SPARTA, Ky. — Ryan Blaney’s time in Victory Lane is coming.
He believes it. He can feel it.
Notching his first runner-up finish of the season at Kentucky Speedway, the Team Penske driver jumped five spots from his starting position with key adjustments to his Ford Fusion that helped him make gains throughout the race.
“Obviously at the start of the day, I thought we were OK,” Blaney explained. “I didn’t think we were a second‑place car, and we made our car a lot better throughout the night. I thought we were in a good spot there the last restart, starting fourth, and Martin pinned on the bottom, and couldn’t quite get up next to him to get by him, and that was kind of the race.”
And although a second-place run is a positive step, it’s not a win. Blaney says he’s hungry for more.
“I think we’ve been poised to do it all year to be honest with you,” said Blaney, who has gone more than a year without a win since his breakthrough at Pocono Raceway last season. “I think we have a great team over at the 12 group that work great together, and we’ve had a shot to win a couple of races and just haven’t really played out for us. But I’m pretty confident every weekend. I think we have a group to do it.”
It’s been a tale of the ‘Big Three’ of Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick so far winning 15 of the first 19 races in the season. One would assume frustration would be the obvious reaction by the rest of the drivers in the field, but Blaney is taking a different approach. He sees himself, as well as Team Penske, beginning to close the gap with just seven races left before postseason begins.
“I’m bummed that we didn’t win the race because we were so close to doing it and we had a shot,” said Blaney, currently sits 10th in the points standing. “Whenever in defeat, you’ve got to look at positives. Whether you run second or you crash, you’ve got to look at the positives on the weekend and figure out where you were the best and where you need to get better. We’ll take both of those away from it. …
“I wouldn’t say we’re frustrated or defeated. I mean, I might be a little down just because I wanted to win the race, but you go back and you realize that you’ve made gains and you’ve just got to keep making those.”