No. 12 PPG Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 6th
Stage 2: 4th
Laps Completed: 324/325
Laps Led: 41
Driver Point Standings (behind leader): 14th (-33)
Ryan Blaney’s strong run in the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway was spoiled by a couple late race mishaps. The driver of the No. 12 PPG Ford Mustang showed speed throughout the event, including lead the first laps of his Cup Series career in his fourth start at the 1.54-mile speedway.
Blaney started 26th and quickly made his way to 14th position, prior to the lap 35 competition caution. He reported to crew chief Jeremy Bullins that his Ford Mustang had good initial turn, but was tight on exit. Bullins called for an air pressure adjustment and a piece of tape on the nose to go along with four new Goodyear tires.
Blaney continued his charge to the front on the restart, making a couple aggressive moves to get himself into the top-10 and eventually knocking on the door of the top-five. Blaney would finish in the sixth position and the end of Stage 1. On lap 88 he pitted for service that included four tires plus an additional air pressure to help with a loose condition.
Blaney fought his way to fourth early on the restart and spent the majority of the second stage in that position. He continued to report that his Mustang slid the nose in both the center and exit of the corners. The crew continued to work with air pressure adjustments to keep the car turning. Blaney finished fourth when Stage 2 concluded on lap 170.
Under the second stage break, Blaney pitted on lap 223 and the crew made a slight air pressure adjustment to keep the PPG Ford Mustang snugged up in the center of the turns. Good pit work by the team got Blaney out in the second position for the restart on lap 227.
On the restart, Blaney grabbed the lead from Kevin Harvick on lap 231 and led the next 41 laps, his first laps led at Atlanta.
Unfortunately the team’s strong day went bad late as a pit road miscue and late-race tire problem forced extended service for the PPG crew. When the checkered flag waved, Blaney would be scored in the 22nd position.
Quote: “We had an awesome PPG Ford today. Atlanta has been a place I’ve struggled at in the past so to be competitive and lead some laps felt good today. We had a car that could’ve one but late race issues cost us a chance to win that was super disappointing. We’ll move on and get ready for the West Coast swing.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!