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Ryan Blaney Looking For Second Victory, Shot At Moving Up

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, September 21 2012

Ryan Blaney is youngest-ever Camping World Series winner. He goes for another victory in Kentucky. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Greg Ellman)

SPARTA, Ky. – The newest winner on the NASCAR circuit, Ryan Blaney, met the assembled media at Kentucky Speedway early Friday afternoon.

The 18-year-old Blaney became the youngest winner in the history of the NASCAR Camping World Series on Saturday when he captured the checkered flag at the American Ethanol 200 at Iowa Speedway.

Blaney’s victory came in the No. 29 Dodge RAM owned by Sprint Cup points leader Brad Keselowski.

Last weekend was especially lucrative for Keselowski, who won Sunday’s Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway.

“Brad called me on Sunday before the Cup race,” Blaney said. “He was really excited. He was real excited that Brad Keselowski Racing finally got that first win. They had been trying really hard for a couple of years, and had put a lot of time and effort into that program.

“It was good to see that payoff for them. I think that definitely kind of motivated him on Sunday to do as good as he did.

Blaney will pull double-duty this weekend. In addition to Friday night’s truck race, he’ll pilot the No. 22 Penske Motorsports Dodge in Saturday’s Nationwide Series event here on the 1.5-mile oval.

Despite his immediate on-track success, the son of Cup veteran Dave Blaney still doesn’t have a ride lined up for 2013. He figures Saturday’s victory can only help to propel him to future employment.

“It definitely helps out,” said Blaney, when asked about next season’s plans. “But nothing for next year has been discussed yet between anybody. I’d like to stay where I’m at.”

Denny Hamlin tweeted this week that he will win Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Danica Patrick, who will drive the No. 7 J.R. Motorsports Chevrolet in Saturday’s Nationwide Series Kentucky 300, was asked if she would ever consider predicting a victory prior to climbing inside a race car.

“Well, I’m not Denny Hamlin,” Patrick said. “He’s got a lot of wins under his belt. When that time comes, you have a feeling about something and you go with it.

“But let’s be honest and realistic: I don’t think anyone can know for sure. More than anything, it’s a feeling of confidence someone has going into a race weekend. It makes it more interesting. We’ll see how he does.”

Former NASCAR driver Cecil Gordon passed away earlier this week following a short illness.

An independent driver, Gordon was best known as a longtime crew member at Richard Childress Racing on the No. 3 Chevrolet driven by the late Dale Earnhardt.

Richard Childress’ grandson, Ty Dillon, enters Friday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event as the points leader. The third-generation driver said Gordon’s contributions to RCR won’t soon be forgotten.

“Everybody has heavy hearts for Cecil and his family,” Dillon said. “I was a little too young to remember those days. But I’ve heard so many stories about the old days with Dale and all them going up and down the road when Cecil was working for RCR.

“I know it’s been hard for the guys that have been there for a long time. It happened so quick, that it made it even more hard. I think everybody is racing with heavy hearts this weekend, especially at RCR remembering a great worker and a great member of our team.”

– Jeff Hood can be reached at jhood@racintoday.com

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, September 21 2012
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