Ryan Blaney’s race at Nashville Superspeedway came to a premature end Sunday, nosing into the inside wall past pit exit after a Lap 147 restart in the Ally 400.
The No. 12 Team Penske Ford was sent spinning after contact from Kyle Busch, triggered after the inside lane was jolted by a slow-to-restart Brad Keselowski in third. Blaney contacted the inside wall, incurring significant front-end damage to end his race. Blaney, the winner of the Coca-Cola 600 in May, exited the car under his own power and was evaluated and released from the infield care center.
Both Blaney and Busch slid through the infield grass as the field charged to Turn 1, with Alex Bowman’s right-front bumper catching Busch’s door. Bowman and Busch were able to continue despite their damage.
“It’s a shame, ending our night early,” Blaney told NBC Sports. “I thought we actually finally got decent air at the start of the second stage. I don’t really know what happened. Someone checked up on the restart I guess. I kind of checked up, got hit from behind. I didn’t know if they were wrecking, and I just couldn’t get it straightened out. When I got out of the grass, I thought I was going to come back around, and that I’d be OK. Just never got back right.”
That his car never spun back the other way surprised Blaney, who entered Nashville as one of only two drivers, along with Corey LaJoie, who had been running at the finish of every NASCAR Cup Series race this season.
“I honestly thought I was going to be fine,” Blaney said. “I really thought I was going to be OK once I got past the grass, back on the asphalt. I thought I could kind of swing back around when I got off the brake. Just never did. It was just at that weird angle. I thought I could get back on the straight until the last second — just never came back.”
Blaney was credited with a last-place finish of 36th. Busch rallied for a ninth-place finish while Bowman finished 17th.