No. 12 Advance Auto Parts Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 5th
Stage 2: 2nd
Laps Completed: 267/267
Laps Led: 18
Point Standings (Behind First): 3rd (-95)
Ryan Blaney started 11th and finished sixth in Sunday’s Quaker State 400 at the Kentucky Speedway. The driver of the Advance Auto Parts Ford Mustang ran inside the top-five most of the day and had a shot to win late in the race.
Blaney fell back to 16th-positon after being stuck on the bottom lane on the initial start of the race. He would drive his way to 10th prior to the competition caution on lap 25. Blaney would continue charge working his to fourth by lap 40.
Shortly after, the Advance Auto Parts Ford would pop out of gear. Quick instincts by the High Point, N.C., native would only cost him two spots under green. As a result, Blaney drove with one hand in Turns 1 and 2 to ensure the car would stay in high gear. He recovered for a fifth-place finish in Stage 1.
Blaney restarted fifth for Stage 2. After a slight air pressure adjustment by the Todd Gordon-lead crew, Blaney would work his way to the lead on lap 138 passing Aric Almirola. He pitted under green on lap 149 for four tires and no changes. An untimely caution would come out as the pit cycle concluded and Blaney would restart second next to teammate Brad Keselowski when he would eventually finish Stage 2.
Restarting second to begin the final stage, Blaney would battle with Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr. for the lead. A caution on lap 250 would give Blaney the lead ahead of Truex. Unfortunately, on the restart Blaney was unable to the hold on the top spot and fell back to third. Try as he might, Blaney was unable to the find his way back to the lead and had to settle for a sixth-place finish Blaney now sits third in the NASCAR Cup Series standings, 95 points behind leader Kevin Harvick.
Quote: “I thought we had a good Advance Auto Parts Ford Mustang all day. We drove up through there a lot. From the get-go it was hard to pass. We got a break there on that one restart, where we got a quick caution and we were a nose ahead of Martin Truex Jr. and I was like, ‘Okay, we’re finally back in control of this race,’ and then he got put three-wide in the top of three and couldn’t maintain the lead. And then I hit an X Games jump on the frontstretch that bounced me into (Kevin) Harvick. I was happy with our speed. We just didn’t quite catch the breaks we needed to win the race.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!