Ryan Blaney completed his 2019 campaign by finishing a career-best seventh in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings. This year also marked his third season in a row with one win.
Rolling into the season opener in things didn’t go as planned in the Daytona 500 for Blaney after being involved in the “Big One” in the final 10 laps.
Things began to pick up for him and his team during the West Coast swing after finishing in the top five at both ISM Raceway (third) and at Auto Club Speedway (fifth) to close out the annual trip.
While he had a solid opening five races of the season, consistency was the name of the game for the No.12 team. During the regular season he had 11 top 10s in the first 26 races of the season.
The early season work payed off greatly for the Penske driver as he went on to make the playoffs for the third season in-a-row. The first round of the playoffs was made to be no different for him after getting a fifth-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and eighth-place finish at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.
Following a great start to the playoffs, Dover became a nightmare for the 12 team after brake problems ended their day early finishing in 35th place.
However, redemption was right around the corner during the rain delayed weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. After spinning out on Sunday afternoon, his Dent Wizard Ford Mustang found Victory Lane on that Monday by one of the closest margins of victory (0.007 seconds) to lock himself into the Round of 8.
“I remember that day pretty well and those two days pretty well,” Blaney said. “We spun on pit road on Sunday so that stunk and then we missed a lot of wrecks on Monday. We were joking about it before the race, every speedway race this year up until that one we got into someone else’s mess.
“Everyone wrecks we got plowed into it and there’s nothing you can do about it in some of those situations. There were three big wrecks we got through on Monday and holes opening up at the right time and we ended up getting through it.
“We ended up winning the race but that was an exciting day and exciting finish. A really big day and we were able to get into the next round.”
As the playoffs came down to the very end, Blaney was just a few points shy from making his way into his first Championship 4 for the first time in his career. A third-place finish at ISM Raceway wasn’t enough to advance the young driver into the next round.
“You try to build off of what you learn and everything like that. Just a matter of gaining bonus points throughout the year,” Blaney said. “I look back and that’s the one thing that hurt us.
“We didn’t win races throughout the year in the regular season, that hurts you and don’t have any cushion to lay back on.
“I’m proud of everyone on this team and how far we’ve come this season.”
Blaney would go onto finish 11th in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway to close out his season. Despite not advancing into to the final round of the playoffs, he finished the season with career highs in in top 5s (11) and top 10s (18).
As the 38-week grind comes to a close for the High Point, North Carolina native, he is looking forward to shifting a gear back before his 2020 campaign.
“The family time is good and obviously, part of you wants the season to be over and part you doesn’t want the season to be over because this is what you love to do and this is what you look forward to every single weekend,” Blaney said. “But it is nice to get a little bit of a break every now and then.”
2019 Driver Season Reviews