MARTINSVILLE, VA – Ryan Blaney finished eighth at Martinsville Speedway in the No. 29 Draw-Tite RAM on Saturday afternoon. The Brad Keselowski Racing (BKR) driver had an impressive debut in his first race at Martinsville.
Blaney qualified in the 11th position on Saturday morning pacing the 0.526 mile oval in 19.842 seconds or 95.434 M.P.H. to begin the Kroger 200.
Lap 18 brought out the first yellow flag of the afternoon when Todd Bodine slapped the wall, the BKR driver held steady in 11th place for the lap 24 restart. Another quick yellow flag fell on lap 28 for a spin by Jeff Agnew, and Crew Chief Doug Randolph elected to hold the Draw-Tite RAM on the track in favor of track position. Blaney restarted in 10th place on the lap 34 restart.
A long green flag run for Martinsville standards had Blaney struggling with a vibration and fighting a tight condition during the mid-section of the race with the No. 29 BKR RAM falling back to the 18th position. Relief came in the form of a lap 93 yellow flag for a Tim George, Jr. spin in turn four. Randolph called Blaney into the pits, and the Draw-Tite pit crew put on four fresh tires and made a track bar adjustment.
Blaney restarted in the 18th position on the lap 99 restart. During the restart, Ryan Truex missed a shift resulting in minor front end damage to the Draw-Tite RAM. Blaney kept his focus and moved to the 15th position before the yellow flew for Ty Dillon losing a right front tire. Randolph elected to pit for the final time giving Blaney four tires and another track bar adjustment. The Draw-Tite team had a lighting fast stop resulting in an 11th place restart on lap 159.
Four more cautions fell on laps 163, 169, 174, and 179 with Blaney holding steady in 11th place. The caution flew for the final time with 14 laps to go for a Miguel Paludo spin in turn one. Blaney drove like a veteran in the closing laps picking up position and finishing in eighth place.
“This is the most physical track we run at, and it was a decent debut here in our Draw-Tite RAM. You have to drive Martinsville hard the entire race. Next time, I hope we can start closer to the front and get better in qualifying. It is so hard to pass here; track position was key all day. We wanted a top-five finish, but we are continuing to show consistency. Thanks to Brad Keselowski and Draw-Tite for the opportunity. I’m looking forward to driving the Cooper Standard RAM on Friday night.” – Ryan Blaney
Cooper Standard returns as the primary sponsor of the No. 29 BKR RAM on Friday night, November 2nd at Texas Motor Speedway with Blaney once again behind the wheel. Race coverage for the WinStar World Casino 350 begins at 7:30 P.M. EDT on SPEED Channel. Radio coverage can be found on MRN and Sirius XM Channel 90 beginning at 7:45 P.M. EDT.