Ryan Blaney started the Dollar General 300 from the
22nd position in his final NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS)
start with Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) this season. He
quickly drove the No. 36 SealWrap Chevrolet into the
top-15 and raced in the top-20 for all 300 miles. As he
struggled with a tight-handling racecar he fell two laps
down to the leader by the checkered flag. The No. 36
SealWrap Chevrolet finished in 14th place.
Blaney started the Dollar General 300 from the 22nd
position. He drove into the 21st spot when NASCAR
Officials called a caution for water on the track in turn
one. The field went back to green on lap 11 with the
No. 36 SealWrap Chevrolet in the 21st position. Two
laps later, an accident in turn two brought out the
second caution. Blaney told the crew that the car was
stuck in traffic but drove well.
The No. 36 SealWrap Chevrolet returned to green-flag racing on lap 16 in the 20th position. Blaney worked up to the 16th spot by lap 25 and radioed that the Chevrolet was pushing in turn one. By lap 42, he drove into the 13th position. He told his Crew Chief Brad Parrott that the car was a five out of 10 tight, so Parrott called for an air pressure adjustment on the team’s first stop under green flag conditions on lap 54.
The NNS rookie returned to the track in the 18th position, one lap down. Blaney drove back through the field and held the 13th position when the No. 19 spun and brought out the caution on lap 84. The North Carolina resident told the crew that the SealWrap Chevrolet was bouncing on the left, front and pushes in both corners. Parrott called for a four-tire pit stop and rubber adjustment on lap 85.
The NNS field returned to racing on lap 88 with the No. 36 SealWrap Chevrolet in the 16th position, one lap down. He drove into the 14th position, two laps down, before the No. 38 spun on the frontstretch on lap 92 and brought out the caution. Parrott called for the No. 36 SealWrap Chevrolet to stay out and get the wave around. Blaney restarted in the 14th position, one lap down, on lap 96.
Blaney fell back to 16th on the restart but drove back into the 15th position by lap 110. He told the crew that the car was pushing and worked on different lines to try to help the car’s handling. NASCAR Officials called a caution for debris on lap 132. Blaney continued to tell the crew that the car was pushing and he struggled to run on the bottom line. Parrott called for a four-tire pit stop and wedge adjustment. He told his driver that they would be 10 laps short of fuel to make the end.
On lap 137, the field restarted with the SealWrap Chevrolet in the 17th position, one lap down. Blaney radioed that the car was tighter and bouncing worse than it had been earlier. Despite the handling issue, Blaney drove into the 15th position on lap 154. By lap 180, Parrott called the No. 36 SealWrap Chevrolet down pit road for fuel. To help the handling problem, Parrott elected to change right-side tires during the stop. Blaney returned to the track in the 18th position, three laps down.
When the rest of the field cycled through pit stops, Blaney hold the 15th position, two laps down. On lap 196, he told the crew that the car was now really loose. By the checkered flag, he drove into the 14th position, two laps down.
“We had a decent race,” explained Blaney. “I was disappointed that we didn’t finish better. We struggled with a tight condition for most of the race. The guys worked to make the car better but we already fell a lap down. I’m glad that we held on for a top-15 finish for SealWrap, Mohawk Northeast, Heavy Duty, Al, Tommy and everyone that made these six starts with TBR possible.”
Blaney will return to the No. 22 Penske Racing entry at Kansas Speedway next weekend. In an alliance with Scott Lagasse Racing, TBR will support Scott Lagasse in the No. 8 HybridLight/BSA Chevrolet at Kansas Speedway.