No. 12 Menards/Wrangler Riggs Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 11th
Stage 2: 30th
Laps Completed: 203/203
Laps Led: 1
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 9th (-180)
· A quiet day for Ryan Blaney resulted in a ninth-place finish Monday evening at Michigan International Speedway. The driver of the Menards/Wrangler Riggs Ford Mustang battled to his fifth top-10 finish of the season. Blaney and the No. 12 Menards team remain ninth in the NASCAR Cup Series standings, 180 points behind leader Joey Logano.
- Blaney started 13th in the race which was postponed by rain to Monday. He struggled early and fell outside the top-15. He reported to crew chief Jeremy Bullins the balance of the No. 12 Mustang was loose, especially in Turn 3. Blaney pitted during the competition caution on lap 20 for right-side tires and an air pressure adjustment. When racing resumed on lap 25, Blaney reported the balance was better but still free. Although Blaney fell to 20th position, he was able to battle back and finish 11th when Stage 1 concluded on lap 60. During the stage caution, crew chief Jeremy Bullins called for four tires and multiple adjustments to the Menards/Wrangler Riggs Ford including wedge, air pressure and a piece of tape on the nose. Blaney restarted 10th when the race resumed on lap 67.
- The pace was slowed by the third caution on lap 71 and Bullins made the call for the No. 12 Ford to stay on the track. Blaney lined up fourth when the race went green on lap 75. The High Point, N.C. native muscled his way to the second position behind teammate Joey Logano before settling into third position. Blaney made a scheduled green flag stop on lap 115 for left-side tires just five laps before the conclusion of Stage 2. He finished 30th when the stage concluded on lap 120, the last car in the lead lap. During the stage caution, Blaney pitted for right-side tires, fuel and adjustments and he restarted in the 11th position on lap 127.
- A chaotic restart led to another caution on lap 129 and shuffled Blaney back to 12th. The driver of the No. 12 Ford would make his way up to the seventh position before the pace was slowed once more on lap 134. Blaney communicated to his team that his Mustang was still loose, but a little better, maintaining position inside the top-12.
- Blaney was running 11th on lap 174 when Bullins called the driver of the Menards/Wrangler Riggs Mustang to pit road for the final stop of the race. The team changed right-side tires, fuel and minor adjusts for the closing laps of the event. When the pit cycle was complete, Blaney was holding firm to tenth position. The seventh and final caution on lap 197 set up a two-lap NASCAR Overtime dash to the finish. The sprint to the checkered flag and intense restart worked to Blaney’s advantage. He picked up two positions over the final two laps and was credited with a ninth-place finish at the checkered flag.
Quote: “The restarts were crazy and the dirty air was tough. If you found yourself back in traffic you had to make the best of it. We were able to make our way into the top three, but the handling faded at the end. I thought we had a pretty good day for our Menards/Wrangler Riggs Ford. We certainly have something positive to build on after this run heading into Sonoma.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!