Ryan Blaney wants to keep up in Phoenix

After Ryan Blaney was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs of the NASCAR Cup Series last year, he ended the season with six top 10 finishes in the last seven races. But every momentum Blaney and his Team Penske # 12 crew had got jaded by the inaugural races of 2021.

Blaney was eliminated in the early 16 car wreck at the Daytona 500, overcame an unscheduled pit stop and finished 15th on the Daytona Road Course. After an incident with Aric Almirola, he finished 29th at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

But last Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Team # 12 finally had a flawless run. Blaney finished in the top five on both stages and finished in fifth at the end of the day.

That made him optimistic when the series drove to Phoenix Raceway, where he finished sixth or better in three of the last four races.

“Our short-haul program – we as a whole group attached great importance to it for Team Penske, so I’m looking forward to it,” said Blaney during a conference call on Wednesday.

“… Each team looked at Homestead and Vegas as a mile and a half to see where you stack up with other teams, and people will really focus on that to see where your short haul program is right now, I’m looking forward to it . It has always been a good track for us and we hope that we can build on our solid run there last autumn. “

With Phoenix again hosting the NASCAR championship weekend in November, drivers and teams will also have the option to build their notebooks in case they return to compete for a title.

Blaney did not reach Championship 4 in his cup career. From his point of view, Phoenix is ​​no different from other tracks in terms of note-taking, as the teams aim to win every weekend.

“They take notes after each race and teams and drivers build on the previous race,” said Blaney. “This is how you prepare for the next one. It doesn’t matter if it’s a championship race or the playoffs. When it comes to the double header at Pocono, really focus on the previous race to build on the next race. So I think there is no longer any need to really pay any attention to racing. “

However, that doesn’t mean he and his team deny how important it could be to beat Phoenix at the end of the season.

“Everyone knows that when we’re in Championship 4 this year we really have to be careful,” said Blaney. “You definitely have that in mind.”

Blaney’s teammates, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano, were part of last year’s Championship 4 in Phoenix. Like Blaney, they were a hit or miss to start in 2021.

Keselowski and Logano’s contact on the final lap both cost a Daytona 500 victory. Since then, Keselowski has occupied places five, 16 and two. for Logano: second, 25th and ninth.

Of the Penske trio, only Logano was on Victory Lane in Phoenix. His win there last spring was his second cup win in the desert. He also won the Phoenix Race in Fall 2016 to compete in this year’s Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

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