No. 12 Menards/MOEN Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 7th
Stage 2: 7th
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 3
Point Standings (behind first): 9th (-238)
- A strong day for Ryan Blaney ended with a late pit stop for fuel with two laps remaining and a 24th-place finish in Sunday’s Consumers Energy 400. However, the driver of Menards/MOEN Ford Mustang moved up one spot to ninth in NASCAR Cup Series point standings, 47 points behind eighth-place Kurt Busch and 238 behind leader Kyle Busch.
- Blaney qualified seventh for Sunday’s 200-lap event at the 2.0-mile, D-shaped speedway. The High Point, N.C. native drove his way up to fifth place by lap 10 thanks to a few nifty moves and passed Alex Bowman for fourth position on lap 20. Soon after he reported to crew chief Jeremy Bullins that his Ford Mustang was tight on entry and loose off. Blaney made his first pit stop of the day under on lap 41, pitting for right-side tires along with an air pressure adjustment and tape on the nose.
- He rejoined the field in seventh position after the cycle of stops was complete. Soon thereafter he reported to Bullins that those changes didn’t help the overall balance of the car. Blaney would solider on and claim a seventh-place finish when Stage 1 ended on lap 60. Under the stage caution, the Menards/MOEN crew opted to change four tires along with an air pressure adjustment and more tape on the nose.
- Blaney restarted 14th when Stage 2 began on lap 66. He would soon report his Mustang was as tight as it had been all day especially in traffic. Even with a race car not to his liking, Blaney drove his way back in the top-10 by lap 90, passing Austin Dillon. Realizing he needed a more significant adjustment to battle up front, Blaney pitted on lap 110 under green for four tires along with a track bar and air pressure adjustment. The changes brought the Menards/MOEN Ford to life and Blaney would bring home another seventh-place finish when Stage 2 concluded on lap 120.
- Bullins made the call to stay out during the stage caution which gave Blaney fourth position for the restart on lap 127. Blaney raced his way up to the third position when the sixth and final caution came out on lap 150. The Menards crew would pit fuel-only stop one lap later, giving Blaney the lead when the race went green on lap 152.
- Moments later the crew alerted him they did not get the Menards Ford full of fuel. Blaney battled teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski for lead early in the run until he was forced into full fuel saving mode. Try as he might, the fuel-saving strategy didn’t work. Blaney ran out while running inside the top-five two laps from the finish, prompting an unscheduled pit stop on lap 199. He was credited with a 24th-place finish.
Quote: “I had a really good Menards/MOEN Ford today. Our Mustang was fast, especially later in the race. I just got off pit road too early and we ended up running out of gas. It is easy to second guess those types of decisions after the race, but I didn’t second guess anything at the time. That’s just the way it shakes out sometimes.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!