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Countdown to Daytona - 16 Days

(Cover Photo Credit: Logan Riely/Getty Images)

By Adam Carabine

In case you missed it, StatChat is counting down the days ‘til the 2023 Daytona 500. Every two days, we will have a new article featuring one of the 36 charters of 2022.

8th Place – Ryan Blaney – 2,351 pts


0 Wins in 2022 – While Ryan Blaney himself is probably not pleased with this stat, fans of the No. 12 Ford team can still hold their heads high after 2022. Blaney may have gone winless in a season for the first time since 2016, but he also nearly made it to the Championship Four. He was the lone playoff driver without a win, and made a respectable championship run, despite no wins.

636 Laps Led in 2022 – Ryan Blaney spent a lot of time up front in 2022, even without a win to his name. He ranked 5th in laps led out of all Cup Series charters, which is no small feat. His 636 in ’22 eclipsed his 2021 numbers by over 200 laps – and he won 3 races in ’21. Again, it’s really only about leading the final lap, but you can certainly set yourself up for success by being up there earlier!

289 Stages Points in 2022 – Ranking 2nd of all Cup Series charters, and only missing out on first by 2 points, Ryan Blaney was the cream of the crop when it came to winning stage points in 2022. While Chase Elliott scored 291, Blaney was not far behind. It’s likely one of the biggest factors that led him to a playoff spot despite no wins on the season.

3 DNFs in 2022 – Another key factor in Ryan Blaney’s successful playoff run was his ability to keep the car clean. Whether that’s a product of his cleaner driving style, or just the fact that he did really spend so much time running near the front of the pack (with less obstacles in the result of a caution/crash), his car routinely made it to the end of races. His 3 DNFs tied him for 4th of the Cup Series charters, and he finished on the lead lap 27 times (tied for 5th).

7 Career Cup Series Wins – It seems weird to think that Ryan Blaney has still yet to really ‘break through.’ He’s been on one of the powerhouse teams for 4 years in Team Penske, and yet he still averages less than one win per season. While he did start one race in 2014, his Cup Series career really started the following year, with 16 races in the Wood Brothers’ No. 21, and then his first win didn’t come until 2017. While he’s a consistently decent performer, it’s hard to imagine that Team Penske is perfectly happy with where Blaney is at the moment. Both parties will likely want to see some improvements in the coming years.

Luckily for Ryan Blaney, he’ll have a few more years to explore that goal. Team Penske announced in August of 2022 that they had re-signed Blaney to a long-term contract extension. Blaney will return to the No. 12 Ford in ’23 (and beyond), hoping to continue to expand on what was a solid season!

Coming up next in the Countdown to Daytona series – Kyle Larson!

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