Ford Performance NASCAR: Blaney's Fifth-Place Finish Leads Ford at Atlanta

RYAN BLANEY, No. 12 Advance Auto Parts Ford Mustang -- “It was definitely a long, hard-working day.  We weren’t that good, to be honest with you.  The front was pretty numb.  The rear was stepping out and just kind of all over the place and we worked on it all day and just got a little bit better and a little bit better.  That long run there at the end kind of played in our favor.  We kind of got going there pretty good at the end, but, overall not a bad day for our Advance Auto Parts Ford Mustang and back to running top five, which is good for us.  We’ve been struggling a little bit lately, but proud of everybody on the 12 group today.”

FIFTH WAS THE HIGHEST YOU RAN ALL DAY AT THE END.  “We got our best at the end.  We didn’t start off very good.  It was a long day of working on our race car and finally at the end we got going a little bit better.  I was super tight all day and couldn’t really do anything.  I was worried about cording right-front tires and we just kept taking pretty big swings at it.  We still didn’t really get it to where we needed at the end, but, overall, not a bad day for our group.  We’ve still got to find a little bit of speed, though.”

WHERE WERE YOU LACKING TODAY?  “I was just tight and we could never really get the front of the car working.  When I was tight I was protecting on the long run against blowing right-front tires and cording them and then you’re kind of handcuffed, but not a bad day.  Our best run was at the end.   We ran down and passed the 8 and was coming on the 48 and kind of just ran out of time, but it was a good effort, that’s for sure.  We still have a ways to go.  The 1 was pretty spectacular, and the 18 and 19 today, but I thought we made a pretty decent gain as a group.  We’ll just keep going.”

WHERE WOULD YOU RATE TEAM PENSKE OVERALL?  “I definitely think we’ve got to find some speed.  None of us have won a race in a while and, honestly, we haven’t really been leading laps and running up front.  We’ve been lacking, so we’re getting better, that’s for sure.  It’s just little, tiny baby steps.  I want to be winning races next week.  I want us to make huge gains, but that’s not what this game is anymore.  It’s tiny, little things that you find over weeks and weeks and apply them.  I think we’re heading in the right direction, but we still got a little bit to go.”

THOUGHTS ON THE LAST RACE ON THIS SURFACE?  “I think I hit some rocks at the end of that stage.  I thought I had a tire coming apart because I felt something in my wheel well and I was like, ‘I’ve got a tire coming apart.’  I think it was rocks and gravel.  I’m gonna miss it.  It was fun to run on it.  I really wish we could have swept before they paved this place, but I’ll take one last good look at it and it’ll be a lot different when we come back here next year.”

YOU GOT THE SECOND-TO-LAST ONE, THOUGH.  “Yeah, at least I got one of them in the 500 here, so I can’t hate too hard on that.”

MATT DIBENEDETTO, No. 21 Menards/Quaker State Ford Mustang -- “This is another good example of where we’re really clicking as a team and executing and I think we made about the most of our car.  We just kept chipping away at it.  Hassler made good adjustments and just kept getting better and better.  That’s all you can ask for.  I think everybody just did a good job.  You like those days when you don’t have anything too crazy to talk about other than our team just doing a good job.  Our pit stops were good.  We were solid all day there.  Hassler made great adjustments and we did fall back there.  At a point we got pretty tight.  The track changed a little and we got tight, but we took a little stab at it and got right back to where we were running in the top 10 and made the most of it.  I’m pretty happy with it.”

ARE YOU GOING TO MISS THIS SURFACE?  “Oh, yeah.  I made sure to appreciate it the whole time I was out there racing.   I have good memories and I hate to see this place get paved.  It’s a really cool track.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 2 MoneyLion Ford Mustang -- “That was a blue collar day for our MoneyLion team.  Our guys had a great day on pit road and we had a great day on restarts.  We just needed a little more speed.”


5th -- Ryan Blaney

9th -- Matt DiBenedetto

10th -- Brad Keselowski

11th -- Kevin Harvick

15th -- Chase Briscoe

16th -- Chris Buescher

17th -- Cole Custer

19th -- Joey Logano

23rd -- Aric Almirola

26th -- Anthony Alfredo

27th -- Michael McDowell

28th -- Ryan Newman

30th -- B.J. McLeod

34th -- Josh Bilicki

Ron Fleshman

RIS NASCAR Editor.  Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.

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Volume 2021, Issue 7, Posted 8:09 PM, 07.11.2021