Ryan Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion were in the lead at Daytona International Speedway with 25 laps to go but ended up crashing out of the Coke Zero 400, ending up 26th on the scoring pylon.
Blaney had a fast car from the first practice on Thursday until Kyle Larson spun, took flight and landed sideways right in front of the No. 21.
“I am not sure what happened,” Blaney said. “I saw the 42 get turned and get up in the air a little bit. I just couldn’t miss him. I was already on the top (lane) and I hate that I T-boned him. I just couldn’t get out of the way. We were working our way back forward when that happened.”
Until that point, Blaney’s iconic Wood Brothers Ford was a serious threat to contend for the victory. Starting ninth, Blaney was a fixture in the top 10 throughout the race’s first segment, which he finished in third place.
He started Stage 2 in 35th place when he missed his pit box and had to go around again. He steadily worked his way back into the top 10 by lap 66 and finished Stage 2 in 10th position.
Blaney put his Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford into the lead on the 127th of 160 laps and seemed poised to claim his second win of the season. But his Fusion was a little too fast and a gap developed between it and the second-place car of Daniel Suarez who was able to make a run and take the lead with 25 laps remaining. Following the pass, Blaney got shuffled back to 23rd place and was making his way back to the front when Larson spun in front of him with seven laps to go.
“I thought we had a really good car,” Blaney said. “We were racing hard. Everyone was racing hard. We got kind of shuffled out. I didn’t pick a very good lane. I can’t thank Motorcraft and Quick Lane and Ford enough for what they do. We had a super-fast Fusion but it is just the way it goes sometimes. We will go on to Kentucky.”
Crew chief Jeremy Bullins added, “I’m just really proud of everyone on this team. The Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion was really fast. We knew Friday we had something special. We had a really fast car and proved that on several occasions tonight. We got the lead and were probably too fast and got too big of a gap and that cost us the lead. With a handful of laps left we were in a position to get back to the front and they all stacked up in front of us.
“You couldn’t ask for a better race car,” Bullins continued. “We barely worked on it all night. We made a small adjustment and got in position to win the race.”
Blaney finishes the night in 13th place in the driver standings, 232 points behind the leader Larson. More important, however, Blaney is seventh in the playoff standings with a win and eight playoff points.
The next stop on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series circuit is Kentucky Speedway for the Quaker State 400 on Saturday, July 8, at 7:30 p.m. on NBCSN.
Ford Performance PR