PPG Bolsters Its Sponsorship With Team Penske In 2018

Ryan Blaney

Bringing new opportunities to one of the most enduring partnerships in racing, Team Penske announced today that PPG is expanding its relationship with the organization in 2018.

Team Penske and PPG will celebrate their 34th season together in 2018 with the company reaffirming its commitment by becoming a primary sponsor of the team’s No. 12 Ford Fusion driven by Ryan Blaney in six Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) races next season.

As part of the enhanced program, PPG will also serve as an associate sponsor for Blaney – one of NASCAR’s up and coming young stars – and the No. 12 Ford for the balance of the MENCS season. The company will also continue as an associate sponsor on all Team Penske cars competing in the Verizon IndyCar Series and both DJR Team Penske entries racing in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.

“PPG has been a trusted and valued partner with Team Penske for over 30 years as one of our longest-tenured sponsors,” said Roger Penske. “It has been exciting to see the partnership grow over the last three plus decades and we will work together as we continue to build the PPG brand through an increased presence with our team in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.”

The No. 12 PPG Ford Fusion will compete with Blaney in the 2018 MENCS races at Auto Club Speedway, the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the road course events at Sonoma Raceway and Watkins Glen International, the NASCAR Playoff opener at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the fall Playoff event at Phoenix International Raceway.

“Having Ryan Blaney behind the wheel of a Team Penske car sponsored by PPG is going to make for a thrilling season – one we’re really looking forward to,” said John Outcalt, PPG, vice president, global automotive refinish. “Penske and PPG have always had a winning tradition. Together we’ve shown we’re a force to be reckoned with. And with Ryan on the track, we’re looking to add to our joint legacy.”

Team Penske and PPG established their partnership in 1984 through PPG’s participation in motorsports and sponsorship of the PPG Cup from 1979 to 1999 in the CART Series, where Penske Racing teams competed. The opportunities between the two companies started with PPG providing paint for Penske’s race cars. Over the years, the relationship has grown and PPG has become Penske Corporation’s largest supplier of refinish coatings for its racing, truck leasing and automotive collision repair subsidiaries.

“It’s great to see some of our current partners step up and become a part of the No. 12 team for next year and beyond,” said Blaney, who will turn 24 during the off-season. “PPG is a name and that everyone recognizes. They’ve been a part of Team Penske for a long time, so it’s great to see them strengthen their support of our group. I’m excited to see the PPG car on the track the first time.”

The 2018 NASCAR Cup Series regular season begins with the 60th anniversary running of the Great American Race, the Daytona 500, on February 18.  PPG’s first primary race will be the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday, March 18.

About PPG
PPG: WE PROTECT AND BEAUTIFY THE WORLD™
At PPG (NYSE:PPG), we work every day to develop and deliver the paints, coatings and materials that our customers have trusted for more than 130 years. Through dedication and creativity, we solve our customers’ biggest challenges, collaborating closely to find the right path forward. With headquarters in Pittsburgh, we operate and innovate in more than 70 countries and reported net sales of $14.3 billion in 2016. We serve customers in construction, consumer products, industrial and transportation markets and aftermarkets. To learn more, visit www.ppg.com.
We protect and beautify the world is a trademark and the PPG Logo is a registered trademark of PPG Industries Ohio, Inc

About Team Penske
Team Penske is one of the most successful teams in the history of professional sports. Cars owned and prepared by Team Penske have produced more than 470 major race wins, over 540 pole positions and 32 Championships across open-wheel, stock car and sports car racing competition. Over the course of its 52-year history, the team has also earned 16 Indianapolis 500 victories, two Daytona 500 Championships, a Formula 1 win and overall victories in the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring. For 2018, Team Penske will compete in the Verizon IndyCar Series, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, the NASCAR XFINITY Series and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The team also races in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, in a partnership with Dick Johnson Racing, as DJR Team Penske. For more information about Team Penske, please visit www.teampenske.com.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Blaney Caps Off His Wood Brothers Stint With A Ninth Place At Homestead

Ryan Blaney
Ryan Blaney and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team weren’t able to close their time together with a strong finish in the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway as they had hoped, but that was only a hiccup in what has been a remarkable 88-race run for the young driver and the sport’s oldest continuously operating race team.

The Wood Brothers and Blaney have scored a win at Pocono Raceway, poles at Kansas Speedway and Phoenix Raceway, eight top-five and 25 top-10 finishes, 49 lead-lap finishes, 317 laps led, four Stage wins, a 9-race playoff run this season and a ninth-place finish in the final 2017 points standings.

The three Blaney Years in Wood Brothers history, which were made possible by an alliance with Team Penske and support from Ford Motor Company and its Motorcraft and Quick Lane brands, have seen the team surge forward in on-track performance, gain fans off the track, raise money for charity and lay the groundwork for future success.

“We’ve enjoyed our time with Ryan, and we can’t say enough about what he and the crew have done to elevate our race team,” team co-owner Eddie Wood said. “They will always be a big part of our Wood Brothers racing family.”

Wood also thanked the fans who have stood by the team through the tough times of the past and the good times of late.

“We have some of the most loyal fans in the sport, and while we’ll all miss Ryan, I think they’ll like what they see going forward,” he said.

Despite the successes of recent seasons in races on intermediate tracks like Homestead-Miami Speedway, Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 was a disappointing outing for the No. 21 team.

After qualifying a solid 11th, Blaney faded early and was in 32nd place, two laps down after the first stage. Trapped that far behind the leaders, the team was never able to find the speed or employ a strategy to rejoin the lead lap and wound up in 29th place, three laps down.

“It wasn’t the day we wanted, and it wasn’t the day the Ford teams wanted, but congratulations to Martin Truex Jr. on the championship,” Wood said.

Now the focus for the Wood Brothers and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team turns to the 2018 campaign and the season-opening Daytona 500.

“We’re looking forward to the start of a new era, and we’ll go home and start getting ready to go to Daytona for the 500,” Wood said.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

The Future NASCAR Stars Are Here!

Christopher Bell

According to NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France, you don’t have to look far to find the next generation of stars.

“They are here,” France said on Sunday morning before the Ford EcoBoost 400 during a question-and-answer session with reporters at Homestead-Miami Speedway. “They are here, and they’ve got to develop their performance, but they’re doing well. You look at Ryan Blaney, you look at Chase (Elliott) almost making the final here in Miami. Go down the list. We’ve got a loaded group.

“But it’s true, we’re in a transition, too. But that happens from time to time, not usually in the concentrated manner that we have now, but it happens. But we’re excited. We’ve got a great, great bunch of 19-, 20-(year-olds), and they’re talented, so we’re in good shape.”

NASCAR President Brent Dewar, who appeared with France on the dais, echoed those sentiments.

“We anticipate every decade you’re going to go through this rotation, and between NASCAR Next and Drive for Diversity, these young stars that you’re talking about have all come through those classes, and they’re all good wheel men and women that are coming up through these series. And I think that’s the key thing, and we’re working with them in terms of how they work outside the car.

“And I think the other part is if you look at most sports, name any other major sport where you get to have a 15  to 20 year career at the highest level. It just does not exist. Those are exceptions.  It’s the norm here. So if you look at all the ones you take and you add 20 years, you’re going to be somewhere around the age of a Dale Jr. and a Matt Kenseth, so they were those same very 19 , 20 , 21 year olds years back.”

France’s and Dewar’s comments were juxtaposed against the backdrop of a sea change in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, from which the sport’s most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr., is retiring after Sunday’s race. Kenseth, the 2003 champion, also faces a hiatus from NASCAR’s premier series, and Danica Patrick announced on Friday she will race for the last time in the series in the 2018 Daytona 500.

“Dale Jr. has made an obviously big contribution on and off the track for a long time,” France said. “So while we’re going to miss him for obvious reasons, he’s not going to be that far away, being an owner and working with NBC.

“So he’s going to be glued to the sport, and that’s a good thing for us.”

Both France and Dewar expressed optimism about the state of the sport and were thankful for the dialogue and collaboration between the sanctioning body, team owners, manufacturers, drivers and race tracks toward a long-term strategic plan for the sport.

“Well, I’m really more optimistic right now, and I know you may expect me to say that, but we’ve made the transition largely,” France said. “We’ve gotten the council meetings going. We’ve gotten charters in position so we can get our interests aligned more closely with drivers, OEMs and the charters and the team owners.

“We have the young drivers already in place. We’d like a couple more, of course. We’ve got some diversity with Bubba Wallace going in the 43 car (as the only African-American driver competing at NASCAR highest level). We like that. We’d love to see more of that. And we like all the changes that we’ve made in the last four or five years, including stage racing this year. It has created the things that we thought were important.”

And just as the sanctioning body has collaborated extensively with race teams on the evolution of the racing on the track, so too has NASCAR and the industry worked to improve the overall business model.

“The difference is now we have a mechanism of working together and a process to do that, and we’re all in,” Dewar said. “From tracks to teams to drivers, we’re all in, and we’re trying to focus on the sport, the business behind the scenes, and just continue to make continuous improvement to do that.

“I’m making it sound easy. It’s really hard. It’s really, really hard. At the end of the day, they’re racers. Race car drivers want to win, and team owners want to win, and we want them to win. We want to cultivate and nurture that as much as possible, but there’s still a business behind all these sports, and we need to make continued improvement on the business side.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Ryan Blaney Starts From The 12th Spot In The Ford EcoBoost 400

Ryan Blaney
For their final race together, Ryan Blaney and the Wood Brothers team will start the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway from a familiar position.

Blaney, crew chief Jeremy Bullins, and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team bounced back from a mediocre practice session to advance through all three rounds of knock-out qualifying and earn the 11th starting spot for Sunday’s finale of Ford Championship Weekend.

It was the 26th time in 36 races this season that Blaney and the No. 21 team have qualified among the top 12.

“Ryan and the crew made some changes after practice, and obviously they were right ones,” team co-owner Eddie Wood said. “It’s really satisfying to be among the top 12 in our last race together, and I’m glad they were able to find some good speed tonight since they’ve been so good in qualifying all season.”

Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team were 20th fastest in Friday’s opening practice, with a best lap at 168.972 miles per hour.

After some tuning on the No. 21 Fusion, Blaney was 14th fastest in the opening round of qualifying with a speed of 172.590 mph.

He ran a lap at 173.055 mph in Round Two, which was ninth fastest of the 24 drivers and earned him a spot among the elite 12 qualifiers.

His final lap, a 171.255 mph, earned him the 11th starting spot for Sunday’s season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400.

“We made improvements from the first round to the second round, but we fell off for the third round,”

Blaney said in his post-qualifying comments. “We missed a bit on that last adjustment. It was a good effort.”

Blaney also said the increase in his speed in qualifying compared to his speed in practice was due in part to the fact that practice was held during the day and qualifying at night.

“We made some adjustments to the car between practice and qualifying, but the biggest difference is the temperature,” he said.

Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 is set to get the green flag just after 2:30 p.m. with TV coverage on NBC.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

REV Group To Sponsor Ryan Blaney And The Team Penske No. 12 In 2018

Ryan Blaney
Team Penske has announced an enhanced partnership agreement for 2018 with REV Group, a leading manufacturer of specialty vehicle brands serving the commercial, fire and emergency and recreational markets. REV, a Team Penske partner in the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) and the Verizon IndyCar Series since 2016, will showcase its brands as the company steps up to become a sponsor for the team in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) in 2018.

REV will be the primary sponsor of the No. 12 Ford Fusion and driver Ryan Blaney for two races next season, including the spring race at Bristol Motor Speedway and the fall race at Talladega Superspeedway. REV will also be featured as an associate sponsor on the No. 12 Ford Fusion for the rest of the team’s 2018 MENCS races.

In addition, REV will continue its association with the team’s INDYCAR program – as a full-season associate sponsor on the No. 1 of Josef Newgarden and the No. 3 of Helio Castroneves during the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500 during the month of May.

“We are always looking for ways to give our partners more exposure and teaming REV up with Ryan Blaney in the Cup Series was a perfect opportunity,” said Roger Penske.  “We’ve been able to build a great relationship with the entire REV organization over the last couple of years.  Tim Sullivan, Marcus Berto and their entire group do a fantastic job leveraging their partnership to bring in guests and help expand their business-to-business opportunities.”

REV has featured its Fleetwood RV brand with Team Penske since 2016 as primary sponsor of four NXS races on the No. 22 Ford Mustang, including the season finale event at Homestead-Miami Speedway.  Joey Logano took REV to their first victory as a Team Penske primary sponsor at Las Vegas Motor Speedway earlier this year. The company has also sponsored three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Castroneves and was the primary sponsor of the No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet at several races over the last two seasons.

“We couldn’t be more pleased to continue our association with Team Penske in 2018,” said REV Group President and CEO, Tim Sullivan. “We are very excited to be associated with two of Team Penske’s young guns next year.  We have supported Ryan Blaney in the XFINITY Series the past two years and we look forward to continue that as he moves to the No. 12 in the Cup Series next season. We are equally excited to have newly-crowned INDYCAR Series Champion Josef Newgarden become a part of the REV family.  And of course, the master Helio Castroneves as he strives for number four at Indy.”

At just 23 years old, Blaney is a key pillar to NASCAR’s youth movement. Currently racing in his second full-time season for the legendary Wood Brothers Racing team, Blaney captured his first MENCS career pole at Kansas Speedway, as well as his first Cup Series career win at Pocono Raceway this season. The victory at Pocono earned Blaney a coveted spot in the 2017 MENCS Playoffs for the first time in his young career.

“It will be great to have REV on board with No. 12 Ford Fusion next season,” said Blaney.  “They have been an important sponsor for Team Penske’s XFINITY Series program and growing the relationship and taking it to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series level is exciting.  Not only that, but I’ve utilized one of their motorhomes each weekend at the track and I love it.  It’s great to see a partner continue to build their program with us year after year.  We’ll be working hard to bring REV to the Cup Series Victory Lane in 2018.”

REV has had a strong presence in the motorsports industry for years. In the area of track safety, REV fire trucks and ambulances are used at race tracks around the country. In addition, race fans and general consumers utilize REV vehicles including their extensive list of bus brands, mobility vans, street sweepers, yard trucks and popular recreational vehicles. The partnership with Team Penske continues to provide visibility and activation opportunities for these REV brands in the racing community.

The 2018 NASCAR Cup Series regular season begins with the 60th anniversary running of the Great American Race, the Daytona 500, on Sunday, February 18.

About Team Penske

Team Penske is one of the most successful teams in the history of professional sports and celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2016. Cars owned and prepared by Team Penske have produced more than 470 major race wins, over 540 pole positions and 30 National Championships across open-wheel, stock car and sports car racing competition. In its storied history, the team has also earned 16 Indianapolis 500 victories, two Daytona 500 Championships, a Formula 1 win and overall victories in the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring. Team Penske currently competes in the Verizon IndyCar Series, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series. The team also races in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, in a partnership with Dick Johnson Racing, as DJR Team Penske. For more information about Team Penske, please visit www.teampenske.com.

About REV Group

REV Group, Inc., formerly Allied Specialty Vehicles (ASV), is manufacturer of industry-leading specialty vehicle brands serving commercial, fire & emergency and recreation markets. Within the commercial division, REV offers a full line of buses, terminal trucks, sweepers and mobility conversion vehicles. The fire & emergency division offers a complete line of fire apparatus and ambulance vehicles. Within the recreation vehicle division, the company produces motorized RVs under several of the industry’s most iconic brands. For more information about REV visit www.revgroup.com, or to view a short video about the REV rebranding effort, visit: www.revgroup.com/video.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Blaney Rides Out Of The Woods Brother Ford After Homestead

Ryan Blaney
The Ryan Blaney chapter in Wood Brothers history comes to a close this weekend with the running of the season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Beginning next season, Blaney and crew chief Jeremy Bullins will return to Team Penske, and the iconic No. 21 Fusion will be driven by Paul Menard, with Greg Erwin serving as crew chief.

The three “Blaney Years” have seen a resurgence in performance for NASCAR’s oldest continuously operating race team.

Blaney and the Woods ran the 2015 season on a limited schedule of 16 races then returned to full-time in 2016.

Their 2017 season has been a break-out year with a win at Pocono Raceway, poles and Kansas Speedway and Phoenix Raceway, four Stage wins and a nine-week run in the Monster Energy Cup playoffs.

The team heads into the Ford Championship Weekend eighth in the points standings, just 10 points behind seventh-place Matt Kenseth.

All told, Blaney and the No. 21 Motocraft/Quick Lane team, taking advantage of their technical alliance with Team Penske, have run 87 races together, with eight top-five and 25 top-10 finishes, 49 lead-lap finishes and 317 laps led.

They’ve achieved several milestones for the Woods, including the team’s 99th Cup victory, at Pocono in June, its 118th pole, last week at Phoenix and its 1,500th Cup start, in September at Richmond Raceway.

Team co-owner Eddie Wood said it’s been a rewarding three-year run that started as a one-year deal and grew into two more.

“The initial expectations of everyone was Ryan was going to go back to Team Penske wherever they were ready,” Wood said. “We’re fortunate enough to keep him a couple of extra years.”

In many ways, the Woods will keep Blaney around forever.

“Just like everyone else who has ever driven for us, Ryan will always be a part of our Wood Brothers family,” Wood said.

Indeed, Blaney’s image is displayed on the team’s wall of winners in the Wood Brothers Museum in Stuart, Va., and his name will be prominently displayed for posterity along with the all-star line-up of drivers who have won races and poles for the Woods.

From Blaney’s perspective, he said earlier this year that he feels fortunate to have been a part of Wood Brothers history, as well as that of Team Penske.

“I’ve been really lucky to drive for two great teams and get to know some great families and great people along the way,” he said in a press conference announcing his move to a third car at Team Penske. “Growing up in the sport, I looked up to teams like the Wood Brothers and the Penske organization. To drive for them is definitely something that I would always want to do as a kid.

“It’s really nice to be able to be in a spot to do that.”

Blaney said in his post-race comments at Phoenix that he’ll give it his best shot in the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead even though he won’t be among the four drivers competing for the Cup title.

“It’s a shame we’re not racing for the championship, but we can still try to win the race,” he said.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Ryan Blaney Came Up Just A Little Short At Phoenix

Ryan Blaney
Ryan Blaney and the No. 21 SKF/Quick Lane Ford team came up short of being among the four drivers and their teams that will compete for the Monster Energy Cup Series championship at Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway next week.

But despite fading to 17th place at the finish of Sunday’s Can-Am 500 and coming 23 points shy of advancing, they left Phoenix Raceway with their heads held high after a season full of amazing accomplishments.

“It’s disappointing, but at the same time we have a lot to be proud of for sure,” Blaney said in his post-race comments. “The nine weeks that we had [in the playoffs] is something to be proud of.

“It’s a shame we’re not racing for the championship, but we can still try to win the race.”

Blaney started Sunday’s 312-mile race from the pole and led the first 11 laps, but it was soon apparent that his SKF/Quick Lane Fusion wasn’t fast enough to win the race, which was his most realistic option for advancing to the championship round at Homestead.

Still, he and the team battled hard throughout the race and found themselves in the top five as the laps wound down. But to keep that track position meant staying on the track during late-race cautions, and staying on the track ended up putting him at a disadvantage to drivers behind him with fresher tires.

“We were debating whether to pit or not there and just didn’t, so that made us fall back,” he said. “I thought we could have stayed up and you never know what could have happened, but we just never had the car all day to compete up front.”

That’s not to say Blaney and the team didn’t put forth a 100-percent effort.

“We did a good job on restarts,” Blaney said. “I thought we were decent on restarts all day. We were able to start up towards the front and just didn’t work out for us.

“We still have one more race to go with the Wood Brothers group, so hopefully we can go and have a good run at Miami.”

Team co-owner Len Wood echoed Blaney’s comments about the team having a lot to be proud of, including a win at Pocono, poles at Kansas and Phoenix and a nine-week run in the playoffs.

“We came within one race of making the championship round,” Wood said. “It’s been an amazing season, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the alliance we have with Team Penske.”

Wood also said he’s proud to have two Ford teammates among the four competing for the title in Ford Championship Weekend.

“We’re proud to have Team Penske’s No. 2 team and their driver Brad Keselowski among the final four along with Kevin Harvick from Stewart-Haas Racing,” Wood said. “It’s good to see half the championship contenders carrying the colors of Ford Motor Company, and we hope to have a great run ourselves in the Ford 400 as we say goodbye to Ryan Blaney and Jeremy Bullins, who have made major contributions to Wood Brothers history in their three seasons with us.

The No. 21 Fusion will carry its familiar Motorcraft/Quick Lane colors in the season-ending Ford 400 on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

TIL NEX TTIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Ryan Blaney Grabs Second Career Cup Pole For Phoenix

Ryan Blaney

Ryan Blaney and the No. 21 SKF/Quick Lane wrote another chapter in their storybook 2017 season by winning the pole for Sunday’s Can-Am 500 at Phoenix Raceway.

It was Blaney’s second career pole and the 118th for his Wood Brothers team.

Thanks in large part to their alliance with Team Penske, Blaney and the Wood Brothers team have emerged as one of the sport’s teams to watch. They’ve won a race, at Pocono Raceway, made it to the Round of Eight in the Monster Energy Cup playoffs and now have two poles and three other front-row starts, including one at Phoenix in March.

Blaney’s No. 21 SKF/Quick Lane Fusion was among the fastest cars all day on Friday at Phoenix. He was fifth fastest in practice with a best lap at 136.867 miles per hour.

He was fourth fastest in the first two rounds of qualifying, posting speeds of 137.122 mph in the opening round and bumping his speed up to 137.573 mph in the second.

His pole-winning lap was faster still, at 137.942 mph, and it gives him a head start on collecting the much-needed stage points he’ll need to score if he hopes to advance to the championship round of the Monster Energy Cup playoffs.

“We got better each round, which is all you can ask for really,” Blaney said. “I thought the last round was our best.  We ran our fastest time and it was enough.

“That says something strong about this team. We started second here in the spring and to back that up and better it at a big weekend like this, where we have to perform well, that’s definitely encouraging and it gets our weekend started off on a good foot.

“Hopefully, we can keep this momentum up and keep it going and see what we have for them on Sunday.”

Blaney enters the Phoenix weekend sixth in the standings, 22 points away from a berth in the final round of the playoffs, which will be the premier event at next week’s Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

He said it’s possible to make the final playoff round on points, but he likely needs a win to be in.

“You never know what can happen,” he said. “If you go and you get a good couple stages in, you and the 11 [Denny Hamlin] or the 2 [Brad Keselowski] don’t have very good stages, you might be right there.

“You never know how it’s going to be. You just kind of assume those two cars are in the positions they are for a reason – because they run up front every single week.  You just kind of realize the situation that you’re in and where they’re running, but it is possible to point our way in, but I’m not really banking on that.

“That’s going to be really tough to do, along with winning the race.  They’re both going to be tough, but the points thing is not out of the question.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Ryan Blaney Dominates But Finishes Second At The Ticket Galaxy 200

Ryan Blaney
Track:   Phoenix Raceway

Race:     Ticket Galaxy 200

Date:    November 11, 2017

 

No. 22  Discount Tire Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney

Start:    6th

Finish:   2nd

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 200/200

Laps Led: 147

Owner’s Points Position (leading by): 4th (-0)

 

Recap: Ryan Blaney started sixth and finished second in Saturday afternoon’s Ticket Galaxy 200 at Phoenix International Raceway with the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang after a dominating performance. On the initial start, Blaney showed the speed of the Mustang, powering to the third position in the opening laps. Throughout the first stage, Blaney battled a Ford Mustang that was tight on corner exit, but was able to move forward, capturing the race lead by lap 38 where he’d conclude the opening 60 lap stage. On the first pit stop of the race, crew chief Greg Erwin adjusted with wedge and air pressure, sending Blaney back to the track to restart as the race leader. In the opening laps of the second stage, Blaney communicated to the team that he was loose in and tight off exit but overall the handling was not bad. The 23 year-old-driver would dominate the second 60 lap stage and win his second stage of the 200 lap race. At lap 122, crew chief Greg Erwin elected to bring Blaney to pit road for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment, putting the team in the first position to start the third and final stage. Blaney was able to maintain the race lead with the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford after an extensive battle with the No. 20 of Erik Jones. Once Blaney checked out from the field in clean air, he reported the handling of the No. 22 Mustang was better than previous runs. Blaney would pit from the lead during a caution at lap 183 for four tires, fuel and a small adjustment to the Discount Tire Ford. The No. 22 Ford Mustang was the fourth car off pit road but the first with four tires. Blaney quickly worked his way to the second position and began running down race leader William Byron. Blaney would ultimately bring the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang home in the second position and secure a spot in the championship four in hopes of winning Team Penske’s fourth owner’s title.

 

Quote:  “It was a good race for us.  Honestly, I thought we had a really good car and we got it better each run, except for the last one really.  I thought our long-run speed was really good and we came in and got four and I was kind of free taking off each run, so we short-filled it a little bit.  I thought that was gonna be enough to tighten us up and we just needed more, so then the 9 got out front and we couldn’t run him down.  I was really, really loose so that stinks.  We figured out a really good way to lose these things.  We’ve finished second a lot this year in that car, so that’s unfortunate, especially when we had a great car today, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.  That stinks, but, like I said, that car is in the owner’s championship so hopefully it can go and win that thing next week at Homestead.  That would be great.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Ryan Blaney Will Lead Them To The Green At PIR

Ryan Blaney
Ryan Blaney got what he needed in Friday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series knockout qualifying session—but only by a thousandth of a second.

In the final round, Blaney covered the one-mile distance at Phoenix Raceway in 26.098 seconds (137.942 mph) to edge Denny Hamlin (137.936 mph) by .001 for the top starting spot in Sunday’s Can-Am 500, the final race in the Playoff’s Round of 8.

With the Playoff field set to be trimmed from eight drivers to four after the race at Phoenix, both Blaney and Hamlin are below the cut line. A victory for either driver would guarantee the final spot in the Nov. 19 Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The same is true for Chase Elliott, whose only realistic shot at the final four is to win on Sunday. Elliott qualified fourth at 137.641 mph, one position behind Kyle Larson (137.926 mph), who fell .003 seconds short of matching the pole-winning speed.

“We got better each round, which is all you can ask for, really,” said Blaney, who won his second Coors Light Pole Award of the season, the second of his career and his first at Phoenix. “I thought the last round was our best. We ran our fastest time, and it was enough. That says something strong about this team.

“I think we started second here in the spring, and to back that up and better it at a big weekend like this, where we have to perform well, that’s definitely encouraging, and it gets our weekend started off on a good foot. Hopefully, we can keep this momentum up and keep it going and see what we have for them on Sunday.”

Brad Keselowski, fourth in the standings and 19 points ahead of Hamlin in fifth, was the only Playoff driver who failed to advance to the third round of time trials. Keselowski qualified 16th in his No. 2 Team Penske Ford, putting him in a disadvantaged position for accumulating points in the race’s first two stages.

“It’s a short race, and if there’s a track to qualify well, this is one of them,” Keselowski said. “It’s not where we want to start, but when the track gets hot and slick, we seem to run better here than when it cools off at night.

“I don’t know, maybe that’s my style. I’m not sure, but we’ll go race and see what we’ve got.”

Keselowski’s lackluster qualifying effort, won’t change Hamlin’s approach to the race.

“It doesn’t alter it much,” said Hamlin, who cut the backstretch dogleg in the final round in an attempt to shorten the distance. “I didn’t think they were going to qualify that great, but they typically race pretty well here.

“I’m not going to count on anything – not until we get to the end of the first stage and I see where we’re at. I’m confident that starting right there, we should probably be up front all day.”

Elliott trails Keselowski by 49 points entering the final event in the Round of 8. Unlike Blaney and Hamlin, who could make the Championship 4 on points if Keselowski fades, Elliott is in a win-or-bust situation.

Getting the fourth pick of pit stalls should help.

“If we get our car driving good (in Saturday’s practice), it’s plenty good enough,” Elliott said of his qualifying run. “So we’ll see. It would have been nice to have that first pit box, but I think taking fourth, there are four good ones on pit road. We’ll take advantage of that and try to go get ‘em on Sunday.”

Twelfth-place qualifier Jimmie Johnson is in the same position as Elliott, his Hendrick Motorsports teammate. If the seven-time champion hopes to preserve a shot at an eighth title this year, he’ll have to win on Sunday.

“We made it to the third round, and I just got really aggressive in that round trying to run a flat (26 seconds),” Johnson said. “Just got in the corner too hard on both ends and I kind of pushed up.

“So, could have been better, but I don’t know if we could have had the pole. I think we would have only been about fifth or sixth if I had got it right.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!