Three races into the season and Bad Luck Blaney seems to still be dealing with his demons from 2020. Ryan Blaney’s expectations have been talked about many times here, and I think everyone is in the same boat with their opinion of him. He needs to win, and he needs to win a lot more than one race a year.
This season has been lowly, it got off to a horrible start with Chase Elliott taking him out at the Clash, being taken out on the lap fifteen wrecks at the Daytona 500, having issues at the road course, and then getting smashed into the wall by Aric Almirola. All of which is not Blaney’s fault, but chalking things up to bad luck doesn’t cut it anymore, Blaney is in his seventh season.
Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski are not having these same issues. Logano was winning 5 to 6 races a year by his seventh Cup season, same with Keselowski. There’s no reason that Ryan Blaney shouldn’t be getting these same results by now with the same equipment and with the talent he possesses.
I know that the lack of qualifying has been rough on a lot of these guys, but they have to adapt to the times. Blaney’s lack of success after the covid break last season, when he had gotten off to such a hot start at the beginning of the season, made it pretty evident the lack of practice time was affecting him. Having a brand new crew chief in Todd Gordon to start last season probably also didn’t help this lack of seat time.
Todd Gordon has proven he can win with Joey Logano, even worst, Ryan’s old crew chief Jeremy Bullins won four races with Brad Keselowski last season. So, obviously, the crew chief is not the problem and we know the equipment isn’t an issue. The problem lies behind the wheel, and Blaney has to pull himself together. I truly believe it is not an issue of talent, if anything it’s an issue of confidence and drive at this point.
Las Vegas is the start of a good swing for Blaney. He has an average finish of 10th and in nine starts, and he’s only finished outside the top ten three times. With consistent speed and solid finishes, I think that this is the track Blaney has to shake this bad season off at.
I believe it is imperative that he get a top-five, maybe even a win in order to make sure this season doesn’t get away from him. Too easily can a driver’s season go downhill with negative momentum. Their confidence can be shaken with a bad streak and it can be too difficult to climb out of.
A good run out of Blaney this week is going to be crucial for his success in 2021. It’s not too late to turn it around, but he has to take advantage of his best tracks.