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MAR 3, 2018 | Ford Performance Staff

Blaney Leads Mustang at Xfinity


LAS VEGAS, Nev. - A series of late race cautions shuffled the deck, introducing fuel mileage and restart ability into the equation that saw Ryan Blaney finish as the top-Ford in 4th behind race winner Kyle Larson (Chevy) at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Cole Custer, who ran inside the top-5 for much of the day came home ninth, making it two Mustangs inside the top-10.

Blaney and Custer each  found speed beginning midway through Stage 2 with the 22 climbing to second on lap 63 from a fifth place finish in Stage 1 and Custer working up from eighth to fourth.

With 73 laps to go in the race, Blaney was able to overtake the lead from Larson and stay on the point for 32 laps before the long run speed of the 42 car caught back up.

The series of cautions down the stretch began with 18 to go and a cut tire from the 16 or Ryan Reed. On the ensuing pit-stop, the 22 came out 4th and was never able to advance from that spot over the final 11 laps to the checkered flag.

Reed would finish 19th while Kaz Grala came home 16th, giving Ford four top-20 Mustangs.

It was a tough day for Austin Cindric who spun and hit the wall with 67 to go, ending his day. In similar fashion, the Mustang of Dylan Lupton wrecked on lap 5.

The Xfinity Series will continue next Saturday from Phoenix with the Ticket Guardian 500 at 3:30 PM (ET) on Fox.

4th -- Ryan Blaney
9th -- Cole Custer
16th -- Kaz Grala
19th -- Ryan Reed
34th -- Austin Cindric
40th -- Dylan Lupton

RYAN BLANEY (No. 22 Fitzgerald Glider Kits Ford Mustang) -- Finished 4th
“We had a good car. We got better there after the second stop and the third stint but we couldn’t hang on very long. Lost the lead there and couldn’t pass anybody. At worst we should have run second, but it just didn’t work out that way today.”

COLE CUSTER (No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang) -- Finished 9th
“I thought we had a solid Mustang. I thought we had a top-five car. We just didn’t have the best restarts and I think that is what hurt us the most. I was happy with how much speed we have. We will be able to build off that. We definitely wanted more but the restarts just weren’t there today. Some runs we were really good on the long runs and some runs we were better on the short runs. It could go either way. I think you need the balance of both.”

RYAN REED (No. 16 Drive Down A1C Lilly Diabetes Ford Mustang) -- Finished 19th
“Kaz didn’t really do anything wrong and I told him that. He crossed me up. All I was telling him was that we are team cars, we work together so next time just give me a quarter car or something, a little more breathing room. He doesn’t have to. That is racing and that is part of it but as Ford teammates, I would do it for him, just a little bit of mutual respect. We didn’t really have a great race car all day. I feel like we had an outside shot at a top-10 and it sucks we tore it up a little bit. We have to get better at the smooth 1.5 mile tracks. I think we had more speed at Atlanta. Our Ford Mustang has a little bit of work to do but we will get there.”

KAZ GRALA (No. 24 NETTS Ford Mustang) -- Finished 16th
“It was a pretty good day. Our NETTS Mustang was pretty fast and I think we were a solid 16th place car based on our position all day. We seem to really like 16th position. I think that was about what we had. We will work on it and see if we can come back a little better. The incident there with the 16, he dove it down on the inside and slid up right in front of me. I didn’t expect him to come up all the way. I figured he would give me a lane. He probably cleared me by half an inch. It was really close. I did everything I could to try to back out as fast as possible but with the air out there when you are that close to each other it just lightens both cars up. I hated to see that for him. I definitely wouldn’t want to see it for a Ford team car and any situation especially with me being involved. I hated to see that for him. It was a solid day for us here at JGL Racing and we will try to keep getting better.”

AUSTIN CINDRIC (No. 60 Pirtek Ford Mustang) -- Finished 34th (Wreck on Lap 132)
“My biggest job is to bring the car home in one piece and I probably didn’t do all I could do to accomplish that today. Live and learn. We will move on to Phoenix. I hate to have two races with these guys in the 60 and not bring a car home. That will be my focus, get some experience and learn. We did learn some things that hopefully we can bring back here for the playoffs.”

DYLAN LUPTON (No. 28 thinQ Technology Partners Ford Mustang) -- Finished 40th (Wreck on Lap 8)
“I am alright. It is just a shame our race is over so early. I got a good run off turn 4 and thought I had a little more room. We were going through the tri-oval with the 39. I don’t know if I came down too much or he came up a little bit or both. I just got turned around and hit the side wall. It is just disappointing. We will just get back to work and try to get ready for these next two west coast races.”