Stage 1: 1st (First stage win of 2021)
Stage 2: 5th
Laps Completed: 312/312
Laps Led: 35
Point Standings (behind first): 13th (-102)
- Ryan Blaney started eighth and finished 10th in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix Raceway. The driver of the Menards/Richmond Ford Mustang won Stage 1 and led 35 laps on the day. Blaney now sits 13th in the Cup Series standings, 102 points behind leader Denny Hamlin.
- Blaney started eighth and made his way up to the fourth position by the lap 30 competition caution. He reported to crew chief Todd Gordon that he was a little loose on throttle. Blaney would pit on lap 33, taking four tires and an air pressure adjustment.
- Restarting second, Blaney would battle teammate Brad Keselowski for the top spot in a spirited battle. He would eventually prevail, taking the lead on lap 44 and hold onto the top spot through the stage conclusion on lap 75. It was Blaney’s first stage win of 2021. He would pit under the stage break, taking four tires and additional air pressure adjustment to help for the center turn lost.
- Blaney would begin Stage 2 from the second position. He would remain there until Kyle Larson passed him for the runner-up spot on lap 127. Still fighting loose on entry Blaney would finish Stage 2 in the fifth position.
- Blaney began the final stage of the race from the fourth position and would move up to third on lap 201. As the run progressed, the Menards/Richmond Ford would begin to chatter the front tires and he fell back to seventh. Blaney would pit under green on lap 249 for significant adjustments. The race would see two cautions in the final 49 laps and Blaney would pit both times for additional changes. He’d fall as low as 13th, but managed to work his way back to 10th when the checkered flag waved.
Quote: “Towards the end of the day I think the track kind of changed on us and we lost some speed. We were fighting stuff that we weren’t fighting at the beginning and other guys’ cars came to life and we were kind of chasing ours a little bit. It wasn’t for a lack of effort. We tried a bunch of stuff and tried to get ahead of the track and just couldn’t quite get there. For how much speed we lost throughout the day just with track changes, running 10th I’m proud of that. I’m proud of Todd (Gordon) and everybody on this Menards/Richmond Ford Mustang for sticking with it all day and good stage points for sure and not a bad finish.”