Crossroads for Ryan Blaney in 2015?
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Ryan Blaney at Chicagoland Speedway. Blaney will run races in all three of NASCAR's top-tier series in 2015.
In 2015, Ryan Blaney will attempt a part-time schedule in all three of NASCAR’s premier series. He will pilot the No. 21 for the Wood Brothers in the Sprint Cup Series for at least 12 races, after having only competed in two races in 2014 and for his career.
In the newly-branded Xfinity Series, he will split time with Brad Keseloswki and Joey Logano for Team Penske, and will run a select few races for Keselowski in the Camping World Truck Series.
Which one should he choose to run for points? Regardless of which he chooses, he won’t be able to make a run for the championship.
If he chooses the Cup series, he will be able to focus entirely on NASCAR’s top series, which will give him the best opportunity to get recognized more so. If he can prove that he can run a third of the races and still place better than those that start in six or seven more races, then he will make a huge impact and will gain some attention.
On the flip side, the plan could fizzle out, and he could be the one being passed up in the standings. He will be driving a typically mid-pack racecar, and will have to put a lot of work in to just compete with the upper-tier of racers.
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Ryan Blaney turns laps at Kansas Speedway in May. Blaney ran two Cup races in 2014.
In the Xfinity Series, he will be driving arguably one of the two best cars in the field. The No. 22 car has been piloted to victory lane by multiple drivers in the past few years, including Blaney himself. Undoubtedly, he will be challenging for race wins.
Progressionally, the Xfinity Series would be the obvious choice, as Blaney has been competing in the Truck Series in recent years. The Truck Series is traditionally seen as the stepping stone to the Xfinity Series, and that itself is seen as a stepping stone to the Cup Series.
Blaney has already proven himself in the Truck Series, and his name has become a staple in the series’ competition. He finished second in the points standings in 2014, falling short of only Matt Crafton.
Blaney will be associated with whichever series he chooses to run for points, and that could make or break him. The Xfinity Series is the only series that makes sense for him. With smaller field counts, less drivers running for points and a better car, as well as being the next step on NASCAR’s ladder to the top, Blaney will put himself in a better positon to finish higher in the standings, which should be his only focus.
With the hand he has been dealt, we should expect Ryan Blaney to be competing for Xfinity Series points next season. Although he will be held to a limited schedule, do not be surprised if he pushes a top-ten overall finish in points.