No. 12 Menards/Cardell Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 19th
Stage 2: 2nd
Laps Completed: 500/500
Laps Led: 34
Point Standings (Behind First): 6th (-91)
Young Ryan Blaney started from the pole and finished second in Wednesday night’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway, driving the No. 12 Menards/Cardell Ford Mustang. It marked Blaney’s best finish in nine career starts at the Virginia track and his fourth top-five result in the last five races.
After starting from the front row, Blaney fell back to 29th after struggling with the balance of his Ford Mustang prior to the lap-60 competition caution. After significant adjustments on lap 63, Blaney would begin his march back through the field, eventually getting back on the lead lap to score a 19th-place finish in Stage 1.
Blaney restarted 14th as Stage 2 began and would race his way into the top-10 by lap 160 and the top-five by lap 180. By lap 220, Blaney, who was running the fastest laps on the track, worked his way to second, where he would finish Stage 2.
The early-season points leader began the final stage of the 500-lap event in the second position and would pass Jimmie Johnson for the lead on lap 272, only to relinquish it teammate Joey Logano on lap 284. Blaney would pass Logano once again for the lead on lap 307. A caution at lap 327 brought leaders to pit road, but unfortunately Blaney would be penalized for having a crew member over-the-wall too soon, forcing him to start the rear of the field.
After restarting outside the top-15, Blaney began an incredible charge back through the field, working his Menards/Cardell Ford back to second by lap 460. Unfortunately, time ran out he would come home with a second-place finish.
Blaney now sits sixth in the NASCAR Cup Series standings, 94 points behind leader Kevin Harvick.
Quote: “Big shout out to Todd Gordon and everybody on this No. 12 team. We were off at the start of the race and went a lap down in the first 60 laps. We got the car a lot better and eventually got the free pass and drove up through there and finished second in the second stage. We had a penalty on pit road that set us back again. I would have loved to have restarted back up there with Martin (Truex Jr.) and did not have pass all those cars and maybe had something for him. We had a couple solid runs here, just need to break through.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!