Ryan Blaney Predicts ‘Chaotic’ Elimination Race

Ryan Blaney

Getty Ryan Blaney expects to see chaos at Martinsville.

The NASCAR Round of Eight ends at Martinsville Speedway. This is the final opportunity for championship-hopeful drivers to punch their ticket to the finale, which should only result in chaos.

Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney said as much prior to practice and qualifying at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He explained that there will likely be six drivers trying to fight for the final two spots. This should make for a hectic weekend in Virginia, which will probably feature numerous cautions.

“I feel like that race always gets pretty wild,” Blaney told media members at Homestead-Miami Speedway. “I hope the racing there is better than in the spring. I don’t know how it is going to be any better or different than the spring with no changes really. I think it will be wild. You are going to have… let’s say a playoff guy wins tomorrow, you are going to have six guys trying for two spots. So it can definitely be chaotic.”


The Martinsville Spring Race Featured Little Passing

Ryan Blaney

GettyRyan Blaney sits in a favorable points position.

The Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway should be the best opportunity for many of the championship-hopeful drivers. They can utilize multiple lanes while making passes and fighting for crucial stage points.

Martinsville Speedway is a very different track. The spring race featured very few passes as William Byron led 212 laps and captured his second win of the year. There were multiple drivers that pointed out how they couldn’t overtake worse cars because of dirty air and how the cars handled entering the corners, which will likely be the same during the cutoff race.

“I think you have to prepare yourself for anything,” Blaney continued. “That race is a long one. You have to be there at the end of that thing and be aggressive to position yourself towards the front. Qualifying there was really important.

“Joey [Logano] and I qualified really bad there in the spring. Our race runs were great but we got to third and fourth and you were a lot better than first or second but you can’t pass them. You can’t even get to them to lay the bumper to them. We will see but I think it will be pretty aggressive next week per usual.”


Blaney Has Posted Strong Finishes at Martinsville Speedway

The previous trip to Martinsville Speedway did not lead to bonus points for Blaney, but he walked away with some solid points. He finished fourth overall after securing four points in Stage 1 and seven in Stage 2.

Blaney will now return to Martinsville Speedway with his sight set on his first-ever appearance in the championship four. Though he will have to do some work at Homestead-Miami Speedway to set himself up to achieve this goal.

The driver of the No. 12 enters the race weekend at 11 points below the playoff cutline. He is just Chase Briscoe (-9) and William Byron (-6). Denny Hamlin holds the final transfer spot with a six-point advantage over Byron, but the trip to Homestead-Miami Speedway will most certainly shake up the standings.

If Blaney doesn’t win in Florida, he will head to Martinsville with more work to do. He will take on a short track where he has made 13 Cup Series starts and posted top-10 finishes in 53.8% of the events. This run includes a pair of runner-ups during the 2020 season.

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