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Ryan Blaney Settles for Dover Podium Finish

Ryan Blaney gave it all he had to snap a 56 race winless drought. (Photo: Josh Jones | The Podium Finish)

Ryan Blaney gave it all he had to snap a 56-race winless drought. (Photo: Josh Jones | The Podium Finish)

DOVER, Del. – If consistency is said to win a championship, perhaps it may be key to Ryan Blaney snapping his frustrating victory drought.

Following a runner-up at Talladega Superspeedway, the 29-year-old Hartford Township, Ohio native qualified third for Monday’s Würth 400. Fittingly, the driver of the No. 12 Wabash Ford Mustang, fielded by Team Penske, would be incredibly consistent during the 400-lap race.

In fact, Blaney placed third in Stages 1 and 2. Netting 16 valuable stage points, the mild mannered racer found himself in position to snap out of his 56-race winner’s circle dryspell. Moreover, he was so close to punching his ticket into the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs field.

On the race’s final restart with seven laps remaining, Blaney restarted second and on the inside line alongside Martin Truex Jr.

Blaney and Truex ran side-by-side for a majority of Lap 394 with both focused on ending their frustrating winless streaks dating back to late 2021. Moreover, these two drivers put on an intriguing battle, unrelenting yet keeping the snarl as clean as possible.

At last, in Turn 2, Truex gained the advantage over Blaney with Ross Chastain overtaking the Ohioan for the runner-up spot not long after.

While Blaney came up a few positions short of snatching his first win since the 2021 running of the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona, he reflected on the positives of his day.

“Either two (tires) or we’re staying out was the call, and we came in and took two,” Blaney said. “It got us on the front row. I think if we had taken four, we would have lined-up fourth. So, it really wouldn’t have been much different. But, being on the front row gave us a shot to win.

“I tried to send it into [Turn] 3 to clear the No. 19 (Truex), and he did the same thing and was able to get around us.”

Sometimes, settling for best in class grants the opportunity to take chances as crew chief Jonathan Hassler attempted for Blaney and his No. 12 team. It is not every race when a driver can find themselves running in the same position for essentially the entirety of a race as Blaney found himself during Monday’s race at Dover.

A two tire pit stop prior to the Lap 394 restart was worth it for Blaney and his No. 12 team. (Photo: Josh Jones | The Podium Finish)

A two tire pit stop prior to the Lap 394 restart was worth it for Blaney and his No. 12 team. (Photo: Josh Jones | The Podium Finish)

“It was a really smooth day for us honestly,” he said. “We ran third all day. Just didn’t have quite enough speed for those top-two guys at the end there. Overall, really great effort – especially for how we’ve been here in the past. It’s kind of been a struggle track for us, and I’m proud of the gains we made.”

Along with making gains at Dover, Blaney continues his streak of placing seventh or better in the past three consecutive races. Maybe Blaney is a fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s Season 5 episode, “Cause and Effect,” in which the No. 3 was the key to solving a repetitive mystery.

Then again, the popular racer, more a fan of Star Wars by all means, respected Truex and focused on pursuing the victory with a tenacious but clean approach.

“Two was a good call,” he said. “It put us on the front row and gave us a shot to try to win the race. I can’t drive any deeper into (Turn) 3 without wrecking both of us. That was a good race for a couple of laps.

“I felt like we ran third all day long. Big improvement from last year.”

While Blaney is elated about his recent run of strong results, he is not ready to declare that he and his team have found their mojo just yet. In the world of NASCAR competition, consistency is highlighted by stellar frontrunning finishes and victories.

“Oh, I have no idea,” Blaney said. “It’s nice to get good finishes, but we just need to keep working on it, keep running up front, and hopefully the wins come soon.”

Editor’s Notes

Marty Czekala of RSN Trackside on ROC Sports Network contributed to this article directly on-site from Dover Motor Speedway in Dover, Delaware.

Rob Tiongson is a sports writer and editor originally from the Boston area and resides in the Austin, Texas, area. Tiongson has covered motorsports series like NASCAR and INDYCAR since 2008 and NHRA since 2013. Most recently, Tiongson is covering professional basketball, mainly the WNBA, and women's college basketball. While writing and editing for The Podium Finish, Tiongson currently seeks for a long-term sportswriting and sports content creating career. Tiongson enjoys editing and writing articles and features, as well as photography. Moreover, he enjoys time with his family and friends, traveling, cooking, working out and being a fun uncle or "funcle" to his nephew, niece and cat. Tiongson is an alum of Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and St. Bonaventure University's renowned Jandoli School of Communication with a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism.

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