Photo: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Lady Luck Deals A Bad Hand to Blaney Once Again at Bristol

By Luis Torres, Staff Writer

Ryan Blaney’s rotten luck strikes again in Sunday’s Food City Presents the Supermarket Heroes 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

After leading 60 laps, it appeared that Blaney would finally have a well executed race not just at Bristol, but also this season. That would drastically change on Lap 198 when a battle for the race lead with his Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski turned into an early exit.

Blaney’s No. 12 Menards/Richmond Ford Mustang suddenly got up high and lost control at the exit of Turn 1, sending him around as the field tried to avoid him.

All was supposed to be fine as Blaney kept it off the wall, but in comes Ty Dillon’s No. 13 Geico Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE who tried to slow down but it was too late. Dillon veered left but it ripped off Blaney’s whole front bumper which left him no choice but to bring the fifth caution of the day.

A frustrated Blaney discussed what went wrong that saw him failing to finish for the second time in 2020.

“I was running up there for a little bit. I didn’t think I was that high and all of a sudden I hit a slick spot. I was way high and that’s obviously not where I wanted to be, but I didn’t think I was that high getting in there,” said Blaney. “It might have just been trying to get too much and got in the marbles and spun out. I thought we were gonna be okay and then we got destroyed about six seconds later, so that’s just Bristol and a part of Bristol.

“I probably shouldn’t have been pushing that hard, but trying to get back to the lead. I thought we found some speed up there, just a mistake on my part. I hate it for Menards and Richmond and everybody on this 12 team. After having two strong weeks, you go and you wreck not even halfway, so that’s just a bummer. We’ll go to Atlanta and see what we can do.”

Following Blaney’s explanation, Dillon came by to discuss the incident at the medical care center as the contact also ended his race, marking his second retirement.

Blaney said that Dillon told him that he was trying to get his Chevrolet slowed up, but it was one of those Bristol moments where things happen at an instant.

“Things happen fast and just couldn’t get slowed up enough and turn and miss me.  I think we’re both out of it, but I shouldn’t have been sitting there sideways on the track anyway.  That stinks, but I thought we were gonna be okay and just can’t seem to avoid things here.  It’s hard to do, but I hate it for everybody on our crew.  We had a good car and I just kind of overstepped it and cost us.”

Through PRN, Dillon left the care center and went on with his shortened day without comments about accidentally running into Blaney.

Dillon would eventually share his thoughts as Sunday marked the third straight race of misfortune outcomes.

“Obviously today we got caught up in a wreck after having the car fall off the jack during a pit stop. It’s just unfortunate, but our Germain Racing team is strong though,” said Dillon. “Our cars are really fast. Our GEICO Camaros are a lot stronger than we have been in the past couple years. We have plenty of time to rebound and accomplish our goals this season.

“We will keep our heads up, keep digging and fight until the end. Bad days will come; it’s just how you fight through them. We will go try again in Atlanta.”

Pending on any post-race penalties, Dillon and Blaney will finish 39th and 40th respectively.

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From the Pacific Northwest, Luis is a University of Idaho graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcasting and Digital Media. Ever since watching the 2003 Daytona 500, being involved in auto racing is all he's ever dreamed of doing. Over the years, Luis has focused on writing, video and photography ranging from Idaho athletics to auto racing with ambitions of having his work recognized.