Ryan Blaney signs contract extension with Team Penske

Ryan Blaney is staying with Team Penske. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

Ryan Blaney isn’t leaving Team Penske after the 2020 season.

The team announced Friday that Blaney had signed a “multi-year” contract extension to stay. Blaney, the points leader through the first three races of 2020, was set to be a free agent after this season.

“Ryan is a true talent with a long runway ahead of him and we are excited to have him as a part of the future of Team Penske,” Roger Penske said in a statement. “Since joining our team, Ryan has developed into a championship-caliber driver and his personality and engagement with fans has made him a terrific ambassador for NASCAR.  In addition, Ryan has done a great job of working with our partners to support their activation and investment throughout each year. I am looking forward to even more success together.”

Blaney, 26, is in his third season with Team Penske after two full seasons with the Wood Brothers. He’s won a race in each of the previous three seasons and has 60 top-10 finishes in 165 career Cup Series starts. He finished seventh in the 2019 points standings.

“I’ve always said, it’s been a lifelong dream to be able to drive a racecar for Roger Penske,” Blaney said. “I am proud of what we have accomplished with the No. 12 Team Penske Ford and our ability to represent great brands like Menards, Advance Auto Parts, DEX Imaging and BodyArmor. It’s really exciting to know I will continue to drive for this organization in 2021 and beyond. I am fortunate to be surrounded by extremely talented people throughout the organization and have no doubt we will continue to compete for wins and championships well into the future.”

A lot of pending free agents remain

Blaney’s move to stay with Team Penske takes one of the top available drivers after the 2020 season off the free-agent market. But there are still a lot of drivers who could be on the move. Blaney’s teammate, Brad Keselowski, is a free agent at the end of this season. So is Kyle Larson. Clint Bowyer is on a one-year deal. Auto Club winner Alex Bowman’s contract expires at the end of 2020. Jimmie Johnson is retiring and Hendrick Motorsports has not announced who will replace him in the No. 48 car in 2021.

Penske getting Blaney to re-sign so quickly into the 2020 season is a coup with the frenzy that could begin over the summer as teams start figuring out their 2021 plans. And it could be a sign that Blaney didn’t really want to leave in the first place.

You couldn’t really blame him for that. Both Keselowski and Joey Logano have won Cup Series titles for Penske, and Blaney now has Todd Gordon as his crew chief. Gordon was Logano’s crew chief when he won the 2018 Cup title. Blaney has everything he needs to succeed at Penske.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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