Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney in the No.12 Discount Tires Ford secured his place in the NASCAR Cup Series Championship Four following victory in Sunnday’s Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Speedway. In victory lane following the race, Blaney was asked:
WELCOME TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP 4. WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF DOING IT AT YOUR HOME TRACK?
“It’s awesome. I grew up in High Point, not too far from here. High Point is closer to Martinsville than it is to Charlotte, so it’s really cool. I’ve been wanting to win here for a long time. We’ve been super close for many years and awesome to close it out.”
HOW DID TEAM PENSKE COME TO LIFE IN THE PLAYOFFS?
“I thought we put together a really strong playoffs, especially the Round of 8. We had a good Round of 8, so just really proud of the whole effort. Proud to have Discount Tire on the car, Menards, Ford, Advance Auto Parts, Body Armor. RP couldn’t be here unfortunately, but I know he’s watching and this is awesome stuff. I can’t wait to get to Phoenix next week.”
Blaney joins William Byron, Kyle Larson and Christopher Bell in the Championship Four. Aric Almirola finished the race in second place behind Blaney for Stewart Haas Racing and speaking following the race he was said:
WHAT ARE THE EMOTIONS?
“Sad. Honestly, I’m just sad. We had a good car. We just fought track position. Qualifying kind of set us behind and then when we finally cycled to the front and got track position we had a great race car. Man, I was being so patient and taking care of my tires. I wasn’t slipping a tire. I wasn’t doing anything to hurt my tires and they just started to give up on me there towards the end, and the 12, his car would hold on a little longer. I’m not sure if he was on four tires or two tires. We were on two tires with some pretty old lefts, so I don’t know if that was the difference or not. I’m just really proud and really proud of this team. I wanted that one so bad. I got my family here. My grandparents here that helped me get my start in racing. I wanted so bad to celebrate with my family in victory lane.”
YOU LAP TRAFFIC IS GOING TO BE AN ISSUE HERE. HOW WAS IT TRYING TO HOLD OFF BLANEY?
Yeah, it’s an issue. It’s so hard to pass. I was trying to be patient with it. I was trying to be patient with Reddick and those guys because I didn’t want to burn my stuff up and, I don’t know. I honestly don’t think there’s anything I could do different. His car was just better than mine there at the end on the long run. His rear tires just kind of stayed with him better than mine.
HOW DID TEAM PENSKE COME TO LIFE IN THE PLAYOFFS? “
I thought we put together a really strong playoffs, especially the Round of 8. We had a good Round of 8, so just really proud of the whole effort. Proud to have Discount Tire on the car, Menards, Ford, Advance Auto Parts, Body Armor. RP couldn’t be here unfortunately, but I know he’s watching and this is awesome stuff. I can’t wait to get to Phoenix next week.”
Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin in the No.11 FedEx Toyota Camry finished the race in third place just ahead of Chase Briscoe and Team Penske’s Joey Logano in the No.22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Mustang Speaking following the race he said:
It was absolutely a long day, but I’m proud of the team with a top five and Blaney getting into the Championship 4. You’ve got to be proud of that as well. He had a great car and a great weekend, so good for him and we’ll go to Phoenix for one more race.”
HOW CAN YOU HELP RYAN GOING INTO THIS NEXT WEEK? YOU OBVIOUSLY HAVE BEEN THERE BEFORE?
“I’ll just be a sounding board for him. That’s really all you can do. I’ve gone through it five or six times and there’s nothing like championship weekend. The pressure is on. It’s definitely different and feels different. It affects people in different ways, but he showed today that he lived up to the pressure and I wouldn’t expect anything less next week.”
Hendrick Motorsports Kyle Larson finished the race in sixth place just ahead of Christopher Buescher and Austin Cindric. Todd Gilliland rounded out the top ten.
Bubba Wallace was 11th just ahead of Martin Truex Jr who has now been eliminated from the Championship Four. William Byron ended the race in 13th place just ahead of Ross Chastain and Harrison Burton while Stewart Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick finished the race in 16th place just ahead of Chase Elliott.
Ty Gibbs was 18th just ahead of Ricky Stenhouse Jr and Ryan Preece rounded ut the top twenty.