Ryan Blaney led 100 of the opening 118 laps in Sunday’s Food City 500, but was taken out of contention after being swept up in an accident ahead of him.
Blaney was the class of the field and was leading as the first stage was coming to a close, but slammed into the back of the No. 51 Chevrolet of Harrison Rhodes. The accident started when Trevor Bayne did not know that Chris Buescher was on the outside and that triggered the chain-reaction crash.
“By the time I could see anything they were already turned right and there was nowhere to go,” Blaney said. “Seeing the replay, I don’t know, people not cleared clearing themselves and then wrecking and take the leader out, so that’s unfortunate. Our car was pretty good today. We just kind of got held up there and we might not have been as strong at the end of that run, but I thought we could have at least held on for that stage and never got the chance. The positives you look at is that we had a good car and that’s something to hold your head high about.”
Along with Blaney and Rhodes, Buescher was unable to continue in the race.
“We had three or four of us trying to stay on the lead lap and we were all being held up by the No. 6 (Trevor Bayne),” Buescher said. “I got a good run on the outside the slower cars and came off the corner and thought we were good, and it just swiped right up the front. By the time you lift, it’s a little too late. It’s really unfortunate.”
In the last short-track race of the season at Martinsville Speedway, Blaney led 145 laps and finished third.
The clean-up forced the second red flag of the race, lasting six minutes.