Ryan Blaney talks about why he gives his checkered flags away to young race fans

Video Details

Alan Cavanna talks with Ryan Blaney about the checkered flag away to a young fan whenever he wins a race.

COMMENTATOR: Ryan Blaney would win the Bank of America Roval.

- Take me back to the Roval. After seeing all the videos and the radio, who was more excited? You?

RYAN BLANEY: Ha, ha, ha. Holy [BLEEP]! That was awesome.

- Your spotter?

SPOTTER: Holy [BLEEP]!

- Or your fans in the stands? They were crazy.

- Yeah, I've seen some-- I've seen some fan videos. That's really cool, to see fans that excited for a win. And that really makes me feel good that they want to just come out there and watch the race and enjoy it, and then too that they get really pumped up to watch us win.

- One year ago, here at Dover, you win the race. Not only do you get the victory, after the race, you gave your checkered flag away to a fan. First time we've seen that. Where did that come from, that idea?

- I don't really know. You're right there. You know, you're face to face with all the fans who are lined up against the fence. And I just saw a kid and it looked like he was having a good time. And you know, that's really all I had at the time to give him to remember the race that they were at.

So that was pretty neat to meet that family then. And then they actually came down to victory lane. Texas this year, I was able to do that again, and then this weekend at the Roval. And that family actually came to the Penske race shop on Monday, so it was nice to meet them, and see them again.

- What's it like meeting them knowing you've made that impression? Because that goes beyond one race.

- It means a lot, you know? You know, you can't talk to them. There's so much going on, so you just pretty much hand them the flag, and give them a thumbs up and fist bump, and go on your way. And it's nice to see them next day, when everything's calmed down. That to me, is super cool. So that was neat of them for coming out.

- As talented as you are, I mean, these checkered flags are hard to come by. No one would blame you for being selfish and wanting to keep them. You just give them away.

- We get a trophy. You know, that reminds you of it. I collected all the checkered flags up until last year. I don't know. I have a lot more things to remind me of the race. Your day's already made, if you won the race. If you can make someone else's day in the process, I feel like that's just a bonus.

- We see it in other sports, the focus on kids and that next generation of fans, whether it be Cam Newton, maybe Aaron Judge. How important is that for NASCAR?

- I think it's important for every sport. Winning the race is number one, and that's what we live for, but it's not possible without fans. There's a lot of people that let us do what we're able to do. It's part of our duty to make sure they have the best time possible, and what better time than getting a souvenir from the winner?

- You're advancing into the next round. I look at the tracks. I mean, I think you're a top 10 guy here. You're a great plate racer. And you always have to speed at Kansas. How far are you anticipating this going for your title run?

- I mean, hopefully we make it to Homestead. I do like this round. I think it's a good group of tracks for us, but you never know what can happen. You know, instead of maybe letting a guy go early in the race, you're not going to let that guy go. It's the playoffs. It is what it is. And you're racing hard. I don't care if it's lap five, I'm not going to let you go.

The intensity level is so much higher in the playoffs, which makes it really exciting and tough for, you know, teams and drivers to try to get an edge on anybody.

- If you win Homestead and the title, are you giving away that checkered flag?

- Yeah, I will.

- Yeah?

- Yeah.

- I'll hold you to it.

- Yeah. Thanks.

- Appreciate it, man.

- No problem.

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