Blaney Takes Second at Texas in XFINITY, ‘Learns a lot’ for Sunday’s Cup Race  

by Angela Campbell On Sat, Apr. 08, 2017

During the NASCAR XFINITY Series My Bariatric Solutions 300 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 8, 2017 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)

Ryan Blaney drove his No. 22 Ford to a second-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway in Saturday’s My Bariatric Solutions 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race. It was his second race in the series this year and his second top-two result.

Erik Jones won the event scoring his second win at Texas and his seventh career victory. He led 112 of the 200 laps and beat Blaney to the checkered flag by .512 seconds. Blaney, who led 43 laps, was pleased with his team’s overall performance but said that Jones got such a lengthy lead on the last run that he “couldn’t run him down.”

“I thought our car was pretty good all day,” Blaney said after the race. “The 20 seemed to be a little better than us for 35 or 40 laps. Then I feel like we could start running him down. We passed him before the last pit stop and I thought our car was pretty decent right there. I needed to turn a little better early in a run. I knew it wasn’t going to be that long for the next stint. We didn’t come out with the lead and that hurt us. I think if we would have come out with the lead I don’t know if I could have held him off.

“He was pretty good right away but we kind of over adjusted and got too free that last run. I felt like we were kind of even with them 10 laps into a run but then he got so far out ahead that we couldn’t run him down. Just couldn’t get there. I thought it was a solid weekend overall for the 22 group. I felt the way the car has been running on that side is promising. It has been second a lot this year and that team deserves a win. They have been working hard the past six months to get competitive again and be in position to win races. We just need to have one go our way.”

As Blaney was winding down after the XFINITY Series race, his focus soon shifted to Sunday’s Cup Series race and how he could transfer what he had learned to the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500.

He is currently seventh in the points standings with three top 10s this season and one top five at Daytona where he finished second. Blaney is looking to rebound at Texas after getting caught up in a wreck last week at Martinsville Speedway that resulted in a 25th place finish. With the newly repaved surface at Texas, the extra track time he gained during the XFINITY Series race will be invaluable.

Blaney described what he learned, adding that he would “have some comments” for the team during the post-race debrief.

“The track changed a lot in the second half of the race. The beginning of the race was treacherous at the top. I think me and Erik fell back to eighth and ninth from 2nd and 4th just trying not to go anywhere and wreck. I feel like that came in a little to where it wasn’t as deadly up there from passing lap cars. You get stuck behind a lap car and you can’t pass them for a lap or so and that part was tough. They don’t want to leave the line and get in the dust either so you have to kind of wait and just time it right. Personally, I learned a lot for tomorrow’s race. I think it will be very helpful. I was really thankful to run this race to get some laps. That part was good.”

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