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Ryan Blaney Interested in Late Model Return

The third-generation racer won five PASS races as a teenager.


hero image for Ryan Blaney Interested in Late Model Return

It will probably take a permission slip, but Ryan Blaney would like to race a Super Late Model again, joining a growing number of his Cup Series counterparts in extracurricular racing activities this season.

The second-generation NASCAR star will race against his father Dave at Sharon Speedway on the Ohio-Pennsylvania border in the Superstar Racing Experience finale on July 23, but that took approval from Team Penske which has traditionally limited appearances outside of their day job series.

Blaney has had several overtures about returning for one-off races, but also wants to do it the right way, and just needs to have more detailed conversations before even pulling the figurative trigger.

"I'm so removed from the Super Late Model world," Blaney said on Tuesday during a media availability at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. "I haven't run those things in so long that I don't even know which cars are good. I try to keep up with it as best as I can.

"I'd love to go back and run a little bit. It's just hard to do it currently. I'd love to jump in. It took a lot a lot of convincing to run the SRX race at Sharon. Really, the only reason I was able to run it was it is dad's place and I could race with dad and things like that."

But with good friend Chase Elliott returning for the occasional race, and the likes of William Byron, Brad Keselowski, Tyler Reddick and Corey Lajoie all making Late Model starts this year, Blaney would like to follow suit.

"I'm trying to branch out and run some local stuff and I know Advance (Auto Parts, sponsor) would love it, obviously. It would be nice to make that happen soon."

Blaney raced Super Late Models from 2008-12, primarily in the Pro All Stars Series, and picked up wins at Dillon Motor Speedway, Hickory Motor Speedway, Greenville Pickens Speedway, Newport Speedway and Ace Speedway.

But more importantly, his tenure as a Super Late Model driver shaped his values as a racer -- making a lot of friends with the stars of that era as well.

"That was like my second family, the PASS Series, running with those guys because dad was racing and wasn't around on weekends," Blaney said. "I had my guys on my team, and the guys we raced against, who raised me from that aspect.

"I'm still great friends with many of them to this day and I owe them a lot."

He primarily raced against Daniel Hemric, Kenzie Ruston-Hemric, Stephen Leicht, Andy Loden, Jay Fogleman, Preston Peltier and Ben Rowe. It was quite a list of southern all stars back then.

"They taught me about racing and life," Blaney said. "I can't remember one particular moment that stands out above the rest but that entire period of my life -- good hard racing with a lot of good guys like Preston and Ben.

"I got into the occasional tussle with them and we've since become friends. I saw Preston for the first time again a few years ago and we laughed about it. I made so many good friends and they taught me a lot about racing.

"It didn't matter if they were my age, twice my age, I made a lot of good memories with all of them. It was really neat to be part of a traveling series for the first time. You make a lot of friends and hopefully not too many enemies."