Ryan Blaney scored his best run of 2019 with a third-place finish in the Ticket Guardian 500 at ISM Raceway.
The Team Penske driver started from the pole and had the lead until 17 laps were left before getting passed by eventual winner Kyle Busch. Blaney had not finished no better than 22nd prior to Sunday’s race.
“Honestly, we hung on better there on two tires than I thought we would,” Blaney said of late race strategy that got him the top spot. “Fired off really good. Got Kyle a little bit. I was kind of riding trying to save tires, save gas. They were telling me we were really close on gas just doing two. I think he was kind of riding back there, too. I think they knew what situation I was in. Started to get real tight.
“I got to the lap cars, and I was done. Then when we got past the lead, just full on fuel save mode. A good recovery. We had to come back in for a wheel that was going to be loose. Two tires was the right call. I don’t think we would have run third if it wasn’t for that.”
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Still Blaney won a stage and had a solid afternoon after leading 94 laps to keep Team Penske rolling after teammates Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano had won the previous two races at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“A shame we couldn’t get MoneyLion and Ford the win,” Blaney said. “It definitely is a good weekend after the start of the year we’ve had. This is where this team deserves to run. Hopefully we can just keep moving forward.”