Reigning NASCAR Cup champion Ryan Blaney’s fiancee Gianna Tulio reflected on the horrifying crash in which Blaney was involved during the regular season finale at the Daytona International Speedway, which left her frozen.
In the final lap of the second stage of the Coke Zero Sugar 400, the #12 Team Penske driver was leading the pack to the green-white-checkered flag. Blaney was racing Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Ty Gibbs and Christopher Bell, with the rookie leading the outside lane.
A push from Bell led to Gibbs losing control of his #54 Toyota and swerving into Ryan Blaney’s #12 Ford, sending him head-on into the outside barriers causing the ‘big one’.
Gianna Tulio recalled the harrowing crash in the third episode of NASCAR: Full Speed Netflix docu-series. She described the accident as sending a chill down her spine, remembering the anxious wait to hear Blaney’s voice on the radio.
“I froze. I didn’t know what to think at first,” she said. “I was just waiting to hear your voice in the radio so I knew you were OK…you could tell he didn’t really have his breath and he was a little shaken up.”
Such was the impact of the collision with the SAFER barriers that Ryan Blaney admitted he was shaken up and took 2-3 minutes to “get his bearings together.” He said:
“Before I knew it, I was hitting the fence. I saw the whiteness of the wall the very last second, and then I’m hitting it. And then you take a while to catch your breath. It took me 2 or 3 minutes to get my bearings together.”
“It’s nice to have that little angel on your shoulder there, like, ‘Hey you should probably rest up,’” he concluded.
Blaney’s accident was eerily similar to Dale Earnhardt’s fatal accident at the same corner. The reigning champion was grateful for the advances made on the safety side over the years.
Exploring Ryan Blaney and Gianna Tulio’s relationship timeline
Ryan Blaney made waves last season with his championship triumph and soon broke news about his engagement with girlfriend Gianna Tulio. Returning as the reigning champion this season, there is plenty of interest surrounding the origins of the relationship timeline of the celebrity NASCAR couple.
Tulio is a model from South Florida, who models for Hooters brand both at the domestic and the international level. The Hooters Hall of Fame inductee first began dating the NASCAR star in July 2020. The couple made the relationship public with an Instagram post while vacationing in Vail, Colorado.
Over time Gianna Tulio become a regular feature in the #12 Penske driver’s support squad trackside. The couple celebrated their third anniversary in July of 2023, months before Blaney put together a stellar playoff run to win the championship.
A month after being crowned as the Cup champion, Blaney got down on one knee and popped the question to his lady on 12/12/2023. A few days later he shared that he was engaged to Tulio.