No. 12 MoneyLion Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 22nd
Stage 2: 24th
Laps Completed: 398/400
Laps Led: 0
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 9th (-123)
· Richmond Raceway proved to be a headache for Ryan Blaney and the No. 12 MoneyLion Ford Mustang team. An ill-handling No. 12 Mustang plus a pit road penalty late in the race led to a 25th-place finish for Blaney on a frustrating Saturday night.
· Blaney started 22nd in the 400-lap race at the .75 mile Virginia short track. He reported the balance on his Ford Mustang was loose on entry, tight center and loose off the corners. The first round of pit service came during a competition caution on lap 42. Crew chief Jeremy Bullins made the call for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Following the restart in lap 46, Blaney soon reported to his team the changes actually made his car drive worse. Despite the challenges, Blaney remained on the lead lap and was credited with a 22nd-place when Stage 1 concluded on lap 100.
· In Stage 2, Bullins and Blaney opted to reverse course on the previous adjustments. The driver of the MoneyLion Ford reported the changes didn’t allow him to be as aggressive on throttle as his other competitors. A stop under caution on lap 131 pit stop allowed the MoneyLion team to change four tires plus make wedge and air pressure adjustments but those changes didn’t make a huge difference. To make matters worse, Blaney made contact with the wall in the closing laps of Stage 2, leaving the young driver 24th in the rundown when the segment concluded on lap 200. But as the first car one lap down, Blaney received the free pass back onto the lead lap during the stage caution.
· Blaney continued to wrestle an ill-handling race car during the final segment of the race. A pit stop during the fifth and final caution on lap 246 saw the crew put a rubber in the left rear spring. His final stop came under green on lap 311, but he was penalized for a commitment line violation. Blaney was officially credited with a 25th-place finish in the final rundown and now sits ninth in the Cup Series standings.
Quote: “Richmond continues to be a challenge. We just seem to be fighting something every time we race here. I’m looking forward to getting to Talladega in two weeks. Maybe we can figuring this place out in the fall.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!