No. 12 PPG Ford Fusion – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 7th
Stage 2: 5th
Laps Completed: 266/267
Laps Led: 19
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 10th (-241)
- Ryan Blaney started from second position in Sunday’s 400-mile race at Chicagoland Speedway.
- Blaney took the lead from Paul Menard heading into Turn 1 and led the first 17 laps of the race. Shortly thereafter he reported that his PPG Ford Fusion began to build loose on the entry, which also affected his drive off the corners.
- Crew chief Jeremy Bullins called Blaney to pit road on lap 38 and the PPG crew made a wedge and air pressure adjustment plus four new Goodyear tires. Although the changes did not make a huge difference, Blaney stayed inside the top-10, bringing home a seventh-place finish in Stage 1. During the stage break on lap 83, the PPG team made a wedge and additional air pressure adjustments to help a tight-handling condition.
- Stage 2 began on lap 86 and although Blaney reported his Ford was still tight, they were making progress with the handling on the No. 12 Ford Fusion. The next round of service came on lap 120, where the team made additional air pressure adjustments.
- The caution flew on lap 129 for debris and Bullins opted for two right-side tires, a move to gain track position. Blaney regained the lead from Ryan Newman on lap 133 and led two laps before falling back to the cars on four new tires but still managed to bring home a fifth-place finish in Stage 2.
- Blaney started the final stage on new tires but soon fell back, reporting that his car was very free throughout the corner. A few laps later he radioed his team that he felt like he had a loose wheel, which forced him to pit road on lap 194. The unscheduled green-flag stop cost Blaney a lap but he regained the lost distance when he received the free pass during the fifth and final caution on lap 209.
- With a potential shortage of new tires looming, Bullins put on scuffed tires when Blaney during the final caution. Bullins was hoping for one more yellow flag and the opportunity to use his new tires at the end of the race, giving Blaney a significant advantage.
- Unfortunately, the desired caution never came and Blaney was left with an 18th-place finish. The driver of the PPG Ford Fusion did move up to 10th in the MENCS driver standings – a gain of one position.
Quote: “It was obviously wasn’t the finish we wanted today. I felt like we had a pretty good car but that unscheduled pit stop put us behind. We were sitting in good shape if we got another caution and could put on our remaining set of fresh tires, but, unfortunately, it never came. We will move on to Daytona, where we’ve been strong as of late, and hope to bring home a win.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!