Ryan Blaney manhandled his No. 12 Team Penske Ford to an eighth-place finish in Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, but he finished the night 23 points behind fourth-place finisher Joey Logano—who also is fourth in the standings—for the final two spots in the Championship 4.
“It was a long night,” Blaney acknowledged. “We struggled really bad all night with track position, and then I felt like, even when we got a little bit of it, we still weren’t very good.
“We tried a lot of things tonight, and they didn’t really work. Unfortunately, we didn’t really get many stage points and the 4 (Kevin Harvick) winning didn’t help our cause, but we have to run better than that anyway.”
Nor did it help Blaney’s cause that Ryan Newman, a driver notoriously difficult to pass, held him up during a green-flag run and blocked Blaney’s run off Turn 2.
“Ryan is Ryan and he is going to race hard,” Blaney said. “I was mad that I had a massive run up top and he just turned right and it made me jump out of the gas and get tight and hit the fence.
“That’s what I was mad about. I was fine with the racing before that, but when someone has a big run like that it’s like, ‘C’mon.’”
That incident likely didn’t change Blaney’s situation heading for ISM Raceway at Phoenix.
“Gotta win,” Blaney said. “Hopefully, we go do that.”