CONCORD, N.C. – Ryan Blaney says he’s never had a close call while giving rides at race tracks and Wednesday was no different although the Team Penske driver did admit he had to “bail” on a lap when his car “got pretty tight” at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“I got tight in (Turns) 1 and 2,” Blaney said of the afternoon ride-along with country music artist Cole Swindell.
“I got tight, too,” Swindell admitted but he wasn’t talking about the car’s handling as he climbed from the passenger-side window.
Swindell, 34, is a Georgia native with seven No. 1 hits and he’s written a few others for folks such as Luke Bryan.
He’ll be performing a pre-race concert prior to the May 19 Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race at CMS. He may or may not add “Hello Walls” to his pre-race set list.
The concert is free with the purchase of any All-Star Race ticket.
As for Wednesday’s track “tour” …
“I was at 90 percent right there,” Blaney said of the run. “You want to give them a good ride, make it real. … I ran the bottom for a couple of laps and then I went to the wall. … The second lap I went pretty hard at the wall and I got pretty tight. I was like ‘bail.’
“You want to show them a good time but at the same time you don’t want to do anything stupid. it was fun.
“I’ve given rides before but no one I knew personally; I think that’s why I pushed it a little bit more when it’s someone I know.”
Swindell said he’s been a fan for several years – he recalled watching Blaney’s father, Dave, compete in NASCAR.
It was the singer/songwriter’s first time in a Cup car, however.
“I thought we were doing four or five (laps) but I felt like we ran 12,” Swindell said. “It just all went by so fast. You see it on TV but you can feel it in the car, those tires gripping. Going into those turns the force just pulling your head down. … It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever gotten to do.
“I’m just glad … I was a little nervous before because I’d never done it but now I’d do it again with Blaney, he’s a good dude.”