- Ryan Blaney capped off the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series season with an 11th-place finish in Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The driver of the Menards/Richmond Ford Mustang ran as high as third position, but a short-pit strategy late in the race didn’t pay big dividends, leaving Blaney 11th in the final rundown. The High Point, N.C. native finished a career-high seventh in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings. He established career-best results in top-five (11) and top-10 (18) finishes plus his overall average finish of 13.7 was a full position higher than his previous high in 2018.
- Blaney started seventh and reported the balance of his Menards/Richmond Ford Mustang was tight on entry and getting back to the throttle in the center of the corners. He passed teammate Joey Logano for sixth place on lap 22 and made his first pit stop of the day on lap 35 for four tires, fuel, an air pressure adjustment plus a piece of tape on the nose of the No. 12 Mustang. He returned to the track in sixth position where he would finish when Stage 1 concluded on lap 80. Blaney pitted during the stage break for four tires plus additional air pressure adjustments and more tape and restarted sixth when the race went green on lap 86.
- Shortly after the restart Blaney passed Denny Hamlin for the fifth position. He reported to crew chief Jeremy Bullins the balance of the Menards/Richmond Ford was still tight. Blaney would slip back to seventh position prior to his next pit stop on lap 118 where the Menards crew did another air pressure adjustment plus four tires and fuel. Blaney was seventh once the cycle of pit stops concluded and he reported back to the team that he was tighter than before and had lost turn.
- The second caution of the race came out on lap 138. Blaney pitted on lap 140 for four tires, fuel and another air pressure adjustment. Strong service by the Menards crew moved him up to sixth on the restart on lap 142. A strong restart put Blaney fourth as the conclusion of Stage 2 drew closer. The air pressure adjustment wasn’t as effective and he gave up two spots late to Martin Truex Jr. and Hamlin, scoring a sixth-place finish when Stage 2 concluded on lap 160. Bullins opted to make the first chassis adjustment of the day during the stage caution, opting for wedge and air pressure adjustments to help the tight condition on the Menards Ford.
- Restarting seventh for the final stage of the race, Blaney once again reported that the Menards Ford was tight. In a strategy move after falling back to ninth, Blaney would do an early short pit on lap 202, taking four tires, track bar and air pressure adjustments. Utilizing the speed of the new tires, once the cycle of pit stops concluded Blaney moved up to third position.
- Blaney remained on track hoping for a timely caution, but the yellow never waved. He made his final stop of the race on lap 252, taking four tires and another track bar adjustment, 17 laps from the finish. Blaney returned to the track in 18th position and took full advantage of the new tires. He drove up to 11th position where he would take the checkered flag on the 2019 season.
“We had a pretty good Menards/Richmond Ford today. We fought tight most of the day and really didn’t have much for the leaders. We decided to a take a chance splitting the pit window in the hopes of catching a caution, but things didn’t work out which kind of stinks. I’m proud of everyone on this team and how far we’ve come this season. Big thanks to everyone at Team Penske and all our great partners.”