Ryan Blaney Earns First Career NNS Win at Kentucky
September 22, 2013THE RACE
The Kentucky 300 at Kentucky Speedway (1.5-mile speedway, Sparta, Ky.)
September 21, 2013
The No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang
Driven By Ryan Blaney
Start Position: 2
Finish Position: 1
Current Owner's Points Position: 1
THE RACE REVIEW
· Ryan Blaney qualified the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang in the second position during Saturday afternoon’s qualifying session at Kentucky Speedway. This marked his forth top-10 start in 15 NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) events.
· As the green flag flew on the 200 lap race, Blaney comfortably found a spot within the top-five. Experiencing a tight handling race car, crew chief Jeremy Bullins called for an air pressure adjustment during their first stop.
· Due to the rain the day before, a competition caution was called at lap 25 which gave the Discount Tire team their first opportunity to work on the Ford Mustang.
· Approaching the half-way point of the race, Blaney took over the lead from Austin Dillon. Fighting a loose handling condition as he made his way through lapped traffic, Bullins called for a track bar adjustment during a pit stop on lap 105.
· Restarting in the second position, Blaney quickly found his way back into the lead. Pulling away from the rest of the field, he was able to put extend his lead to a few car lengths over Austin Dillon.
· As the leader, Blaney continued fighting a loose handling Mustang as he made his way through traffic. Making another track bar adjustment during a trip down pit road on lap 163, Bullins hoped this would help Blaney through the rest of the race.
· With the laps winding down, Blaney held off NNS regulars like Sam Hornish Jr and Austin Dillon on a number of restarts. Leading 96 of 200 laps, Blaney went on to earn his first NNS victory of his career.
· With his victory, Blaney has become the fifth driver to earn their first win at Kentucky Speedway. With this win the No. 22 maintains the lead the Owner’s Championship by 23 points over the No. 54.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO GET YOUR FIRST NASCAR NATIONWIDE SERIES VICTORY?
“We had a great car all night. We kept working on it throughout the race and just had to make small changes here and there. We were extremely strong at the beginning of the race and just kept getting better and better. The last few restarts were tough because you didn’t really know what was going to happen. With the way the restart rules are now, you never know how hard the guy behind you will push you. It speaks to how strong this team is, being able to win 10 races with four different drivers along with how strong Penske Racing is as a whole. I am honored to get the chance to come and drive this Discount Tire Mustang and I truly thank everyone who made this possible.”
THIS IS YOUR 10th WIN OF THE SEASON WITH YOUR FOUTH DIFFERENT DRIVER, HOW DOES THAT FEEL?
“This is my most special win as a crew chief, one of the most special wins since I have been doing this professionally. To watch the growth that this young man (Blaney) has gone through in the last year as been amazing to watch. He proved tonight why he is in this No. 22 car. When asked about coming here with a non-Cup Series driver, I’ve been saying we’re here to win and I’ve believed that since we unloaded on Friday. It’s a testament to everyone at Penske Racing, both teams brought new chassis here this week and we both sat on the front row and were able to lead laps. I’m very privileged to get to work with the drivers that I do and tonight was another example of the talent that we can put behind the wheel.”
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