“Can’t Beat Me if I’m No Longer Here”- 2023 Cup Champ Ryan Blaney Dissects Hall of Fame Chances

Published 11/20/2023, 9:15 PM EST

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Ryan Blaney wrapped up his 2023 Cup season on a winning note. Not without sparking questions about the future trajectory of his career of course. In a candid chat, Blaney shared his musings on the possibility of being honored in a Hall of Fame. He admitted he’s not exactly chomping at the bit for such recognition, but he’s not opposed to the idea either. He’s holding out hope that when his time comes, fans will celebrate rather than lament about him clinching the honor post a championship win.

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Blaney also toyed with the idea of hanging up his helmet after this season. He quipped that by bowing out while he’s on top, he’d be setting a high bar. After all, you can’t outrun someone who’s no longer in the race.

Ryan Blaney’s prospects for Hall of Fame induction post-championship

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When it comes to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, the selection process is quite intricate. Each year, 15 nominees are handpicked by a panel that includes NASCAR and Hall of Fame representatives, major track owners, historic short track figures, and the media. From this pool, 10 are shortlisted for the Modern Era Ballot by a 22-member Nomination Committee, while the Honors Committee, boasting 43 members including living Hall of Famers, picks five for the Pioneer Ballot.

The main ticket to the Hall of Fame? A driver’s NASCAR achievements and contributions to the sport. In a move to keep the Hall’s prestige in high gear, the number of annual inductees was throttled back from five to three in 2020.

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For a driver to be in the running, they need at least a decade of NASCAR racing under their belt and either two years of retirement or have hit 55 years old by the end of the previous year. Drivers with a 30-year track record are instantly in the race, age notwithstanding. And there’s room for those who made a significant mark but left the sport early under various circumstances.

But when it comes to championship wins, there’s no clear-cut rule about the number of championship wins for making the nomination list. Discussing this, a NASCAR reporter hinted to Ryan Blaney that his championship victory might just be his golden ticket to the Hall of Fame. Blaney’s response? He shrugged it off with a laid-back attitude, saying, “There’s gonna be so many fans that are like you don’t deserve to be in the Hall of Fame, just because you won the championship. I can just see it now, which is fine with me. I wouldn’t personally mind either way if I was in or not. I really wouldn’t care. I mean it would be nice to be in but like it’s not gonna ruin my life.”

Blaney even toyed with the idea of 2023 being his swan song, aiming to bow out while he’s on top. “I hope it’s not like it’s my finale season, but I might just retire this episode is my retire go out on top. Yeah, I mean the championship can’t beat me if I’m no longer here.”

And let’s not forget, Blaney’s already had a taste of one honor this year with his Walk of Fame award back in April. So, seeing him cruise into a Hall of Fame nomination might just be the cherry on top of an impressive career.

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Ryan Blaney steps into the Talladega Walk of Fame limelight

Ryan Blaney, the 2023 Championship victor, etched his name into the annals of racing history with his induction into the Talladega Walk of Fame at Davey Allison Memorial Park on April 21. Last year, Clint Bowyer, a two-time Talladega Superspeedway champion and a voice of NASCAR on FOX, alongside park co-founder Ken Allen Sr., were also immortalized on this prestigious walk. The honor marked the second consecutive year of celebrations after the event had taken a back seat for nearly nine years. 

Talladega Superspeedway’s head honcho, Brian Crichton, tipped his hat to Blaney’s impressive run on superspeedways, saying, “Ryan Blaney’s continued success of superspeedway racing earns him a well-deserved spot in the Talladega Walk of Fame. Ryan is always a contender when he races here, and I know he’ll keep running up front for many years to come.”

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But this brings us to a burning question about Ryan Blaney’s potential pedestal in the Hall of Fame. Does his championship win rev up his chances for that ultimate recognition? What’s your take on this? Do you think his victory lap in the championship race makes him a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame?

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Written by:

Neha Dwivedi

914Articles

One take at a time

Controversies, gossip, and breakneck speeds? Count me in! While F1 has its charm, NASCAR helps me relive those "Roadrash" gaming days. My favorite among the drivers has to be Tyler Reddick. The 23XI Racing pilot is not only likable but also a complete beast when he is on track, more specifically, road courses.
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Edited by:

Joyita Das

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