No. 12 Accella/Carlisle Ford Fusion – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 4th
Stage 2: 2nd
Laps Completed: 337/337
Laps Led: 40
Playoff Standings: 9th
- Ryan Blaney kicked off his weekend at Texas Motor Speedway by winning the pole position Friday evening for the AAA Texas 500, his third pole of 2018 and fifth of his career. Blaney ripped off a lap of 200.505 mph in his Accella/Carlisle Ford Fusion, the second-fastest ever recorded on 1.5-mile speedway in NASCAR history.
- At the drop of the green flag, Blaney’s No. 12 Ford set the early pace, leading the opening 32 circuits prior to a competition caution on lap 30. He reported to crew chief Jeremy Bullins that his car lacked rear security. The lap 32 pit stop saw the crew call for an air pressure adjustment along with four tires. He restarted fifth as several cars took two tires for track position. The remaining 51 laps of the stage were run under green. Blaney ran as high as third position, but could not find a way around Kurt Busch as the two battled for second-place. As the stage drew to a close, Blaney’s car got loose in traffic, which shuffled him back to fourth when Stage 1 ended on lap 85.
- The second round of pit service came on lap 88 and Bullins made the call four tires and an air pressure adjustments to help the loose condition and tight off the corners. Solid service by the No. 12 crew got the 24-year-old driver out in fifth position when Stage 2 began on lap 92.
- The adjustments improved the handling of the No. 12 Ford dramatically but passing was difficult. In a strategic move, Bullins called Blaney to pit road under green on lap 133 for two right-side tires. Blaney moved up to second-position behind Kevin Harvick and soon thereafter reported the two tires made his car loose by himself but tight in traffic. Nevertheless, he held off Martin Truex Jr. to finish second in Stage 2.
- Blaney pitted during the following stage caution four tires, fuel, and an air pressure adjustment. The race went green on lap 173 and Blaney worked his way up quickly to the second position behind leader Brad Keselowski and third-place Joey Logano in a Team Penske 1-2-3. Blaney was consistently running laps faster than Keselowski, but with climbing engines temperatures around lap 200, he ran a conservative pace to take a care of his engine. He pitted on lap 227, where he took four tires and fuel along with an air pressure adjustment and tape off the nose for cooling.
- Blaney was in hot pursuit of leader Kevin Harvick when he made his final stop of the day under green on lap 281. The race saw two cautions in the final 27 laps, giving the High Point, N.C. native a shot to get his second win of 2018. The restart on lap 293, saw Blaney take the outside lane but Harvick managed to hold off Blaney until the seventh caution slowed the pace on lap 307.
- Blaney was still using the outside lane and got a great restart on lap 310 to clear Harvick off Turn 2 and grab the lead on lap 311. He led next seven laps until Harvick found a way around him on lap 318.
- The final caution of the day came out on lap 332, two laps from the advertised distanced of the race, forcing the event into NASCAR Overtime. This time Harvick opted for the outside lane. At the drop of the green, Blaney received a huge push from Kyle Larson, but Harvick managed to clear Blaney off Turn 2. Try as he might, Blaney couldn’t mount another challenge to Harvick and settled for a second-place finish, his eighth top-five of 2018. He remains ninth in the Cup Series standings.
Quote: “We got by the 4 on that one restart but I just couldn’t hold him off. He was really good. I kind of missed one and two by an inch and he took advantage of it. We needed to be mistake free and then some. Then we had another shot at it. The last restart, he took the top, like I knew he was going to and he motored around me. It was a strong showing by our Carlisle team. I thought the 4 was head and shoulders above everyone else but I thought we were second-best for sure. That was a fun race. I really wanted to win one for Dewayne Felkel and his family. He passed away earlier this week and was a fabricator at our shop. I wanted to win for him.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!