Behind the wheel, Ryan Blaney has won races. But behind the camera, he’s taken a handful of roles that break out of the mold of NASCAR.
Lending a spot in NBC’s second season of Taken, the third-year Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver also played a delivery boy in the 2017 film Logan Lucky and voiced a character in Pixar’s Cars 3.
“I don’t think it’s hurtful if you can get on TV [laughs],” Blaney said Wednesday (Jan. 24) during NASCAR media day. “Whether it’s a voice or in Cars or a Logan Lucky movie. It’s not a bad thing, especially if you enjoy doing it.”
As the topic of developing young drivers entering the top series in 2018 continues to be told, the 24-year-old Blaney has taken a unique angle of expanding the sport’s reach to both TV and the big screen. When NASCAR gives him the chance, he takes it.
“I’ve been really fortunate to have a lot of chances from NASCAR to go do things outside the sport,” Blaney said. “NBC and NASCAR were big on getting me into the Taken show, Cars voice, Logan Lucky movie.
“You do it because it helps the sport, it helps yourself and it’s a win-win for everybody. I feel if more drivers were willing to do these things, they get asked more to do it. The reason I get asked a lot is because I say yes a lot.”
Veteran Kyle Busch, despite giving opportunities to many young drivers through the Camping World Truck Series and Kyle Busch Motorsports, opposes the degree to which NASCAR has taken to prioritize young drivers above the experienced. Blaney disagreed, saying it’s more about action than words.
“I can tell you personally that [Busch] doesn’t like doing a lot of stuff, so that’s why they don’t ask him to do a lot of stuff,” Blaney said. “That made me upset, how he bashed that part of it. If he doesn’t want to do anything about it, so be it.”
However, Blaney feels drivers of all ages should promote themselves for the betterment of the sport.
“I think it’s really important to have, not only young drivers, but all drivers try to push to get to new demographics,” he said. “It’s not just young guys who will make people appeal to the sport, it’s the whole lot. Everyone should be more open to help the sport out.
“I’d rather make other people happy than myself. If I have to sacrifice time, it doesn’t mean much. I’d rather go do something meaningful for the sport than just sit on my couch.”