No. 12 Menards/Sylvania Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 7th
Stage 2: 13th
Laps Completed: 301/301
Laps Led: 0
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 11th (-211)
- Ryan Blaney and the No. 12 Menards/Sylvania Ford Mustang team capped-off a strong weekend with a fourth-place finish in Sunday’s Foxwoods 301 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Blaney claimed best finish in seven Cup races at New Hampshire and collected his third consecutive top-10. He racked up his sixth top-five of the season and remains 11th in the NASCAR Cup Series standings, 211 points behind leader Joey Logano but just seven points behind 10th place of Alex Bowman.
- Blaney earned the fifth starting position in Friday’s qualifying session. When the race started, he ran inside the top-five for much of the Stage 1. He reported to his crew chief Jeremy Bullins that the balance of the No. 12 Ford Mustang was loose all throughout turns. The first caution on lap 46 set up a round of pit stops among the leaders. Blaney received four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustment. Although the changes ultimately didn’t make a huge difference, Blaney held on for a seventh-place finish when the segment ended on lap 75. The Menards crew made bigger adjustments during the stage caution and Blaney would restart outside the top-10 on lap 82.
- Early in Stage 2 Blaney reported that the balance on the Menards Ford remained on the loose side. The third caution on lap 111 caution set up pit stop where Bullins made the call for right-side tires and fuel. Once again, those adjustments didn’t make a huge difference and the High Point, N.C. native soon reported that his car was now “chattering” the rear tires.
- Blaney pitted during the fourth caution once again taking on right-side tires and fuel. A few laps later another caution would fly on lap 146 with Blaney staying on the track and restarting 11th on lap 148. But try as he might, Blaney came up just short in his effort to score stage points, scoring a 13th-place finish when Stage 2 ended on lap 150. He pitted during the stage caution for left-side tires and fuel on lap 155 and restarted 15th when racing resumed on lap 157.
- From there Blaney climbed his way back through the field. Fighting his way back into the top-10, the driver of the Menards/Sylvania Ford Mustang reported that the air pressure and chassis adjustments along with the PJ1 traction compound wearing off made the car come to life.
- A pit stop under the seventh caution on lap 215 saw the Menards crew make a track bar and wedge adjustment to continue tighten up the car. The final caution of the day slowed the pace on lap 266. Blaney pitted during the caution and restarted sixth on lap 272. Over the final 29 laps, Blaney picked off two spots to claim a fourth-place finish at the checkered flag.
Quote: “I didn’t think we had leader-speed all day. We got better throughout the day for sure, but I thought maybe second or third-place. We got to second there towards the end, and I was starting to fade a little bit, but I thought we could probably run second. The last caution when we started sixth, got up to fourth and just kind of stayed there. We just needed a little bit more speed, but, overall, not a bad day for the Menards/Sylvania team.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!