Just How Lucky Was Ryan Blaney?

during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bank of America Roval 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on September 30, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bank of America Roval 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on September 30, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Ryan Blaney got lucky. That’s what Clint Bowyer says, even Blaney was a bit sheepish in taking the trophy. After all, the 12 cruised to the checkered flag after Jimmie Johnson crashed into Martin Truex Jr., taking both of the front runners out. One could understand the sentiment, but was he really lucky?

Personally, I hate it when someone attributes someone’s success to luck. A strange admission from a fan of Irish descent. Ryan Blaney didn’t get in a position to win by accident.

Let’s remember he had already won a stage at the ROVAL course at Charlotte. Not only that, Blaney is a playoff driver, suggesting he’s done pretty darn well throughout the course of 2018, amid all the talk of the so-called “big three.”

You’ve read this line before on these pages, it bears saying again: in order to finish first, you must first finish. It’s especially fitting for this occasion. Yes, Truex and Johnson were running ahead of Ryan Blaney on the final lap. If Johnson doesn’t get over-aggressive, he doesn’t run into the leader. If that doesn’t happen, MTJ likely wins the race. That can’t be denied.

By the same token, to say that Blaney “just got lucky” sells he and his team short. Again, he won a stage in the race, Team Penske supplied him a good car, and his pit crew did their part with quality stops. That’s to say, Ryan Blaney didn’t get there entirely by accident, if you’ll excuse the pun.

If you think about it, the result brings back memories of that infamous 1979 Daytona 500. You remember that race. Donnie Allison and Cale Yarborough are beating doors for the win, when they spin and Richard Petty goes gliding by for the victory. Everybody remembers the ensuing fight. Oft-undersold is Petty’s victory, who stayed out of the mess and made it through.

Lucky, schmucky. Ryan Blaney won. Opportunistic? Yes. Lucky? Bah!