Team Penske announced that it would field three Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series entries in 2018. Ryan Blaney will drive the No. 12 Ford Fusion starting in February at Daytona International Speedway.
Blaney, 23, who currently drives for Wood Brothers Racing, has been employed by Team Penske since 2012 and has been ‘on loan’ to the Wood Brothers since 2015.
Blaney will be replaced at Wood Brothers Racing by Paul Menard next year.
In a press release, “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,” said Roger Penske. “We have been working on making this a reality and 2018 is the right opportunity to make this move and return our organization to a three-car team. The benefits of having three full-time teams under our roof, along with the continued technical partnership with the Wood Brothers, will help us remain competitive in the ever-changing NASCAR landscape.”
“This is a huge opportunity for me and my career,” added Blaney. “I’ve always enjoyed racing whatever car I was in and trying to win each and every race. I’ve had some great moments with both Team Penske and the Wood Brothers over the last few years. I know for a fact I wouldn’t be where I am today without Roger (Penske), Eddie and Len (Wood) and the opportunities their organizations have given me. I’m thrilled knowing that Brad (Keselowski) and Joey (Logano) are long-term teammates for me at Team Penske and Paul (Menard) will have input with our team now that he’s with the Wood Brothers organization. Hopefully we can go out there and win races and compete for championships year after year.”
Team Penske has encountered a pivotal year in securing its behind-the-wheel talent. Logano was extended earlier this year and Keselowski just recently agreed to an extension. Bringing Blaney into the fold adds another young and talented competitor and will serve the team well going forward.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Huff – apertureone.net