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USA Today via Reuters

USA Today via Reuters

The Daytona International Speedway has not been a happy place for the reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Ryan Blaney. Crashes are a part of motorsports but it seems like the Team Penske man has sort of a curse at the iconic venue. In his last two races at the track, he suffered almost identical crashes and in the post-race press conference, the driver of the #12 did not try to hide the discomfort he was in but asserted that he was going to be okay for the Daytona 500.

The latest crash he suffered came during the second Bluegreen Duel race ahead of the main event, which was ultimately postponed till Monday. It was a scary affair as the wreck looked eerily similar to the one that claimed the life of 7-time Cup Series champion Dale Earnhardt in 2001. But unlike that time, there was a fire that broke out in the #12. Thankfully, the driver was able to walk away without any major injuries.

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Speaking to the media after the race, it was evident that Ryan Blaney was physically exhausted after the crash. Blaney’s voice was proof enough to determine that he was in a lot of pain and the Team Penske star did not try to mask any of it. He said that there was a lot of soreness in his neck and back area and was perhaps one of the few people who saw the postponed race as a silver lining. 

And that was important because he would be driving with a sore body for more than three hours, which is neither ideal nor safe at a place like Daytona. The reigning Cup Series champion said that he was ready to go even if the race was on Sunday, but having it on Monday would have given him an extra day to recover, and thankfully, that’s exactly what he got.

I’m sore, that’s for sure. I’m probably more sore today than I was yesterday. I feel like the second day is always kind of the more day of soreness, neck area, all down the back, just muscles getting strained, that’s kind of the biggest thing..[..]..Everything else I felt fine with, mentally and stuff like that so that was good. But yeah…I’ll be fine to go. Hopefully, if we were to run tomorrow, I’d be good to go then, and if I get another buffer day if we run Monday, I’ll be even better so just a little sore but that stuff will pass,” the Team Penske star said.

Ryan Blaney suffered a similar crash last season in the final regular-season race at the Daytona International Speedway. While that one did not look as bad as the most recent one in the Duels, the Team Penske star believes that it was a lot worse than what he suffered this time.

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Cup Series champion recalls painful crash last season at Daytona

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The driver of the #12 revealed that his body felt even more sore after last season’s crash at Daytona, but the part that was easier was that, unlike this time, he was able to go home after the incident and get himself checked. However, with the current instance, Blaney does not have that option as he will be running the Daytona 500 on Monday. However, he heaped a lot of praise on Team Penske’s physical therapist, who helped him quite a bit since his accident.

“I would say more of my body felt sore in August for longer and I was able to be home in August to try to kind of get worked on by people at home. Here I haven’t been able to kind of get worked on as much as I did last year, just people not being here, they went home after the Duels. We have a great physical therapist in our camp…she’s amazing and she’ll be able to help me out tomorrow if I’m still feeling sore, ” the driver of the #12 added.

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What’s clear is the amount of physical strain that drivers go through is indeed a tough deal. It will be interesting to see how Blaney navigates the Daytona track in this condition. Do you think Ryan Blaney will take home the crown jewel win this time?

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