No. 12 DEX Imaging Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 10th
Stage 2: 7th
Stage 3: 4th
Laps Completed: 400/400
Laps Led: 2
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 9th (-152)
· A late-race loose wheel spoiled a great run for Ryan Blaney in the 60th running of the Coca-Cola 600 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. The driver of the DEX Imaging Ford Mustang battled back late in the 400-lap, four segment event for a 13th-place finish.
· Blaney started 19th and reported to crew chief Jeremy Bullins the DEX Imaging Ford was sliding the nose in the center and exit of the corners. He made his first pit stop of the night on lap 24 under caution for four tires and fuel along with a wedge and air pressure adjustment. The first 100-lap stage would see five caution periods and Blaney would make additional pit stops on laps 51 and 75. Both stops would see the crew work on air pressure to combat an aero tight situation in traffic. Blaney’s lap 75 pit stop would see only tires and fuel for the DEX Imaging Ford. Stage 1 ended with a five-lap sprint and Blaney would restart on the bottom and manage a 10th place finish.
· Blaney came to pit road under stage 2 caution on lap 103 for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. Unfortunately he was caught speeding forcing him to restart at the tail of the field. To make up track position and get on equal tires, both Blaney and teammate Brad Keselowski would remain on track during the caution on lap 128. Blaney would take the lead four laps later from teammate Keselowski, only to give it back two laps later. Blaney would continue to lose spots to the fresher tires of the cars that pitted on the lap 128 caution period. He would get a break when the caution flew on lap 162. He would pit for four tires, fuel along with a track bar and pressure adjustment and piece of tape on the nose. The ninth caution of the day flew on lap 190 and Blaney would come to pit road for four tires, fuel and a slight air pressure adjustment. The restart saw Blaney get bottlenecked on the bottom line. He managed some late moves to bring home a seventh-place finish in stage 2. Blaney would remain on-track during the stage 2 caution.
· Stage 3 would see the High Point, N.C. native utilized his track position to run inside the top-five. He reported the balance of the DEX Imaging Ford was tight. A lap 252 pit stop saw the No. 12 team make a four tire stop, along with a wedge and air pressure adjustment and additional piece of tape on the nose. Blaney would try to find his way around Chase Elliott for third, but would settle for a fourth-place finish when stage 3 concluded on lap 300.
· Under the stage 3 break, Blaney pitted on four tires, fuel and additional air pressure adjustment to help with center turn. For much of the final stage, Blaney raced inside the top-three battling Martin Truex Jr., Chase Elliott and teammate Joey Logano. He reported the balance of his car was neutral for much of the run, but began to go the tight side as run continued. He would visit pit road under the 15th caution of the race on lap 361.
· Blaney would battle during the final 35-lap sprint to the finish. Unfortunately riding in a solid third-place, Blaney was forced to come to pit road on lap 392 for a wheel that worked itself loose. He managed to stay on the lead lap, but lost all track position. Once racing resumed, Blaney would gain some positions back, but would cross the line 13th at the race’s conclusion. Blaney now sits ninth in the NASCAR Cup Series standings.
Quote: “We had a pretty good DEX Imaging Ford tonight. I felt like we had a shot at Martin (Truex Jr.) and Joey (Logano) late. Unfortunately a late race issue with a loose wheel ruined our night.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!