FONTANA, Calif — The good news is, no one has scored as many points through three NASCAR Cup Series races this season than Ryan Blaney. In fact, Blaney looks like he has the top overall car this season.
99-percent of the 2020 season has been fantastic for him. It’s just the closing laps of all three races that have given the Team Penske driver heartbreak.
Blaney, unintentionally got into Ryan Newman when trying to push him to the win on the final lap of the season opening Daytona 500. The crash sent Newman to the hospital and Blaney to a near record breaking runner-up result. Instead of celebrating, Blaney was worried for his friend. Rightfully so too. He didn’t do anything wrong in the incident as it was just a racing deal.
While Newman would walk out of the hospital two days later, it had a big impact on Blaney. He spoke about that on Friday.
Then, last weekend in Vegas, Blaney was leading the race before a late yellow changed everything. His crew chief Todd Gordon called him down pit road in the end despite being in command. Not many others followed. Instead of a for sure top two finish, Blaney wound up 11th.
Sunday in Fontana, Blaney finished second in Stage 1 but won Stage 2. He’d lead 54 of 200 laps run. He was second in the final laps. Unfortunately, his tires were cording on his No. 12 Ford as he had to hit pit lane with three laps remaining.
Blaney, would finish 19th, one lap down, as a result.
“Racing happens,” Blaney said
If things at the end of races went differently, Blaney would have three straight runner-up finishes to start 2020. Instead, he’s been 2nd, 11th and 19th.