It’s become expected. A NASCAR driver wins a race and then proceeds to destroy the car that was so good to him for the last few hundred miles, wrecking the tires and suspension with a celebratory burnout.
It’s kind of fun, but it’s also kind of cliche.
So when Ryan Blaney celebrated his first career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory Sunday, it was somewhat surprising to see him not disappear in a cloud of tire smoke but instead slowly roll toward the outside pit wall to congratulate his pit crew. It was an old-school manner of celebrating that the 23-year-old apparently always planned to do when he finally won a Cup race.
“Everyone nowadays, they go down and do big, funky burnouts and tear their race cars up and burn the rear tires off of them and blow them out and ruin the motor,” Blaney told FOX Sports’ Joe Menzer. “Back in the day, they didn’t do that.
” … Personally, to me, that is cooler than doing a big, smoky burnout and tearing up your race car and hurting the motor.”
Blaney’s Wood Brothers Racing team certainly can appreciate that. Even though it enjoys a technical alliance with Team Penske and is one of the most storied organizations in the sport, Wood Brothers today is one of the smaller teams on the circuit, having only returned to full-time Cup racing in 2016. So the single-car No. 21 team had to be happy Blaney saved its shop guys some work.
Unlike many of his Cup competitors, too, Blaney doesn’t come from a background where resources are endless and leaving your car in a broken heap is something you just shrug off. His dad, Dave, raced for years in sprint cars, where every broken part meant valuable time and money had to be spent to get his ride back on the track.
Call us killjoys, but we think it’s cool Blaney has an old-school attitude to match his car’s retro paint scheme. None other than Dale Earnhardt Jr. last week compared celebratory burnouts to a rocker “smashing their guitar” — it was probably cool once, but now it seems kind of desperate, really forced and a little tiresome.
If more understated celebrations become the norm, mechanics — and guitar makers — everywhere will have Blaney to thank.
Oh, and don’t worry. Blaney had plenty of fun celebrating later.
Thumbnail photo via Jerry Markland/Getty Images via NASCAR