NASCAR Crashes Taking Physical, Mental Toll on Ryan Blaney

Jackson Wheeler
5 Min Read

In the last eight months, Ryan Blaney has taken three massive hits in crashes at Daytona and Nashville, and while the two at the 2.5-mile Daytona speedway have affected him physically, it was the one at the 1.33-mile Nashville track that took a mental toll.

“I feel like the Nashville hit was by far the hardest hit I’ve ever taken,” Blaney says. “Mentally, I was way more messed up after Nashville than I was after these two hits at this race track (Daytona).”

That June day at Nashville in 2023, Blaney’s Ford slammed head-on into the inside wall on a restart. He wasn’t wearing the mouthpiece that measures the g-forces a driver’s body receives during a crash, but he has ever since.

“The mouth piece data is really good for us to see because you have the black box data from the car, but that’s just showing the car g-load and impact,” Blaney says about the device that resembles a football mouth guard.

In the 12-car crash at Daytona, just two months after Nashville, the NASCAR Cup champion’s body took a 70-g hit when Ty Gibbs hooked Blaney’s right rear and turned his Ford head-on into the outside wall. The vicious hit was so hard that the SAFER barrier flexed. This year, in Thursday night’s second Daytona 500 qualifying race Blaney’s body suffered a 55-g hit. In that 11-car crash his Ford Mustang Dark Horse was hooked in the right rear by William Byron and turned head-on into the trioval’s outside wall.

“I’m more sore today than I was yesterday,” Blaney said Saturday. “I feel like the second day is always more … soreness neck area, all down the back, just muscles getting strained. Everything else felt fine. Just kind of all your muscles kind of down your shoulders and stuff that just gets pulled in weird areas that you’re not used to. That stuff will pass.”

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Kyle Busch (8) delivers a hard hit to Ryan Blaney (12) during racing action at Daytona on Thursday.

Blaney said that after the August 2023 Daytona crash, he was sorer for a longer period of time over more of his body.

“I was able to be home in August to get worked on by people at home,” Blaney said. “I haven’t been able to get worked on as much as I did last year because the people went home after the Duels. We have a great physical therapist in our camp. She’ll be able to help me out tomorrow (Sunday) a little bit if I still feel sore. It wasn’t as bad as last year’s, (but) still pretty brutal.”

Blaney was pleased with the way his Mustang collapsed when he slammed into the wall Thursday night.

“I haven’t seen a right front in the firewall before, so I think everything NASCAR has done to get these things to crush more is good,” Blaney says. “There’s some stuff that I’ve talked to them about to get better.”

Blaney’s team tweaked some things in his car after Nashville, especially regarding his straps and his HANS device.

“I run pretty short HANS straps just because I don’t want my head to move forward a lot,” Blaney says. “All you can do is make sure everything is the best it can be.”

Blaney admits he’s taken more hits recently than he would like, but he realizes that’s part of the sport.

“I don’t ever think about the bad side of this,” Blaney says. “I understood when I signed up for this thing, watching Dad race that there’s dangers. Things are going to happen. I don’t really see that it’s taken a toll on me personally. It’s sitting around, being sore and having a hard time moving around the next morning, but you get over it, take Advil and figure it out. It’s all you can do.”

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Jackson Wheeler is a skilled editor at, specializing in automotive content. With a background in Journalism and Automotive Engineering, he combines his passion for cars with his writing expertise to deliver captivating articles. Jackson's deep knowledge of automotive technology and his racing experience make him a valuable asset to the team, providing readers with informative and engaging content.
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