Ryan Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team came away from a crazy day at Pocono Raceway with an 11th-place finish that keeps them in the hunt for a berth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, which begins after five more regular-season races. He is now tied with Trevor Bayne for 17th place in the points standings.
Blaney started 18th in the race which was pushed to Monday because of bad weather. He quickly moved into the top 15 and was in 14th place when a competition caution flag flew at Lap 15.
In a move that was typical of Blaney’s Pocono performance, he bolted from 17th place to 11th on the restart and stayed there until moving into the top 10 just past the 60-lap mark.
As the race neared the Lap 80 halfway point with the skies threatening, it was clear that the race could end at any point due to weather.
Teams including the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew began using various strategies to position themselves near the front in case the race ended prematurely.
Blaney raced as high as fifth place, but found himself in 11th place when fog ended the race 22 laps shy of the scheduled distance.
“I thought we actually had a really good race car, but it didn’t really play out in our favor of getting track position,” Blaney said. “We got it and took a gamble on rain and it didn’t, and then we lost all of it and had to drive back up through the field.”
“We should have cycled out about ninth right there and the fog rolled in.”
Still Blaney was 11th, the third time this season he’s finished in that position, the first two coming at Bristol Motor Speedway and New Hampshire Motor Speedway. It was his ninth finish of 11th or better in 21 races this season.
Team co-owner Eddie Wood said he was proud of his young driver’s performance in what he described as a “crazy” race.
“It was wild at times, especially on restarts,” Wood said. “They were five wide going into Turn One.”
And, Wood said, the over-the-wall pit crew had another exceptional day. “They were spot-on,” he said. “They gained us positions on every stop.”