Ryan Blaney Believes NASCAR Has to Prepare for “Weird Times” as Fans Demand More From the Sport

Published 02/12/2024, 7:28 AM EST

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USA Today via Reuters

NASCAR races are starting to flag off for the 2024 season and it seems like fans are not satisfied with just track action anymore. With round-the-clock access to drivers’ lives through social media and other means, fans have time and again proved how a perfectly manufactured on-camera persona doesn’t work anymore with drivers. While racers from yesteryears had a dedicated following that would put them on a pedestal without requiring much insight into their personal lives, these days, relatability factor plays a major role in a driver’s popularity. And that is exactly what 2023 Cup Series champion Ryan Blaney pointed out in a recent interview. 

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Ryan Blaney thinks keeping secrets will hinder success

The new Netflix docuseries ‘NASCAR: Full Speed’ is an important milestone in American motorsport’s legacy. Fans got to see the unknown sides of a driver’s life, both professional and personal. While drivers like Joey Logano may have been irked with what they thought was an unnecessary intrusion on privacy, Ryan Blaney knows that fans demand nothing less.

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Appearing in the Money Lap Podcast with Parker Kligerman & Landon Cassill, Blaney discussed the same in detail. While mentioning how “authenticity is a premium, and transparency is a premium” Cassill mentioned how today’s generation is less likely to fall for staged content and asked if Blaney would be up for giving more access to his off-track life to the point where the docu-series could become a more regular thing.

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Agreeing to the fact that perfectly curated products don’t work anymore and a more humanly and raw approach is what fans prefer these days, Blaney said, “It’s a weird time right now. All the access that people can get now, you know, streaming all these things, behind the scenes, like it’s not enough to just put a product out there. No matter what it is: racing, football, basketball. Drawing people in is like showing them behind the scenes…what makes people tick and knowing these people for people and not athletes that they see on TV.”

 

The Team Penske driver also reiterated how teams need to realize the changing demographics and should they want to get along with fans, more access is the answer. Blaney, while indicating adjustment is the name of the game, said: “If you’re not doing it, you’re not succeeding as an organization. I think it’s something that everyone needs to get used to because I don’t see it going away anytime soon…people want more access.”

Well, now we know for sure that the #12 driver would definitely be up for another season of ‘NASCAR: Full Speed’. And while Blaney’s off-track life has been catapulted into popularity, thanks to the recently released docu-series, his on-track life is also not any less exciting. With ‘The Great American race; coming up, all eyes will be on the 2023 Cup Series Champion and how much he can replicate his Talladega and Martinsville performance from last year.

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Blaney is at the top of the odds for winning the 2024 Daytona 500

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The Daytona 500 race is right around the corner. Known as ‘the Super Bowl of stock car racing’, it has got everybody at the edge of their seats. Expectations are high and mighty for which driver will invade victory lane this year. Ryan Blaney seems to be at the top of the anticipated winners’ list. As per FOX Sports, his odds stand at +900 (bet $10 to win $100 total).

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Driving the No. 12 Ford Mustang Dark Horse for Team Penske, Blaney will have to work hard for toppling his own ranks last year. He snagged the first of three total wins at a crown-jewel event, the Coca-Cola 600. This triumph broke a 59-race dry spell. He claimed his first Cup Series title last year at Phoenix Raceway. Overall in 2023, he had 3 wins, 8 top-fives, and 18 top-tens.

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We all can’t wait to see if the Cup Series will have a repeat champion this year with Ryan Blaney acing the game.

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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:

Ariva Debnath

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