Ryan Blaney: Kentucky result "not a win," but "it's a positive"
It had been a tough three weeks for Ryan Blaney, but short of a win, he got the next best thing at Kentucky Speedway.
Blaney finished second in Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 to eventual race winner Martin Truex Jr., his fourth top-five finish in 19 races.
While Blaney continues to look for his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory of the year, his finish put an emphatic end to a streak of three races in which he finished 18th or worse.
“It’s not a win. It’s a positive, that’s for sure. I hate it,” Blaney said. “I thought we were in a good spot there restarting fourth and Martin struggled a little bit the first couple laps and I thought I could get by him, but just couldn’t quite get a run on him.
“His car came in and mine kind of faded a little bit and he won the race. That stunk. I thought we had a shot at it tonight, but I’m really proud of the gains we made all race though, to be honest with you.”
Earlier in the weekend, Blaney had said he believed the entire Team Penske organization was beginning to close the gap on Truex, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch, who have combined to win 14 races so far this season.
Saturday night’s race was another step in the right direction.
“The 78 (Truex), he kind of dominated the night. They had a really great race car and they did a good job. They’ve done that all year,” Blaney said. “We’ve just got to keep working hard like we all have been at Team Penske and just keep trying to close that gap until we dominate races and we lead a bunch of laps.
“Hopefully we get there soon.”
Blaney, 24 is 10th in the series standings and in good shape to make the Cup playoffs even without a victory in the regular season.
Blaney said he doesn’t pay a lot of attention to points as he prefers to focus on securing his second series win and finish races.
“We can’t have any more trouble, but just run like I know our team can run – run up toward the front and try to bring fast cars every weekend, which we have, it’s just a shame that hasn’t shown up here the last few races,” he said.
“We’ll just try to keep doing what we’ve been doing all year and having fast cars and just trying to stay out of trouble.”
Martin Truex Jr. cruises to repeat victory at Kentucky Speedway
Trackbar issues rob Kyle Larson of shot at Kentucky win