Ryan Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing team overcame a pit road miscue and a late-race accident in the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway this evening to post their eighth top-15 finish of the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup season.
“We had a really fast car, I’ll say that,” Blaney said after the race. “We were really fast in the beginning. We ran up front a lot.”
Starting from the 12th position on the grid, Blaney broke his way into the top 10 by lap 33 and was scored as high as third a lap later. He slipped out of the top 10 briefly but returned by the 50th lap. He pulled onto pit road from third place under green at lap 65 when the miscue happened.
“I slid the fronts and got too close to the wall,” Blaney explained. “That was my fault but we fought back. We were still really good after that.”
The rookie wheelman returned to the action in 28th place but quickly climbed his way back into the top 15 by lap 73 and into the top 10 again by lap 86.
Blaney narrowly avoided a huge, 22-car pileup on lap 90, but wasn’t as fortunate when Tony Stewart hit the wall on lap 148 and bounced into the Wood Brothers’ famous No 21, doing considerable damage to the right front of the Ford Fusion.
“We barely missed that first one but we just didn’t quite miss the other one,” Blaney said. “We were in a good spot and the 14 wrecked, turned in front of us and hurt the right front pretty bad. There just weren’t enough laps to go after that to go anywhere.
“Unfortunately we couldn’t get out with a finish we deserve,” he continued. “I thought we were a top five. But not bad. All of the Fords were really fast. It’s cool to see Brad (Keselowski) win it. That’s awesome.”
With that 14th-place result, Blaney moves up two spots in the driver points standings to 15th before heading to Kentucky Speeway for the Quaker State 400 on Saturday July 9.
Blaney and his Wood Brothers Racing No. 21 continues to improve the weekly performances.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!