No. 12 Menards/Cardell Cabinetry Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 5th
Stage 2: 2nd
Laps Completed: 225/334
Laps Led: 45
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 8th (-91)
· Bad luck ruined a strong run for Ryan Blaney and the No. 12 Menards/Cardell Cabinetry Ford Mustang team during Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at the Texas Motor Speedway. Blaney led 45 laps on the day, but mechanical issues ended his day 109 laps from the finish.
· Blaney started 13th in the 500-mile event and drove his way inside the top-10 within the first 25 laps of the race. He reported the handling of his Ford Mustang was pretty good, needing only a better exit off Turns 1 and 2.
· The first round of pit stops came under green on lap 69. Crew chief Jeremy Bullins made the call for right-side tires, fuel and a slight air pressure adjustment. Blaney came up just short in a battle with Austin Dillion for fourth in the closing laps of Stage 1. Under the stage caution, the No. 12 team continued to make changes to aid center turn with four tires, fuel, additional air pressure adjustments and tape on the nose.
· Throughout Stage 2, Blaney reported he still needed to turn better in the center of the corners. The third caution on lap 150 came during a cycle of green flag pit stops, which shuffled the running order. The No 12 team pitted for four tires, fuel plus a track bar adjustment during the yellow. When racing resumed on lap 158, Blaney would have a spirited battle with Daniel Suarez for second-place before completing the pass. Once he cleared Suarez, Blaney quickly began closing in on race leader Denny Hamlin but Stage 2 ended before he could make a move for the lead. Excellent pit work by the No. 12 team gave Blaney the lead on lap 173 during a round of pit stops following the conclusion of Stage 2.
· He led the next 45 laps, fighting off a serious challenges by Suarez for the lead. As the tires began to wear and the leaders began to work lap traffic, Blaney slowly began extending the lead to over 1.5 seconds. He made a scheduled green flag stop on lap 219 for four tires and an air pressure adjustment.
· But immediately following his visit to pit road, the No. 12 Ford Mustang experienced a terminal engine problem, sending him to the garage and ending a promising day for Blaney. He would be credited with a 37th-place finish position in the final running order.
Quote: “A part broke off and leaked all the water out, so that’s the way it goes. It just seems that’s the way this season is going. We’ve had a shot to win pretty much every race and something happens. I want to actually start finishing where we should. It’s just one of those days.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!