Late-race wreck mars strong Motorcraft/Quick Lane team run

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Ryan Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing team spent the majority of the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway avoiding disaster and coming back from adversity until a crash with 29 laps left in the 188-lap race finally ended their day.

“I just got turned and destroyed,” said Blaney after being released from the infield medical facility. “It figures. I haven’t torn up too much here in the past so I guess I was due one.”

Blaney was running in 14th place when he made contact with eventual race winner Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Brad Keselowski, causing him to hit the wall.

“I’m not really sure,” Blaney replied when asked his view of what caused the wreck that ended his day prematurely. “I haven’t seen what happened. I know we got stacked up and got turned from behind. I thought we had a decent car and were working our way back up there. I actually made a bad move that put us in that spot. We were trying to make gains and got run into. It’s unfortunate.”

The 39th finish at Talladega follows consecutive rear-echelon finishes at the Bristol and Richmond short tracks.

“We’ve had a few rough weeks in a row,” Blaney said.

Prior to the day-ending wreck, Blaney spent much of the day in the top 10, scoring points in the first two stages with a ninth in Stage 1 and a third in Stage 2.

After starting 16th following a lackluster qualifying effort, Blaney was seventh after two laps and fifth after three circuits.

While running in sixth during lap 37, Blaney just missed being involved when Kyle Larson went into the wall.

“I don’t know how we didn’t wreck there,” Blaney said over the team’s radio.

“We were racing hard,” he said following the face. “We nearly wrecked a few times. The first wreck of the day came late but it was good racing.”

The red-and-white Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford got as high as second place during lap 42 in Stage 1.

Early in Stage 2, Blaney got stuck in a lane that went backward and found himself in 14th. Six laps later he was back in the top 10. He was as far back as 21st before eventually getting to third place at the end of the second segment.

Contact with Martin Truex, Jr., at the end of Stage 2 caused right-front fender damage that resulted in a lengthy pit stop and a final-stage re-start in 33rd.

Again, the Wood Brothers crew worked their way back into the top 10 by lap 132. A lap-150 green-flag pit stop dropped Blaney to 22nd, but he was moving forward when he hit the wall.

Following the Talladega finish, Blaney moves down one place to 13th in the driver standings, 188 points behind leader Kyle Larson.

The next stop on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series circuit is the Go Bowling 400 at Kansas Speedway, Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1.