On the previous Sunday, Ryan Blaney secured his spot in the Round of 8 by winning at the Talladega Superspeedway. It was a challenging victory as he faced tough competition from multiple opponents, including fellow Ford driver Kevin Harvick from Stewart-Haas Racing. Harvick, who is retiring from NASCAR, put up a strong fight in his last race at the track. In a close finish, Blaney narrowly beat Harvick in a photo finish, although Harvick was later disqualified. But that’s a story for another time.
Currently, Blaney is the sole representative of Team Penske. In the past, he had some assistance from Joey Logano, but Logano was eliminated in the initial round. Harvick was also eliminated early and his pursuit of a race victory was solely for personal satisfaction. This was particularly true as he was retiring at the end of the season, providing added drive. Turning back to Blaney, he performed exceptionally well by winning the first stage. Although Stage 2 was more challenging and he ended up outside of the Top 10, he redeemed himself by winning the final stage.
Can Ryan Blaney secure a consecutive championship for Team Penske?
In the previous year, Joey Logano unexpectedly made it into the final four and ultimately claimed the championship. However, he will not be able to replicate this accomplishment, putting the responsibility on Blaney. Blaney’s victory at the YellaWood 500 is his second of the season, making him a potential underdog for the championship.
The perennial favorites among the remaining drivers at Hendrick Motorsports are undoubtedly the two remaining. However, the trio from Joe Gibbs Racing should not be overlooked as they are also strong contenders. Despite this, the Team Penske star is currently in the lead and determined to secure his first Cup title.
Joey Logano and Austin Cindric, both teammates, will undoubtedly assist in his endeavors. In 2022, Logano achieved a 4th place finish at Darlington, securing his spot in the Round of 12. He then went on to finish second at Texas, earning enough points to advance to the Round of 8. Finally, he claimed victory at Las Vegas, securing a spot in the Championship 4 and allowing him to relax until the finale. In the end, Logano emerged victorious at Phoenix Raceway, winning the 2022 Cup Series championship.
How well has the Team Penske driver done in the Playoffs up until now?
Blaney has managed to maintain a competitive position through his performance thus far. He began with a 9th place finish at Darlington and qualified for the Round of 12. However, he faced challenges in the first race at Texas Motor Speedway. Fortunately, he made a strong comeback last weekend at Talladega with a decisive victory.
According to @kylepetty, @blaney is unbeatable when he’s performing at his best.
Petty analyzed Blaney’s potential and provided a breakdown: https://t.co/rpZKTcphuo pic.twitter.com/M6g3aQgDSG
The NASCAR on NBC Twitter account posted on October 2, 2023.
Prior to the NASCAR Cup race at the Charlotte Roval, Blaney and William Byron are in favorable positions on the roster. After Byron’s victory at the Texas Motor Speedway, both drivers from Team Penske are not feeling any pressure. As a result, they are able to focus on their own strategies and watch as the remaining six spots are filled. It is commonly believed that 29-year-old Blaney is undervalued despite being a consistent competitor in the playoffs. Furthermore, he has maintained a Top 10 spot for the past six seasons.
There is a possibility that Ryan Blaney could be the winner of the NASCAR Cup Series championship in 2023.
This year, the majority of the Ford cars have performed well, particularly those from Team Penske and Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing. Earlier in the season, the #12 driver achieved victory at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. In simpler terms, he won the prestigious Coca-Cola 600 race in the NASCAR Cup Series. This marked the end of his more than one year long streak without a win. In addition to his two wins, he has placed in the Top 5 three times and in the Top 10 nine times. He also secured several stage wins in 2023, making him a strong contender for future races.
Regarding this weekend’s race at the Roval, Blaney may have an advantage as he previously won the oval race earlier this season. However, it should be noted that winning at an oval track versus a road course are two distinct accomplishments. In the upcoming races, Blaney was victorious at the Roval in 2018 after Jimmie Johnson and Martin Truex Jr were eliminated from the race. However, he has yet to win at the South Point 400, Dixie Vodka 400, Xfinity 500, or the season finale. Yet, there is always a possibility for a first-time win. In our opinion, based on last year’s results, we cannot rule out a Ford until the very end. Additionally, Blaney’s chances are strengthened by Ford’s strong performance this year compared to recent years.
“Ryan Blaney shared how his NASCAR crew chief taught him a valuable lesson by saying, ‘Start Beating the Sh*t out of It’ after winning a race.”
The driver from Team Penske was ecstatic about their victory at Talladega.
According to ESPN, he stated after reaching the victory lane, “The restart was quite chaotic, especially in the last few laps. I lost some momentum but managed to regain it and make my way to the front row. Then it was a drag race with Kevin until the end. Winning here at Talladega for the third time is incredibly exciting.”
The main question now is whether Blaney will be able to secure his 10th cup victory in the upcoming races. The #12 driver has proven that he can compete with the top drivers. It’s worth considering whether he has the potential to follow in Joey Logano’s footsteps and surprise everyone with a first Cup Series championship. Blaney could be a strong contender for the victory at Las Vegas, but may struggle at Homestead. However, he has a good chance at Martinsville as long as he has a clean race. He has a history of performing well there, finishing as a runner-up, leading laps, and winning stages.
In practical terms, Martinsville is his greatest opportunity to make it to the Championship 4. However, there are strong competitors such as William Byron and Denny Hamlin who could pose a significant challenge. What is your opinion? Is it possible for Team Penske to achieve this feat once more?
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