and it’s a perfect partnership,” Blaney says.

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“We’ve had a great relationship since 2017. It’s been a really fun ride in my career. In 2017, I was in my second year. And watching them grow as a company, as well, being a part of it and being along for the ride, it’s been a blast. The folks at BodyArmor have been amazing to me. 

“We’ve been able to win some big races with them on the car. That’s always nice. Just awesome to be a part of a company that wants to always continue growing and becoming better no matter how successful they are, because that’s kind of the mentality. They’ve been fantastic, and I’m looking forward to many more years.

“The odds of winning are pretty low. You’re going to lose a lot more than you win. So, it’s about picking out what you and your group did well that weekend.”

That’s exactly what he and his team have done the first few months of the season. The NASCAR season still has a long way to go, but the good news for his quest for back-to-back titles is, he says, “We’re kind of where we were this time last year.”

And with he and his team finding success in a grueling season, Blaney is confident he can become the first back-to-back champion since Jimmie Johnson in 2009 and 2010.

“This time of the year is what can we learn for the playoffs? What can we do to try to piece things together to what we know is good and what doesn’t work when it comes playoff time? Because you want to have your best stuff,” Blaney said. “Just continue down the path we’re on, try to get better piece by piece and let’s see if we can make another run at it.

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