Ryan Blaney put in a dominant performance at Texas Motor Speedway, but an ill-timed caution eliminated his chance to contend for the victory.
After pitting from the race lead on lap 289, Blaney was trapped a lap down when the caution flew on lap 306. Although he was able to take the wave around to rejoin the lead lap cars, Blaney sat mired in traffic outside the top 10. There were two additional cautions before the checkered flag flew, however, Blaney was only able to charge to a seventh-place finish.
“Honestly, I don’t know what the opposite material of a golden horseshoe is, but we’ve found it,” said Blaney. “We’ve just kind of been unlucky a lot of the year with really fast cars and just cautions when we didn’t need them or just bad breaks. Gosh, we feel like we should have four or five wins at this point. We’ve had cars to do it, and it just doesn’t play out for us, but I’m proud of the speed that we have.
“I feel like we can go up there and compete with the 4 [Kevin Harvick] and the 11 [Denny Hamlin] and some of the best guys that have gotten all those wins this year, we’ve just got to be able to have things go our way. I feel like we’re doing a lot of things right; it’s just some bad circumstances.”
Blaney’s Ford Mustang led a race-high 150 laps at Texas, and he swept both stage wins.
Last weekend in Kentucky, Blaney came up short in a two-lap dash to the finish when he hit a drainage ditch while battling for the race lead. He has led a total of 347 laps this season, with only one win (Talladega).
Before the COVID-19 shutdown, Blaney suffered misfortune at Las Vegas when he was leading before a caution with six laps to go. A week later, he was chasing Alex Bowman when a tire corded and forced him to pit road. He then crashed in Phoenix the following week before getting a chance to show what his Ford Mustang could do.
In recent weeks, Blaney crashed from the second position after leading early. Blaney also led laps and was the runner-up at Martinsville.
In all, he has led laps in 12 of 17 races this year and has three stage wins.
“To a point, it’s frustrating when it happens,” Blaney said of not having more race wins. “You’re like, ‘Man, bad break after bad break. What in the hell do we have to do to have things go our way?’ There are really two ways you can approach it. You can be a little upset and ticked off that things aren’t going your way, or you can just think about the good things that our cars are really fast right now over in that 12 crew.
“We’ve been capable of winning a lot of races this year, it, like I said, hasn’t played out for us. It’s frustrating at the time, but there’s no point in dwelling on things. You just focus on what you need to do, and that’s just keep bringing fast race cars. If you keep running up front and leading laps, I hope, and I think that things will eventually go our way.”