BLANEY LEADS AT BRISTOL; FINISHES IN THE TOP-5

  • Ryan Blaney capped-off strong weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway with a fourth-place finish in Sunday’s Food City 500, his first top-five in eight starts at the .533-mile speedway. Blaney led the most laps in the race (three times for 158 laps) and grabbed his fourth top-five finish in the last five Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races.
  • Blaney started fourth and quickly moved up to second-place during the first 40 laps. He reported the balance of his No. 12 PPG Ford Fusion was loose on entry, center and in the middle of the corners. The first round of pit service came during the second caution on lap 41, with crew chief Jeremy Bullins making the call for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment.
  • Blaney restarted and grabbed the lead from Erik Jones on lap 59. He led the next 58 laps, until the handling of his PPG Ford began to go away. He relinquished the lead to Clint Bowyer on lap 118, just before prior to the caution coming out on lap 119. Blaney pitted on lap 120 for four tires, fuel and a larger air pressure adjustment to help with his PPG Ford that got too tight in the center of the turns. Several cars chose not to pit during the yellow, opting to remain on-track in hopes of scoring stage points. Blaney restarted near the bottom of the top-10 but used his fresher tires to drive back to seventh when Stage 1 finished on lap 125.
  • Penske teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski dominated Stage 2, leading 121 laps. Blaney reported the PPG Ford Fusion lost rear security and slid the nose especially on the bottom lane. Bullins opted to make a larger adjustment during a pit stop under caution on lap 215, making both an air pressure and wedge adjustment. The changes helped Blaney to finish second to teammate Logano when segment ended on lap 250. Quick pit service during the stage caution gave Blaney the lead on lap 256.
  • The driver of the PPG Ford Mustang led next 97 laps, but late in the run he radioed his team that he couldn’t get his car to rotate well in the center of the corner. Eventually both Logano and Bowyer found their way around Blaney, shuffling him back to third position. A pit stop under caution on lap 377 saw the No. 12 team make more adjustments to help Blaney turn better in the corners. When the race restarted, the driver of the No. 12 Ford Mustang reported for the first time the car started on the splitter. A stop on lap 416 under caution saw the PPG crew go back on the wedge adjustment.
  • Blaney would ride in fourth position behind Logano, Keselowski and Kyle Busch, until the final caution of the race came out on lap 479. He made his final stop on lap 481 for four tires. Several cars opted to remain track for the final dash to the finish. Blaney used the fresh tires to claw his way through traffic and back to fourth position when the checkered flag waived.

Quote: 

“I need to get better as the track rubbers out. Joey (Logano) is really good at it. I thought he had the best car. The track rubbers in and I just need to do something different there. Not a bad day overall for the PPG Ford. We were up there all race and just tried to keep up with the track. The track was really racy today from bottom to top and I thought it put on a really good show.”

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