Ryan Blaney Leads Team Penske 3-Car Lineup

October 18, 2014

TALLADEGA, AL (October 18, 2014) – 20-year-old Ryan Blaney, making just his second-career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start, lead the Team Penske charge in qualifying for the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday afternoon.  Both Blaney and teammate Brad Keselowski made it all the way through to the final round of qualifying and turned in the fourth and fifth quickest times in the final session and will start in the top-five in Sunday’s event.

NASCAR instituted a new qualifying format for the superspeedway event on Saturday, with the first round dividing the field of cars into two different groups.  The fastest 24 combined times from each group then moved on to the second round, followed by the fastest 12 going to the final round.

Blaney and Keselowski were the eighth and 10th fastest cars respectively after round one and followed it up by being the seventh and eighth quickest respectively in the second round.

“I’m pretty happy with our SKF Ford Fusion today,” said Blaney, who finished 27th in his first Sprint Cup Series event earlier this year.  “I think we had a solid shot at the pole there on our last lap and we had a pretty good head of steam coming to the line, but another car came up in front of us to try and get a push and it killed our momentum.  It was fun out there, but the focus is on Sunday.”

Teammate Joey Logano initially turned in the fourth fastest time in the first round.  However, NASCAR reviewed the video tape and determined that Logano failed to cross the start/finish line before taking the green for his final and fastest lap before the five-minute clock ran out.  Logano had to fall back on his last completed lap time, which put him 40th for Sunday’s 500-mile event.

“I thought we were in a good place, but I guess NASCAR determined we didn’t make it back to the line in time to have that fast lap count,” said Logano.  “It sucks for sure, but if there is anywhere it doesn’t matter qualifying that bad, this is that place.  We will race our way up to the front and try and win the race.  We’ve got nothing to lose.”

The GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway will air live  Sunday, October 19 at 2:00 p.m. ET on ESPN. Race coverage will also be broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Channel 90.