FORT WORTH — In the NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway, Ryan Blaney got a taste of everything a driver could go through in 300 starts.
Blaney made his 300th Cup Series start Sunday, becoming the 100th driver in series history to achieve that mark.
At first, Blaney struggled, only qualifying 23rd for the race and staying outside of the top-20 early on.
The first three cautions – on laps 43, 50 and 55 – didn’t do much for Blaney. However, a caution on lap 75 shuffled Blaney to the top-10.
Crew chief Jonathan Hassler kept Ryan Blaney on the track for a one-lap shootout to end stage one. It worked out as Blaney placed fourth in stage one.
In stage two, Blaney stayed out and moved up to second at one point. By the end of the stage, Blaney placed fourth – racking his stage points total up to 11.
That helped when trouble struck on lap 211. Blaney fell to the tail end of the longest line after speeding on pit road under caution.
Blaney had issues even cracking the top-20. Then, on lap 257, he was in a multi-car wreck that ended his day.
“When you put yourself back there, then you get in a wreck. A slight sliver of hope and proud of the work all day on getting better and getting stage points. But a driver mistake puts us back in the stuff and getting wrecked. Not a very good job by me today but proud of everyone. They did the best they could. We’re still not out of it,” Blaney said.
The wreck also involved fellow playoff driver Tyler Reddick, as well as Austin Cindric, Zane Smith, A.J. Allmendinger and Erik Jones. It also ended the day for Cindric, Allmendinger and Jones.
Ryan Blaney now sits 11th in points, -11 to the cutline, heading to Talladega Superspeedway next Sunday.
In the last 10 races at Talladega, Blaney leads the NASCAR Cup Series field in:
- Wins – 2 (tied with Chase Elliott)
- Points – 338
- Average finish – 11.0
- Laps led – 230