Ricky Bly with his daughter, Rowan, after one of his many victories this season.
Ricky Bly with his daughter, Rowan, after one of his many victories this season.

Ricky Bly having fun in career-best season at Claremont Motorsports Park

Ricky Bly experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows on the race track last season. In 2021, he won 13 races, but was involved in a wreck and didn’t finish in every other race.

This season, it’s been seemingly nothing but highs for Bly. He has 10 wins between NASCAR-sanctioned Claremont, Monadnock, Hudson and Lee USA Speedways in New Hampshire.

Bly has a 78 point lead in the Late Model Sportsman division at Claremont, and he’s currently third in the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series Division III National standings.

“It’s definitely a season like I haven’t had in a long time,” Bly said in a phone interview last week. “I’ve won a lot of races, but not like this. It’s pretty good.”

RELATED: NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series Division III National standings

Bly can’t really explain what the difference has been for him in the car in his 22nd year racing. He and his crew built his car last year and said they figured out a lot of small changes to help. Everything else has simply been falling into place.

His worst finish this year was fifth, which came after he cut a tire on another car that had spun in front of him.

“We probably would have won that night, but who knows,” Bly said. “It just seems like everything is clicking the way you want it to go.”

The key for Bly every season, this one especially, is keeping fun at the forefront. In the beginning of his career, he came within two points of a track championship one year and one point short of another.

After those losses, which he said were devastating, Bly spent seven years refusing to points race. He would instead just hop from track to track and try to get wins wherever he could.

He chose Claremont as his home track in 2017, and has won two Late Model championships since, but he still prefers to not look at points until the season is over.

“This year we were like, we’re not even going to points race, we’re just going to go have some fun,” Bly said. “Next thing you know, we’re winning week after week after week. So it was like, well, I guess we’re going to race for points now.

“Points racing in my mind, you’re always worried about what’s going to happen when you’re on the race track. You’re always worried about getting wrecked, you’re constantly checking online to see where you are in the points standings and all that stuff.”

Ricky Bly celebrates one of his 10 victories so far this season.
Ricky Bly celebrates one of his 10 victories so far this season.

Bly didn’t even know he was in the national points discussion until a friend pointed it out.

“I was like, oh, that’s kind of interesting. I never had a clue. I didn’t even know where to find it,” he said. “Now I look at it frequently, but I never even looked at it before.”

He has no idea what his highest finish nationally is, but he’s positive this year will be his best. Even though he’s gotten in the habit of looking at the standings every so often, he insists he isn’t going to do anything differently the rest of the season.

“I think that’s the biggest thing, even if you wanted to go for all those points, I feel that the more you get involved with it, mindset-wise, the worse you’ll do,” he said. “I really feel that way. I race to go have fun.

“It’s definitely not about money, and I really could care less about the points, but if it ends up where we end up, that’ll be pretty cool.”

Racing is fun for Bly, and he’s also gotten the opportunity to share his love with many people around the racetrack, and at home. His 6-year-old daughter, Rowan, had her first go-kart race last week.

Rowan is at the track with Bly every time he races, which he said, “just makes it that much more fun.”

She’s even starting to build her own fanbase in the sport.

“She asks every day when we’re going back,” Bly said. “They’re going a lot faster than I thought they would. The first time she went out she looked like a little snail. Then when we actually went out to practice, she was like three times the speed she was. They were like, ‘Is that a different person in there?’ Every time she goes out she’s got more confidence, which is really cool.

“All the people there wanted to watch her. I think she’s got more followers than I do.”

RELATED: Katie Hettinger becomes winningest female racer at Hickory

Bly is happy to pass down his love of racing to his next generation after getting into the sport from his own elders in the same way. His mom and dad’s families were all in the sport, and he started helping his cousins in the pits when he was around nine or 10 years old.

It was those years that he said “gave me the itch,” to drive himself.

Bly is racing with something of a heavy heart this season. His mom passed away last year.

“This year, it’s like she’s definitely up there looking down and saying, ‘Do what you can do,’” he said. “She was there every week when I raced. She never missed a race. This has been a pretty cool year since she’s not been around.”

Bly considers everyone he races with a part of his family. Every time he goes to the track it’s feels like a family reunion, and he meets new friends every race.

No matter how many wins he finishes the season with, or where he is in any points standings, he’s going to make sure he enjoyed himself along the way.

“I’ve raced all over,” he said. “I’ve raced everywhere in the northeast and met so many cool people… That’s just made it that much more fun is the amount of people you meet. That’s what makes it fun is when everyone is having fun.”