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Will 2023 NASCAR Cup Series Champ Ryan Blaney Shave His Beard Next Season?

If the Ford wheelman’s boss Roger Penske has anything to do with it, No. 12 is going to be fresh-faced come opening day for the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum in Los Angeles February 4.     

By Andrew Woodin
Ryan Blaney poses on top of the Empire State Building

From the dawn of the high-octane sport, NASCAR and facial hair have flourished in a natural, symbiotic relationship better than Forest Gump could have ever imagined “peas and carrots” doing the same dance. Tim Richmond’s mouth brow was a signature element to his effervescent personality, as was Dale Jarrett’s lip foliage that was so thick and robust, you didn’t know whether to look at it or hang a Christmas ornament on it. And, of course, no one in his right mind could ever forget Richard “The King” Petty’s brilliant bristles or the fearsome face fur Dale Earnhardt sported – how else did he get the name “The Intimidator?” His aggressive, take-no-prisoners driving style? Please, those wicked whiskers maketh the man, and don’t you think otherwise!

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RELATED: “Never Had Any Doubts”: Gianna Tulio Gushes Over Boyfriend Ryan Blaney’s NASCAR Championship

But sometimes, no matter how good a driver looks in his muzzle fuzz, he's got to fall in line with organizational rules. Just take Ryan Blaney for example. Red hot after conquering the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series Championship in Phoenix, Arizona, Blaney has been flying high, soaring from one celebratory engagement to the next in New York City with his girlfriend Gianna Tulio. But he was recently asked is his boss Roger Penske's mandate against facial hair would mean he's have to lose his signature look. Even for champions, rules are rules. 

“Yeah, I’ll shave like I do for the beginning of the year,” Blaney, a 29-year-old third-generation racer, told FOX Sports' Bob Pockrass.

Considering the 86-year-old Penske signs Blaney’s checks, that's fair enough, something Blaney himself acknowledged.

“I kind of know the deal,” offered a candid Blaney. “I always start clean, and this is just in the playoffs, I do this. I've been doing it for the last few years. I'll chop it off here when we get going next year.

Well, folks, it has been decided. While beard aficionados around Race World USA are weeping, those with the clean cut, chiseled chin lines, devoid of any face lace, are joyously celebrating for the long-awaited return of one of their own, now a champion, back into the fold. And yet, one question still remains…

Is Gianna cool with the Penske mandate?