Tha Sports Junkies 101

2017 Expectations for Ryan Blaney


In 2016 NASCAR had one of its most promising groups of rookies in years which was headlined by the driver that many think will one day take over the crown as the best driver in the entire sport Chase Elliott. However, behind Chase the second most talked about rookie of 2016 was the driver of the iconic #21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford was Ryan Blaney. Ryan had somewhat of a quiet 2016 season which once again has somewhat to do with the shadow that was the hype around Chase Elliott. Blaney posted three top-five finishes with a best finish of 4th (twice) and nine top ten finishes in what was his rookie year along with a 20th place finish in what is now known as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Standings. In what Wood Brothers Racing said was mostly a season of testing in their return to a full-time schedule, Ryan Blaney certainly proved that when given a good car he can run up front with the other top drivers in the sport.
With 2016 basically being a large testing session that begs the question of what exactly should be expected out of Ryan Blaney and the Wood Brothers Racing team in the upcoming 2017 season. The Wood Brothers team recently moved their shop out of Virginia and into North Carolina which will allow them to strengthen their alliance with NASCAR powerhouse Team Penske even further. With the relationship just getting stronger, you could only expect that to mean that the cars in their stable will continue to be improved from what was put on the track during the 2016 season.
With this being said I believe that there are two main things that you be expected to be accomplished by Ryan Blaney and the Wood Brothers Racing team in the 2017 season. Number one is for Blaney to win his first career race in the series. Whether it is from fuel mileage, straight speed, or any other pit scenario this team showed the speed at points of last season that has shown that Blaney could run up front and possibly contend for a win if everything fell the right way on that given day. While that was not accomplished in 2016 I believe they are well on their way to accomplishing it in the 2017 season.

The second goal for this team should be top qualify for the Chase. This is an important step for the career of a young driver and could be a leaping point to start off an amazing career. While in no way should one expect him to make a deep run in the chase and capture the Championship, that does not mean he can’t get to the chase and make a little bit of noise and make it to the second or possibly third round. This would be the exact thing that could skyrocket the confidence of a young driver and could lead him to future victories or even championships in the future. Despite having a quiet and somewhat underwhelming 2016 there is no doubt in my mind the Ryan Blaney should be able to make some noise in the 2017 NASCAR season.