Team Penske Aaron's 312 Race Preview
April 29, 2014
The No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang
· BLANEY’S BACK: Ryan Blaney will once again drive the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang this weekend in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) event, the Aaron’s 312 at Talladega Superspeedway.
· SUPERSPEEDWAY ROOKIE: While Blaney has raced at Talladega and Daytona in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS), this will be the 20-year-old’s first foray in a restrictor-plate race behind the wheel of a NNS car. In four starts on restrictor-plate tracks in the NCWTS, Blaney has three top-10 finishes, including a sixth-place finish at Daytona behind the wheel of his No. 29 Ford F-150 earlier this season.
· HAVING SOME ROAD COURSE FUN: Blaney joined several other NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NNS drivers at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, UT at a Ford Racing driving school on Monday and Tuesday. Along with Carl Edwards, Trevor Bayne, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and several others, Ford offered drivers a chance to pilot FR 500 Mustangs around the 4.5-mile road course.
· NUMBER 20: When Blaney takes the green flag on Saturday, it will mark his 20th-career NNS start. And up to this point, his previous 19 starts have been impressive, including one win (coming last year at Kentucky Speedway), three top-fives and an amazing 13 top-10 finishes.
THE Q & A
RYAN BLANEY, NO. 22 DISCOUNT TIRE FORD
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS GOING INTO YOUR FIRST NNS RESTRICTOR-PLATE RACE?
“I’m really looking forward to it. It will be very different for sure. I think I can take from my Truck Series experience and apply some of that, but then again, you are racing with a whole different group of people and several Sprint Cup Series guys, so I know it will be an entirely different type of race. It’s going to be interesting too to see how the race plays out compared to the Daytona race. Brad was right there in that race up until the very end, and I think we can be too as long as we keep ourselves out of trouble.”
JEREMY BULLINS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 22 DISCOUNT TIRE FORD
TALK ABOUT THE IMPACT OF GROUP QUALIFYING AT A TRACK LIKE TALLADEGA.
“I just think there's a total unpredictability with group qualifying at a restrictor-plate superspeedway because of the draft. At all the other tracks, typically the fast cars are up front but this weekend a slower car could find themselves in the right line at the right time and post a fast lap. And when that happens, that might make some of the fast cars have to run more laps in bigger packs, which always increases the chance of accidents. You just have to try and keep your nose clean.”
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