Reigning NASCAR champ Ryan Blaney discusses media pressure amid father's racing legacy, pity for Bronny James

When the child of a famous athlete begins to take his parent’s sport seriously, the pressure is on, fairly or not.

That happened to Ryan Blaney when he was just a teenager since his father, Dave Blaney, drove in 473 races during a 17-year NASCAR career.

Ryan has since lived up to just about all the hype, winning the Cup Series last year and forever etching his name in the history books.

But that doesn’t change the fact attention has been on him for some time.


“I feel like when you’re a kid in a sport that your parents did, that kid’s expected to do that sport,” Blaney told Fox News Digital in a recent interview.

Blaney, though, said the pressure never came “internally.”

“My dad never pressured me to do anything. If I wanted to do something else, he would’ve been totally supportive of that too. But it just worked out to where I enjoyed doing it. I had his full support. He taught me a lot of things I know,” Ryan said.

“I try not to think of it as pressure, but it came more from the outside. The media and the other people watching, they have high expectations of you. It was hard to block that out, especially when you’re 18 years old, trying to put your name out there and trying to get a solid job.

“But I feel like dad always did a good job of keeping me away from that pressure, the high expectations, and just remind me to just enjoy what you enjoy doing. That’s kind of how I look at it.”


Ryan can sympathize with athletes who have superstar dads, Bronny James in particular.

“He has more pressure on him than I ever did,” Blaney said. “I mean, being LeBron James’ kid, one of the greatest basketball players ever to do it, that’s a ton of pressure. That’s, like, another level.

“I think those kids — I’m 30 now — I see those 18-year-old kids with high expectations that are just thrust on their shoulders. Everyone wants them to be perfect. They’re kids. Don’t expect too much of them. Just let them do their thing. Let them grow, be who they want to be. And their work ethic has gotta be really great, too. I can relate to them a little bit.”

Bronny was a McDonald’s All-American his senior year of high school, but the speculation is that was all for show, given who he and his father are.

James averaged less than five points per game in his freshman season with USC after a cardiac arrest over the summer. He has since declared for the NBA Draft but can opt out. He also entered the NCAA transfer portal.

Despite his father being in the GOAT conversation, scouts have since said Bronny is “not an NBA prospect.”

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