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“Kind of Grew up Together”: Ryan Blaney on Bubba Wallace & Chase Elliott Relationships Outside NASCAR

Gowtham Ramalingam

“Kind of Grew up Together”: Ryan Blaney on Bubba Wallace & Chase Elliott Relationships Outside NASCAR

Defending Cup Series champion Ryan Blaney, 2020 Cup Series champion Chase Elliott, and 23XI Racing star Bubba Wallace are all close friends with each other. They first met when they were little boys trying their hand at a career in racing. Talking to 101 ESPN recently, Blaney spoke about their relationship and underlined their journey to the top.

“I grew up racing with a handful of guys that are in the Cup Series now,” he said.  “Myself, Bubba Wallace, Chase Elliott. You know, we all kind of grew up together and have been racing each other since we were 10 years old.”

“Really unique to grow up the same route and now all of us kind of find a home on the NASCAR side. There’s a lot of golf tournaments that we privately put on between ourselves so that’s always fun,” said Blaney, whose first encounter with Wallace came when they were children racing Bandolero cars. He met Elliott a little later and created a strong bond with both.

When he won the championship last year, the Hendrick Motorsports star was there up on the stage alongside him to celebrate. Despite his love for the two drivers, Blaney sees them as his biggest competitors on the track.

Why Blaney considers his close friends to be his biggest competitors

Blaney was on a Barstool Sports podcast last year when he was asked about his rivals on the race track. He noted how there were a few drivers who had deep and long-lasting rivalries with fellow drivers and that he wasn’t one of them. “I’d say more of my rivalry is like my buddies, who I grew up racing with,” he continued. “Like, we’re all good friends, you know, Chase Elliott and I, Bubba Wallace and I.”

“We grew up together… We started racing together when we were like 9-10 years old… I feel like, like, that’s my rivalry. My buddies.” Blaney is currently eighth on the 2024 points table without a victory lane visit yet. Elliott sits fourth with one win, five top-5s, and six top-10s. Wallace has been the least impressive of the three in 16th place with no wins either.

As the three continue speeding towards the end of the regular season, they’ll hope to edge ahead of the others. However, they’ll also be there to support each other no matter what. As Blaney puts it, “We all support each other, but you want to beat those guys more than anyone else, your buddies.”

About the author

Gowtham Ramalingam

Gowtham Ramalingam

Gowtham is a NASCAR journalist at The SportsRush. Though his affinity for racing stems from Formula 1, he found himself drawn to NASCAR's unparalleled excitement over the years. As a result he has shared his insights and observations by authoring over 350 articles on the sport. An avid fiction writer, you can find him lost in imaginary worlds when he is not immersed in racing. He hopes to continue savoring the thrill of every lap and race together with his readers for as long as he can.

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