On a string of six bad weeks, Ryan Blaney admits his No. 12 team needs “to have a good run” sometime soon but says he doesn’t feel the pressure is getting to him or his crew.
“We’ve struggled the last couple of races after having fast cars,” Blaney said Friday morning at Pocono Raceway. “That’s almost like an extra slap in the face when you have fast cars, and you have problems like that; just makes it that much worse. The good news is we do have fast cars right now, it’s just a matter of trying to put everything together from not getting in an accident or breaking.
“We need to get on the right track here, and I think we’re poised to do that. We have a good group of people at this 12 team, and it’s a matter of getting the ball rolling, getting the monkey off our back.”
Blaney has just one top-10 finish since April 16 (Dover). He has failed to finish three times.
The slide started being caught up in a crash at Bristol Motor Speedway while leading the race. In Richmond, he was spun late in the going. At Kansas, Blaney led 54 laps and won the first stage but also crashed. A blown engine last weekend in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway also resulted in an early exit.
Despite his current rough stretch, Blaney started the year with a pole and five top-10 finishes in seven races. And he grades his team highly midway through the regular season.
“I’m happy with how everyone is working with each other. The transition from the Wood Brothers to Team Penske has been pretty easy,” Blaney said. “We have one of the best teams in the garage as far as working with each other. I think our cars are pretty good to where they are close to where they need to be. We aren’t quite there yet.
“I could do better. I’ve made mistakes. I hit the wall. I wrecked myself at Kansas with a winning car. Just have to be a little smarter, and I haven’t been this year. I need to get myself cleaned up a little, and if we make some gains on the car, we’ll be right there with being at the top.”
The defending race winner at Pocono where the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series sees the green flag Sunday afternoon, Blaney said a win wouldn’t be a sense of relief because the team isn’t stressed. Every week the group quickly refocuses from one race to another.
“I think that’s what our team does really well,” said Blaney. “As far as leading a bunch of laps and not getting a win, I don’t really look at laps led and stuff like that. I just go try to run the best I can and whatever happens, happens. If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out. You try to learn from your mistakes from the previous race and if you find yourself in those situations at a later date, then hopefully you learned.
“I don’t think we’re frustrated or on the edge of our seats. We’re trying to go to the best we can each weekend, and I know the best we can do is winning the race. It’s just a matter of coming through when it counts.”