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NASCAR Cup Series

Blaney Loses, Then Regains Top-10 Finish at Vegas


Ryan Blaney battles Joey Logano during the South Point 400. (Photo: Aaron Brink | The Podium Finish)

LAS VEGAS — As far as the on-track activities during the South Point 400, Round of 8 competitor Ryan Blaney did what he could to minimize his points deficit with two races until the championship.

At a track that Team Penske has historically run very well at, Blaney ran solidly in the top 10 all race long, earning eight stage points and coming home in the 6th position.

“We had a great long run car, but it took us a lot to get going,” Blaney said after the race. “Overall, not a bad day. We executed really well, just not quite enough. We have to keep trying to have days like that and find ourselves toward the front and then hopefully contend for wins.

“I thought we could have maybe run third. That was probably the best we were gonna get to, but lost some ground there on the last stop and ran out of laps to get it back. Overall, it wasn’t a bad effort. You’re trying to get every point that you can because all of them matter.”

The real story for the No. 12 Menards Ford team came after the race when the car was disqualified following post-race inspection. The cause was for a left shock infraction, which did not meet the overall specified length.

All of a sudden, Blaney went from a reasonable 17 points behind the cutoff line to a whopping 56, nearly a full race behind fourth-place Martin Truex Jr.

However, the post-race fireworks were not done. On Monday, NASCAR announced an unprecedented reverse on a disqualification, giving Blaney his points and sixth-place finish back.

“After further review of the inspection process throughout this weekend’s events at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, NASCAR has rescinded the No. 12 disqualification penalty,” NASCAR said in a statement. “Monday morning during its race weekend debrief, NASCAR discovered an issue with the damper template used for inspection. NASCAR then conducted a detailed investigation and has restored the No. 12’s stage and race finishing positions from Sunday. NASCAR has taken internal steps to remedy this issue moving forward.”

This is Blaney’s fifth appearance in the third round of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs and it’s fair to say that he has about seen everything in that time.

“We are pleased with the decision by NASCAR to rescind the post-race disqualification to the No. 12 car following Sunday’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway,” Team Penske said in their statement. “NASCAR has shown a tremendous amount of integrity throughout the process which has led to this conclusion. We are proud of the effort and the results by the No. 12 team during the 2023 season. We look forward to continuing the pursuit of the NASCAR Cup Series Championship.”

As the No. 12 team looks to generate momentum following this favorable ruling, they will look to find something that they have been missing at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. In five Miami races together, Blaney has just one top-10 finish — a third in 2020.

He has a good track record at Martinsville, but William Byron, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr. and Christopher Bell, the drivers ahead of him in points, have a combined 10 grandfather clocks.

The Playoffs have created opportunities to step up in clutch moments, like Bell and Ross Chastain a year ago. With new life discovered on Monday, this may be Blaney’s moment to rise up.

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