RYAN BLANEY No. 12 MENARDS/PENNZOIL FORD MUSTANG
STAGE ONE: 13TH
STAGE TWO: 36TH
POINTS: 8TH (-74)
Ryan Blaney raced his way into the top-10 of the running order within the first 30 laps Sunday night at Nashville Superspeedway despite battling a loose-handling Ford Mustang on the opening run. As green flag pit stops cycled around the halfway point of Stage 1, Blaney brought the No. 12 Menards/Pennzoil Ford to pit road on lap 42 for a four-tire stop and a round of adjustments but began the ensuing run on the tight side resulting in a 13th-place finish in the opening stage. Crew chief Jonathan Hassler dialed in another round of adjustments on the second trip to pit road on the night during the stage break, allowing Blaney to make his way back into the top-10 in the first few laps of Stage 2. With the balance starting to settle in over the course of a long, green-flag run to begin the stage, Blaney was called to pit road on lap 135 for a scheduled four-tire stop but the caution flag flew after making his way off pit road, trapping him a lap down. Blaney took the wave around to rejoin the lead lap but restarted in the middle of the pack behind a host of cars a lap down. On the ensuing restart on lap 147, the front of the field stacked up and Blaney was sent sliding through the infield grass and head-on into the inside wall, bringing an abrupt end to the No. 12 team’s night.
"It's a shame, ending our night early. I thought we finally got decent air at the start of the second stage. I don't really know what happened. Someone checked up on the restart, I guess. I kind of checked up, got hit from behind. I didn't know if they were wrecking, and I just couldn't get it straightened out. When I got out of the grass, I thought I was going to come back around, and that I'd be ok. Just never got back right. Happy to be all right, but I hate it for the Menards/Pennzoil Ford Mustang. Stinks to go home early."