Dale Jr Unaffected by “Smart” Ryan Blaney Escaping Dale Earnhardt’s Daytona Fate Twice in a Row

Published 02/22/2024, 9:43 AM EST

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“I feel like the Nashville hit was by far the hardest hit I’ve ever taken. Mentally, I was way more messed up after Nashville than I was after these two hits at this race track.” These were the words of reigning champion Ryan Blaney, following his “55 g” crash in Daytona. In total, the 30-year-old was involved in three major crashes in the past eight months. The back-to-back brain-rattling hits are certain to have adverse effects on his health.

While you may be wondering how the driver is coping with the physical and mental trauma, NASCAR veteran, Dale Earnhardt Jr is “confident” that the driver will get through it. The 2-time Daytona winner in his Dale Jr Download podcast revealed Blaney’s strategy despite the #12 driver barely escaping his late father and NASCAR great, Dale Earnhardt‘s tragic fate.

Dale Jr explains how Ryan Blaney has cracked the code


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Reflecting on Blaney’s misfortune, Dale Jr, like anybody, expressed concern for the driver’s well-being. But the veteran knew something most fans did and in his podcast he uncovered just that, revealing his ingenious strategy to keep himself in check of any previous head injuries. Dale Jr. said, “This dude(Blaney) is taking some hits in his career and he’s smart about it. We see these drivers and how they talk about how hard it hits, how hard it wrecks.”

The 49-year-old then revealed the Penske driver’s wreck policy and said, “Blaney to his credit got connected with the Medical Center of Pittsburgh and he’s connected to you know a lot of great, smart doctors very self-aware, very smart about his health. So, when I see him have these crashes, I’m very confident in his ability to understand how to take care of himself but he has taken a lot of hard hits. Luckily the race was pushed back a day to allow him to recover and the hard hits are coming from shoves, from a lot of the same people.” 

Numerous careers have been shortened by fatal hits and one that still wets the fandom’s eyes is the hard crash of Dale Earnhardt at Daytona in 2001 that took the great’s life. With the community constantly missing their superstar, they got a traumatic flashback when Team Penske driver, Ryan Blaney, got into the wall the same way the 7-time champion did at the 2.5-mile speedway. And adding to the misery, Blaney had to go through it, not once but thrice in under a year.

First was the crash in June in Nashville that took the wind out of him, followed by the vicious 12-car Daytona crash just two months later. While he wasn’t wearing the mouthpiece apparatus used to measure the severity of the crash in Nashville, it recorded a spin-numbing 70gs in his second wild wreck when Ty Gibbs turned the Ford into the barrier, which saw the barrier flex upon impact.

The third one came last week in Duels 2. Blaney suffered the same fate when William Byron rear-right-hooked the #12 Dark Horse Mustang, sending him into the barrier for a horrific wreck that recorded 55gs.

Following the driver’s ill luck, he looked back at the horrifying moment and dove into the way it impacted him.

“Wheel grabbed something” – Ryan Blaney explains the effects of Monday’s Daytona 500 crash


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After feeling the adverse effects of a career-altering 55g crash, trouble came looking for the reigning and defending Cup Series champion in Monday’s speedway marathon. While he got a day to recover from the hard crash in his second qualifier, chasing a win, Blaney had to be content with a 30th-place finish after the ‘Big One’ snapped the field, collecting 23 cars in the process.

Detailing the after-effects of the wreck, Blaney opened up about how he twisted his wrist. “It bent it pretty weird,” he stated, updating about his wrist. “I had my initial wreck and then my wheel grabbed something. I usually let go of the wheel, but I didn’t think I needed to and just tweaked it a little bit. It’s all good.” Thankfully, after getting checked at the infield care center, he announced that his wrist was not broken.


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While the driver lives to tell the tale, the harms of NASCAR’s Next-Gen racecars are pretty evident from these crashes. As revealed by Kevin Harvick, the steering rack of the new generation race car has the potential to snap bones if one gets their hands caught in at the wrong time. So will the organization address these matters?

Controversial Insider Drops 3-Word Bomb on Rick Hendrick’s 40th Anniversary Daytona 500 Title


Written by:

Kishore R


One take at a time

Kishore is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. He actively covers live events and does detailed race analyses, helping fans understand the very nitty gritties of the sport. Using the right mix of storytelling and game expertise, Kishore can take his readers on a journey to see how a particular race was for some of their most loved drivers, like Kyle Busch and Chase Elliott.
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Edited by:

Rohan Karnad