Ryan Blaney’s Indy 500 ‘Double’ Aspirations Continue Despite Penske’s Apprehension
Only a handful of drivers have completed the Coca-Cola 600/Indianapolis 500 double on Memorial Day weekend. Defending NASCAR Cup Series champion Ryan Blaney said in November he wants to join the short list and compete in the Indy 500. Even after team owner Roger Penske effectively pulled in the reigns, Blaney recently reiterated his desire to complete the double.
Blaney again shared one of his proverbial bucket list items is to complete the 1,100-mile, single-day double while speaking on The Money Lap podcast. This year Kyle Larson becomes the first driver since Kurt Busch in 2014 to attempt double duty at Charlotte and Indianapolis. Larson joins Arrow McLaren for this year’s Indianapolis 500 before flying to Charlotte May 26 to pilot his No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy in NASCAR’s longest race of the season.
Completing the double is a deeply ingrained wish of the 30-year-old Team Penske driver. Blaney alluded to that desire after capturing the 2023 Cup Series championship, but team owner Roger Penske effectively shut him down, at least in the short term.
Hendrick Motorsports approached Penske for a potential partnership for Larson’s double attempt. Penske declined, wanting instead to concentrate on his team’s three-car IndyCar effort, he said last year. Adding a fourth car for Blaney apparently isn’t in the cards for now with Penske, who owns Indianapolis Motor Speedway through Penske Entertainment Corp.
As such, Penske said he told Blaney to “slow down” a bit on his ambition. That hasn’t killed Blaney’s aspiration, however.
“Doing the double would be really neat,” Blaney said on the Money Lap. “That’s a cool staple to try to go and compete for that. Not a lot of guys have been able to do it.”
He’s excited to watch Larson get the opportunity this year.
“I think he’s going to do great,” Blaney said.
The Indy 500 double is one of a few races on Blaney’s career wish list. He also hopes to compete in the Rolex 24 at Daytona endurance race. He joked that he’s “just a stock car guy.” As such, he’s not sure he could land a spot in a Daytona Prototype.
Blaney said it’s less “realistic” he could compete in the Baja 1000 off-road race, but he’d certainly like to.
“That would be cool to be a part of,” he said. “I’ve heard wild stories about drivers who have done the Baja 1000, and it’s just craziness for that whole time.”
In the meantime, Blaney is hoping to accomplish the “dream” of following up his 2023 championship with his first Daytona 500 win this weekend. The win would mark an incredible year for Penske. Team Penske driver Josef Newgarden won the 2023 Indy 500 ahead of Blaney’s Cup Series championship. Newgarden and the Porshe Penske Motorsport team captured the overall win in the Rolex 24 at Daytona last month.