Blaney battled to finish 11th at Chicago

Barry Cantrell/NKPPhoto

By Caleb Whisler, Staff Writer

Finishing in the 11th position in the Tales of the Turtles 400 from Chicagoland Speedway was a tough feat for the driver of the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford, Ryan Blaney.

In the early stages of the race, Blaney made contact with Ray Black Jr., driver of the No. 51 Chevrolet for Rick Ware Racing, coming off of the fourth turn. Despite going a lap down after pitting to fix the damage, Blaney finished the first stage in 15th.

Blaney spent the entire second stage of the race battling for the free pass position. Despite going caution-free in the second stage, Blaney maintained his 15th position. Blaney fell one position short of receiving the free pass.

As the third and final stage went back under the green condition, the caution flew for a spin by Jamie McMurray on lap 169. This was a lucky break for Blaney as he was finally able to regain his lost lap. Blaney and the No. 21 team felt they had a top-seven car, but missing the final adjustment hurt them at the end of the race.

“We spent a long time trying to get a lap back and finally did and were able to go racing,” Blaney said. “We went the wrong way on our last adjustment and that hurt us unfortunately. We can’t hang our heads about that. A lot of other cars had problems today. It stinks we didn’t get any stage points, but maybe next week.”

Despite finishing in the 11th position, Blaney was disappointed because the speed was not there. However, he was proud of how well his team executed despite the adversity.

“I like to get a little better, obviously. I don’t want to finish 11th. We have to find speed. The biggest is that we executed well today. We got our car better and didn’t make mistakes.”

Blaney sits 10th in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points going into the second race of the “Round of 16” at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

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