No. 12 Advance Auto Parts Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 2nd
Stage 2: 5th
Laps Completed: 311/311
Laps Led: 37
Point Standings (Behind First): 6th (-223)
Ryan Blaney started seventh and finished 12th in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway. The driver of the Advance Auto Parts Ford Mustang nearly won the first stage and ran inside the top-five most of the day before fading late. Blaney led three times for 37 laps, which marked the first time he had led in a Cup Series race at Dover.
Blaney moved from his seventh starting position to fourth prior to an early caution on lap 7. On the restart Blaney would continue his march to the front, eventually moving to second. A lap 34 caution would see Blaney stay out and lead until lap 68 when Kevin Harvick passed him for the eventual stage win, with Blaney crossing the line in second.
Following a short red flag for track repairs, Blaney would restart second for Stage 2. He would report to crew chief Todd Gordon that the adjustments on the Advance Auto Parts Ford did improve the loose-handling from the first run. Restarting third after a lap 101 caution, Blaney would lose two spots late to come home with a fifth-place finish in Stage 2.
The final stage began with Blaney running in the sixth position. Battling much of the same handling from earlier in the event, Blaney would steadily fall back through the field to 12th. A late caution would see Blaney and the leaders come to pit road for four tires and adjustments. When racing resumed Blaney restarted 12th and remained there when the checkered flag waived.
Blaney now sits sixth in the NASCAR Cup Series standings, 223 points behind Harvick, the series leader, who clinched the regular season title today.
Quote: “I feel like we made improvements over yesterday with our Advance Auto Parts Ford Mustang. We nearly won Stage 1, but I was too loose to hold off Kevin (Harvick). Unfortunately, we fought loose near the end of the race and just couldn’t make up ground we lost. We’ll put this behind us and get ready to close out the regular season next week in Daytona.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!