NASCAR XFINITY Series Race Report - Phoenix

March 18, 2017

Track: Phoenix Raceway
Race: DC Solar 200
Date: March 18, 2017

No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney

Start:  33rd
Finish: 2nd (Stage 2 Winner)
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 15
Owner's Points Position: Leader (+44 points)

Recap: Ryan Blaney and the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang team continued its strong start to the 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) season with a second-place finish in the DC Solar 200 at Phoenix Raceway on Saturday afternoon. The 23-year-old started his Mustang from the 33rd position after tech issues kept the team from participating in Qualifying. It did not take long before Blaney cracked the top-15. By lap 30 Blaney raced his way to the sixth position and was the fastest car on track. Blaney radioed to his crew chief Greg Erwin his Ford Mustang was free on takeoff and built tight during the long run. Blaney would work his way up to the fourth position before the first stage ended. Eventually, Blaney would make his way to the lead on lap 109 and would remain the leader until the end of the second stage to pick up the first stage win of his career. As the final stage began at lap 129, Blaney continued to show a strong run, battling the top three cars for position. During a late race caution on lap 159, Blaney and the team elected to pit for two tires, Blaney continued to battle for the top spots before the red flag flew with nine laps to go. On the final restart on lap 195, Blaney fell from third to fifth, quickly making his way to second. Blaney crossed the finish line in the second position to give the Discount Tire team three consecutive top-five finishes to start the season, helping the team remain as the leader in the NXS Owners Points Championship standings. This was Blaney’s second top-10 finish in two races at Phoenix Raceway.

Quote: "It was just all about kind of being patient and aggressive at the same time, working your way up and making sure you don't hurt your car any or anything like that. We had a great long run car, spectacular after about 30-35 laps. After that it just kept getting better. Unfortunately we didn't have any long runs at the end. It played into his hands. What are you going to do about that? We are getting close. We just needed a little bit more."