What a difference a day makes. In the second NASCAR Cup race at Michigan International Speedway Sunday, Ryan Blaney was able to do something most of the field had failed to do in the last two days; lead the race over Kevin Harvick.
Blaney was able to wrest the lead away from Denny Hamlin from third on the restart at the end of Stage 2 when the field took the green on lap 92. His Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski charged from third and was second on lap 97 after the restart and looking for the lead entering Turn 1. Keselowski shot underneath Blaney exiting Turn 2, hit the yellow line, got loose and spun up into Blaney sending both into the outside wall.
It was the first yellow flag of the day, aside from those at the end of the first two stages.
Keselowski who finished second to Harvick Saturday, was done, but took the blame for the incident.
“I just lost it,” Keselowski said. “It’s my fault. I feel really bad for my teammate, Ryan Blaney. He didn’t deserve that. I just came off of turn four and the 4 car was behind me and he gave me a push and I swear I went into the corner like 20 miles an hour faster than I had been all day and got past the 11 and I went to get underneath the 12 and I just slipped. I lost the back a little bit and when I went to collect it he was there and I wiped him out and myself out, so I feel terrible for everyone at Team Penske and especially Ryan Blaney. Gosh, he didn’t deserve that. I should have whoa’d way up. I had been running wide-open on the bottom all day and thought I could do it again, but with that big push I overestimated the grip and ruined our day.”
Blaney, who finished fourth Saturday was also out.
“It’s just unfortunate for the whole Penske organization,” Blaney said. “We had two fast cars battling for the lead and it just stinks that happened. He had a run, like he said, and he didn’t think he had as big of a run as he had and just got loose and, unfortunately, got us both. It’s a shame to end our day like that with the Knauf/Menards Ford Mustang. We were so fast. We had to battle back from having to pit again and got to 10th for the second stage and then got the lead. I was like, ‘All right, we can finally go back at it,’ and just got together there. That’s unfortunate, but it’s not gonna carry over. Things happen. Mistakes happen. It’s just a shame both of us got taken out.”
Blaney and Keselowski are locked into the NASCAR Playoffs with race victories. Blaney won at Talladega Superspeedway, while Keselowski has wins at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway and New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Kevin Harvick went on to win Sunday’s race for a weekend sweep at Michigan.
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