MIAMI— Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Blaney made a pit stop in South Florida on October 24 in advance of Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, November 16-18.
Blaney’s day began at The Casino at Dania Beach, where the driver for Team Penke’s No. 12 car learned the intricacies of Jai Alai, a sport that originated in the Basque region and is prevalent in the Miami area. After being taught the game from some of the top players in the world, Blaney got a chance to square off against the professionals and see why Jai Alai is considered the fastest sport in the world.
“Jai Alai is no joke. I didn’t really know what it was before we did it,” said Blaney. “I looked up some videos about it just to try and get a small idea of it, but nothing can really prepare you for that. Watching those guys warm up and practice was really crazy, throwing 160 miles per hour just warming up. That was pretty cool to see.”
Following Blaney’s Jai Alai lesson, he stopped by Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlor and Restaurant – an iconic South Florida tradition – to serve scoops to some of his biggest fans. While at Jaxson’s, Blaney got a taste of some of the best ice cream in the state of Florida and even got to build the parlor’s famous Kitchen Sink dish.
Blaney ended his day by visiting patients at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital where he decorated superhero capes and masks for Halloween next week. Dressed in his fire suit, Blaney helped to brighten the kids’ day, handing out teddy bears and signed hats.
Blaney’s visit to South Florida came in advance of the biggest weekend in all of motorsports, Ford Championship Weekend, which takes place at Homestead-Miami Speedway November 16-18. The weekend will culminate with the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 championship race on Sunday, November 18.
“It would be great. Even though we’re out of the playoffs, we want to end the season on a high note,” Blaney said of winning the race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. “It would be huge to do. That’s what everybody’s plan is. We’ll just have to figure out a way to beat them.”
Tickets to the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 championship race, in addition to the XFINITY Series Ford EcoBoost 300 championship race and the Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 championship race, are now available and can be purchased by calling (866) 409-RACE (7223) or visiting www.HomesteadMiamiSpeedway.com
About Homestead-Miami Speedway
Homestead-Miami Speedway has been open since 1995 following an initiative to spur economic recovery in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew. The Speedway, which was founded by Miami businessman, racing enthusiast and philanthropist Ralph Sanchez, is a 650-acre facility that features a 1.5-mile oval and 2.21-mile road course. The Speedway hosts on-track events nearly 300 days per year and generates more than $301 million annually for the region. In 2017, NASCAR crowned champions in all three of its national series at Homestead-Miami Speedway during Ford Championship Weekend for the 16th consecutive year (2002-17). Champions crowned at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2017 were Martin Truex Jr. (Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series), William Byron (NASCAR XFINITY Series) and Christopher Bell (NASCAR Camping World Truck Series). 2018 Ford Championship Weekend will be held November 16-18.