INDIANAPOLIS — Ryan Blaney doesn’t really consider himself much of a road racing ace. Yes, he’s won on a road course before, as that came back in 2017 on the Charlotte ROVAL. But, his finishes on them this season were 15th, 13th, 10th, 20th and 14th respectively.
Somehow, there he was in the end with a shot to win Sunday’s inaugural Verizon 200.
Blaney, was fifth in his No. 12 Ford following the first red flag for that Lap 78 melee back in Turn 6. With Denny Hamlin and Chase Briscoe’s run in on the second to last lap, there he was waiting in the wings hoping AJ Allmendinger would fall victim next to the wild two overtime event.
Allmendinger, wouldn’t as he’d cruise to his second career NASCAR Cup Series victory. Blaney, followed him across the yard of bricks in second, .929-seconds arrears.
“Yeah, it’s a good question,” Blaney said on how he ended up P2 when it was all said and done. “You know, we weren’t great all day. We kind of struggled a little bit and had a car that might have been able to run tenth or so but just kind of kept working on it.
“Got a little bit better, little bit better and got a couple good restarts and kind of avoided some of the mess that happened.
“Found ourselves sitting there fifth on the last restart and had a shot to win the race and just couldn’t quite get to the 16 at the end there. He was a little bit better than me.”
It was Blaney’s fifth top six in the last seven races on the year as he’s starting to find his groove again. He no top five finishes in his previous 11 races during that span.
Still, he comes up one spot short of giving Team Penske a clean sweep of the victories in a historic weekend which saw Will Power win the NTT IndyCar Series race on Saturday only to be followed by Austin Cindric in the Xfinity Series event right after.
“That stings even more to run second here, especially trying to win for Roger and trying to make it a perfect weekend for Penske. But just survived the carnage,” Blaney continued.