Ryan Blaney said Tuesday that Team Penske’s search for a new crew chief for his No. 12 Ford next season is still in progress.
Todd Gordon will step aside from that role next year, having announced June 28 that he would retire at the conclusion of the season, ending a 10-year run as a NASCAR Cup Series crew chief for Roger Penske’s organization. Blaney did not provide a timetable for when the team would determine Gordon’s replacement, but said that preparations for next season are already underway.
“That search is still ongoing,” said Blaney, who is eighth in the Cup standings in his second season paired with Gordon. “It’s been trying to balance that out of focusing on this year, but then also you can’t just forget about next year. You’re always trying to … you need to prepare. You can’t wait until November, December and then try to do something. That’s still a work in progress.”
Blaney’s remarks came in an afternoon media availability ahead of Sunday’s Go Bowling at The Glen (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the NASCAR Cup Series’ first race after a two-week break. Blaney has secured a spot on the provisional playoff grid based on his win at Atlanta Motor Speedway back in March. That victory was his second with Gordon atop the No. 12 team’s pit box.
Blaney says he has prospective candidates on his list who could step into the role, noting that replicating the calming influence of Gordon would be a positive attribute for his next crew chief to possess.
“There’s some people in mind that I think are really good fits,” Blaney said, “but who I’m looking for is someone … I thought me and Todd got along so well because we’re kind of, at the race track, we’re almost a yin and yang kind of thing. I can get fired up on the radio, and Todd is very calm and it evens itself out of those personalities when we’re doing our jobs. Someone like that.
“Like I said, that just is ongoing, but someone who can get me when tense situations do come up of getting me back where we need to be, and that’s how it always should be. You kind of have to have both of them. I think if you’re two people who clash a lot and have the same personalities, that can sometimes be good but sometimes it can be a little rough. That’s where I’d want it to start, and all the crew chiefs I’ve worked with have all been open-minded on really listening to your ideas and what you have to say about the race cars and integrating them, so that’s never been an issue. But that personality side that I talked about, for me personally, it’s big.”