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Kyle Petty's Concerned About Penske's Ford Duo Of Ryan Blaney And Austin Cindric
Kyle Petty outlined his key takeaways from Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race in Las Vegas.
On the latest episode of the NASCAR on NBC podcast, NASCAR analyst Kyle Petty breaks down to host Nate Ryan what he learned from watching the Penzoil 400 in Las Vegas, Nevada, including why he’s worried about Team Penske’s drivers Ryan Blaney and Austin Cindric but not Joey Logano.
“For me, and I’m going to be honest, man, Ryan Blaney is the new Kasey Kahne — potential unfulfilled,” Petty revealed on the episode. “Everybody wants to talk about what he can do, but he never does anything. For whatever reason ... He just never gets past that hump.”
While Kahne never hoisted the Cup Series championship trophy, he was no slouch in NASCAR’s top flight. Over the course of his 15-year career in the Cup Series, Kahne notched 18 wins to go along with his 176 top-10 finishes. By comparison, Blaney, who’s currently in his eighth full season in the Cup Series, possesses seven wins in total to complement his 110 top-10 finishes. Considering Blaney’s raced less than half as long as Kahne while still recording multiple Cup Series victories, that’s not bad company to be in.
Petty's concerns extended to Penske teammate Austin Cindric.
“[Austin] Cindric, he brings a lot to the table, but he’s really not showed up since Daytona last year in a lot of ways,” Petty added. “He’s got to get in the mix. That’s a Ford team that I’m worried about. I look at it, and I’m worried about it. They shouldn’t have missed Vegas that much.”
As the 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion, Cindric cruised into the Cup Series with lofty expectations, and though he’s only recorded one win in his two years in NASCAR’s most elite level, that solo achievement came during The Great American Race, the 2022 Daytona 500.
Despite his fears around Blaney and Cindric on Team Penske, the 62-year-old Petty was quick to point out the one saving grace on the Ford team: Joey Logano. While Sliced Bread’s 2023 season hasn’t kicked off the way he’d hoped for, Petty isn't worried.
“I’ve seen Joey Logano win that race [Las Vegas], as we had the conversation earlier, by not taking tires and putting himself in a position just to take control of the race for the last four or five laps, and outdrive people,” continued Petty. “So, I know Joey Logano can get it done. He just doesn’t have the equipment to get it done right now.”
Next to his teammates on Team Penske, Logano’s enjoyed the fruits of a highly productive, 15-year ride in the Cup Series, winning an impressive 30 races to go with his two championships (2018, 2022). Still, as Petty notes, he drives a Ford Mustang on Team Penske alongside Blaney and Cindric. It might not be time to hit the panic button for the driver trifecta, but the shared element of the Ford stock cars does give Petty pause.
“The Fords just aren’t getting it done at California or here [Las Vegas],” Petty said. “So, that’s a bit of a concern for me.”