RYAN BLANEY No. 12 BODYARMOR FORD MUSTANG
STAGE ONE: 23RD
STAGE TWO: 17TH
Ryan Blaney battled a tight-handling BODYARMOR Ford Mustang from the onset of Sunday's Cook Out 400 at Richmond Raceway, resulting in a 23rd-place finish in Stage 1 that was green for the entirety of the opening 70-lap segment. The No. 12 team made a round of adjustments during its first opportunity to go to work on the handling of the car at the stage break and lined up 25th to start Stage 2. Blaney was brought to pit road during the latter stages of the first of two green flag pit cycles in the second stage which saw him break into the top-10 before hitting pit road. As Blaney's Ford Mustang began to work its way free following its second green flag stop on lap 179, he battled to stay on the lead lap as the laps ticked off in the second stage. Blaney was able to fend off the No. 6 to stay on the lead lap en route to a 17th-place finish in Stage 2. Blaney ran in the top-15 for a majority of the final stage as various pit strategies started to come to light. The No. 12 team opted to wait to bring Blaney to pit road until the end of the final green flag pit cycle, allowing him to take the lead on lap 339. Blaney made his way down pit road on lap 346 while running third and cycled back to 14th upon rejoining the field. Blaney was one of the last cars on the lead lap prior to the caution on lap 390 and fended off a host of wave-around cars on the final restart of the day with three laps remaining to come away with a 14th-place finish.
"Definitely an up-and-down day for our BODYARMOR Ford Mustang. We were going to work on it every chance we had – which wasn't often with the number of long, green-flag runs that this place can tend to produce. I feel like the balance started to come to us towards the end and we were better on the long run. We'll take a top-15 considering how deep we started and look to build some momentum in Michigan."