LAS VEGAS — Last year, Ryan Blaney experienced heartbreak at the Round of 8 in his quest for the championship race. However, he returns to Las Vegas Motor Speedway today with renewed determination to reach the championship race for the first time.
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Unfortunately, two mistakes cost Blaney the opportunity to compete for the title last season. He crashed at Las Vegas and followed it up by spinning on the warm-up lane at Homestead after a pit stop.
Entering last year’s Las Vegas race, Blaney was only three points away from the final transfer spot to the championship race. He finished fifth in the first stage and won the second stage, earning him 16 stage points.
However, while running in second place, he lost control of his car and collided with the wall.
Reflecting on his past mistakes, Blaney stated, “You have to focus on the bigger picture. I think that was my mistake last year. I didn’t really focus on the bigger picture when I wrecked here.”
His error was being too fixated on winning, which ultimately resulted in a 28th place finish instead of a top-five. Blaney emphasized the importance of seizing opportunities while also recognizing one’s limitations.
He shared, “Managing your mindset in these situations is super important. You never know what can happen. Wrecking is a lot worse than running second.”
Another driver who recently learned this lesson is Kyle Larson, who spun while racing for the lead at Texas. Larson finished 35th and admitted that losing focus on points can be detrimental.
As Blaney heads into today’s race as the last among the eight playoff drivers, he is mindful of the close gap between first and eighth place in the standings.
Though he is focused on the present race, Blaney won’t forget the events of last year. He believes in learning from past mistakes before moving forward.
Olivia Carter revs up excitement in the world of NASCAR. As a dedicated motorsports enthusiast, she covers race results, driver profiles, and the latest developments in the NASCAR world, keeping fans on the edge of their seats.