No. 12 Dent Wizard Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 6th
Stage 2: 14th
Laps Completed: 499/500
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (behind first): 9th (-246)
- A rollercoaster night for Ryan Blaney ended with 10th-place finish in Saturday night’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. The driver of the Dent Wizard Ford Mustang remains ninth in NASCAR Cup Series point standings, 55 points behind eighth-place Kurt Busch and 246 behind leader Kyle Busch.
- Blaney qualified 12th for Saturday night’s 500-lap event at the .533-mile short track. The High Point, N.C. native drove his way up to 10th within the first 10 laps using the bottom lane. Soon after, he reported to crew chief Jeremy Bullins that his Ford Mustang was loose and needed lateral grip.
- Blaney worked his way through traffic up to eighth position by the first caution on lap 81. He made his first pit stop of the day two laps later, pitting for four tires along with an air pressure adjustment. Good pit service by the Dent Wizard crew moved him up to sixth for the restart on lap 87, where he would remain until Stage 1 finished on lap 125. The Dent Wizard crew opted to change four tires during the stage caution plus an air pressure adjustment.
- The race went green on lap 134 and Blaney reported his Ford Mustang fired-off tight. The No. 12 Mustang improved as the run went along and by lap 140, Blaney was up to third after passing Kevin Harvick and Kyle Larson. Blaney said his Mustang continued to be tight center and snappy loose off the corners which caused him to fall back to fifth when the third caution came out on lap 191. The Dent Wizard crew made a four-tire stop plus an air pressure adjustment during the caution. He restarted sixth and made some nifty moves slicing his way through traffic, working his way from sixth to second by lap 200.
- On lap 240, Blaney made contact with Kyle Weatherman’s No. 52 down the backstretch which caused right-front fender damage. He steadily fell back through the field before the fifth caution on lap 244 slowed the pace just six laps from the completion of Stage 2. Bullins made the call to pit for four tires along with a wedge and air pressure adjustment. The race went green with two laps remaining in the stage and Blaney was credited with a 14th-place finish.
- Blaney restarted ninth when Stage 3 began on lap 259. He lost a spot to Clint Bowyer on lap 300, falling back to 10th position and soon reported a loss of front turn with the Dent Wizard Ford. The seventh caution on lap 364 brought Blaney back to pit road for four tires and additional air pressure adjustments to help the tight condition.
- On lap 374, Blaney made contact with Daniel Hemric which resulted in a cut right-front tire down on the No. 12 Mustang and caused a multi-car crash in Turn 1. Fortunately, the damage proved to just be cosmetic and after multiple pit stops for repairs, Blaney returned to the track still on the lead lap.
- The final 113 laps were run under green, a scenario that worked to Blaney’s advantage. He drove back into the top-10 by lap 420 and stayed there for the remainder of the race.Blaney remains ninth in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings, 55 behind eighth-place Kurt Busch and 246 behind leader Kyle Busch.
Quote: “We had a pretty good Dent Wizard Ford today. I thought the bottom was going be a little bit more competitive. I cut the right-front tire down on the restart and plowed into a couple of them. We got it fixed and I was glad we were able to come back. I would have liked a caution to see what we could have done. I’m just glad we were able to salvage a decent day. It could have been a lot worse.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!