NASCAR Cup Series
By Pat DeCola
Published: 11 Feb, 2021
3 Minute Read
You know the type.
Cool without trying. Effortlessly charming and charismatic. Rolls out of bed already devilishly handsome and just an absolute natural on set when the director calls, “Action!”
No, we’re not referring to one of the stars of Netflix’s The Crew (debuts Feb. 15) in Freddie Stroma — though it probably applies to him, too — we’re talking about Ryan Blaney.
“Ryan Blaney needs to just stick to his driving, you can’t be good at everything, OK?” Stroma told NASCAR.com. “He’s already cool, he’s good-looking, he drives in NASCAR and then he comes onto our domain and he’s just whipping out zingers like cool as a cucumber, and it’s like OK, no one likes a showoff.”
MORE: ‘The Crew’ flourishes with NASCAR authenticity
The No. 12 Team Penske driver is one of a handful of drivers to make a cameo in the new series all about the world of NASCAR. He also made a lasting impression on the cast, which was in awe of his out-of-the-car talents.
“I know all the other drivers are going to hate us, but Ryan Blaney is an amazing actor. Like, he is seriously funny,” said Gary Anthony Williams, who plays Chuck. “He is at ease and he’s charismatic. The dude is fantastic. I suggest he quit racing tomorrow and start acting. He’s good, but he’s proven himself (on the race track) and may as well just quit there.”
Not only was the cast impressed with the lines laid down by Blaney (and Stewart-Haas Racing’s Cole Custer and Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon), they were equally awestruck by how, well, regular they were … despite what they do on Sundays.
“Having the guys come on, having Blaney and Cole Custer and Austin Dillon and just talking to them and being like OK these are normal human beings,” said Stroma. “And then you go watch a NASCAR race and you go ‘Oh, they’re insane, how are you doing that?’ It’s a terrifying but very, very cool sport.”
If there’s one thing Hollywood-types know all-too-well, it’s big egos. That didn’t come across with NASCAR’s new sitcom stars.
RELATED: Meet the cast of ‘The Crew’
“Number one, they’re the most humble world-class athletes I’ve ever met in my life. They are just like super nice, super humble,” said Dan Ahdoot, who plays Amir. “And they are great actors, which pisses me off. It’s like, you cant have it all, buddy, but apparently they can.”
The Crew follows the story of the fictional Bobby Spencer Racing team as it attempts to regain the Cup Series prominence it once enjoyed. It’s a familiar path for many NASCAR organizations, one of the many intricacies of the sport that the actors came to learn.
For much of the cast it was among their first experiences with the sport, but after meeting the drivers, working with them and soaking everything that NASCAR has to offer, they’re stock-car converts.
“I am so in awe of people that do this,” said Sarah Stiles, who plays Beth. “I personally am terrified of driving cars in general. I live in New York City. I don’t drive one. So the fact that people get in these cars and drive like a million miles an hour, like, right next to each other is bananapants.
“I think it’s very brave and courageous and now I’m watching.”