Blaney Hoping To End Phoenix Bridesmaid Streak


Ryan Blaney has finished second three times in a row at Arizona's Phoenix Raceway. (HHP/Jim Fluharty photo)

AVONDALE, Ariz. – Despite winning his first NASCAR Cup Series championship at the one-mile oval last fall, Ryan Blaney still has a hole on his resume when it comes to Phoenix Raceway.

Blaney has finished second in each of the past three Cup Series races at the facility, something that he hopes to rectify during Sunday’s Shriners Children’s 500.

The driver of the No. 12 Ford Mustang Dark Horse for Team Penske comes into Phoenix having finished third or better in five of the last six Cup Series races, dating back to last October at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway.

Though that stretch includes a win at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway during the 2023 playoff semifinal race, Blaney remains determined to add a Phoenix victory to his already stellar resume.

“We’re gonna try to get a one on the finishing column, instead of a two,” said Blaney, who has five straight top-five finishes at Phoenix, as well as a pole position from March of 2022. “It’s hard to complain about twos because we’ve had really good runs there, but hopefully we can just bring the same speed.”

Despite remarkable consistency, Blaney believes that he could have already had a win in his pocket at The Jewel of the Desert if circumstances had fallen correctly for his team.

“I thought those three races that we’ve run second at, that we could have won if a couple things [went] our way,” he said. “That’s really all I can ask for … is to just have the speed to try to win the race, so, hopefully, we can bring that and see what this car has on the short track package. I think that’s the big thing as well is trying to figure out this new package and how it runs in traffic.

“Hopefully, we’re competitive and can have a good day on Sunday.”

In 16 career Cup Series starts at Phoenix, Blaney has seven top-five and 11 top-10 finishes, with an average finish at the track of 11.3. He’s also led 431 laps around the one-mile desert oval.

Blaney enters the Phoenix race weekend second in the Cup Series standings to Kyle Larson, who won Sunday at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway and holds an eight-point advantage after three regular-season races.

He won the second stage of the 66th Daytona 500 in February, and his 30th-place finish in that event after being swept up in a late crash remains the only blemish on his stellar start to the year.

Practice for the Shriners Children’s 500 takes place at 5 p.m. ET Friday, with qualifying slated for 2 p.m. ET Saturday and the race scheduled for a 3:30 p.m. ET green flag on Sunday, March 10.

The race broadcast will air live on FOX, the Motor Racing Network, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.

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About Jacob Seelman

Jacob Seelman is Motorsports Hotspot’s News Editor and Race Face Digital’s Director of Content, as well as a veteran of more than a decade in the racing industry as a professional, though he’s spent his entire life in the garage and pit area.