Ryan Blaney | No. 12 Menards / Wrangler Ford Mustang
Competition Caution (Lap 100): 11th
Ryan Blaney got off to a fast start in Sunday night's All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway, gaining five spots in the first ten laps while finding success wrapping the bottom lane of the corners before settling into sixth in the running order. Blaney and the No. 12 team opted to stay out during the first caution of the night on lap 15 to maintain their track position, but the long, green-flag run that lasted up until the competition caution on lap 100 shuffled Blaney back into 11th as cars on differing tire strategies made their way to the front. On what amounted to be the lone pit stop of the night, the No. 12 team serviced the Menards/Wrangler Ford Mustang with four tires, fuel, and a round of adjustments to alleviate reported issues with corner entry and rear security through the corners. Blaney restarted eighth with a focus on managing his tires in the event the race stayed green the rest of the way, allowing him to come away with a sixth-place finish in the series' first race since 1996 at the famed short track.
"I had a fun night. Sixth was probably the highest we got to and where we finished, and I thought we could run fifth. Overall, it wasn't a bad night. We didn't have winning speed, but it was a fun night, for sure. It was just a case of how disciplined you wanted to be. The whole last run going green was super cool. It was big tire management because you never really know how many laps you're going to run. I kind of had it in my mind right away like, ‘Alright, we might go the whole way, so let's kind of plan on that,' and it happened. It was a pretty fun night trying to conserve tires. It reminded me of my late model days."