Blaney picks up Nationwide race

Penske Racing will run Ryan Blaney in the Nationwide Series race at Phoenix on Nov. 9.

It’s a bonus race for Blaney, who thought he was done for the season after his Sept. 21 victory at Kentucky in the No. 22 Ford. It was his second and final scheduled Nationwide race of the year. The Penske organization added Phoenix to Blaney’s schedule in a third entry, the No. 43 Ford.

Team owner Roger Penske doesn’t know how many more Nationwide races are in Blaney’s immediate future. A lack of sponsorship for current Nationwide Series championship leader Sam Hornish Jr. means Penske Racing will likely be down to one full-time Nationwide car next season, so Blaney’s opportunities outside of the Truck series could be limited. Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano currently share one of the Penske Nationwide rides.

”We’ll run one car in Nationwide and split that between Brad and Joey and give Blaney some of the races, but not a full season,” Penske said. ”He’ll run the truck, and we’ll see what races we can get him.”

So where does that leave Hornish? Looking for a job outside of the Penske organization.

”At this point we don’t have full sponsorship for a second car for next year, and it’s just time for him to go on to the Cup side and hopefully there’s something for him to hook into,” Penske said. ”We’d like to give him the ability to have those options. We’ve obviously tried to do everything we can to build his confidence and this year shows he’s done a really nice job on the Nationwide side.”