- Ryan Blaney scored a 20th-place finish in Sunday’s First Data 500 at the Martinsville Speedway. Blaney fought back after an early race uncontrolled tire penalty to get back on the lead lap.
- Blaney qualified fourth and early in the race, his Menards/MOEN Ford Fusion was very loose early in a run costing him several positions. Once the corners began to take rubber during the race, Blaney raced his way inside the top-10 and scored an eighth-place finish in Stage 1. He said his No. 12 Ford Fusion was loose on entry and tight in the center. He pitted during the stage caution on lap 133 for four tires plus chassis and air pressure adjustments. Unfortunately the No. 12 team was assessed with an uncontrolled tire penalty during the stop.
- Stage 2 went green on lap 139 and ran caution-free. Blaney reported that he lacked overall grip. The loss of track position and an ill-handling Ford Fusion dropped him a lap down and he finished 23rd when the second segment ended on lap 260. Crew chief Jeremy Bullins made wholesale changes on following pit stop, which included wedge and air pressure adjustments.
- The changes helped the handling characteristics of the Menards/MOEN Ford Fusion. Blaney fought hard to get back on the lead lap, but poorly timed cautions (on laps 367 and 383) kept the High Point, N.C., native from the free pass position.
- Blaney took the wave around back onto the lead lap during the final caution on lap 458. He fought his way through traffic to score a 20th-place finish, the final driver to complete all 500 laps at Martinsville. He now sits ninth in the Cup Series standings.
Quote: “I thought we had a pretty good Menards/MOEN Ford after practice and qualifying. We fought a very loose car at the start of the race, but when the track took rubber our car began handling better. We tried fighting back after the uncontrolled tire penalty, but just couldn’t get ourselves in the right position. It’s disappointing as Martinsville is a home track for me being from High Point. Congratulations to Joey Logano and the No. 22 team on making it to Homestead and racing for a championship.”