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“Couldn’t Tell the Difference”- Ryan Blaney Pacified by Team’s Hard Work on Backup Car for the Daytona 500

Published 02/19/2024, 2:14 PM EST

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USA Today via Reuters

Ryan Blaney has endured a difficult time in the past few months. It seems like car wrecks have been following him like a shadow since 2023. He took three colossal hits in Nashville (June), Daytona (August), and Daytona again (last week Thursday). The most recent crash saw him getting rammed into the trioval’s outside wall after William Byron hooked into his right rear. As a result of the wreck, Blaney has to fall back on his backup car. But his team got down to work and Blaney couldn’t be more impressed.

Ryan Blaney simmered down after efforts on backup car

While tensions are high and the anticipation of the 66th Daytona 500 continues to build, Blaney revealed that his problems have been solved by a meticulous team. “I kind of learned all I needed to learn in the small pack that we had, kind of getting pushed, I wanted to feel that. How can I take a push? How can I push somebody? How did it handle in a couple of funky situations off of four? And I was very happy with it.”

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He claimed that the replacement or backup car can now do equal wonders as the now-wrecked car. “I couldn’t tell a difference and that’s what you want – not being able to tell a difference between backup car and primary, so they did a good job of getting that thing ready.”

Blaney and his team got an extra day to work on their car. In addition, he is also working with a Physical Therapist to help him race at Daytona on Monday. Ever since the Thursday crash, he had been dealing with soreness in his neck, back, and shoulder area.

In his previous crash at Daytona, the Cup Series reigning champion took a 70 G-force hit. Ty Gibbs turned Blaney against the wall and his car hit the safety barrier. That crash dragged 12 cars into its fold.

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But Blaney claimed that the Nashville crash took the most severe mental toll on him. There his No. 12 Penske Ford slammed head-on into an inside wall on a re-start with no safety wall in between. That crash taught him the importance of wearing a mouthpiece that measures the G-force. He has been wearing it ever since.

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Blaney blessed his G-force mouthpiece

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After the Nashville wreck that left him shaken to the core, Ryan Blaney has taken extra precautions. He wears a mouthpiece developed by Wake Forest School of Medicine that collects on-track driver head kinematics. That has enabled him to measure the G-force of his last wo crashes, 70 Gs and 55 Gs, respectively.

Blaney outlined the benefits of this device. “The mouthpiece data is really good for us to see because you have the black box data from the car. But that’s just showing the car G load and impact. The important one is what does the driver feel — not the most important — but it’s a huge part of the equation.”

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Blaney is still dealing with pain from Thursday’s crash. But if he can make it to Victory Lane on Monday, all the pain is bound to subside.

Read More: “It’s No Fun, Su*ks”- Ryan Blaney Heaves His Frustration After Surviving a Spine-Chilling Crash

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Written by:

Sumedha Mukherjee

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Sumedha Mukherjee is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports who is known for her in-depth track analysis as well as her lifestyle coverage of Cup drivers like Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick. Inspired by the Kiwi's journey so far, Sumedha has also written pieces on Shane Van Gisbergen, predicting how the Supercars Champion would do in the new and unfamiliar American setting. Pairing her research skills with her vast experience as a writer, Sumedha creates stories her readers can easily get lost in.
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Edited by:

Rohan Karnad