Ryan Blaney officially has his first winless season since 2016

AVONDALE, ARIZONA - NOVEMBER 06: Ryan Blaney, driver of the #12 Menards/Dutch Boy Ford, drives during the NASCAR Cup Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway on November 06, 2022 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

For the first time since 2016 Penske driver Ryan Blaney had a winless NASCAR Cup season.

He almost scored a ninth inning home run at Phoenix Raceway Sunday. In NASCAR’s final race of the 2022 season Blaney led the second most laps on the day and for a time appeared to be the only real contender for eventual winner, and teammate Joey Logano.

Logano led from pole and the first 159 laps. Only Blaney was able to catch and pass Logano under green. He was able to keep the lead after a round of green flag pit stops that started with 63 laps to go, but the races final caution on lap 269 for contact between Alex Bowman and Michael McDowell led to another round of stops that saw Blaney come out third behind Chase Briscoe and Logano.

Blaney did eventually get second, but by then Logano, who led a race high 187 laps, was back out front and Blaney wasn’t able to catch him and had to settle for second, his twelfth top 10 finish of the season.

Blaney did win the All-Star Race, but the stats will show no points paying wins for 2022 and that became official Sunday night with the second-place finish.

“I wish we could have won one,” Blaney said.  “We had a great car to do it and it just didn’t happen.  I’m proud of the effort.  We had a winning car, and it just didn’t happen.”

“You can’t pass anybody,” he added. “You get behind someone and get tight and it takes your air away and that’s all you can do.”

Greg Engle