Despite being involved in a late-race crash that took Ryan Blaney and the Quick Lane Ford Fusion out of the top 10 in the Alabama 500 to an 18th-place finish, they were strong all day here at Talladega Superspeedway and leap-frogged from 11th to seventh in the NASCAR Playoff standings going into the Round 2 cutoff race next weekend at Kansas Speedway where only the top eight advance.
Blaney started the race in ninth and quickly moved into the top five. He drove to third place on lap 50 and stayed there until the 55th lap that ended Stage 1 wheer he collected eight valuable stage points.
The Quick Lane pit crew spent a little extra time repairing some minor damage on the Wood Brothers iconic No. 21 Ford and sent their driver out for the start of Stage 2 in 30th position. The team battled handling issues throughout the segment but Blaney powered his way to the front on lap 92 and did not relent until Stage 2 was complete and he added another 10 stage points and a playoff point to his totals.
“It’s obviously valuable,” Blaney said after being checked out of the infield care center. “I thought we were one of the faster cars all day, which was nice to show, but you can be the fastest car and not finish the race.”
Blaney re-started the final stage in fourth and was back in the lead two laps later. He slipped to second place by the 130th time around the big Alabama superspeedway. Blaney slid back to fifth and later narrowly escaped being involved in a wreck that took out several championship contenders.
He was running fifth when he got put into the wall and his day was over.
“We were up by the wall and somebody probably got turned and I got in it,” Blaney recalled. “I didn’t think there were enough cars to wreck that much anymore, but we happened to find it and a good day kind of went down the drain.”
The 18th-place finish, combined with 18 stage points and so many Playoff contending cars finishing the race on tow trucks, allowed Blaney and the Wood Brothers to jump from 11th place, five points behind the Round 2 cutoff, to seventh place, nine points above the cutoff.
The next race on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on Sunday, Oct. 22 at 3 p.m. on NBCSN. It is the final race of Round 2 of the NASCAR Playoffs. Only the top eight drivers will advance to Round 3.
Ford Motor Company’s newest parts brand, Omnicraft Auto Parts, will be the primary sponsor on the No. 21 Fusion at Kansas.
Ford Performance PR