Photo: Stephen A. Arce/ASP, Inc.

Blaney Unfazed by Pressure with Playoffs Looming

By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Correspondent

BRISTOL, Tenn. – If there was any pressure mounting on Ryan Blaney to win, the Team Penske driver hasn’t noticed.

While Blaney’s teammates, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano have visited victory lane for a combined five times, he has yet to find victory lane in the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. The driver of the No. 12 Dent Wizard Ford Mustang last won at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval last season.

Blaney is the only driver in the top-10 in the championship points standings that has yet to earn a victory in 2019. With three races until the playoffs, the opportunities to win, and earn playoff points, are closing fast.

“I don’t feel any mounting pressure,” Blaney admitted. “You just try to figure out the best way to win. That’s all that you can do, and you can’t let that get to you. Just work on what you can work on and try to figure out what you need to do to be a part of that group.”

The 12th-place qualifier for the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway sits ninth in the championship points standings. 238-points behind points leader Kyle Busch, he has no chance of winning the regular season title. Blaney is 95-points ahead of the cutoff for the playoffs held by Clint Bowyer.

With two stage wins earlier in the season, Blaney has just two playoff points. He is 27 markers behind Busch in that category.

The top-10 in the regular season points receive playoff points. Blaney has a slim nine-point lead over 11th in points Aric Almirola. The narrow margin could mean the difference between the 25-year-old receiving two more playoff points, or zero additional points.

The Ford Performance driver isn’t concerned about where his team currently sits on the playoff grid.

“Really no concern. I mean, yeah, we would have liked to have won a race or two, and I think we’ve had some kind of slip through our fingers. Once something isn’t going your way someday, you feel like everyone is against you and nothing goes your way, but I’m really confident towards that.”

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Seth Eggert has followed NASCAR his entire life. Seth is currently pursuing a writing career and is majoring in Communications and Journalism. He is an avid iRacer and video gamer. Seth also tutors students at Mitchell Community College in multiple subjects. He has an Associate's Degree in History.