JOLIET, Ill. – Through a program started by his foundation, Ryan Blaney will carry over 125 names on his No. 12 Ford this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway of individuals who have been affected by Alzheimer’s disease.
The month of June is close to Blaney’s heart because it’s Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness month. Blaney’s grandfather and legendary modified/sprint car racer, Lou Blaney, passed away from the disease in 2009.
“My grandfather was one of the smartest people I knew and his mind starts to go. It’s tough to live with that, tough to see him go,” Blaney said. “It’s tough on your loved one and family, but it’s tough on them too. That’s the main reason we started the foundation, that’s what we work for. We work really closely with the Alzheimer’s Association. They have been great to us and I’m excited to keep working towards the future of it.”
Last month in collaboration with Blaney’s sponsor BODYARMOR, race fans were able to make a $150 donation to honor a loved one affected by Alzheimer’s on the No. 12 Ford in Sunday’s Camping World 400. The names are on the decklid with the donations benefitting the Alzheimer’s Association.
“We are really excited to do a promotion this weekend,” Blaney said. “After the race we will cut the decklid in to pieces and send the names back to the people who donated and nominated those names. It’s a cool promotion all going towards a great cause.
“It’s a big month for us and a big weekend with the race in Chicago and hopefully we can do those people proud.”
Blaney established the Ryan Blaney Family Foundation in 2018 to support causes that personally impacted the Blaney family. Earlier this year, Blaney was recognized as the winner of the First Quarter National Motorsports Press Association’s Pocono Spirit Award for his efforts to support the Alzheimer’s Association.
“I started our foundation and put it out there and it’s unreal how many people that I have met that say I have a mother, father, grandmother, grandfather who are currently living with Alzheimer’s or passed away from it. It was eye opening to me on how many people it affects. You don’t really know and you know what they have been through because you went through it yourself so you want to help out the best you can.”
In addition to the program for the Chicagoland car, Blaney is having Gateway Bronco in Hamel, Illinois build a one-of-a-kind 1974 Ford Bronco that will be sold at Barrett-Jackson’s 2020 Scottsdale Auction. The proceeds from that will also benefit the Alzheimer’s Association.
“Hopefully it does well,” said Blaney, who currently drives a 1985 Bronco as his personal vehicle. “I’m excited for people to see the build. I feel like I get photos every week of it with something new done on it. That part is really cool and this is kind of the start of something that hopefully we can help out with.”