- An eventful day for Ryan Blaney ended with an eighth-place finish in Sunday’s Bank of America ROVAL 400 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course. Blaney advances to the Round of 12 in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs beginning next week in Dover. He is 10th in the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings, 42 points behind leader Kyle Busch.
- Blaney started ninth and within the first 10 laps drove up to seventh position. He reported to crew chief Jeremy Bullins that the Menards Ford was losing overall grip and lacking forward drive. The first caution of day slowed the pace on lap 21 and was quickly followed by another on lap 24. Needing every stage point possible Blaney remained on track to score a fifth-place finish when the segment ended on lap 25. He pitted during the stage caution for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment.
- Restarting just inside the top-20 through the cycle of pit stops, Blaney worked his way back to the front and was up to 13th by lap 35. Blaney pitted during the third caution on lap 43 for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. He restarted 14th and would finish Stage 2 in the same position. He stayed on the track during the stage caution and restarted 11th on lap 54.
- The driver of the Menards Ford soon stormed back into the top-10 but he also made contact with the Turn 6 wall, causing right-side damage to the No. 12 Ford Mustang. The Menards crew made two pit stops for repairs during the fifth caution, which put Blaney outside the top 25 for the restart.
- From there, Blaney began to charge his way back through the field. Bullins would opt for a fuel-only pit stop on lap 77 to gain track position. He made his final pit stop of the day under caution on lap 90 for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment.
- The final 19 laps of the race would see three cautions, including one red flag delay for track cleanup. Blaney restarted ninth and when the dust settled after the chaotic closing laps Blaney would finish eighth. He claimed his 14th top-10 finish of 2019, his fourth in the last six races, and advanced to the next round of the NASCAR Playoffs.
“We had a lot of ups and downs with our Menards Ford. I thought we did a decent job most of the day finding ourselves towards the front. There were a lot of mixed strategies with the way the cautions fell. I messed up bad and hit the fence in Turn 6 and that really set us back, but I’m proud of the whole group for fighting and getting it fixed to where we could make ground. I’m excited to move on to the Round of 12 and feel like we have some good tracks coming up to get a win and advance.”