Ryan Blaney and the Wood Brothers Racing Team have advanced to Round 3 of the NASCAR Playoffs by driving the Omnicraft Ford Fusion to third place in the Hollywood Casino 400 this afternoon at Kansas Speedway.
Starting in the back of the pack after qualifying third and failing post-qualifying inspection, Blaney took a workman’s-like approach to his drive to the front of the field during Stage 1. He made it to 20th place by lap 13, 12th place by the 44th lap and stayed on the track during a lap-46 caution to assume second place when the race re-started on lap 52. He took the lead on the re-start and ran in the top 10 the rest of the day, finishing Stage 1 in fourth place, collecting seven critical points.
“It was a good race,” Blaney said. “We did a nice job coming from the back. We were able to make some good ground early, run up through there and made good adjustments throughout the day.”
Blaney started Stage 2 in the third position and ran there for the majority of the segment before pitting and shuffling back to eighth, which was where he finished that stage, adding another three extra points to his total.
“I thought we got our car pretty decent there in the second stage,” Blaney said.
He started the final stage in sixth due to two cars ahead of him being penalized for speeding on pit road. Blaney moved into fifth place on the re-start, lost several position on a lap-187 pit stop but was back in the top 10 by the time the next caution flew two laps later.
Blaney and the Omnicraft Ford avoided a major wreck on the ensuing re-start and ended up in sixth place.
“I went left as soon as he spun and managed to avoid it on the apron,” Blaney recalled. “I feel bad for the cars that got caught up in it.”
He took over fifth place on lap 205, fourth place on lap 215 and got to third with 35 laps to go in the scheduled 267-lap race.
“We were able to make little gains on the car all day,” Blaney said. “That showed what a good car we had and it’s nice to move on. It’s just a solid day for our team. We had to overcome a lot of adversity coming from the back. They should be proud of that. It shows some pretty great resilience on the part of the Wood Brothers Team. I am really proud of my team for the effort and we will move on to the next round and Martinsville.”
The first stop in Round 3 of the NASCAR Playoffs is the First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, Oct. 29, at 3 p.m. on NBCSN.
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