NASCAR: Team Penske Withdraws Ryan Blaney Appeal, Suspensions to Begin at Talladega

by Jonathan Howard
(Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Well, it looks like the Team Penske appeal of Ryan Blaney’s loose wheel penalties was just a strategic play for Texas Motor Speedway. The appeal has been withdrawn now and the No. 12 team will have to face their suspensions from NASCAR now. The right rear tire changer, jackman, and crew chief will all be suspended for four races. That begins at Talladega and ends at Homestead-Miami.

Ryan Blaney and Team Penske knew that Texas was going to be the most strategic race in this stretch of the playoffs. So, they made a bet that they could use their full crew on the deferred decision with an appeal. It gave them a one-race buffer, they were able to go in and get a stage win. Then, they finished P4 on the day. Better than what other playoff drivers faced.

Of course, the reason for the penalties stems from a loose wheel at Bristol. Blaney’s team had a wheel come off on pit road and it rolled into multiple other pit boxes. That just can’t happen – NASCAR has been swift with these penalties. While losing Zachary Price and Graham Stoddard would be hard enough, losing crew chief Jonathan Hassler is a tough pill to swallow.

What is even more amazing is that Ryan Blaney still doesn’t have a win. In a season full of winners, he just hasn’t been able to punch his way across the line. He’s vying to make his way into the Round of 8 without a checkered flag. Let’s see how long that can last.

Ryan Blaney Sits Mid-Pack in Playoff Standings

Moving forward, Ryan Blaney needs to finish races. That sounds so simple, but it clearly isn’t with how much these drivers have DNF’d in the postseason. Blaney has been one of the few that has managed to get around the track and to the finish, despite being winless. That gives him a major advantage.

Blaney sits at 5th in the standings. He’s +15 above the cut line and is hoping to be just one of two Fords to advance along with Joey Logano. Perhaps Chase Briscoe and Austin Cindric can make it Four Fords in the Round of 8. Those two sit below the cut line, but it’s not far off. Talladega and Charlotte Roval will be major tests for these playoff drivers.