Over of the past three weeks, the INDY‘S resident NASCAR fanatic Mike V. has previewed his favorites to be this year’s Cup Champion. On the occasion of this weekend’s Great American Race, he had a brief chat with North Carolina’s own star-in-the-making, Ryan Blaney.It’s part 2 of the INDY‘s Daytona 500 Preview Spectacular!

INDY: Talk to me about your roots in North Carolina.

Blaney: Well I was born in Ohio but moved to North Carolina when I was about four or five, when my dad started racing in NASCAR. Growing up around the sport and watching it all work at an early age, I think, helped the learning process.

What’s your take on the playoff format? How do you foresee NASCAR getting asses back in the seats and ratings up?

I think the elimination format in the playoffs is good and makes winning that much more important. That way you have the anticipation in every round. I think NASCAR is headed in a good direction. I think that’s going to take everybody working together. Not Just a specific driver.

How have you handled the weight of that pressure of knowing that in some way NASCAR is relying on you and a few others to carry the sport into a new era?

I don’t think there is any pressure, just trying to do my best on and off the track. I’m mainly focused on getting better and approaching races. Trying to be smarter at figuring out what my car needs to be the best. And what I need to do to be better.

Favorite track?


Who is your favorite driver to trade tips with?

Brad Keselowski.

Who is your favorite driver to trade paint with?

I don’t enjoy trading paint with any driver. I race hard with anyone, and if it happens, it happens.

If you had to drive to every race from Charlotte, who’s road-tripping with you?

Bubba Wallace.

And, seeing as this is a Triangle-based publication, Heels or Blue Devils?

Ohio State Buckeyes. (Ed: ?!?!!?)