SPEEDWAY, Ind. - Ryan Blaney overcame a speeding penalty just past the midway point of Monday’s rain-delayed Lilly Diabetes 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway to finish a Ford-best third behind winner Justin Allgaier and second-place Tyler Reddick.
With the teams have no practice all weekend due to rain, there was a sense of the unknown that dominated throughout the morning.
Cole Custer was Ford’s top contender during the first two 30-lap stages as he finished third and fourth, respecitvely, but on a restart with 72 laps remaining he got turned around trying to throw a block and crashed into the inside wall. That ended his day in 29th-place, but it was an tougher day for Austin Cindric, who was able to avoid a two-car accident involving Elliott Sadler and Ty Dillon on lap 22. However, while making his evasive manuever, he clipped the the infield grass and with all of the rain that has soaked Indianapolis for the last three days, it grabbed his splitter and ripped it away from his bumper.
Cindric finished 34th and will now go to next weekend’s regular-season finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway battling for one of the final Playoff spots.
With Cindric and Custer on the sidelines, it left the Ford hopes up to Blaney, who drove through the field after his speeding penalty on lap 59. He found himself third in the closing laps, but couldn’t muster a final charge to the front.
Ryan Reed also remains in the fight for one of the 12 Playoff spots after an 11th-place run while Chase Briscoe battled some early-race damage to finish ninth.
The NASCAR XFINITY Series regular season concludes Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway at 5 p.m. Eastern time.
FORD FINISHING RESULTS
3rd -- Ryan Blaney
9th -- Chase Briscoe
11th -- Ryan Reed
29th -- Cole Custer
34th -- Austin Cindric
AUSTIN CINDRIC, No. 12 Wabash National Ford Mustang
“It sucks. It’s frustrating, surprising, irritating, but at the end of the day it’s racing and it’s what you’ve got to go through. It obviously makes Vegas a much more important race now, which all I wanted to do this weekend was to prevent that, and I’m not sure there’s much there we could do to prevent that. I just wish it could turn out better. I think we had a car capable of winning the race. I’ve had a lot of cars capable of winning races, and that’s all I can ask for and whether circumstances aren’t in my control it is what it is, so we’ll move on and get over it.”
IT LOOKED LIKE YOU CLEARED THE ACCIDENT, SO WHAT HAPPENED AFTERWARDS? “I was a few inches from missing the accident or a few inches going through the grass and I clipped the splitter by a few inches on the grass and ripped the entire splitter all the way under halfway through my car, so that’s frustrating but that’s part of it.”
WHAT HAPPENED? “I saw cars wrecking in front of us and had to avoid it, and it was either hit cars or use the grass and I used the grass which ripped the splitter off. The splitter went halfway through the car and here I stand before the first stage is over, so it’s frustrating, annoying, irritating. Whatever it is it’s racing. It’s unfortunate. This makes Vegas a lot more of an important race for me when it comes to making the Playoffs. Whereas a few weeks ago I was almost 200 points ahead and now I’m probably not even 20 or not even 10. With that being said, my mind is focused on Vegas and we’ll keep our eyes forward and head down.”
COLE CUSTER, No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang
IT SEEMS LIKE THINGS ARE PRETTY HECTIC OUT THERE RIGHT NOW. “Yeah, especially restarts. You’re trying to make blocks and trying to get runs and trying to be as aggressive as you can and things just happen. I thought our Haas Automation Mustang was pretty fast, we just couldn’t get many people to work with us. It seemed like we just got hung out to dry a lot, but I just made a mistake there trying to make a block, so we’ll try and go to Vegas and win one.”
RYAN BLANEY, No. 22 Menards/Richmond Ford Mustang
“You can’t pass anybody. You can give it the best charge you want, but you don’t have a train there. It’s not really a lot of fun, but I’m proud of the Menards team. I sped on pit road the last stop and that sealed our fate, so I thought I lost it for us. I had a good enough car to drive back up through there, but you get to a place running wide-open and you stall out and you can’t do anything.”
CHASE BRISCOE, No. 60 Nutri Chomps Ford Mustang
“It was really an up-and-down day. We started off on the first pit stop getting nose damage and without crucial aerodynamics it really kind of put us behind and we just had to keep on fighting and fighting. The guys did an awesome job getting it fixed up. It seemed like we pitted 10 times at the beginning of the race just trying to keep making it better and better. We kept getting the balance better and better with no practice, so that kind of made it tough to know what you had and with my first time being here to kind of learn the race track and little characteristics of it. We slowly started getting track position and the more we got the better we got and the better the car got the farther up front we got. So overall it was a good day to keep fighting and from where we started to where we ended.”
RYAN REED, No. 16 Drive Down A1C Lilly Diabetes Ford Mustang
“It was a long day. We just never had the track position we needed and I got caught up in someone else’s mess early on and had right-rear damage. Then we had a right-rear tire go down under green that really cost us and put us behind and we really just worked our way back from that all day. But I’m really proud of everyone for battling back from one lap down. We got back on the lead lap and ended up with an 11th-place finish, which wasn’t too bad all things considered.”