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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup

Blaney Ready for First Double-Duty Weekend of 2017

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AVONDALE, Ariz. — For the first time in 2017, Ryan Blaney will run double-duty between the NASCAR XFINITY Series and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Phoenix Raceway.

Blaney, 23, will drive the Team Penske No. 22 in the 200-mile XFINITY race on Saturday and continue into Sunday’s Camping World 500 with his full-time role in the Wood Brothers Racing No. 21 Ford.

He currently sits sixth in the Cup points standings after opening the season with finishes of second at Daytona, 18th in Atlanta and seventh at Las Vegas.

Having practiced in both the XFINITY and Cup car on Friday, Blaney said the track is “slick” in the 90-degree desert weather and that “it’s only going to get worse” as the weekend progresses.

“This race track has aged very well, and the heat is definitely speeding up that process, which is nice,” he said. “It’s been a difficult task to try and get your car to where you need it. And tomorrow for race practice in the Cup car, it is going to be pretty tough to get your car dialed in for where you need it for Sunday.”

He enjoys competing in both series, though. His last double-duty stint was the championship weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November 2016.

“It’s been nice to kind of bounce back-and-forth between garages,” Blaney said. “That’s something I haven’t done for a long time — since last year. That’s nice to try and get repetition on race tracks. We learned things on the Cup car that we tried over [in the XFINITY car] that they’re working on.

“It’s just nice to have them try it and try different lines on the race track.”

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John Haverlin

John Haverlin is currently studying Communication at Arizona State University. He has been a reporter at Phoenix International Raceway for three years and has written news stories for the track's official site. Born and raised in Long Island, N.Y., Haverlin has lived in Arizona the past three years.