No. 12 Menards/Cardell Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 11th
Stage 2: 12th
Finish: 1st – (sixth career NASCAR Cup Series Victory)
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 8
Point Standings (behind first): 7th (-217)
Ryan Blaney scored his sixth career NASCAR Cup Series victory in Sunday afternoon’s FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Raceway, after leading the final eight laps of the race in the No. 12 Menards/Cardell Mustang. The victory provides a valuable five playoff points as the team enters the final regular season race of the 2021 season next weekend.
At the start of the race, Blaney overcame the splitter on the No. 12 hitting the track and the Menards/Cardell Ford handling too tight early on. The condition prompted an air pressure change at the lap 20 competition caution. Blaney continued to struggle with the tight-handling condition until the conclusion of Stage 1, as he finished in the 11th position. At the stage break, crew chief Todd Gordon directed the No. 12 team to dial back on the air pressure adjustment and the crew added packer.
During the second stage, Blaney reported that the performance of the Menards/Cardell Mustang was improving, especially over the course of a longer run. Blaney hit pit road on lap 111 for four tires, air pressure and a wedge adjustment, and he reported that the No. 12 Mustang was improving overall. Blaney finished Stage 2 in the 12th position.
Blaney told the team the No. 12 Ford was back to running tight during the opening portion of the final stage, as Gordon called his driver pit at lap 159 for four tires, air pressure and tape on the nose. Blaney was consistently turning laps as fast as the leaders while running in the fourth position prior to the pit stop. A late caution flag allowed Blaney to line up in the third position, with teammate Joey Logano running behind for the restart.
Another quick caution re-racked the field which allowed Blaney to power to the lead on the restart. He fought hard to hold onto the race lead over the final eight laps, as he captured his second victory of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season and the sixth of his career.
Quote: “Man, I’m proud of everybody on the 12 team. Man, we weren’t great to start the day off. We kept working and working and got a lot better. It’s so cool to get in Victory Lane for Ford here. This is such a huge win for Ford, Penske, Menards, Cardell, Bodyarmor. I can’t thank them enough, what they do. That was cool, man. I’m fired up. I’m fired up.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!