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Ryan Blaney & the No.12 Team Penske Crew bounces back in a respectable Top 5 performance in 5th at Michigan

Ryan Blaney and the No.12 Team Penske Crew are delighted to return to the Top 5 since Kentucky a month ago.

But most of the time he feels that the tightness of the car has plummeted Blaney’s momentum.

That’s where he struggled to keep up the Top 3 to help challenge for a front row spot as well as fell from 4th to 5th at the finish line.

Race Recap

Blaney & the No.12 Ford Fusion gone off to a great start from 8th to 5th.

Despite moving up a few places, Blaney felt the car is way tight as he made his first stop during the competition caution.

So, the No.12 crew loosened the car up with a wedge adjustment as well as two right-side tires.

That run towards the end of Stage 1 was helpful as he finished this installment in 3rd.

Stage 2

Blaney restarted Stage 2 in 3rd as he’s comfortable during the first half of this segment.

But after he returned on track with fuel only on Lap 75, the symptoms did return as he stayed in 3rd towards the halfway stage.

Stage 3

The No.12 crew added an air pressure adjustment along with new tires & fuel before the restart.

He’s still feeling the same condition as experienced from the previous two stages having used all of the time to retain his spot in 4th.

In his last green flag stop, Blaney chose a different strategy by changing only two tires & full fuel.

Though, that didn’t make much of a difference as Blaney steered his No.12 Ford Fusion home in 5th.

Ryan Blaney’s 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Season

  • 23 Starts
  • 5514 of 6162 Laps Completed, 89.5%
  • 464 Laps Led
  • Highest Starting Spot: 1st, Las Vegas in March 2018
  • Best Finish: 2nd, Kentucky in July 2018
  • Five Top 5, 21.7%
  • 11 Top 10 finishes, 47.8%
  • Average Start: 9.7 & Finish: 15.5
  • DNFs: Four, Crash (Bristol, Kansas & Daytona 2) & Engine (Charlotte).
  • He currently sits 8th in the Drivers’ Standings with 687 points.

Results

  • 7th, Daytona 500
  • 12th, Atlanta
  • 5th, Las Vegas
  • 16th, Phoenix
  • 8th, Fontana
  • 3rd, Martinsville
  • 5th, Texas
  • 35th, Bristol
  • 22nd, Richmond
  • 18th, Talladega
  • 8th, Dover
  • 37th, Kansas
  • 36th, Charlotte
  • 6th, Pocono
  • 8th, Michigan
  • 34th, Sonoma
  • 18th, Chicagoland
  • 40th, Daytona
  • 2nd, Kentucky
  • 7th, New Hampshire
  • 12th, Pocono 2 & Watkins Glen
  • 5th, Michigan 2

Key Points

  • It’s a while that Blaney last scored a Top 5 finish in 2nd at Kentucky a month ago, that drought ended today.
  • The same say when it comes to a Top 10 performance at New Hampshire three weeks ago in 7th.
  • He has moved up two places in the Drivers’ Championship following his 5th place finish at Michigan.
  • Leaves Michigan with back to back Top 10 finishes this year, 8th (June) & 5th (August).
  • The last time Blaney scored a Top 5 finish in MENCS at Michigan was precisely two years ago in 4th.
  • He now has Two Michigan Top 5 postings to his name after his latest performance. According to Racing Reference, he boasts that record at 25%.

Conclusion

Great job to Ryan Blaney and the No.12 Team Penske crew on getting the job done home in the Top 5 for a while.

Although, he might’ve lost some momentum in the end from 4th to 5th.

But this crew & Jeremy Bullins worked very hard to help Blaney try and stay ahead of the pack with a reliable race car.

It’s only the tightness that held Blaney’s challenges of keeping himself ahead and fallen behind for a front row spot.

They’ve learned what happened at recent times as to why the No.12 Ford Fusion isn’t Top 5 quality.

This time they came to Michigan with high expectations moving forward and correctly done just like that from start to finish.

70-80% of the time it’s an improvement from a streak of disappointing performances outside the Top 10.

But the other 30% Blaney & the No.12 crew wants to work on is only aggressively challenging against the Joe Gibbs & Stewart-Haas cars.

What he’s talking about is the two of “The Big Three” drivers that dominated most of the field where Kevin Harvick won the race & Ky. Busch finished 3rd.

It’s the sort of target he’s realistically after when he comes back in the No.12 car for practice this Thursday.

He’s in the Playoff bubble right now having moved from 10th to 8th in the Drivers’ Championship standings which is excellent news to hear.

Blaney doesn’t want that progress to go a foot wrong because you never know what happens between now and Indianapolis in a month’s time.

But as long as he consistently performs well in that last three regular-season races, then he’s in the Playoffs.

So the hard work continues as he’s still yet to tick off a race win in 2018.

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Feature Image: Nigel Kinrade Photography/Team Penske and Statistics: Racing Reference.

Plus, you can shop the latest Ryan Blaney Fan Gear and Collectibles via the official NASCAR Shop link here.

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