AVONDALE, AZ – Ryan Blaney’s dream season comes to an end. Despite earning just one victory in 2019, he made the playoffs, easily got through the first round and that win in the Round of 12 earned him a berth into the third round of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.
He had a shot at a championship.
Unfortunately, despite a very solid Round of 8, Blaney came up just shot in Sunday’s race at the ISM Raceway as well as the standings in the third round too.
Blaney, had a solid afternoon all day. He was seventh in the first stage and fifth in the second one. That netted him 10 stage points. The problem was, the guys he was chasing scored much more. Denny Hamlin had 19 points. Joey Logano and Kyle Busch scored 17 and 15 respectively. Blaney, now had to win.
He inched closer and closer to the front. During the second to last stint, Blaney found his No. 12 Ford into third. He now needed help. He’d get it via a John Hunter Nemechek crash on Lap 302.
The seven cars on the lead lap would pit. Blaney, swung for the fences to hit a walk off and took two tires. Hamlin, had the same idea and did the same. Everyone else took four. Blaney though, would restart on the front row in second.
The big swing could pay off. There would be a three lap shootout for the win. Blaney, came up just short. Hamlin, was just that good and had a great launch to clear him for the lead. Busch, on four tires, quickly passed Blaney as he fell to third.
That’s where he’d finish.
This was Blaney’s second top five of his career in Phoenix. The other was a third place run back in March. It was also his fourth top eight finish in his last five starts on the season and sixth in his last nine overall. His Round of 8 results were fifth, eighth and third. But, scoring only nine playoff points throughout the season cost his chances.
It’s still a good season though for the youngster.