RYAN BLANEY ‘SALVAGES’ TOP 5 FINISH AT LAS VEGAS

  • Ryan Blaney qualified the No. 12 PPG Ford Fusion in sixth position for the inaugural South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The race was the first trip for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series to the 1.5-mile speedway in September, which was held in sizzling hot conditions with the air temperatures in the low-100s and track temperatures.
  • From the drop of the green flag, Blaney was on the move toward the front. He drove into the top-five early, but soon reported that his PPG Ford had no forward drive in the center of the turns. He fell back through the field while trying to hold on to a lead lap position until the first stage break on lap 80. Blaney made slight contact with the No. 10 car of Aric Almirola, after he attempted to pass Blaney, who was credited with a 19th-place finish in Stage 1.
  • The PPG team made repairs along with an air pressure and track bar adjustment on the lap during the stage break caution on lap 84. Once Blaney returned to the track, he quickly made his way back inside the top-10 by lap 118. He reported his No. 12 Ford Fusion built loose as the run went along. A caution on lap 150 set up a short run to the end of Stage 2. Blaney finished eighth and collected valuable stage points.
  • With limited laps on the tires, crew chief Jeremy Bullins opted for a two-tire pit strategy under the caution following Stage 2. The move gave Blaney much-need track position. He settled into a good battle for position in the top-five with Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray. Blaney’s car continued to go back to the loose side as the next round of pit stops came under caution on lap 184.
  • The race went green on lap 187 and Blaney drove his way up to fourth-place by lap 204. He made his final stop of the race on lap 218 for four tires and adjustments. Strong restarts got Blaney to the outside of the front row by the race’s first green-white-checkered restart on lap 265.
  • Blaney raced fellow Team Penske teammates Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano hard for the win but Blaney settled for a fifth-place finish. Keselowski would claim Team Penske’s 500th win while Blaney was credited with his sixth top-five finish of 2018. He is seventh in the MENCS playoff standings.

Quote: “We were all over the place. I was good on short runs and long runs I was really loose. We were trying to get it to where it would last. We got it a little better but definitely not where we need to be. It was a struggle. They worked really hard all day. I can’t thank them enough for that. I tried to stay out of trouble and just survive. Congrats to Brad and the No. 2 team on the 500th win for Team Penske. We have to work on some stuff but salvaging a decent day is a good day.”

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