PROMISING DAY IN DAYTONA ENDS EARLY FOR BLANEY

  • Ryan Blaney’s strong run in the 61st Daytona 500 at was spoiled by a multi-car crash in late in the 207-lap event to kick off the 2019 Cup Series season. The driver of the Menards/PEAK Ford Mustang showed speed throughout the event before being caught up in a 21-car pileup on lap 192.
  • Blaney started 14th and reported early his Ford Mustang was a free on entry to the corners early in the race. The No. 12 team joined a majority of the Ford teams who pitted together under green on lap 16 with crew chief Jeremy Bullins making the call for fuel and a wedge adjustment. Those changes helped entry security and over the next run and Blaney made his way up solidly into the top-10. Working with teammate Joey Logano, Blaney his way into the top-five bringing home a fifth-place finish when Stage 1 ended on lap 60.
  • Blaney opted to stay out during the stage caution and keep track position. Once again the majority of Ford teams pitted together, this time under green on lap 73. The Menards/PEAK team once again took on only fuel. Once returning to the track, Blaney and teammate Joey Logano led a large group of 15-plus cars that all pitted together, while other lead lap cars ran long in the hopes of keep their track position. The caution waved on lap 108 and once again the Menards/PEAK team opted not to pit, choosing to remain on track in the hopes of gaining maximum stage points. Blaney led the field back to green and utilizing drafting help from teammate Brad Keselowski over the next 12 laps to win Stage 2.
  • Under the stage caution, Blaney took four tires, fuel along with a wedge and air pressure adjustments. Because of many teams pitted during the previous caution, Blaney was shuffled back in the running order after his stop but he was able to fight his way back into contention as the race entered his closing laps.
  • On lap 190, just 10 laps from the scheduled conclusion of the race, Blaney was running just behind the leaders in tight formation when Paul Menard and Matt DiBenedetto made contact, triggering a 21-car pileup between Turns 3 and 4. Blaney was unable to continue and was credited a 31st-place finish in the final rundown.
Quote: “We were racing the heck out of each other tonight. There wasn’t one bit of single-file racing. I thought it was a good race. It was exciting and it was a lot more intense than what it has been all of Speedweek and that’s good. That is what everyone wanted to see. I thought our Mustang was really fast. We had a good run down the back and I think a couple guys were trying to push and got squirrely and next thing I know I am in it. That stinks for Menards and Peak. I thought we had a good shot when we won that stage.”
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