Ryan Blaney is one of the up-and-coming drivers on the NASCAR circuit, now in his third year with Team Penske. And if you were going to take driving advice from anyone, wouldn’t it be a 20-year-old kid who wears fireproof underwear and tends to drive aggressively at 200 mph? So would we!
Blaney is making the media rounds on behalf of Hertz and its new 35-point Certified Clean & Safe inspection program. Not that we wanted to talk about that. We wanted some driving tips!
Q: Is it difficult to make the mental shift from NASCAR to highway driving?
A: It’s hard to switch off going from driving a racecar to driving your personal vehicle on the highway. It’s very difficult for me, like after a race at Daytona or Talladega Superspeedway.
Q: How do you deal with aggressive drivers on the highway?
A: Aggressive drivers on the highway, it can get very frustrating very easily. And that’s something on the NASCAR side we sometimes deal with also. It’s very easy to get frustrated in a race and kinda lose your head and then you slowly start losing lap time and things start going down the drain. So I think something that’s definitely helped me out on the road in my personal vehicle is racing and not [getting] a hot head. If you run up [against] an angry driver or something like that, just pull over out of the way and make sure you don’t put yourself in a bad situation. It’s just best to keep a level head and not get mad. You know, that person out on the road is not out to get you. It’s just the way they’re driving.
Q: What kind of music do you like to listen to on long road trips?
A: That depends. It depends on what part of the country I’m in. If we’re down South I’ll put on some country music. If I’m in L.A. or something like that I’ll put on some rap. It really depends on what part of the country I’m in. But you gotta set the mood for the right places.
Q: Do you ever let somebody else drive?
A: It depends on who I’m riding with. If I don’t like their driving style, than I’ll just drive the whole way. I like driving, I don’t mind it. I’ll drive five, six hours at a time. I really don’t mind it. Because we’re used to driving three or four hours in a racecar. It goes by nicely, I think. So it really just depends who I’m with, but usually I’ll do most of the driving.
Q: So what you’re saying is, we should get the heck out of your way if we see you in the rear-view mirror, right? Just kidding—we didn’t really ask Blaney that question. What we really asked him was this: When renting a car, should you take the prepaid gas option?
A: I have people who really take care of that for me. I think we do the prepaid gas option…so I don’t [have to] hassle filling it back up when I drop it off. I just drop it off. So I’m not sure which one is better. I haven’t really tested the two out. I’m not the right guy to ask on that question.
Mark Orwoll is the International Editor of Travel + Leisure. You can follow him on Twitter @orwoll and Like him on Facebook