BLANEY FINISHES IN THE TOP-5 IN THE FIRST ROUND OF THE PLAYOFFS

  • Ryan Blaney started 23rd and finished fifth in Sunday night’s South Point 400 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The driver of the PPG Ford Mustang led a lap on the day and gained two positions in the points standings to 10th, -43 points behind points leader Martin Truex Jr. His eighth top-five of season ties a career-best for the High Point, N.C. native.
  • At the drop of the green flag, Blaney jumped to 20th from his 23rd starting position. He reported early that the PPG Ford was very tight and chattering the front tires. On lap 42, after moving as high as 18th, crew chief Jeremy Bullins called the No. 12 Ford Mustang to the pits for four tires along with a wedge and air pressure adjustment under green. The adjustment would prove to the be the right move and Blaney drove his way up to 11th where he would finish Stage 1.
  • Under the stage break, Blaney would return to pit road where Bullins would opt for a slight air pressure adjustment to complement the first pit stop adjustments. Strong pit service by the PPG crew gained Blaney three sports when racing resumed on lap 87.
  • Shortly after the restart Blaney would gain a spot up to seventh but would soon report the PPG Ford had gone back to the very tight side. He would make his next round of pit service again under green on lap 123, where the PPG crew would take four tires, along with an air pressure adjustment. The stage ran without caution and Blaney would come home eighth in Stage 2.
  • Under the final stage break Blaney would come to pit road on lap 165 for four tires and another air pressure adjustment. Another strong pit stop by the PPG crew gained Blaney a spot up to seventh for the restart. When racing resumed, Blaney reported the same tight handling characteristics, although they had made improvements from when the race began.
  • A caution on lap 181 would see strategy begin to come into play. The PPG crew pitted for right side tires and an air pressure adjustment. The move would see Blaney restart second alongside Denny Hamlin when racing resumed on lap 185. The two would go side-by-lap for several laps until third-place Kevin Harvick managed to pass both drivers on lap 187.
  • Following a caution on lap 189, the final 72 laps of the event ran green. Blaney would eventually battle with teammate Brad Keselowski for the third position, with Keselowski prevailing. Blaney would make his final stop on lap 230, taking four tires and air pressure adjustment. He would fight hard to keep fourth, but a slower lap traffic allowed Chase Elliott to pass him late and Blaney would bring home a fifth-place finish. This marked his third top-five in the last four races at the 1.5-mile speedway.

Quote: “It was a long night for sure. We didn’t start very good but took big swings at it. We were on both the tight side and loose side. We couldn’t take off very fast. Other guys would take off really fast. At the end of a run we were really fast up by the wall, but we just lost too much ground and then I just got tight there at the end.

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