RYAN BLANEY TAKES ON THE MONSTER MILE IN THE SECOND ROUND OF THE PLAYOFFS

  • Ryan Blaney entered the Gander Outdoors 400 at Dover International Speedway riding a wave of momentum from his second Cup Series victory one week ago. Blaney started eighth in his PPG Ford Fusion after qualifying was rained out and the starting lineup was set per the NASCAR rule book.
  • Early in the race Blaney reported that he was fighting a tight condition over the course of the run. Crew chief Jeremy Bullins caution Blaney to take care of his tires as the opening segment of the race ran caution free. His first stop came on lap 69, where the PPG crew took four tires, fuel and wedge adjustment. Despite his handling woes, Blaney scored a seventh-place finish when Stage 1 ended on lap 120. He pitted for four tires and adjustments during the stage caution on lap 123 but a malfunction during the stop shuffled Blaney outside the top-10 for the restart on lap 128.
  • During Stage 2, Blaney once again reported that his No. 12 Ford Fusion was struggling to turn, especially when he attempted run a higher line on the one-mile concrete track. When the green and white checkered flag waived to end the segment on lap 240, Blaney narrowly missed collecting stage points in the segment, scoring a 12th-place finish. Solid pit work by the No. 12 PPG team put Blaney back inside the top-10 to begin the final stage on lap 247.
  • Additional pit stops on laps 319 and 341 saw the crew continue to try and help the balance of the car as the setting sun changed the track significantly.
  • The fourth caution came out with seven laps to go and several teams chose different strategies to gain track position. Bullins called for right side tires for the final dash to the finish. Blaney restarted ninth on lap 396 and received minor cosmetic damage to the right-rear of the No. 12 Ford in the aftermath of a multi-car crash in Turns 3 and 4 that involved four drivers NASCAR Playoffs (Brad Keselowski, Aric Almirola, Martin Truex Jr. and Alex Bowman). After close examination under caution, the PPG tea felt confident there wouldn’t be any fender rubs when the race went back green.
  • After a five minute red flag for track cleanup, the race went green on lap 402. The aerodynamically-challenged PPG Ford went from eighth-place on the restart to an 11th-place finish over the final two laps. Blaney is now eighth in the playoff standings, 10 points head of the ninth-place cutoff position.

Quote: “I thought we were okay all day.  We were between a seventh and ninth-place car and it was hard to pass.  We lost some spots on that last pit stop and that put us in a bad spot and we got kind of wrecked there. There are a couple good tracks coming up for us, so hopefully we can do a little bit better there.”

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