Ryan Blaney Impressive For Wood Bros. Racing At Las Vegas
It goes without saying that many expected Ryan Blaney to deliver strong results for Wood Bros. Racing in his first full-time season of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition.
And after a strong run was destroyed on the last lap at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway a week ago, Blaney vowed for redemption.
That redemption came this weekend at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway with a sixth-place finish in Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 400, the first top-10 run for Blaney and his No. 21 Wood Bros. Racing Ford Fusion team this season.
“This was really satisfying. It was a good day for us,” said Blaney who jumped seven positions in the standings to 14th. “We needed a good finish after last week and it is nice to go out here and we all had fast cars. Congrats to the 2 (Keselowski / Team Penske) team, they did a great job coming back from that speeding penalty and made a great call at the end. Good job by them and good job by our team.”
The finish on Sunday also marked a career-best for Blaney on a non-superspeedway track and the third top-10 finish of his young Cup career.
“We started out okay,” added Blaney. “We progressively got better throughout the day. That’s really all you can ask for. We were really, really strong there with 30 laps on our tires. We could really start making a lot of ground. We lost so much ground the first 29 laps, we kind of break even by the time it was over.
“We didn’t quite have the balance right with two tires at the end. It was a little bit tighter than we needed to drive up through there. Hopefully, this is a good step in the right direction. But our team did a great job.
“I think our organization is stepping in the right direction, for sure.”
Heading in the right direction is as humble as you can be. Even though the No. 21 team hasn’t had the finishes from Daytona or Atlanta to reflect on their performances, anything less than a Chase-eligible position seems nothing more than reality, even so early in the season.
The success of Blaney’s teammates at Team Penske should trickle down to the No. 21 as the season marches on. Not only does Blaney have the desire, want and passion to win, but so does the two teams that stand behind him.
Blaney pointed out how just how significant Sunday’s run was for his non-chartered team.
“Very significant,” he added. “Especially after Atlanta, last week, getting spun out on the last lap. Kind of got us down a lot. To come here and have a solid run all day really ups the spirits.
“This team is working very well together. We kind of had a trial run last year running part time. Now we brought in some new personnel this year. They’ve done a great job since Daytona.
But just reps at the racetrack and consistency there, they’ve been doing a great job. Jeremy Bullins is doing a fantastic job also. Both our organizations are working side by side. It definitely showed today.”
And while his Team Penske teammates of race winner Brad Keselowski and runner-up Joey Logano lavished in the glory of Viva Las Vegas, it won’t be long before Blaney will enjoy that same success and it may come sooner than we all think.