- Ryan Blaney started 11th and finished fourth in Saturday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway. The driver of the Menards/Knauf Ford Mustang ran inside the top-five for most of the day and tied his career-best result at Michigan.
- Blaney fell back to 19th in the opening laps of the race, but by lap 10 he worked his way back up to 15th in the running order. Crew chief Todd Gordon called Blaney to pit road just prior to the lap 15 competition caution as the No. 12 Ford Mustang was equipped with four new tires. Blaney remained on the lead lap and restarted ninth on lap 19. A strong restart propelled him to the fourth position by lap 30 and he drove his way to third at the conclusion of Stage 1 on lap 40.
- Stage 2 began with Blaney running in the fourth position. A strong restart and push propelled Blaney around Denny Hamlin to claim the race lead on lap 50. Blaney led the next 27 laps until Kevin Harvick got by him for the race lead on lap 77 and the Team Penske driver finished Stage 2 in second place.
- Blaney restarted the final stage of the race in fourth place. After initially falling back to sixth, he worked his way back up to fourth within a few laps. Fighting a loose-handling car in traffic, Blaney pitted on lap 107 and took the race restart outside of the top-10. He would make his final pit stop on lap 132 and, running on fresh tires, Blaney raced his way back to fourth after a couple of strong late-race restarts. The result marked his eighth top-five finish this season.
- Blaney remains fourth in the NASCAR Cup Series standings, 128 points behind Harvick, the series leader, entering Sunday’s race at Michigan. Blaney will from the 17th position on Sunday.
Quote: “I thought our car was really good. I thought our Mustang was pretty good all day. We made a good call there before the competition caution to come in and pit and that cycled us up to 12th or something and we were able to drive to third before that stage and then ran second in the second stage. We took four tires there when we got in our fuel window and it was hard to get through traffic. We didn’t handle good so we came in again with maybe 18 to go and changed it up a little bit and made sure we were good on gas and were able to drive through there. I wish we would have kept third before that last caution because I would have chose the bottom and had a little better shot. I am proud of the effort. The 4 was really fast. We need to work on our stuff a little and I think we can compete a little better tomorrow.”