BLANEY FINISHES SECOND AT DAYTONA

  • Ryan Blaney narrowly missed out on winning the 62nd annual Daytona 500 Monday night at Daytona International Speedway. Blaney, who started at the rear of the field after going to a backup car ran inside the top-10 most of the day and avoided significant damage in multiple accidents. In NASCAR overtime Blaney was barely nipped at the line by Denny Hamlin in a margin of victory of .014 seconds.
  • Following a delay in the start of the race, the field continued to run single file until the caution flag was displayed on lap 20 due to rain which forced a continuation to Monday afternoon. Blaney drove his way up from 40th to 29th and reported to crew chief Todd Gordon, the balance of his Menards/Peak Ford Mustang was a little tight.
  • When racing resumed, Blaney brought his Menards Ford to pit road for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment on lap 22. Restarting just outside the top-10, Blaney would begin to power his way to sixth by lap 30 with help from fellow Ford Performance teammates Chris Buescher and Matt DiBenedetto along with Penske teammates Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano.
  • The forward momentum along with the handling of Blaney’s Ford Mustang would begin to fade later in the run as the Menards/Peak Ford would fall back to 12th by lap 45. A caution on lap 60, five laps before the conclusion of stage 1 would see the High Point, NC native remain on the track for the conclusion of the stage. When racing resumed on lap 63, Blaney would continue to work with Logano and Keselowski as he would finish stage 1 in the sixth position. Blaney would pit under the stage break on lap 67 for four tires, fuel and another air pressure adjustment.
  • As stage 2 began, the Penske trio would continue their charge back to the front by working the bottom lane around the 2.5-mile superspeedway. Their line of cars would steadily make progress only for it to be slowed shortly after. The caution would waive again on lap 91 and Blaney would pit two laps later for two right tires and fuel. He would eventually find his way around his Penske teammates and lead the top lane of cars with help from Buescher. Try as he might Blaney was able to advance his way to eighth position by the time stage 2 ended on lap 130. He would return to pit road under the stage caution on lap 132 for four tires, fuel and a more significant air pressure adjustment. Strong service by the Menards crew gained Blaney five spots on pit road and a second-place starting position on the restart.
  • The final stage of the day began on lap 135 and utilizing a strong push from Logano, Blaney would take to the lead on lap 136 only to give it back one lap later. He would get it get back again on lap 138, where he would lead the next three circuits. Blaney would eventually fall back to third only to be shuffled back to 20th by lap 160.
  • Blaney would make his only green flag pit stop of the day on lap 170, where he took four tires and fuel. Once returning to the track, he would begin to draft with a large group of cars led by Chevrolets that eventually caught the leaders. The first large accident occurred on lap 185 which involved 19 cars including Blaney who spun through the grass to avoid major damage.
  • With repairs made, Blaney would restart 12th when racing resumed on lap 190. The race would see three cautions in the final 13 laps which pushed the race into NASCAR overtime. On the final restart of the day, Blaney lined up behind Hamlin. A strong push got both drivers clear of the field. Eventually Ford Performance teammates Buescher and Ryan Newman managed to pass both drivers with Newman soon taking the lead with a push from Blaney. Coming to the checkered flag both Blaney and Newman jockeyed for the race lead with Hamlin nipping the Menards/Peak Ford at the finish line by .014. The finish was the second closest in Daytona 500 history.

Quote: “We pushed (Ryan) Newman there to the lead and then we got a push from the 11. I kind of went low and he blocked that and so I was committed to pushing him to the win and have a Ford win it. We just got the bumpers hooked up wrong and I turned him. It’s bittersweet to finish second in the Daytona 500, but I hope he is alright. It looked bad. I was trying to push him to the win. I don’t like saying that things just happen because I feel bad about it. I just hope Ryan is alright.”

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