To find the driver who’s the hottest heading into the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, look no further than the guy who’s won each of the last two races. That guy is Team Penske driver Ryan Blaney, who followed up his victory two weekends ago at Michigan by triumphing in this past Saturday night’s regular season finale at Daytona. Blaney, who now owns three wins on the season, hopes to ride this wave of momentum into Darlington — a track where he’s still seeking his first victory at the Cup Series level, just as he was at Michigan and Daytona.
“Momentum is what everything is all about,” Blaney said. “Confidence is key, and we came into the Daytona weekend very confident with our heads held high after Michigan. They’ll be a little bit higher this week, so I look forward to getting to Darlington. It was a great way to end the regular season, but we’ve still got work to do. We’ve got 10 weeks of work to do, and I’ll look forward to them.”
Even before Blaney triumphed at Michigan, he had been on a roll. Now, with his win at Daytona, the second-generation driver has ripped off seven finishes of sixth or better in his last nine starts. “It’s just nice to build momentum, that’s for sure,” Blaney said. “We won that Atlanta race in March. It had been a long time since we won there. Yeah, it’s just good momentum. It’s good for confidence. Not only my self-confidence, but everyone on the team. It’s just huge.”