Blaney a rising star on the track and on the screen

Blaney unleashes his inner self

Ryan Blaney

When it comes to actors who have tried their hand at racing, it’s not hard to come up with the names. Tom Cruise, Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, James Garner, Patrick Dempsey and Jason Priestley are all thesps who have taken turns on the track with varying results.

But drivers who became actors? Not so easy. But there is Ryan Blaney.

Indeed, the 25-year-old Ohio native who finished 10th in the Monster Energy Cup last season has been bitten by the acting bug, with a bit part in the 2017 movie “Lucky Logan,” voice-only roles in the animated 2017 film “Cars 3” and the series “Spider-Man,” and more recent appearances on CBS’ “Magnum, P.I.” and NBC’s “Taken.”

As Special Agent Wood (a shout-out to his former Wood Brothers Racing team) in that last series, Blaney got to show off his driving skills in a chase scene and deliver a few lines before the character was killed. But the gig also acquainted him with series star Clive Standen.

A few months later, the British actor and admitted NASCAR neophyte returned the favor and turned up in Bristol, Tenn., to drive the pace car in the Food City 500. Needless to say, a good time was had by both men.

“Clive was a great guy to meet,” Blaney said. “I was a fan of his from the ‘Vikings’ show so it was cool to meet him in person.”

This week, Blaney and the rest of the Cup series put the final touches on their preseason preparations for next week’s Daytona 500 when they take to the 2.5-mile tri-oval of Daytona International Speedway in the Duel at Daytona, airing Thursday, Feb. 14, on Fox.

Ryan Blaney

Full name: Ryan Michael Blaney

Birth date: Dec. 31, 1993

Birthplace: Hartford Township, Ohio

Height/weight: 5 feet, 7 inches/165 pounds

Car: No. 12 Ford Mustang

Team: Team Penske

Sprint Cup wins: 2

Top 10s: 41

Poles: 3

Honors and achievements: 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year; 2014 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Most Popular Driver; finished ninth in the Cup standings in 2017 and 10th in 2018

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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