- Ryan Blaney capped-off another solid weekend with a fourth-place finish in Sunday’s Cup Series race at the Martinsville Speedway. Driving the No. 12 Menards/Libman Ford Mustang, the High Point, N.C. native claimed his second top-five at the .526-mile Virginia speedway and third consecutive top-five of 2019. He gained two positions in the MENCS driver standings, moving up to eighth-place, 70 points behind the leader.
- Blaney started 18th in the 500-lap event and drove his way inside the top-10 within the first 50 laps of the race. He reported the handling of his Ford Mustang was pretty good, especially on entry to the turns and through the center.
- The first round of pit stops came under caution on lap 69. Blaney and crew chief Jeremy Bullins decided on four tires, fuel and no adjustments to see if the handling would remain consistent. When racing resumed, the driver of the No. 12 Menards/Libman Ford continued to move forward, scoring a fifth-place finish when Stage 1 concluded on lap 130. Solid service by the No. 12 pit crew during the stage caution moved Blaney up to fourth position when the race went green on lap 141.
- Stage 2 went green from start to finish and Blaney took full advantage of the long green-flag run. He muscled his way into the top-three, passing both Kyle Busch and Chase Elliott before the segment concluded on lap 260. Blaney was reeling in race leader and Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski, but lapped traffic prevented a serious challenge, forcing him to settle for second-place.
- Blaney, Bullins and the No. 12 crew make very slight air pressure adjustments throughout the third and final stage of the race. The No. 12 Menards/Libman Ford got stronger as the race went along, and the long stretches of green flag racing worked to his advantage. A pit stop on lap 316 under the sixth caution saw the Menards/Libman crew go back on a previous small air pressure adjustment that made the car too tight on the short run.
- Falling back as far as sixth on pit road, Blaney drove his way back into the top-four positions with less than 100 laps to go. His final pit stop came under the seventh and final caution on lap 448. Bullins made the call to add additional air pressure to the right side tires on the No. 12 Ford Mustang.
- Unfortunately, the adjustment didn’t quite work out. The race went green on lap 455 and Blaney reported his car was the tightest it had been all day. As the remaining laps continued to trickle away, the No. 12 Mustang gradually began to come perform better but it was too late to mount a serious challenge for the win, leaving him with a fourth-place finish.
“I needed long runs. I thought a 120-lap run to the finish was going to be perfect. The last three weeks have been pretty smooth for us. We just have to keep having weekends like this and maybe we’ll be able to win one of these things. Our Menards/Libman Ford was just starting to come to us in the last stage when the caution came out. I just needed more than 50 laps.”