No. 12 Advance Auto Parts Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 23rd
Stage 2: 11th
Laps Completed: 498/500
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (behind first): 15th (-1009)
Ryan Blaney finished 13th in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. The driver of the Advance Auto Parts Ford Mustang battled a tight car most of the race and came away with a top-15 finish. As a result, Blaney will not advance to the Round of 12 in the NASCAR Playoffs.
Blaney started 14th and made his way up to ninth by the competition caution on lap 30. He reported to crew chief Todd Gordon that the Advance Auto Parts Ford fired off loose and was building tight on exit. He made his first pit stop of the race on lap 35 for four tires and an air pressure adjustment. After working his way to fifth position by lap 80, the No. 12 Ford would begin to slide back through the field. Blaney said he was extremely tight on exit of the corners. He nursed his way to the finish of Stage 1 on lap 125 and was credited with 23rd position.
Blaney would restart 26th when Stage 2 began on lap 136. He reported slight improvements to the balance of the Advance Parts Ford. A caution on lap 234 saw Blaney make a pit stop for four tires along with an air pressure and track bar adjustment. Stage 2 would finish with a nine-lap sprint to the finish and Blaney took advantage, finishing in 11th position when the stage ended on lap 250.
The final stage began with Blaney restarting in sixth position on lap 260. He would work his way up to fifth by lap 320 but 20 laps later the tight condition from earlier in the race had returned. Blaney pitted under green on lap 354 when the fuel window opened for four tires, air pressure and a wedge adjustment. The final yellow flag waved on lap 408, prior to the end of the green flag pit cycle, trapping the Advance Auto Ford two laps down to the leaders. Blaney took waive-around during the caution and battled back for a 13th-place at the end of 500 laps.
Blaney is 15th in the NASCAR Cup Series standings heading to Las Vegas next Sunday night
Quotes: “We started off tight and then that second run we got really tight after the comp caution and lost a lot of track position. We got to fifth or sixth the one time and we were super tight again. The track just swung really tight. I was kind of tight all night, but it just swung really tight on us and that was just the wrong direction that the track needed to be at. It was an unfortunate end for this 12 group, but I’m really proud of the effort this year and we’re not done. We can still go and try to win races and try to get fifth in points, so thanks to Advance Auto Parts and Menards and Ford for what they do. We’ve got seven more races. We’ll do our best.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!