Blaney not feeling any pressure to win

HAMPTON, GA - FEBRUARY 23: Ryan Blaney, driver of the #12 PPG Ford, gets ready to drive during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Folds of Honor Quiktrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 23, 2019 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Two years ago, in the June event at Pocono Raceway, Ryan Blaney scored a breakthrough victory in the Pocono 400, holding off Kevin Harvick to take the checkered flag in the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford.

That win, however, hasn’t opened the floodgates for Blaney, who moved to the No. 12 Team Penske Ford last year and picked up a second career victory on the Charlotte Roval after two drivers ahead of him—Martin Truex Jr. and Jimmie Johnson—wrecked in the chicane coming to the finish line.

Blaney’s teammates, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano, already have visited Victory Lane this season—Keselowski three times and Logano once. Blaney’s car has shown speed, but a spate of mistakes has led to disappointing finishes. The No. 12 car posted its best result in the last five races last Sunday—a 13th at Charlotte.

But that doesn’t mean Blaney is feeling any particular pressure to match the performances of his teammates.

“Not really,” said Blaney, who qualified 17th for Sunday’s Pocono 400 (2 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). “Any given week, I feel like any team can with the race–us, Gibbs, Hendrick, Haas–there are a couple others in there that have moments. But I don’t feel pressure. You just go out and do your best. That’s kind of the last thing I worry about.”

What does concern Blaney is the team’s inability to put together a mistake-free performance.

“I just worry about not having problems at the race,” said Blaney. “We’ve had so many weeks where we’ve had problems throughout the race, and promising runs just go down the drain. We’ve got to fix some issues and try to clean up some things. That’s the main focus, and then the other stuff will come.

“The wins will come, if you clean up that side of it. The speed is there, and the team potential is there. It’s just a matter of kind of sorting some things out that we need to and just having some smooth races. Once you get that fixed up, then everything seems to come together. Nothing is coming together right now. We’ve got most of it, but the last little quarter is just not working.”

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