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12 Questions with Ryan Blaney

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(Photo: Jasen Vinlove, USA TODAY Sports)

Jeff Gluck, USA TODAY Sports

Our series of weekly NASCAR driver interviews continues this week with Ryan Blaney, a Sprint Cup Series rookie driving the No. 21 car for Wood Brothers Racing.

Q: What is an errand or chore you do in your daily life people might be surprised to learn you do?
A: I do my own laundry. I hate it, but I do.
What’s your secret? You learned how to fold?
I taught myself how to do it. It’s the least favorite thing I do around the house. I’d rather wash dishes than do my own laundry. But I don’t want to pay someone else to do it.

Q: If you could do any race over again, which race would you choose?
A: Indy last year (in the Xfinity Series). That’s a pretty easy one to pick. We lost on the last lap (to Kyle Busch) when I messed up, and I wish I could have a do-over all the time.

Q: The longest race of the year is 600 miles. How long of a race could drivers physically handle without a driver change?
A: Man, 600 is a long way. I’d say drivers could do maybe 900 or 1,000, and it would start to get pretty tough to do any more than that in one stint.

Q: Let’s say president of NASCAR was an elected position voted on by the drivers — and you decided to run. What would one of your campaign promises be?
A: I don’t like politics too much. I don’t even watch any presidential stuff. I don’t care about any of that; I hate all those people. So I don’t know what my campaign would be. Change, I guess. You’ve always got to promise people things will change, but they rarely do. Usually they change for the worse.
So if the drivers hear, “Things will change,” they’d vote for you?
Actually, the drivers might want to hear, “Things will stay the same for a little bit instead of changing things up every year.”

Q: At the start of this year, exactly 2,900 drivers had ever raced in the Sprint Cup Series. Where do you rank among those 2,900?
A: Maybe 2,000th? (Laughs) No man, I don’t think I’d be in the top 50%. Hopefully I can get there, but at least not yet.

Q: What do you think your reputation is — and is that reputation accurate?
A: I read everything reporters write about me, whether it’s good or bad. I hope people don’t think anything too bad. I think people say I’m quiet, don’t say too much, mind my own business.
Is that true?
Yeah. In certain situations you change a little bit and get a little more outgoing, like if I’m with Darrell (Wallace Jr.) or a couple buddies. But at the racetrack, I’m quiet and reserved. So I’d agree with that.

Q: A famous chef wants you to invest in the new restaurant he’s opening, but he wants you to pick the cuisine. What type of food would your restaurant serve?
A: I’d serve literally everything. It’d be a multi-cultural restaurant. Sushi, burgers, Italian food. It’d be like the “It’s a Small World” ride except in a restaurant. You’d go to different regions and try different foods. There’d be certain themes for each regions.

Q: What is the most daring thing you’ve done outside of racing?
A: I went cliff-jumping one time. That was pretty cool, but I wouldn’t say it was daring. I just jumped in the water.
I’m not a very daring person. Really, that’s probably the only thing. I’ve never gotten to go skydiving. Maybe next time I’ll have something more daring to tell you.
I’ve seen videos of you on a skateboard; I figured it would be something along those lines.
No, I don’t skateboard; I longboard. Oh man, I ate it hard a couple years ago on a longboard. I was with Darrell, Sergio Pena and Brett Moffitt. I was going down a hill and got a speed wobble, and you know how that ends.
Actually, I don’t know how that ends.
No? When you’re going down a hill and you’re going too fast and your bindings are a little too loose, it starts wobbling and you can’t keep up with it and it throws you off. I hit the pavement pretty hard. That kind of stung. I was messed up for a little bit.
Not many people knew that, but now it’s out there in the open! (Laughs)

Q: In a move to generate more excitement, NASCAR decides in an upcoming race they’re going to require every driver to have a passenger in the car. You get to pick the passenger. Who do you choose?
A: I’d probably choose a crew chief or an engineer to help me out during the race, so they could kind of get a first-hand feel of what the car is doing. I think that’d be a pretty smart play.

Q: How often do you talk inside the car without hitting the radio button?
A: I’ve always said it’s a good thing we don’t have open mics, because it would be pandemonium with drivers getting pissed off. I might say five or 10 words to myself without keying the mic.
What kind of words?
Curse words at me, curse words at other drivers. Mostly curse words. You don’t give yourself motivational pep talks out loud or anything when you’re in the race car.
You’re not like, “You can do it, Ryan!” I get it.
Yeah, I’m not like DJ Khaled or something.

Q: Who will win the Sprint Cup in 2021?
A: Honestly, I don’t know. There’s a lot of young talent, but I think a lot of veteran talent will still be around in five years. It’s tough, but right now I have to go with Joey Logano. I think he’s really strong and will keep getting better as he matures and gets older. In five years, he’s only going to be around 30. So I think that’s a solid choice.

Q: I’ve been asking each driver to give me a question for the next interview. Jimmie Johnson was the last interview and wanted to know: What was your favorite part of the offseason?
A: I just kind of relaxed and didn’t do much. I saw family and was able to go back up to Ohio a little bit. My birthday is New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31), so that was a fun celebration. That's another great thing about the offseason — I could drink a lot of beer without any consequences aside from getting fat.
Is it good or bad to have your birthday on New Year’s Eve?
I don’t really care, to be honest with you. When you get over the age of 21, birthdays don’t really matter anymore until you’re 40. Then you’re like, “I’m getting old.”

And do you have a question for the next interview? It's with Johnny Sauter.
A: What was going through your mind when (Christopher) Bell was on the verge of wrecking you while pushing you to the (Camping World Truck Series) win at Daytona?

12 Questions with Ryan Blaney
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Gluck has really come up with good questions this year.
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