Ryan Blaney Earns Second Career NNS Victory at Bristol
August 23, 2014
Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway (.533-mile high-banked oval, Bristol, Tenn.)
Friday, August 22, 2014
The No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang
Driver: Ryan Blaney
Starting Position: 2
Finish Position: 1
Owners' Points Position: 1
THE RACE REVIEW
· The No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang, with Ryan Blaney behind the wheel, started Friday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Bristol Motor Speedway in the second position. It was Blaney’s fourth top-five start of the season.
· The start of the 300-lap event was delayed over an hour after a rain shower moved through the Bristol, Tennessee area.
· Once the race finally took the green, Blaney slipped into second and began to log laps behind leader Kyle Busch. Eventually, Blaney would fall back to third and run there until the first pit stop of the day on lap 62.
· Blaney complained that the No. 22 Ford Mustang was extremely tight in the center of the corner and crew chief Jeremy Bullins called for adjustments to help the ill-handling condition. Blaney would restart the race 12th.
· Over the next 100 laps, Blaney would struggle to work his way back into the top-10. During several restarts, Blaney would refire in the bottom lane and lose several spots to cars in the preferred outside groove. Despite the restart issues, Blaney would eventually work his way back into the top-10 by lap 160.
· With 100 laps to go, Blaney worked his way back to the top-five and showed that the Discount Tire Mustang was getting stronger with laps, especially over the long runs.
· On lap 280, while racing for fourth, Blaney got together with the No. 42 of Kyle Larson. Thankfully, Blaney was able to continue on with minimal damage and restarted in fourth on the ensuing green flag.
· Blaney worked his way into second with just 10 laps to go and caught another caution, giving him one final shot at the leader Busch.
· On the restart, Busch stumbled on the outside line and Blaney was able to drive into the lead in turn one. Over the course of the final seven laps, Blaney held off Busch to earn his second-career NASCAR Nationwide Series victory and his first of the season.
· Blaney led just one time for seven laps over the course of the event. He has now earned one win, four top-fives and seven top-10 finishes in eight NNS starts in 2014. It was Blaney’s second victory in 24-career NASCAR Nationwide Series races.
· With the win, the No. 22 Team Penske group extended their lead in the Nationwide Series Owners’ Championship to 24 points over the No. 54 of Joe Gibbs Racing.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
RYAN BLANEY, NO. 22 DISCOUNT TIRE FORD MUSTANG
THAT WAS A WILD LAST 20 LAPS. CAN YOU WALK US THROUGH WHAT ALL HAPPENED?
“First of all, I have to apologize to Kyle Larson. I just got loose on the bottom and got into him. I’m really sorry about that. I was trying to pull a slider and got really loose, so sorry about that. But Kyle (Busch) didn’t go on that last restart. He said his tires were jacked up, but we got to the second (restart) line and I went and luckily we were able to hold him off here. It was a great Discount Tire Ford Mustang for us tonight. We lost track position early, but we made it back and Jeremy Bullins and everyone on this team did an awesome job of making sure we got it back. It was one heck of a race. We won at Bristol. Penske drivers are 2-for-2 now this weekend. Hopefully, they can make it 3-for-3 tomorrow night.”
YOU SAW KYLE INCHING UP TO YOU IN THE FINAL LAP. WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?
“Not mess up. I lost a Truck race here last year by getting tight and getting out of the groove and lost it to Kyle, and I wanted to make sure I didn’t do that again. I was just driving my guts out there trying to stay ahead of him. I know he was too. He messed up a couple of times in getting back in, but what can I say about these guys. I have to thank Nationwide Insurance, Discount Tire, Hertz, Snap-On, SKF – everyone that helps us put this program on. I’m really thankful to be here. Thank you, Roger (Penske) for giving me the chance. I’m looking forward to more this year.”
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO WIN A BRISTOL?
“It’s awesome to be here in Bristol Victory Lane. I’ve been coming here for 10 years with my dad and it’s been one of my favorite race tracks to watch a race. There’s so much history here that it’s awesome to finally be in victory lane. Hopefully, Team Penske can get another one tomorrow night. That would really be cool.”