Blaney Finishes 13th in First Nationwide Start at Dover
September 30, 2012
DOVER, Del. (September 29, 2012) – Ryan Blaney, driver of the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS), finished 13th in the One Main Financial 200 at Dover International Speedway on Saturday afternoon. This was the young driver’s first start at the high-banked, concrete oval in NNS competition.
Blaney began the 200-lap race from the eighth position, based on his lap of 23.309 seconds, or 154.447 miles per hour, around the one-mile oval. Rain showers moved through the Dover area overnight, and when the race began it was evident that the track was different than what the Discount Tire team experienced during the Friday practice session. Blaney radioed to crew chief Jeremy Bullins that his car was loose on corner entry and tight in the center. As the run progressed, the handling became loose all around the DIS oval. A competition caution at lap 45 gave Bullins his first opportunity to adjust the chassis. He elected to change four tires, while adding a spring rubber into the left rear spring along with a left-side wedge adjustment. Following the stop, Blaney restarted the race from the 13th position at lap 51.
The action resumed with the handling still much the same as before the pit stop. Blaney radioed that he could not give much wheel input as the chassis was still too loose. However, at lap 84, he was able to click off several laps that were faster than those of the race leader as he held on to his position inside the top 15. Unfortunately the consistency was not there for him to make his way into the top-10. A lap 116 caution period gave Bullins the chance to again make substantial changes to the chassis of the Discount Tire Dodge. Air pressure and track bar adjustments were applied; another spring rubber was added to the left rear spring while also changing four tires. Blaney restarted the race from the 16th position at lap 124.
The adjustments proved to be too much as Blaney radioed that he was tight on corner exit. He was still able to log lap times that were as fast as the top-five cars in the running order, but once again the times were inconsistent. The team made its final pit stop at lap 178 under the yellow flag - a two tire stop that included track bar and air pressure adjustments. The two-tire strategy was an effort to pick up track position for the final run of the day. It worked as Blaney restarted the race from the 13th position after coming to pit road running in the 16th spot. He was able to hold that spot over the final 18 laps to secure a 13th-place finish.
Penske Racing teammate Sam Hornish finished 18th in the One Main Financial 200 on Saturday afternoon.
Following Saturday’s result, Blaney and the No. 22 team remain seventh in the NNS owner point standings.
"The Discount Tire Dodge started off really loose and I think it caught everybody off-guard. We were loose the first and second run and then we just over-adjusted on the car a bit at the end. We just never could really get a good run going and get track position. I need to get better. Hopefully we can get some more races before the end of the season. It was a tough day but we'll be better."
The No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge team will next compete at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday, October 12, in the Dollar General 300 with driver Brad Keselowski. Coverage will air live beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN. The race will also be broadcast on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM Satellite Radio Channel 90