Saturday, August 6, 2022

‘P***** Off’ Ryan Blaney Sounds off on IMS restarts

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The #12 Team Penske Ford Mustang driver isn’t happy with his fellow Cup Series drivers. Ryan Blaney has made angry comments about the restarts at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, including one that sent him into overtime.

Blaney was able to fight for victory in the last restart. He went to the green flag on the second row, just behind Tyler Reddick. His aim was to jump to the front of the field but the contact disrupted his afternoon at Turn 1. Blaney moved to the right after the flag was waved and initially blocked Daniel Suarez but the Trackhouse Racing driver came alongside him.

They entered Turn 1 with Michael McDowell on Blaney’s left. They continued to fight before Blaney turned left after contact from Suarez and McDowell. He dropped to the back of the field and spent the rest of the race working his way back up to 26th position. Blaney then closed the notion that his old tires were the culprits.

“No, it’s all about breaking,” Blaney said after the Verizon 200, quoted courtesy of Ford Performance. “That’s all people do at the end of these things, just dive in and bust. I don’t know who pushed who and I don’t care, but tires didn’t matter in the end. We restarted the top three both times and the tires don’t matter. It’s all about getting through the reboot, but that’s apparently hard to ask. People just run over each other.”

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After the spin, Blaney fell through the field while Suarez continued to fight for a top-five finish. However, the No. 99 driver finished the day in 28th, one place behind teammate Ross Chastain.

Cameras didn’t initially show what happened to Suarez, but the Peacock post-race show provided more information. Replay revealed Blaney chased Suarez and dumped him.

There was certainly contact between Suarez and Blaney, which directly contributed to the shoot. However, before they entered Turn 1, Blaney’s teammate Austin actually hit Cindric Suarez from behind, sending the #99 sideways into the #12. Although Blaney couldn’t see this.

“I defended properly and I guess whoever was behind me didn’t care,” Blaney added. “I don’t know. They jumped the curb and just obliterated you. I just didn’t even have a chance at it. I didn’t have a chance to get there [No.] 8 trying to put the bumper on him or something just gets wiped out. I do not know. I’m mad about it and I have a damn right to be.”

Winning the road race would have eased some of the frustrations and holed Blaney’s ticket to the playoffs. This didn’t work, but he also avoided losing much ground to the bubble drivers.

Blaney entered the Cup Series weekend third in regular season standings but one of two winless drivers across the cutline in 15th place in playoff standings. He was 111 points behind Chase Elliott and six points behind Chastain.

Blaney added 20 more points to his IMS total and passed Chastain. He also gained some ground on Kevin Harvick, whose day came to an early end after several on-track incidents involving Alex Bowman and other drivers.

The No. 12 driver is now 121 points above the cut line and 25 points above Martin Truex Jr., who sits last on the transfer spot with four races remaining in the regular season. Harvick is 96 points below Truex and in a must-win situation.

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The No. 12 driver is now 121 points above the cut line and 25 points above Martin Truex Jr., who sits last on the transfer spot with four races remaining in the regular season. Harvick is 96 points below Truex and in a must-win situation.

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