Ryan Blaney not only delivered a weekend sweep for Team Penske by winning the Coca-Cola 600 a day after the organization won the Indianapolis 500 but followed the celebration, too.
Blaney went into the Charlotte Motor Speedway frontstretch grandstands after his victory lap. Already fired up from winning for the first in nearly two years and claiming his first crown jewel race, Blaney had the idea from Penske’s NTT IndyCar Series racer Josef Newgarden, who did the same after winning Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.
“I don’t get that excited very often, but I was super pumped,” Blaney said. “I loved how Josef did it yesterday and I was really pleased when I turned around and did the little victory lap thing of how many people were still in the stands. It was packed, and I couldn’t believe it.
“I appreciate everyone sticking around. But I saw how excited they were and was like, you know what, I’m going to go in the stands like Josef did and have some human contact after five hours of not having it. That was a lot of fun. The excitement level of the fans makes us feel good as competitors, and it was really cool to do that. I think some of it was because Josef did it, and some of it was showing my appreciation.”
Blaney, unlikeNewgarden, had his helmet off when he climbed into the grandstands. He could hear the “very good things” fans were saying.
Charlotte was Blaney’s eighth career win in the Cup Series. Going into the grandstands after a victory is not his typical action.
“I have some experience in it, actually,” Blaney said. “I go to metal shows every now and then, and that’s like a mosh pit at a metal show. It was very similar to that. There was no one swinging haymakers, but it was very similar to that.
“That’s probably the only thing I could compare it to was the metal show mosh pit up there. But people (were) cheering for you, so it was even better.”