Ryan Blaney’s Fortunate Absence of Arch-Rivalry in NASCAR

Rivalry has long been an integral element of NASCAR’s narrative, with fans witnessing fierce showdowns among some of the sport’s most prominent figures over the years. Beyond the racetrack, these rivalries often transcend the boundaries of competition. However, reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Ryan Blaney recently expressed his gratitude for not having a designated arch-rival in the sport.

Blaney clinched his inaugural championship at Phoenix this season, engaging in a gripping battle with Ross Chastain of Trackhouse Racing that unfolded over multiple laps. Despite previous encounters with fellow drivers, Blaney has skillfully managed to prevent any conflicts from escalating beyond acceptable limits. His adept handling of potential clashes is noteworthy, considering his occasionally short-fused nature.

In a recent appearance on a podcast, the champion responded to inquiries about his NASCAR rivals, asserting that he is fortunate not to have a nemesis in the sport. He emphasized that, despite occasional run-ins, he has yet to encounter someone with whom he harbors deep animosity.

“I feel like I’ve been lucky. I haven’t had anyone that I really despise. You’ll have run-ins with some guys every now and then. Some guys harbor animosity for years. I haven’t really experienced that,” Blaney stated.

Blaney’s Amicable Rivalry with Chase Elliott and Bubba Wallace

While Blaney may lack a heated rivalry in NASCAR, he does share a friendly one. This camaraderie is with none other than long-time friends and Cup rivals, 2020 Cup champion of Hendrick Motorsports, Chase Elliott, and 23XI Racing’s No. 23 Toyota Camry driver, Bubba Wallace.

Blaney pointed out that his competitive spirit is alive and well when facing his buddies, with whom he has been racing since their childhood. He particularly emphasized the enduring friendship he shares with Wallace, dating back to their racing endeavors at the tender age of ten.

“I’d say more of my rivalry is with my buddies, who I grew up racing with. We’re all good friends—Chase Elliott, Bubba Wallace, and I. We started racing together when we were like 9-10 years old… I feel like that’s my rivalry: my buddies,” Blaney explained.

 

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