Ryan Blaney, his crew chief Jeremy Bullins and the entire Motorcraft/Quick Lane team are steadily building a reputation for being able to bounce back from mid-race adversity to record good finishes.
But being able to pull off a comeback at New Hampshire Motor Speedway is a tall order, given the relative shortness of the races there.
In Sunday’s 300-mile run, which ran caution-free for the first 124 laps, Blaney, who started 16th, fell a lap behind the leaders during the long green-flag run.
He, Bullins and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team spent the next several runs working to get in position to rejoin the lead lap.
Finally, on a caution period at Lap 241 for a spin by Michael Annett, Blaney was running 17thand in position to claim the “Lucky Dog” free pass.
From that point on, Blaney steadily moved forward and wound up with a 12th-place finish, his 12th top-12 finish of his rookie season.
Despite the successful recovery, Bullins had mixed emotions about the team’s finish.
“Obviously we didn’t quite have the handling we were looking for and needed some speed,” Bullins said. “At the same time I couldn’t be prouder of the fight and determination to keep working on our car, making it better, getting the lucky dog and salvaging a solid finish.”
Bullins said the experience gained in Sunday’s comeback will pay dividends down the road.
“We learned some things with our last couple of adjustments that woke our car up and got us going a little bit,” he said. “Ryan and the team kept digging all day, and to walk away with another good finish is something we can be proud of.”
“We have a lot of positive things happening right now and need to take advantage of them the next eight weeks.”
Blaney, Bullins and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team return to the track next Sunday at Dover International Speedway for the Citizen Soldier 400.