Fuel strategies were the order of the day in the rain-delayed Axalta 400 at Pocono Raceway on Monday.
Ryan Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team took a late-race gamble by stopping for fuel with 39 laps remaining, a move that could have put them in position to contend for the win, as many of their competitors were running short of making it to the finish. But a subsequent caution period negated that strategy, which also would have put the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team in good shape if the race had gone into overtime.
Still, Blaney drove his way to a 10th-place finish, his sixth of the season and fourth in the past five races.
Team co-owner Eddie Wood said Blaney did a masterful job at Pocono all weekend, especially considering he had no previous Sprint Cup experience at the Tricky Triangle.
“Ryan and our spotter, Josh Williams, did a tremendous job all day,” Wood said. “Ryan was either right in front of, right beside or right behind every wreck, and with Josh’s help he missed them all.”
Blaney and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion were solid from start to finish of the 400-mile run. He started the race in 14th position and was rarely out of the top 15 all day.
Wood said that crew chief Jeremy Bullins and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew had a good day on pit road and developed a good strategy plan even if it was foiled by the race’s final caution.
“It all worked out,” Wood said. “We got another top 10, and we’ll head to Michigan with plenty of momentum.”
With a short work week ahead of them, Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team return to Ford Motor Company’s home track, Michigan International Speedway, for Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400.