How Team Penske convinced NASCAR to rescind Ryan Blaney’s penalty

(Photo: Greg Engle)

Ryan Blaney had an interesting start to his week.  The Team Penske driver got home from Las Vegas to find out that he had lost his hard earned sixth place finish after NASCAR disqualified his car in post race inspection.

Then late Monday NASCAR rescinded the penalty restoring the finish. In his first comments about the incident Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway Blaney gave an overview of what had happened.

“We talked about it internally Monday morning as a group before we went to NASCAR and were able to talk to them,” Blaney said. “I appreciate NASCAR for being receptive to it and talking with us Monday and meeting with the parts at their R&D Center and understanding what the disconnect was between pre-race and post-race.”

NASCAR was quick to admit on Monday that the problem wasn’t with the Blaney car, but the template they used in post-race inspection.

“That is a sealed part, so. Elton Sawyer (NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition) and Brad Moran (NASCAR Cup series director) were really great to us at being understanding and understanding that there was an issue there with the process and they were able to fix it. A lot of emotions but it was nice that it ended up, I think, as it should have.”

Blaney said at first he wasn’t sure how it was going to end.

“I don’t know,” he said. “It is out of your control. I don’t know the whole inspection process. I am not there for that. So me trying to learn about where the issue was and all that stuff was a little bit difficult for me. I was more getting information from Jonathan and Travis Geisler (crew chief) and stuff like that. When I heard about all the parts and pieces before they went to NASCAR, I felt like maybe they would be able to hear our case and work with us and figure out where was this disconnect. Luckily it was. I wouldn’t say I was confident or unconfident, I was just hoping to see what happens I guess.”

The restored points moved Blaney up in the standings from eighth to seventh, still in a must-win situation in the final two races before Phoenix.

“It really didn’t change a ton for me,” Blaney said. “We had a good day at Vegas. It stinks, we had a good day and lost points, so that kind of stinks. Then we lost a lot more points that evening.

“I flew on someone else’s plane and right when I turned my wifi on, that was the first text I got, that we got DQ’d. So then it was like, ‘Okay, we have to win one of the next two weeks.’ Then when it got rescinded on Monday night, it was just about that it would still be hard to make it but it isn’t a must-win now. So it gives you a little more hope. I wasn’t like distraught or anything. That was the spot we were in and had a job to do, but now it is just a change a little bit.”

Blaney starts 10th Sunday at Homestead.


Greg Engle