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"It's Part of Your Job to Be That Person": Ryan Blaney Embracing Role Model Status
The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series champ seeks to use his elite status to help mentor younger racers.
It’s been just over three weeks since Ryan Blaney silenced legions of naysayers with his heroic underdog victory of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series Championship. And instead of continuing to bask in his own well-deserved moment in the sun, he’s unselfishly setting his sights on a different goal: being a role model to the young, aspiring pro racers.
Team Penske’s Ford wheelman said in an interview with BroBible that it’s all part of the responsibility that comes with achieving success at such a high level.
What has Ryan Blaney said about being a role model to young, aspiring racers?
“I think back to when I was a kid, and I watched all the champions, and I wanted to be like them,” said Blaney, whose father Dave and uncle Dale were both competitive racers. “So, now that I’m fortunate enough to have won a championship, you want to be a role model for the younger kids out there, younger racers. So, I think it’s part of your job to be that person, and we have a good opportunity to cash in on that.”
Prior to dusting the field down the stretch on his way to his first Cup Series championship victory at Phoenix Raceway on November 5, Blaney stood in the shadows at Team Penske behind Joey Logano and veteran driver Brad Keselowski. That, however, would not last long as the void created by Keselowski shipping out to form Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing with legendary team owner Jack Roush provided Blaney with the opportunity to step into more of leadership role within the organization.
“When Brad [Keselowski] left to go to his own team, I felt like I was obligated to be in this leadership role with Joey, being the two veteran guys,” Blaney told BroBible. “Once you win a championship, I feel like you’re really established with your team, and I think that’s just gonna be better for our whole team as we get more and more successful.”