Can Blaney Get End Of Races Right, Score Phoenix Victory On Sunday?

The good news is, no one has scored as many points through three NASCAR Cup Series races this season than Ryan Blaney. In fact, Blaney looks like he has the top overall car this season.

99-percent of the 2020 season has been fantastic for him. It’s just the closing laps of all three races that have given the Team Penske driver heartbreak.

Blaney, unintentionally got into Ryan Newman when trying to push him to the win on the final lap of the season opening Daytona 500. The crash sent Newman to the hospital and Blaney to a near record breaking runner-up result. Instead of celebrating, Blaney was worried for his friend. Rightfully so too. He didn’t do anything wrong in the incident as it was just a racing deal.

While Newman would walk out of the hospital two days later, it had a big impact on Blaney. He spoke about that on Friday.

Then, two weeks ago in Vegas, Blaney was leading the race before a late yellow changed everything. His crew chief Todd Gordon called him down pit road in the end despite being in command. Not many others followed. Instead of a for sure top two finish, Blaney wound up 11th.

Last Sunday in Fontana, Blaney finished second in Stage 1 but won Stage 2. He’d lead 54 of 200 laps run. He was even second again in the final laps. Unfortunately, his tires were cording on his No. 12 Ford as he had to hit pit lane with three laps remaining.

Blaney, would finish 19th, one lap down, as a result.

“Racing happens,” Blaney said

If things at the end of races went differently, Blaney would have three straight runner-up finishes to start 2020. Instead, he’s been 2nd, 11th and 19th.

But, I think all that could change for the good at the end of Sunday’s race at the Phoenix Raceway. Blaney, used to struggle in Phoenix with zero top five finishes in his first six starts in the desert. In 2019 though, Blaney finished third in both Cup Series starts to the 1-mile oval.

If he can build off of last year’s success and keep 2020’s momentum going, watch out for him this weekend.

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