Ryan Blaney bluntly criticized himself for his spin off the access road at Homestead-Miami Speedway, ending a potentially top-10 day.
“Downshifted like a dumb (expletive),” he said.
The miscue happened on lap 211 after Team Penske had serviced Blaney’s No. 12 Ford. He was running inside the top five before coming down pit road under green.
“We were in a decent spot running third on the green flag stop, and then I just made a mistake,” he said. “That is two weeks in a row I made a mistake, and it cost us a good run. I couldn’t get back up through the field after that. It was an unfortunate end of the day again, due to a driver mistake again.”
Blaney was never a factor on Sunday. He finished a disappointing 17th after earning points in the first two stages by crossing the line ninth (Stage 1) and fourth (Stage 2).
The mistake eliminated the ground he was hoping to make in the postseason. Having entered the day seventh on the grid and 11 points below the cutline, he moved up one spot to sixth after Homestead but is now 18 points below a transfer spot.
Martinsville Speedway is the final elimination race in the postseason. It will cut the field from eight down to the four drivers competing for the championship – which Blaney has never done.
“Being as many points as we are out, it’s kind of like a must-win,” he said. “I don’t see us making up that many points, so just go to try to put yourself in position to win the race.”
Blaney has never won at Martinsville – also still winless this year — but has shown speed at the Virginia paperclip in the past. He hopes to have the same speed as he did in the spring when he finished fourth — his fifth top-five finish in the last seven Martinsville races.
“I don’t think we can point our way in, honestly,” he said, while also acknowledging the best thing to do is run upfront because you never know what might happen. “I think we’re too far out.”