LONG POND, Penn., August 1, 2016 – Ryan Blaney piloted the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion to 11th place in the rain-delayed and fog-shortened Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway.
The rookie Wood Brothers driver advanced his machine up the field into the top 15 by lap 14 and into the top 10 by lap 20. He spent the majority of the race, shorted by 22 laps due to fog engulfing the Tricky Triangle, in the top 15 and top 10. A track position gambit failed to pay off around lap 100 and pushed the car back to 24th.
“Track position,” said Blaney was his biggest concern of the day. “I thought we got it at one point, we gambled and it didn’t work out for us. We had to pit and lost it all.”
Still, Blaney and company worked their way back into the top 15 and ultimately into 11th place before the red flag flew after 138 of 160 laps. It was the driver’s 10th top-15 finish of the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup season,
“Our car has been really fast,” Blaney said. “We’ve had a good race car. You’ve got to make the most out of your car on re-starts. It’s the easiest time to get around people and make time. A couple of them didn’t work out but we got back to 11th.
“I thought we could have run top five all day if it just worked out and could get track position and be on even tires,” he continued. “Everyone on the 21 team did a great job of fighting hard all day and get us in a decent spot. I’ve got to thank Motorcraft, Quick Lane and Ford for doing what they do. It’s been a crazy weekend of racing with rain outs and fog.”
With five races to go before the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup begins in Chicago, Blaney is tied with former No. 21 driver Trevor Bayne for 18th on the Chase grid as the team makes its way to Watkins Glen in New York for the Cheez-It 355 at the Glen, the series’ second road course race of the 2016 season.