LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Ryan Blaney finished fifth, the best Ford on the night as the Round of 12 playoffs kicked off at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Blaney started on the outside pole and led two times for eight laps early on in stage one en route to the top-five finish. He was joined in the top-10 by teammate Brad Keselowski (7th) and fellow Ford playoff driver Kevin Harvick (9th).
Joey Logano finished 11th to round out the Ford playoff driver finishes.
Blaney (5th), Logano (7th) and Keselowski (8th) all find themselves ahead of the cut-off line heading into the second race of the round next Sunday afternoon at Talladega. Kevin Harvick (10th) is seven points outside of the top-eight.
The Round of 12 continues on Sunday, Oct. 2 at Talladega Superspeedway (2 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM).
PLAYOFF STANDINGS FOLLOWING LAS VEGAS
Kyle Larson 3096
Denny Hamlin 3082 (advanced via win)
Kyle Busch 3074
Martin Truex Jr. 3070
Ryan Blaney 3063
Chase Elliott 3061
Joey Logano 3045
Brad Keselowski 3043
William Byron 3039
Kevin Harvick 3036
Alex Bowman 3030
Christopher Bell 3018
NCS RACE TOP-10 FINISHERS
Martin Truex Jr.
REMAINING FORD FINISHERS
11th - Joey Logano
12th - Matt DiBenedetto
14th - Chase Briscoe
19th - Aric Almirola
20th - Ryan Newman
21st - Michael McDowell
25th - Chris Buescher
27th - Anthony Alfredo
29th - Cole Custer
33rd - BJ McLeod
36th - Josh Bilicki
RYAN BLANEY, No. 12 Menards/Knauf Insulation Ford Mustang -- FINISHED 5th
“I thought a couple of cars were a little quicker than us. We got behind the eight-ball a little bit there in that second stage having to pit at the end and take the wave around. That hurt us. We had a fast enough Menards Ford Mustang to finish fifth. That is something to be proud of. We will go on to Talladega.”
UNUSUAL CIRCUMSTANCES EARLY ON WITH YOUR COOL SUIT NOT WORKING, DID YOU EVER GET IT FIXED?
“Yeah, not really. It was warm. It was my first time trying this and figures it didn’t work.”
NEXT WEEKEND AT TALLADEGA, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT HEADING THERE?
“Just want to have a solid race like normal, run up front, do well in the stages and try to win the race and survive. That is everyone's goal and I think we can do that.”
BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 2 Autotrader Ford Mustang -- FINISHED 7th
“It wasn’t a bad night. We executed really, really well and made the most of what we had. That was just all we had. We just kind of rode in 10th to 15th most of the day and at one point we got up to 7th or 8th but couldn’t really hold it. At the end we just really executed really well. The pit stops were great. The pit calls were good. No loose wheels or any troubles and we were able to get a solid day out of it to get ourselves a little cushion.”
KEVIN HARVICK, No. 4 Subway Ford Mustang -- FINISHED 9th
“You know, it was about where we finished. That was about what we had tonight. We got the right-front fender nicked up a little bit but that didn’t really change the car so we lucked out on that. We battle and gained ground on it. That is what we wanted to do, not give it all away today. We were able to gain ground and we will go from there.”
YOU GUYS WERE JUST STEADY. THAT IS PART OF IT, RIGHT?
“Yeah, that is. We knew this would be our biggest challenge. As we came here the first time and were able to run better this time it was definitely an improvement, so that is a good thing.”
WHY WAS THIS ONE GOING TO BE YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE?
“We just ran so bad here in the spring. Our speedway stuff has been fine. Just talking about speed. You can wreck with the slowest car or the fastest car at Talladega. It doesn't matter there.”
JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Pennzoil Ford Mustang -- FINISHED 11th
“We were better in the daytime for sure. Unfortunately in the daytime, we didn’t capitalize in the first stage with having a loose wheel and starting in the back after that in that stage. We were able to drive back through the field and that was our best run. It seemed like as the track cooled off we lost speed to the field for multiple reasons. That last run we had another issue with the wheel. It was a poorly executed day with a car that probably should have finished fifth in both stages and maybe a top-10 or so at the end. But instead, we are not out. We are six points to the good. We are ahead of where we were when we came in, I just wanted to be more comfortable than that.”