NASCAR Champion Ryan Flores Returns to
Jersey Seeking Turkey Derby TQ Win
On any given weekend during the NASCAR Sprint Cup, XFinity, or Camping World Truck Series,season you will find New Jersey native Ryan Flores involved in some way with the Penske Racing team. Whether it is as a tire specialist for the Woods Brother's Racing number 21 Sprint Cup car, as he was this past weekend in Homestead-Miami, or as a tire changer for either Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, or Ryan Blaney, in any of the series, he seems to do it all.
So how does a guy who grew up at the Jersey Shore become such an integral part of such a big NASCAR operation? Determination.
Ryan knew at an early age he wanted racing to be a big part of his life. He started at the age of 5 in the Quarter Midgets, moved to Bandoleros, before eventually advancing to the high-banks of Wall Stadium Speedway in a Legends car. Competitive by nature, he knew he wanted to be involved with the best racers in the world so he took a chance and moved south to the heart of NASCAR country, North Carolina.
With a knowledge of fabrication taught to him by his father, and some connections through both Doug French, a former NASCAR competitor also from the Jersey Shore area, and several of the former IROC employees scattered throughout various race teams, Ryan was able to land a six week trial as a fabricator with Roush Racing.
That trial led to him working there for four years. However, his thirst for competition, and the realization that the members of the pit crew got paid a lot more, led him to decide to try to become a member of an over-the-wall crew.
His opportunity came at Stewart-Haas Racing where they loved his combination of athletic ability, and knowledge of a race car. With teams turning toward former professional, and college athletes, his ability to change tires with the best of them, while still knowing how to repair a damaged race car made him a valuable, and rare pit crew member.
He eventually moved to his current position with Penske Racing where he was not only a part of many wins, but helped bring the team the Owner's Championship in the XFinity Series with the number 22 machine this season.
A season he says he almost wished didn't have to end. "We were on such a roll there toward the end with all the race cars, I really just wish it could have continued."
With the NASCAR season over, however, Ryan can now turn his attention back to his own racing career as he makes the trip back to New Jersey, from North Carolina, to compete in the Turkey Derby at Wall Stadium Speedway this Thanksgiving weekend. He will be in action on Saturday in the TQ Midget division, which will compete on the flat inner racing oval this year.
When asked why he chooses to compete in the TQ division versus the Tour-Type Modifieds, or any other, his answer brought together his Jersey Shore background, and his desire to compete against the best saying.
"Being from the Shore area I used to go to the Indoor Races in Atlantic City. I looked up to the TQ guys. I also knew that if I wanted to compete against the very best, and could only race a couple times a year then it would have to be in a TQ."
As for what he knows about the TQ Midgets competing on the flat track as opposed to the high-banks of the big track Ryan said, "I have watched the few videos I could find out there of the races they have had so far. I have also looked at some still shots to see what kind of ride heights the guys are using." He continued, "I know guys like Ryan Tidman and Buddy Sload, will be tough to beat."
Seeing the determination Ryan has used to get himself to where he is now there was no doubt what his response would be when asked about his expectations for this Saturday.
"I expect to win. I have great people helping me, including Jimmy Blewett who will maintain the car for me at his shop for the upcoming indoor season. I was considered an underdog in Atlantic City last year, but I never felt that way, and I think I proved myself there". He finished saying, "If I get the job done as the driver, there should be no other excuses for why we don't win."
That's certainly a lot of confidence for a guy who only manages to get behind the wheel of a race car a few times a year. On the other hand, if Ryan Flores brings the same kind of determination that took him from being a Jersey Shore kid, riding his skateboard around Manasquan, to a NASCAR championship, then maybe it is only right that he doesn't expect to do anything else but win.
For more details on Turkey Derby weekend at Wall Stadium Speedway please checfk out our Wall Stadium News page.
The sharp looking number 15 machine Ryan Flores will pilot during Turkey Derby