- Ryan Blaney qualified the No. 12 Menards/Richmond Ford Fusion in the fourth position at Richmond Raceway on Friday afternoon. This was the first time the Cup Series visited Richmond in the NASCAR Playoffs, as it had traditionally been the cut-off race to determine the playoff field.
- Blaney settled into an early pace as he tried to the save the tires on his Menards/Richmond Ford. He reported to his crew on lap 27 that he was loose on entry and lacking forward drive. As the handling issues continued to mount, Blaney fell back to just inside the top-20, but remained on the lead lap when the checkered flag waived on stage 1. He would cross the line in the 23rd position.
- Crew chief Jeremy Bullins called for major adjustments which included track bar, air pressure and a piece of tape on the nose to get the handling more to the 24 year-old drivers liking on the team’s first round of service on lap 105.
- Blaney was pleased with the handling when stage 2 began, but the car went back to the loose side during the mid-portion of the run. In an effort to stay on the lead lap, Blaney short-pitted on lap 156.
- The race leaders ran the full 95-lap stage without pitting and Blaney passed then-leader Martin Truex Jr. with two laps left to remain on the lead lap. He would finish stage 2 in the 18th position.
- Blaney came to pit road on lap 204 for service where the Menards/Richmond crew made additional air pressure adjustments for the loose condition. The adjustments made during the first two runs unfortunately didn’t help as Blaney reported his car was loose like the first stage.
- He made his final stop on lap 319, but was bit by a caution on lap 327. Blaney was forced to take the waive-around and ran the final 67 laps on the same set of tires.
- When the checkered flag dropped, Blaney crossed the line in the 19th position. He’s 12th in the Cup playoff standings with one race remaining in round 1 at the new Charlotte Roval
Quote: “It was a long night for our team. We just couldn’t seem to find what we needed to be better at Richmond. We’ll focus on Charlotte and trying to make it to two round.”