Blaney On Playoff Intensity: “It’s What We Race For”

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Ryan Blaney speaks to the media at Charlotte Motor Speedway, ahead of round two of the NASCAR playoffs. (John Davison photo)

CONCORD, N.C. — Ryan Blaney is doing double duty once again this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, competing in both Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series Drive for the Cure 300 and Sunday’s Bank of America 500 for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

On Friday, Blaney met with the media and talked about advancing to round two of the Cup Series playoffs with his Wood Brothers Racing team, the intensity of playoff racing and the challenge of beating the Toyotas and Kyle Larson, who have combined to dominate the postseason thus far.

Of being able to advance to round two, the popular racer was pleased.

“It’s nice to be in the second round,” said Blaney. “The first round we just survived and last week wasn’t the prettiest at all but we did what we had to do to get in. I look forward to the second round. I think the next tracks will suit us a little bit better because of the mile-and-a-halves, and Talladega we always run decent at. Looking forward to it.”

“It’s nice to be here in Charlotte. Hopefully we can have some good runs and start off on the right foot … (where we can) be in a decent spot for Talladega where we don’t have to hit a home run or anything like that. If that happens, we’ll just roll with what we have to do. It’s nice to be here at a place where I grew up racing. It’s a nice race track.”

Blaney expressed that he, like many others, has felt the increased pressure of the playoffs.

“It’s intense, for sure,” he admitted. “From lap one, that’s the way it’s supposed to be. (It’s) supposed to be ‘on-go’ from the drop of the green flag. There shouldn’t be any riding around. I’m not saying that we do that during the regular season, but there is a lot more give in the regular season and there’s not (a lot) of that in the postseason and that’s good. That’s how it should be and that’s how I like racing. (The) intensity is high, but that’s what we race for.”

He also commented on the question of whether or not he was caught off-guard that things didn’t go better in the first round for he and the Wood Brothers team.

“It’s hard to tell. You really never know how you’re going to stack up before the playoffs,” Blaney said. “Everyone brings new updates, new cars and everything like that. It’s hard to tell where you’re going to be. I really didn’t have a ton of expectations going in. I just wanted to do our job and transfer into this round because our team deserves to be in at least this round. I think we’ve shown that and proven that. I knew the first round was going to be the toughest, to be honest with you, because I struggle at Loudon pretty bad.”

“Dover hasn’t been my best race track. I thought that (the first round) was going to be a struggle round for us. I’m really looking forward to this one because we run pretty good on these race tracks.”

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