No. 12 Advance Auto Parts Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 10th
Stage 2: 2nd
Laps Completed: 325/325
Laps Led: 2
Point Standings (Behind First): 7th (-104)
Ryan Blaney started seventh and finished fourth in Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway driving the No. 12 Advance Auto Parts Ford Mustang. It marked Blaney’s best finish in five career starts at the 1.5-mile Georgia track and his third top-five result in the last four races.
Blaney fell back to 14th after struggling with the balance of his Ford Mustang prior to the lap 25 competition caution. After restarting 18th and battling a loose-handling condition, Blaney worked his way up to 12th before the caution flag flew on lap 96, nine laps prior to the end of the Stage 1. Running with fresh tires, he brought home a 10th-place finish in Stage 1.
Blaney restarted 11th as Stage 2 began. He raced just outside the top-10 for most of the stage before finding his groove and running as high as seventh place on lap 190. A caution on lap 203, seven laps prior to the end of the Stage 2, brought the leaders back to pit road.
Strong service by the No. 12 Advance Auto Parts crew got Blaney back on track in fourth place on the restart with four laps to go in the stage. He had a great restart and secured a second-place finish in Stage 2.
Blaney began the final stage of the 325-lap event in sixth place on the race restart. He passed Chase Elliott on lap 252 for fifth place and then got by teammate Brad Keselowski for fourth, where he would end his day after 500 miles of racing.
Blaney now sits seventh in the NASCAR Cup Series standings, 104 points behind leader Kevin Harvick.
Quote: “We started off pretty far off to be honest and just really, really loose for the first three or four runs of the day and really wasn’t going anywhere. We were kind of going backwards and then we finally started making some good headway there the second run of the second stage there and were able to close in and finish second in the second stage. We had a good pit stop and got us out fourth and from there on out just tried to manage our tires. I didn’t think I had anything for the 4, 19 or the 18. They were pretty good, but I felt like a fourth or fifth-place car and that’s where we ended up, so I was really proud of the effort in making our car a lot better throughout the day. That was really big gains that we did.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!