Ryan Blaney Rewarded by Fox After Threatening to Quit During Broadcast
Ryan Blaney didn’t start the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season on a high note. Yes, he finished a respectable fourth at the Daytona 500. But that’s only after he followed team orders, surrendered the top spot to teammate Austin Cindric on the final restart, and watched the rookie win the prestigious race.
Less than a week after that disappointment, the Penske driver endured a different type of disappointment while working the Xfinity Series race in the Fox broadcast booth with his other teammate, Joey Logano, when the network embarrassingly excluded him from a Cup Series promo. The driver called it out on live television. A few days later, the network responded.
Ryan Blaney jokingly threatened to quit during Fox broadcast after network excluded him twice from Cup promo
Ryan Blaney has become a regular analyst in the Fox broadcast booth for at least one Xfinity Series race in the last few seasons. The network didn’t wait long to bring him back in 2022, assigning him to work alongside Fox’s Adam Alexander and Penske partner Logano during the second race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in California.
After an uneventful first stage, things got a little uncomfortable during the second stage when a caution came out, and the broadcast aired a promo for Sunday’s Cup Series race that showed Logano, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson, Bubba Wallace, and Chase Elliott. Blaney was embarrassingly absent. And he let everyone know about it as soon as Alexander finished reading the script about the “stars coming out.”
“I’m not a star, I guess, because I didn’t get my face on the deal,” he frankly pointed out. When Alexander asked what pose he would have for the photo that he wasn’t included on, the driver said, “you’ll never know,” and joked it was his last booth appearance until the promo was changed.
Unfortunately for Blaney, it was the first of two times the network ran the promotion. When it happened the second time, Logano brought up the sore subject of his teammate’s exclusion, to which the driver of the No. 12 jokingly threatened to leave and then hilariously suggested he was included in the promo, pointing out the small face reflected in the glasses of his friend, Bubba Wallace.
Fox makes up for mistake
After finishing 18th in Sunday’s Cup Series race, Blaney returned to the east coast and a day later appeared as a guest on NASCAR Race Hub, where he talked about the race, including the incident between Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott. Early in the show, the network aired a promotion for the upcoming race at Las Vegas. It had an intended audience of one – Blaney.
“And now our promo for race coverage in Las Vegas,” Alexander started, as the video showed Blaney walking out during driver introductions with his name displayed on the screen. It was the first of numerous photos, videos, and flashy graphics devoted solely to the driver.
“The best drivers on the planet. You watching this, Ryan?” the host asked the driver. “The best drivers on the planet look to strike it rich and grab a win. The engines fire Sunday at 3 Eastern on Fox and the Fox Sports App.”
“They made up for it,” Blaney said with a fist-pump after the promotion ended and before Alexander provided the backstory. “I really do appreciate that. I think I threatened to not come back on the broadcast or show. That’s what you got to do. You got to lay the law down and look where it gets you. I get my own promo.”
Blaney showed he can play second fiddle
While it was a nice and entertaining move by the network to make good with the driver, it wasn’t totally necessary. Blaney is someone who is OK playing second fiddle.
He proved that during the season’s first race at Daytona when on the final restart, ceded the lead to his rookie teammate, Austin Cindric, allowing him to move down in front. After a couple of trips around the track, the No. 2 car held off a late charge from Blaney and Wallace to hold on to victory.
It was a selfless move by Blaney and confirmed with the departure of Brad Keselowski in the offseason that the 28-year-old, along with Logano, is more than ready to step into his role as a team leader for Team Penske in 2022.
He’s a team leader now. A star in the sport could be next. And then maybe Fox won’t forget to include him in their promos.