MOORESVILLE, N.C. — Ryan Blaney will drive a third entry for Team Penske in NASCAR’s top series next year.
Blaney will drive the No. 12 Ford and join Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski in team owner Roger Penske’s NASCAR lineup. The 23-year-old Blaney was signed to Penske in 2012 and farmed out to race for Wood Brothers Racing. Blaney earned his first Cup Series win this season at Pocono.
“The main goal when it started was I wanted to drive in the Cup Series for Penske,” said Blaney, a third-generation driver. “I didn’t really know what the timeline was going to be. I just kind of went with what we’d figure out year after year. I knew that the plan was going to open up eventually.”
Logano and Keselowski both signed long-term extensions with Penske this season. Penske has not run three cars full-time since the 2010 season with Keselowski, Kurt Busch and Sam Hornish Jr.
Blaney has three top-five finishes this season and is 12th in the standings. He will take crew chief Jeremy Bullins with him in 2018. His sponsor was not announced.
Blaney is part of a wave of young drivers who are proving themselves worthy replacements for yesterday’s stars.
“He certainly should be proud of what he’s been able to accomplish and how he’s been able to adapt to changing times,” team president Tim Cindric said. “There’s more than just driving the race car. You’ve got to do all the other things that go along with it. … You have to adapt to the current culture that’s there.”
One example: Blaney went on Facebook Live on Wednesday and said he wanted to race in the Indianapolis 500.
Penske said the time was right to bring Blaney back in the fold.
“For some time now, we have wanted to bring Ryan in to run a third car for us, but things just needed to make sense from a timing and business perspective,” Penske said. “The benefits of having three full-time teams under our roof, along with the continued technical partnership with the Wood Bothers, will help us remain competitive in the…