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Ryan Blaney Crew Chief Jonathan Hassler Out This Weekend, Engineer Tony Palmer to Fill in

Following the birth of his daughter, Jonathan Hassler did not travel to Talladega Superspeedway with the No. 12 Team Penske team.


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Jonathan Hassler, the crew chief for Ryan Blaney, is out this weekend following the birth of his daughter. As a result, the No. 12 Team Penske NASCAR Cup Series team will be led by team engineer Tony Palmer during the GEICO 500 race weekend at Talladega Superspeedway.

Team Penske Competition Director Travis Geisler will join Palmer atop the pit box the help call the race. The 30-year-old Blaney isn't overly worried about Hassler not being at the track, and he feels confident in the combination of Palmer and Geisler.

"Oh no, none at all," Blaney said when asked if he had any concerns with Hassler not at the track. "Tony is great. Obviously, he works with Jonathan every single weekend and through the week, and obviously, with Travis Geisler being the competition director and ex-crew chief, he knows everything. Comfortable, really comfortable with those guys. Happy Jonathan can be there for the birth of his daughter, and enjoy his time at home and take that all in."

Blaney also confirmed that Hassler was heavily involved in the preparation of his No. 12 Ford Mustang Dark Horse, and will be in the loop with the team via the team's command center in North Carolina during the race weekend.

"Yeah, he was involved in everything, and he's calling in for the race. So, he'll be in those guys' ears," Blaney explained. "But yeah, involved in prep, like normal, he's just not here."

Blaney, the defending NASCAR Cup Series champion, is seeking his first win of the 2024 season, and Talladega is a place where he is very comfortable as he has scored three wins at the 2.66-mile superspeedway over the course of his career.

Likewise, Ford is seeking its first win of any kind in the NASCAR National Series ranks this weekend. The blue ovals are winless after sweeping all three championships last fall at Phoenix Raceway.

During his Saturday morning media availability, the Team Penske driver also talked about his incident with Ryan Preece a week ago at Texas Motor Speedway, where Preece retaliated by tapping Blaney in the turn late in the race, which sent him into the outside wall. According to Blaney, the two drivers are good to go heading into Sunday's GEICO 500.

"Yeah, we had marshmallows the other night at a Ford team-building event," Blaney laughed. "We've talked, we're past it. We're all good."

Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett, NKP, Courtesy of Ford Performance

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