Ryan Blaney, driver of the No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford F-Series, made his 12th career start in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) and first career start at Rockingham Speedway on Sunday afternoon after posting a 6th place qualifying effort earlier in the morning.
Blaney saw the caution wave for the first time of the day on lap four, after dropping one position to his teammate, Joey Logano. The No. 29 was directed by Crew Chief, Doug Randolph, to stay out and continue to build rhythm, something Randolph preached heavily to Blaney throughout the entire race.
Blaney radioed in to his team on lap 30 saying he was too tight and having issues with turns one and two as he entered and exited. Randolph assured Blaney they would make adjustments once there was a chance to bring the Cooper Standard F-Series down pit road.
Spotter for the No. 29 F-Series, Joey Meier, radioed in on lap 41 telling Blaney that he had just ran the fastest lap on the track, providing some reassurance for Blaney.
When the caution came out on lap 62, Randolph brought the F-Series down pit road for four new tires and fuel. Once the green flag fell again on lap 67, with Blaney in the 8th position, he started to fall a bit saying his No. 29 Cooper Ford was still struggling in turns one and two asking for a track bar adjustment during the next round of pit stops.
Randolph added two rounds of wedge in the rear, rubber in the right rear, fuel and four fresh Goodyear tires while under caution on lap 142 with the intention of helping Blaney swiftly defeat turns one and two and get the No. 29 F-Series to the front. The green fell on lap 148, with Blaney in the 12th position, after a very efficient pit stop with all the adjustments made to the Truck.
With positive radio communications buzzing between Randolph, Meier and Blaney, it was evident the adjustments made were slowly and surely paying off for the No. 29 BKR team, as Blaney made a final push into the top ten for a 8th place finish during his first NCWTS race at The Rock.
Blaney and the No. 29 Cooper Standard team now sits 5th in NCWTS driver point standings, 35 points back from first.
“It wasn’t the finish we were hoping for the No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford F-Series, but we made up for a lot as the race came to us. Instead of pressing, we let the track and everything come to us as I battled turns one and two all day, but got better and my team supported me throughout the afternoon. It was definitely as exciting as I thought it would be racing here at Rockingham. Eighth place isn’t horrible, especially since we were running outside of the top 10 for a good portion of the afternoon. This team is pumped up and we can’t wait to get to Kansas next weekend.” – Ryan Blaney