Early accident ends Ryan Blaney’s day at Phoenix

Photo By: Nigel Kinrade Photography / NKP

By: Sarah Handy, Staff Writer

Ryan Blaney’s weekend started out on a high note on Friday when it was announced that he had signed a multi-year extension to remain with Team Penske beyond the 2020 season.

However, his chance to win Sunday’s FanShield 500 at Phoenix Raceway came to an abrupt end on Lap 65. Blaney’s No. 12 Menards / Tarkett Ford Mustang sustained damage in an accident involving Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin and Blaney’s Penske teammate Brad Keselowski.

As Hamlin and Keselowski entered Turn 3 on Lap 64, both cars wound up sliding out of the racing groove. Blaney was ultimately left with no where to go and his No. 12 Ford’s damage was enough to send him to the garage and end his day.

“From the car I couldn’t really see. A couple of us were three-wide. I was happy to be on the top,” explained Blaney. “I thought we were going to roll the top pretty good through three and four there. It looks like the 11 tried to send it in there below the 2 and got loose and hit him and then over-corrected and got us. We got up in the dirt and we just ran right into the fence. Just an innocent bystander there. It sucks to have it end so early like that and have that happen so early in the race.”

“I do really hate it for Menards and Tarkett and Ford. We didn’t even have a chance to work on our car,” said Blaney. “We weren’t great the first run, but we made a big swing at it and we don’t know how that change was. It stinks when you are taken out like that. We will just go on to Atlanta and see what we can do.”

Blaney entered Sunday’s event as the NASCAR Cup Series points leader but will have to look ahead to next weekend’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 to try and capture his first win of the season.

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