Ryan Blaney tired of young drivers taking blame for NASCAR's diminishing popularity
Viewership for NASCAR on Fox and FS1 is down 23 percent this year, according to the Associated Press, and several around the sport blame the new staple of young drivers for the waning popularity.
Ryan Blaney doesn't want to hear anything about that.
“Honestly, this whole ‘young guys need to win now’ thing is getting old,” the 24-year-old Blaney said. “We’re trying. We’re trying our hardest. It’s not like I go out there and I’m happy for fifth every single week."
Blaney has been one of the best young drivers in NASCAR this season though he has yet to come away with a win this year. The only drivers under the age of 30 to win races in 2018 are Austin Dillon (Daytona) and Joey Logano (Talladega).
However, every single week a younger driver seems to factor into the final laps as Kyle Larson nearly won last week at Chicago and Chase Elliott continues to see himself in the top 10 and creeping into the top 5.
Despite those facts International Speedway Corp. President John Saunders puts a good portion of the blame on the youngsters as perennial contenders like Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Carl Edwards have left the sport in recent years and the popularity has waned.
“We still have an issue with star power, and hopefully this stable of young drivers coming along will start to win and build their brands,” Saunders said Thursday.
Blaney is far from in agreement with Saunders and points to the fact that very few drivers are winning at all this season.
In fact, in 17 races, there has been a total of six drivers who have come away with wins as Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick have won five times, Martin Truex Jr. three and Clint Bowyer twice while Logano and Dillon have already been mentioned.
“I think it would be healthy for the sport if we just see more variation in winners,” Blaney said. “There have been six winners this year. Come on now. You can’t just put that on the young guys for not winning. That’s a lot of other people that aren’t winning, too.”