- For the second time this season Ryan Blaney started from the pole position in a MENCS race. Blaney led the field to the green flag in the Pocono 400 on Sunday afternoon and held the top spot for the first 11 laps before relinquishing the lead to Kevin Harvick. Blaney, the defending winner of the June race at Pocono, reported his Menards/Duracell Ford Fusion was loose on entry and tight on corner exit. He was one first drivers to visit pit road in Stage 1, pitting for service on lap 16. Crew chief Jeremy Bullins called for both a wedge and air pressure adjustments plus four tires and fuel. The changes helped and Blaney was able to finish seventh in Stage 1.
- Stage 2 saw Blaney restarted inside the top-five when Stage 2 began on lap 57. He soon radioed to the team the additional air pressure and wedge adjustments didn’t make a huge difference with the overall balance of the car. The Menards/Duracell crew elected to go for more aggressive changes including a track bar, wedge and air pressure adjustment on the next pit stop. Blaney overcame the handling woes to score an eighth-place finish in the segment.
- The adjustments made during the stage break on lap 103 improved the balance heading into Stage 3. The third caution on lap 126 caution saw the No. 12 crew make a slight air pressure adjustment. The final pit stop of the day for the Menards/Duracell crew came on lap 140, where the team opted for right-side tires.
- Blaney fought hard with the two tires but his competitor’s fresher tires was too much to overcome. He was passed by teammate Brad Keselowski with five laps to go and was forced to settle for a sixth-place finish and is 10th in the MENCS driver standings.
“It was a really hard day. We didn’t start out very good and our guys worked on it really hard. I thought we were about a fourth or fifth-place car. We were running fifth when the caution came out and that jumbled everyone up. We came in and put two tires on it and my car didn’t really drive that good on two tires. We ended up sixth and I thought we were better than a couple cars that finished in front of us. We made gains throughout the day and that’s a positive.”