Tha Sports Junkies 101

Ryan Blaney to Penske for 2018, Paul Menard to Wood Brothers

Ryan Blaney looking for Pocono sweep


A stunning announcement rocked the NASCAR world today. It was made public that Ryan Blaney will drive a third Team Penske car for 2018. The 12 car, previously piloted by Ryan Newman, will return to full-time duties with the North Carolina driver. His replacement at Wood Brothers Racing was also released today. Paul Menard will vacate the 27 car at Richard Childress Racing to drive the famed 21 car.

Blaney broke this news today in a video released by NASCAR, saying that a Penske Cup ride was his goal since 2012. “Whether it’s steps we took from Brad’s Trucks, to the Xfinity program, to being at the Wood Brothers, and now to be in the 12 car, it’s really neat to see this all work out.”

Blaney, at 23 years old, has been a Penske developmental driver since 2012. Initially, he was driving the 29 Cooper Standard truck for Brad Keselowski Racing for 2 seasons. He has since earned 4 Truck Series wins. He also has 5 Xfinity Series wins in part-time duties for Penske, including earlier this season at Charlotte. In 2015, Blaney took over the Wood Brother’s storied 21 car. Starting last year, he was running full time with them. Blaney was able to hold off Kevin Harvick at Pocono in June for his first career Cup Series win in the 21 car. 

While Blaney’s career path seems bright, Paul Menard’s seems questionable. Menard, 36, has driven the 27 Menards Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing since 2011. He has 1 Cup Series win, the 2011 Brickyard 400, as well as 2 Xfinity wins with RCR. Menard’s move to the Wood Brothers is yet another domino to fall for Silly Season, and it leaves open a top-notch ride at RCR. Richard Childress’ grandson Ty Dillon may take over for Menard. Dillon currently drives the 13 Germain Racing Chevrolet in his rookie year.

NASCAR Silly Season is in full force. Several competitive cars are still lacking a driver for the 2018 season. In addition, many drivers, including past champions, are unsure of their future plans. Danica Patrick, Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth, Aric Almirola, Kasey Kahne, and Jamie McMurray are all unsure of 2018.