No. 12 Menards/Jack Links Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 2nd
Stage 2: 4th
Laps Completed: 267/267
Laps Led: 70
Point Standings (Behind First): 5th (-52)
Ryan Blaney started 11th and finished third in Sunday’s Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway driving the No. 12 Menards/Jack Links Ford Mustang. Sunday’s effort marked Blaney’s best finish in five career starts at the 1.5-mile South Florida track and his fifth top-five result in the last six races.
After lightning delayed the race several times Sunday evening, Blaney drove his way into the top-five by lap 30 and to the race lead by lap 37. He held the lead through lap 75 when Denny Hamlin got by Blaney as he was battling a tight-handling Menards/Jack Links Ford Mustang. Blaney would hold on for a second-place finish in Stage 1.
As Stage 2 began, Blaney restarted in third place but he quickly worked his way back to the lead on lap 91. As green flag pit stops cycled through, Blaney fell back to second behind Hamlin. With the balance on the No. 12 Ford Mustang still not to his liking, Blaney dropped two spots late to bring home a fourth-place result in Stage 2.
Blaney began the final stage of the 267-lap event in fourth place. He worked his way back to second on lap 180 and briefly reclaimed the lead on lap 194. A track bar adjustment on a lap 217 pit stop then brought the Menards/Jack Links Ford to life. Blaney began reeling in the leaders but try as he may, the High Point, NC native would have to settle for a third-place finish.
Blaney now sits fifth in the NASCAR Cup Series standings, 52 points behind leader Kevin Harvick.
Quote: “When we came off pit road after that last green flag stop we were a ways behind those two guys and we made up a lot of ground, tons of ground on them, and just got to them and everyone is running the wall. You just get tight, especially in three and four. One and two there are multiple lanes, but three and four if you weren’t on the fence when you got 15 laps on your stuff, you were just tight and gonna hit the fence, so that made it hard for us to kind of go once we got there. The 8 was the same way with me. He kind of got there and stalled too, but I’m proud of the group. We had really good short run speed early in the race and I thought by the end we had really good long run speed, so we crossed over which is a good effort by the Jack Links team.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!