A lap-87 crash that collected fellow rookie Chase Elliott sent a strong-running Ryan Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion to the garage early and to a 35th-place finish in the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway Saturday night.
Starting from the 15th position on the grid, Blaney moved into the top 10 before the end of the first lap and stayed with the leaders until he went sideways and backed into the wall.
“I got loose,” Blaney explained. “It’s unfortunate and we took the #24 out. Obviously it’s not intentional and not what you want. We both had really good cars. You just get put in spots on re-starts that aren’t ideal and things like that happen unfortunately.
“That restart was pretty hectic from the beginning with the #78 getting loose and it kind of put everybody in a bad spot, and it wound up with us being in the middle of three-wide into three,” he continued. “It’s so hard to get into that corner all night with a car close behind you and outside of you, and no one lifting either, and it’s just an unfortunate spot we got put in, and I hate to see two really good cars tore up. We were both very fast tonight (#24 and #21) and it’s just a really unfortunate deal.”
Blaney just missed being collected himself when Jimmie Johnson got loose and hit the wall on lap 32. Right before the wreck that took him out of contention, Blaney made contact with Cole Witt on pit road that caused damage to the right front of the Wood Brothers’ iconic No. 21.
“We were coming out and the 98 was coming in,” Blaney said. “Communication was off a little bit. That didn’t effect it at all.”
The Wood Brothers Racing Team got the car put back together and back on the track with 60 laps to go and got their rookie driver more experience on the newly re-paved Bluegrass State track and gathered some precious extra points by gaining two spots.
With that 35th-place result, Blaney moves down to 19th in the driver points standings before heading to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the New Hampshire 301 on Sunday, July 17, at 1:30 p.m. EDT.