It’s unlikely, of course, but Ryan Blaney may have found new inspiration for his car number for the Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway in July.
The new number? B-17 after the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver toured one of the planes during a promotional stop at Wright Patterson Air Force Base on Tuesday.
Blaney toured the B-17 and sat in the cockpit during a visit to promote NASCAR’s seven-week tribute to the military as well as The Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway on July 23.
The Ohio-born Blaney signed autographs and posed for photos inside the Exchange (PX). Outside the PX, fans had the chance to pose with NASCAR Truck racer Norm Benning’s dented and dirty ride that stole the show at the inaugural Mudsummer Classic in 2013. Benning became an instant social media celebrity when he traded paint and nearly the sides of his No. 57 truck — the left side in a door-to-door battle and the right side slamming into Eldora’s wall — in the last-chance qualifying race.
“It’s very cool being on the Wright Patterson Air Force Base today,” said Blaney, the son of NASCAR driver Dave Blaney. “It’s really cool to meet the military members and their families and hype this Eldora race up. Hopefully we can get some military personnel out to the race.”
Eldora Speedway promoter Roger Slack said some tickets still remain for the race. They can be purchased by visiting www.eldoraspeedway.com.
“Just to be on such a historic facility like Eldora — where my grandfather raced, now my dad and my uncle — it’s just cool to be part of that group,” Blaney said.
Blaney finished 15th last year as NASCAR returned to the dirt for the first time since 1970. His dad, who co-owns Sharon Speedway in Hartford, finished ninth.
More than 20,000 fans packed Eldora’s half-mile, high-banked oval to witness Austin Dillon’s historic victory.
“Last year everyone got a taste of it. It was a great turnout, it was a great race,” Blaney said. “I think everyone was surprised — I know I was really surprised — how good of a show it put on and how fun it actually was. I was a little hesitant going in wondering how these trucks were going to do, but they did a great job. I think this year is going to be even better.”