- In nearly a win-or-go home scenario, Ryan Blaney and No. 12 Menards/Wrangler Riggs Ford Fusion team came up just short of advancing to the next round of the Cup Series playoffs at Kansas Speedway this afternoon.
- Blaney qualified fourth and was very pleased with the handling of his Ford Fusion throughout the two practices on Saturday afternoon. Sporting the Wrangler Riggs brand colors for the first-time in 2018, Blaney hoped to not only give them a trip to victory lane, but also punch his way into the Round of 8 in the Cup Series playoffs.
- Blaney used the outside lane on the initial start of the race to quickly move into the second position behind teammate Joey Logano. He reported early to his crew that his car was building tight especially in the center of the turns. The first round of service for the leaders came on lap 40, when crew chief Jeremy Bullins called for an air pressure adjustment and a piece of tape on the nose.
- The first caution of race came out on lap 62 for the expired engine of William Byron. The No. 12 team elected for two right side tires. Solid pit work gave Blaney the lead on the lap 64 restart. He would lead until lap 71, when teammate Logano passed him for the top-spot. He would eventually lose second-place to Kevin Harvick. The 24-year-old driver managed to hold on for a third-place finish in Stage 1.
- Blaney came to pit road on the lap 83 stage conclusion and reported his Menards/Wrangler Riggs Ford Fusion was too loose on two tires. The team changed all four tires and made an air pressure adjustment to help the overall balance.
- The second stage saw the groove begin to widen as cars ran from the bottom to inches off the outside wall. Blaney reported he was getting tighter the closer he ran to the wall. As Stage 2 drew to a close Blaney was running third and turning the fastest laps on the track. He passed teammate Logano late and began to set his sights on leader Kevin Harvick. Unfortunately, time ran out and Blaney settled for a second-place finish in Stage 2 but racked up valuable stage points. The penultimate pit stop of the day came on the lap 164 stage break where the crew made both a wedge and air pressure in preparation for a major shift in track conditions.
- Blaney restarted fourth when the race went green on lap 166. Blaney scraped the wall between Turns 1 and 2 turn s1-2 wall, causing him to fall back to the fifth-position. He made his final stop of the day on lap 216 where the crew made a four-tire stop with air pressure adjustments plus made certain the right-side fenders had clearance following his brush with the wall.
- The 24-year old driver clawed as much as he could to the make up lost ground, but when the checkered flag waived on lap 267, Blaney was left with a seventh-place finish, six points behind eighth-place Clint Bowyer.
Quote: “Obviously it was a mistake I made trying to work hard to catch those guys and I pushed too hard and got in the fence. It’s all my fault. Whether it would have worked out for us or not, I don’t know. I don’t think we had the speed the 9 (Chase Elliott) or 4 (Kevin Harvick) had. The 9 was superfast. I messed up and it cost us. I want to thank Wrangler Riggs, Menards and Ford for their support. The whole 12 team deserves better than that. That was unfortunate on my part.”