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Accordion Effect Ends Ryan Blaney’s Race in Nashville; Blasts Lack of 100% Soft Walls

A Lap 148 exit resulted in Ryan Blaney finishing last. (Photo: Trish McCormack | The Podium Finish)

LEBANON, Tenn. – Restarts certainly did not lack any drama during Sunday evening’s Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway. However, a Lap 148 restart left people silent after Ryan Blaney had a heavy impact towards the inside wall in Turn 1.

Blaney restarted on the inside of Row 9 when chaos unfolded seven rows ahead as Brad Keselowski struggled to get up to speed. William Byron would run into the back of Keselowski and got him sideways, leading to a mass accordion effect for everyone behind.

Some drivers took evasive action to avoid the sideways Keselowski while Blaney was tapped by Kyle Busch, sending him around. Busch would also lose control of his car but he was able to keep it off the wall.

The same couldn’t be said for Blaney as he ended up slamming the concrete barrier past the exit of pit road, leaving folks concerned with some reminded of Busch’s Xfinity Series crash at Daytona in February 2015 that forced him to miss 11 Cup races.

Fortunately, Blaney was able to get out of his wounded No. 12 Ford Mustang, but was visibly shaken yet felt better after being checked and released from the infield care center.

The end of days for Ryan Blaney. (Photo: Trish McCormack | The Podium Finish)

Blaney described the wreck as the hardest hit of his tenured Cup career.

“I thought we actually, finally got decent air at the start of the second stage,” Blaney said. “I don’t really know what happened. Someone checked up on the restart I guess. I kind of checked up, got hit from behind. I didn’t know if they were wrecking, and I just couldn’t get it straightened out.

“When I got out of the grass, I thought I was going to come back around, and that I’d be ok. Just never got back right. I don’t know why there’s no safer barrier there. That’s pretty ridiculous, honestly. Hardest hit I’ve ever had in my life. Happy to be all right, but it sucks for the Pennzoil Ford Mustang. Stinks to go home early.”

Keselowski continued his evening to score a top-15 finish. (Photo: Trish McCormack | The Podium Finish)

As for Keselowski, he finished 11th and expressed his viewpoint of the restart as he felt that by Byron running over him, it messed up his No. 6 Ford Mustang.

“The guys behind me had so much power that they ran me over,” said Keselowski. “I got a great launch, and there they go. I just got run over. Got hit so hard, it literally knocked it out of gear. They were just that much faster. It’s frustrating, but we got work to do.”

Safety became a hot topic after the crash as many have rehashed the necessary validity that every wall should have the soft walls, even in parts where not many people expect racers to hit the wall or as small as 30 feet.

Blaney responded to NBC Sports’ Dustin Long about the subject matter and was more than willing to help assure it can be added to prevent any potential injury in the future.

“I’m sure they’ll put one on after this,” Blaney told Long. “It sucks when things like have to happen when someone hit the wall head-on like that and then they’re like, ‘Oh, we’ll put a SAFER Barrier!’ Why are you not doing the whole track? I’ll pay for the f—ing thing.”

Due to the accident, Blaney ended up being the lone retiree in the 300-lap race, finishing 36th. Consequently, it marked Blaney’s fifth-career last-place result and his first since the Bristol in the Spring of 2020.

Throughout my young motorsports media career, my number-one goal is to be a personnel that can be flexible with my writing and photography in the world of NASCAR and INDYCAR. Content delivery is vital because this is my main passion and what keeps me going. On the side, I also do sports production ranging from Seattle Kraken hockey to the 2023 NCAA Women's March Madness. All for the love of the game. With four National Motorsports Press Association photography awards, I'm not slowing down anytime soon. Outside of media, I'm super vocal about my musical tastes that goes from Metallica to HAIM. At times, there might be some Paul Thomas Anderson and Southern California references in my social media.

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