Advance Auto Parts partnership helps Ryan Blaney recall fond memories of grassroots racing

Ryan Blaney is no stranger to grassroots racing.

Very long in advance of he grew to become a 7-time NASCAR Cup Sequence race winner and driver for Crew Penske, Blaney honed his capabilities at shorter tracks across the Southeast.

The son of veteran NASCAR competitor and 1995 Earth of Outlaws Dash Car Collection champion Dave Blaney, the young Blaney was a normal competitor with the Pro All Stars Collection South, a touring asphalt Super Late Product series.

It is a time of his daily life that Blaney remembers fondly.

“When I started out functioning late models at 14 a long time previous, dad was off racing on the Cup aspect, and these fellas that I was racing all around, some of them were being double my age or triple my age,” Blaney recalled, speaking at the 2022 Advance My Observe Obstacle start at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina. “They variety of raise you on the weekends, variety of like a second family members.

“You go back again and you recognize just how important those tracks were and those people folks had been.”

All through the 2010 and ’11 seasons, Blaney ran the full Pro All Stars Series South timetable in addition to find races with other sequence.

In that time, he claimed victories at a number of nearby small tracks, which include Greenville-Pickens Speedway in Greenville, South Carolina, North Carolina’s Hickory Motor Speedway, Tennessee’s Newport Speedway, South Carolina’s Dillon Motor Speedway and Ace Speedway in Altamahaw, North Carolina.

In 2011, Blaney captured the Pro All Stars Sequence South championship by 24 points in advance of Jay Fogleman, the father of latest NASCAR Tenting Globe Truck Sequence racer Tate Fogleman. By 2012, Blaney was a race winner in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Collection, scoring a victory at Iowa Speedway in a truck fielded by Brad Keselowski.

The relaxation, as they say, is historical past.

Ryan Blaney through a CRA Super Sequence Southern Division occasion at Hickory Motor Speedway in Hickory, North Carolina, on May well 23, 2010. (Adam Fenwick)

“I simply cannot recall just one particular instant there ended up a large amount of seriously superior types,” Blaney mentioned when questioned if he had a most loved grassroots racing memory. “Just racing difficult with a ton of genuinely excellent guys back again in the day. The Preston Peltiers, your Ben Rowes and receiving into scuffles with them. I saw Preston a pair years back and we laughed about it, and we’re truly superior close friends. It’s enjoyment to glance again on people points and truly reminisce.

“They taught me a lot about racing, all individuals men no matter whether they ended up 2 times my age or my age. I produced a ton of very good reminiscences with them. Just seriously neat to be a element of a touring collection 7 days in and 7 days out and you make good friends and hopefully not that a lot of enemies.”

Blaney’s working experience at the grassroots level is what created him the perfect representative for Progress Automobile Elements, the entitlement sponsor of the NASCAR Progress Vehicle Parts Weekly Collection.

“That’s why we partnered with Ryan and the complete Group Penske group, due to the fact they stand for supporting racing at all stages,” said Jason McDonell, govt vice president of merchandising, marketing and advertising and e-Commerce for Advance Car Pieces. “Ryan and his father in unique, who clearly have an affiliation with their own observe (Sharon Speedway in Hartford, Ohio), and Ryan definitely spends time thinking and really reminiscing about his youth in terms of what acquired him to exactly where he is now.

“It was area short track racing, all up here in North Carolina outside the house of High Stage. That is in which he basically figured out to generate a late model, and now he’s driving on Sunday. For us, it was the perfect relationship of having a terrific driver and a excellent family in a sport that is all about family members and is about communities.”

As component of Advance’s help of grassroots racing, the business introduced Tuesday the return of the Progress My Track Obstacle. The plan spotlights NASCAR short tracks in communities throughout North America, with 1 blessed monitor taking home a $50,000 grand prize.

“The fact that Progress wants to give back to these area shorter tracks and grassroots of racing just indicates so considerably and their dedication to want to see motorsports in basic go on to prosper and keep on to thrive,” Blaney mentioned. “I couldn’t consider of a improved spouse to be with. It was a substantial results last 12 months.

“I’m fortunate for me as a driver to be included with a business like this that would like to do these astounding issues to aid these tracks close to the place.”

Even though he’s extremely active with his NASCAR tasks these times, Blaney admitted he is not against the strategy of finding back again to his roots and racing a Super Late Model at some stage in the long run.

“I would not intellect,” Blaney said about likely returning to grassroots racing. “I’m so removed from the Tremendous Late Design world. I have not operate people things in so prolonged. I really don’t even know what automobiles are good now a times.

“I’d like to go back again and run a tiny little bit. Just sort of tough to do it at this time. I’d really like to maybe jump in it,” Blaney ongoing. “I’m performing on making an attempt to branch out and just kind of run some community things. I know Progress would really like it.”