Ryan Blaney and the No. 21 Snap-on Ford Fusion were on the move early in Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway before an aggressive move led to contact with the wall and a cut-down tire, resulting in an early exit from the race.
Despite not having any practice since qualifying on Friday due to a wet race track on Saturday, Blaney began to move forward from his 25th starting position as soon as the green flag was displayed Sunday afternoon.
Blaney worked his way into the top 15 before the first yellow flag flew on lap 11. Crew chief Jeremy Bullins elected to leave Blaney on the track during the caution period, and that put the Snap-on Fusion inside the top 10 for the restart.
Blaney was running ninth when he attempted to pass another driver and bounced off the outside wall. The damage to his Snap-on Fusion led to a cut right-front tire, which put him into the wall again and out of the race.
"We had a good car, and we were driving forward early and I got into the wall off [Turn] four trying to pass somebody,” Blaney said. “I hit the wall all by myself and ruined a very fast race car. That is really unfortunate.”
Blaney, who was credited with a 43rd-place finish, said he hopes the lessons the team learned at Texas will pay off when his Wood Brothers team returns to the track for the season-ending Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in two weeks.
“I think with how we started out today it is kind of a good thing with what we learned and really makes you look forward to Homestead,” he said.
Team co-owner Len Wood said his main regret from Sunday at Texas was that his team wasn’t able to deliver their sponsor a better finish.
“I really hate it for the people at Snap-on,” he said. “We had a really fast car, and even without being able to practice on Saturday we were moving up really quickly.”
“Ryan just tried to get a little too much and ended up hitting the wall. But you can’t blame him for trying.”
Wood Brothers Racing PR