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Ryan Blaney was understandably happy Sunday night after capturing his first NASCAR Cup Series title, celebrating with his team, family, friends, and fans. During the post-race celebration, the Team Penske driver visited with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio reporter Claire B. Lang and discussed his championship and the hard work it took to get there.

Interestingly, that conversation took a surprising turn when the driver unexpectedly responded to Kyle Petty’s harsh remarks earlier in the year, which criticized his performance and career. A short time later, the NBC analyst responded.

Kyle Petty offers harsh criticism of Ryan Blaney early in 2023

Ryan Blaney was impressive in 2021, scoring the first multi-win season of his career, including victories at Atlanta, Michigan, and the second race of the year at Daytona. Naturally, entering the 2022 campaign, expectations were high.

The 29-year-old started fast with four top-5s in the first 10 races. However, none of those finishes were victories. That was the beginning of a trend that would last the duration of the season — good results but no trips to Victory Lane. Blaney made it into the postseason on points and finished eighth in the final standings. 

The start of the 2023 season for the No. 12 was lackluster, including an eighth-place finish in the Daytona 500, 26th at Fontana, and 13th at Las Vegas. After those early struggles, Kyle Petty addressed Blaney’s performance in March on the NASCAR on NBC podcast. He offered a surprisingly harsh critique of the Penske driver’s start to the season and his overall career. 

“I look at the Fords, and I look at Penske, and I look at Joey and Ryan Blaney,” Petty said. “For me — I’m going to be honest, man — Ryan Blaney is the new Kasey Kahne. Potential unfulfilled. Everybody wants to talk about what he can do, but he never does anything for whatever reason. For whatever reason, he just never gets past that hump.”

Blaney brings up Petty’s comments after winning title

Ryan Blaney did something unique for Roger Penske in winning the 2023 championship. The Ohio native brought The Captain his first back-to-back Cup titles in the organization’s storied history. Moments after taking the checkered flag, the driver celebrated with the owner, his father former driver Dave, and numerous others instrumental in his career. 

At one point, he took a break from the festivities and spoke with veteran reporter Claire B. Lang, who asked him how long he had dreamed of this moment.

“Ever since I was a kid,” Blaney told her. “I grew up admiring the Jimmies [Johnson], Tonys [Stewart], and Jeff Gordons of the sport. All of those guys are champions, right? 

“As a kid, you just want to be like those guys. It was super cool to finally see it come full circle and work so hard. It takes a lot to be good in this sport. I know Kyle Petty says that I never do anything, but hopefully, I proved him wrong tonight.”

“You feel like just saying that, right?” the veteran reporter asked.

“I’ve been bottling it up for a while, so,” the driver answered with a hearty laugh. 

Petty responds and admits he was wrong 

Kyle Petty is known for his hot takes. His remarks on Blaney earlier this year were a prime example. Sometimes, they’re wrong, as the driver gladly pointed out in Phoenix.

But to his credit, the broadcaster can admit it when he gets it wrong. Petty did just that this week on X, responding to a post that described the Penske driver taking a shot at him and included the interview.

“As well he should have! I deserve it!” Petty wrote. 

The 2024 season is just a few months away, and Petty will deliver more hot takes. We know one driver who won’t be on his list.

To stay up to date on the latest happenings in NASCAR, including breaking stories you can’t find anywhere else, follow Kyle on YouTube and Twitter.