No. 12 Advance Auto Parts Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 5th
Stage 2: 11th
Laps Completed: 399/400
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (behind first): 5th (-70)
- Ryan Blaney scored his first career top-10 finish at Richmond Raceway on Saturday night, driving the No. 12 Advance Auto Parts Ford Mustang to the 10th position before the checkered flag. Blaney remained poised throughout the race, relaying the handling conditions to crew chief Todd Gordon so the No. 12 Ford team could improve on the car throughout the race. Blaney heads to the first playoff cut-off race next week at Bristol Motor Speedway in the fifth position in the standings, 28 points above the cutline to advance to the Round of 12.
- Through the opening laps of the race, Blaney ran inside the top-five, running extremely competitive lap times despite the front tires chattering prior to the competition caution. The Advance Auto Parts Ford Mustang team adjusted with air pressure on the competition caution and allowed Blaney to continue in the top-five until the end of the first stage, where he’d finish fifth.
- Blaney started to struggle with drive down the straightaways in Stage 2, reporting that the Advance Auto Parts Mustang was free on entry and exit. The team elected to make a stagger and air pressure change to the car under the green flag pit stop at lap 182, running several laps longer than the majority of the race leaders. Blaney finished Stage 2 in the 11th position, reporting the previous changes had helped, leading the team to make additional air pressure changes.
- In the final stage, the Advance Auto Parts team continued to take swings at the No. 12 Mustang’s handling, with Blaney maintaining just outside the top-10. Blaney mounted a late race charge, surging past Austin Dillon on the final lap of the race, scoring his first career top-10 finish at Richmond Raceway.
Quote: “From the spring race here I thought we could run right there and we ran 11th in the spring. I thought we figured some stuff out and we worked a little bit more on it, so we got some stage points and had a couple runs that were bad, a couple runs where we got better and better, and at the end we were able to pass a handful of cars to get home 10th. I’m proud of the team. Thanks to Advance Auto Parts and Ford and Menards for sticking in. I had fun tonight. I actually had a lot of fun tonight. That was fun. September 2021 I had fun at Richmond. It’s cool to be in a nice spot going into Bristol. I’m just proud of the whole group all night.”