Ryan Blaney is kicking off the Coca-Cola 600 week in style. He and the Ryan Blaney Family Foundation are hosting a charity event at Topgolf to help fund two fellowships at The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Concussion Clinic.
The driver of the No. 12 is putting his own personal twist on the May 24 charity event. He, his special guests, and the participants will have on some vintage outfits to make the evening even more entertaining. The focus is less on winning and more on having fun while raising money for deserving recipients.
“So the vintage theme was just like, ‘Well, what can we do to kind of make it light-hearted,” Blaney told Heavy ahead of the trip to Atlanta Motor Speedway. “I’m a big vintage fan, no matter what it is, and I thought the golf vintage theme would be really fun. And Topgolf is easy. Everybody can come out.
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“I have a lot of people who do actual golf outings, and that just makes me nervous because the weather can be bad. If you have someone who doesn’t really golf, they might not have a good time. So we thought Topgolf would be great just because everyone can do it. [It’s] a lot of fun. You don’t have to be a golfer to come out and have a good time.”
The charity event will feature a lot of golfing as participants battle for bragging rights. There will also be a silent auction presented by BODYARMOR, photo opportunities with Blaney, and a competition between the “most enthusiastic” teams.
UPMC Previously Helped Another NASCAR Driver
The charity event at Topgolf will have multiple special guests on hand for an afternoon of golf, but Blaney has not provided details about their identities. One potential option is Dale Earnhardt Jr., who has ties of his own to the UPMC Concussion Clinic.
The Hall of Famer previously received treatment after suffering a concussion in 2012. His doctor in Charlotte recommended that he travel to the UPMC Concussion Clinic, and he spent multiple weeks as an outpatient before winning the 2014 Daytona 500.
Earnhardt has remained connected to the UPMC Concussion Clinic after receiving treatment. He helped the facility raise concussion awareness in 2014, and he spoke at a concussion symposium at Heinz Field in 2017. Now he will potentially help Blaney raise funds for two fellowships at the facility.
“So [I’m] looking forward to that and can’t wait to see what we can do to raise funds and awareness for UPMC and it’ll go towards a great cause,” Blaney added. “We’re sending two fellows to school to, hopefully, one day open up their own clinics wherever they want to, hopefully, in Charlotte.”
Blaney Adopted Golf During a Unique Time
The driver of the No. 12 Team Penske Ford is not someone who grew up on the links. He didn’t begin putting at a young age before playing on a regular basis as he grew up. Instead, he adopted the sport when he didn’t have many other options.
“I became a golfer in quarantine,” Blaney said. “Picked it up right when that started because it was really the only thing open, and [I] started playing golf.”
Blaney now hits the links with some of his peers when the opportunity presents itself. This includes some time down in Florida when he faced off with Chase Elliott and Bubba Wallace before taking part in Daytona 500 qualifying.
While Blaney has gained considerable experience on the golf course since adopting the sport, his charity tournament will not force him to put these skills on display. He will instead focus on having some fun and raising money while rocking a classic outfit.
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