Blaney earns podium finish in strong run at Phoenix

As the laps ticked away, it seemed two tires would be enough to win the day at Phoenix. Then Kyle Busch was added to the equation.

As one of the few cars that pitted under the seventh caution of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series TicketGuardian 500, Blaney used the two new right-side tires, and three subsequent restarts to run down and pass race leader Aric Almirola with 60 laps to go.

“I fired off really good,” he said.

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After Kyle Busch passed him with 55 to go, he reeled in Blaney, who was conserving fuel and tires.

Despite this, Blaney maintained a small advantage over Busch with less than 30 to go. With 20 to go, however, the handling of his car went to the tight side and four laps later, Busch passed him on the inside of Turn 2 and cleared him going into Turn 3.

Throw in lap traffic, and Blaney was “just done.”

“Honestly, we hung on better there on two tires than I thought we would,” he said.

“I think (Busch) was kind of riding back there too. I don’t think he was in the situation I was in (fuel saving), but then I started to get real tight.”

The remaining laps, he went into fuel save mode and came home third. It’s his best finish of the season to date and first top five and top 10 finish in 2019. He also led 94 laps and won a stage.

The only hiccup was when he pitted a second time under caution for loose lug nuts.

“Shame we couldn’t get Money Lion and Ford a win, but definitely a good weekend, after the start we’ve had. This is where this team deserves to run.”

Blaney leaves Phoenix 12th in points, 64 back of new points leader Busch.

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My name is Tucker White. I'm currently majoring in journalism at the University of Tennessee. I started getting into NASCAR around 1998 and started following the sport full-time in 2001. I live and breathe everything related to NASCAR. I also have a burning passion for all things auto racing. I've been following Formula 1 since 2011 and am slowing getting into IndyCar. I do my best to keep up with the World Endurance Championship. But at the end of the day, NASCAR is my primary beat. Being both a native of Knoxville, Tennessee and a student at UT, I'm naturally a die-hard Tennessee Volunteers fan. Especially when it comes to Tennessee Volunteers football. While I'll never stop being one, it can be the most heart-wrenching thing ever. Since 2005, this team has delivered more than its fair share of heartbreaking moments and inhuman frustration. I've stuck with the Vols from the best of times - 1998 National Champions - to the worst of times - 2005 to present - because I know that it'll make it all so worth it when the mighty Vols finally return to the top of the college football landscape. In the last few years, I started to really get into baseball. This past season, I decided to pledge my sporting allegiance to the Atlanta Braves. It didn't turn out too well as they finished 67-95 and finished fourth in the NL East. I do see great potential with the young roster and they might be a force to be reckoned with in the coming years.


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