No. 12 WABASH FORD MUSTANG
STAGE ONE: 5TH
STAGE TWO: 7TH
Ryan Blaney and the No. 12 Wabash Ford Mustang showed top-10 speed throughout Sunday afternoon’s 400-mile race at Kansas Speedway in a pivotal race in the Round of 16. After starting 17th, Blaney charged his way into the top-10 in the opening laps despite battling a loose-handling condition on the first green flag run of the afternoon. Following a caution on lap 62 that brought Blaney to pit road for four tires and a round of adjustments, he restarted tenth with 11 laps remaining in the opening stage and made the most of the restart, vaulting up to fifth in the running order by stage-end to pick up valuable points. An issue on pit road during the stage break relegated Blaney back to 18th to begin the second stage but again worked his way through traffic to rejoin the top-10 by lap 101. Following a pair of restarts in the latter stages of the second segment, Blaney raced his way up to sixth before making his way around the No. 4 for fifth on the leaderboard before the caution flag flew on lap 127. With sets of fresh tires winding down, a majority of the leaders opted to pit but Blaney was one of nine cars to stay out under yellow, setting him up to restart third with 33 laps remaining in Stage 2. Blaney successfully cleared the No. 5 in turn one on the restart to reach second in the running order, but cars on fresher tires behind him began to outpace the Wabash Ford Mustang as he managed come away with a seventh-place finish in Stage 2, further building his playoff points cushion. Following a four tire stop during the stage break, Blaney lined up to restart sixth and maintained that pace up until green flag pit stops began to cycle where several teams decided to split the stage in half. Blaney was brought to pit road on lap 212 for four tires, fuel, and a round of adjustments before rejoining the field for the final run of the day. The caution flag flew on lap 260 to set up a green-white-checkered finish and the No. 12 team took four tires and fuel prior to the final restart. After lining up to restart 15th, Blaney battled through two and three-wide traffic over the final two laps to come away with a 12th-place finish.
Blaney is sixth in points and 25 points above the cut line going into the final race of the Round of 16.
"Overall, not a bad day for our Wabash Ford Mustang. Pretty decent on the short runs and on the long runs we’d just kind of fall off a little bit too hard. Just felt super loose and lose a little speed. The last restart didn’t really work out for us. We took four tires and we started way in the back, and could only get to 12th. But, proud of the stage points we made, proud of the short run speed. Hopefully, we can continue to learn. But I feel decent about the cut line. We just have to go to Bristol and have another good night."