SPARTA, Ky. -- Ryan Blaney survived two skirmishes, including one that saw his pole-winning No. 29 Ford brush the outside wall, to finish fifth in Thursday night's UNOH 225 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Kentucky Speedway.
An impressive run for the 19-year-old, but a disappointing one as well he said moments after climbing from the blue and white entry.
"We had a really good truck so it wasn't all bad. But we should be over there," he said with a nod toward Victory Lane, where race winner Ty Dillon was enjoying the spoils of his win.
Blaney, son of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Dave Blaney, led twice for 28 of the race's 150 laps. He was second on a Lap 47 restart when he nearly lost the handle on his truck while battling leader Darrell Wallace Jr. for the top spot.
"Really loose? Yeah, that was (wild). That was just a factor of being on the bottom," Blaney said. "I did kind of use the 54 (of Wallace) up on the restart, tried to push him out and dive away from him. I actually got loose as I dove away from him and that's what really set up that corner. Then he went to my door.
"There was actually water down in the middle of (Turns) 1-2; it was weeping out of the cracks, and it was really hard to run down there. I just hit that wrong and it shot me sideways ? it was a pretty good comeback to get back up there and be around for the win. That's all we can ask for."
Blaney was able to stay in the top 10, and had worked his way back to second just past the 100-lap mark. By Lap 119, he was filling the mirror of race leader Kyle Busch. But before Blaney could get around the Sprint Cup Series regular, his truck was once again headed toward the wall. This time, there was contact, although once more he was able to gather the truck in and continue on.
"I was working his inside; I could run the bottom really good," Blaney, now sixth in points, said of the battle with Busch. "I knew he would try to ? take the air off my nose. I was able to roll around the top and got to his quarter panel ? (he) ended up putting us in the wall off of (Turn) 4, which was unfortunate.
"I don't think it was intentional; I think it was just hard racing."
Busch, who led 42 laps but faded at the end to finish third, said he "got all the way out of the gas, cranking left and it was dumping air on my splitter, making me tight. And I got him into the fence.
"I hate it for (Blaney) because he's racing for a win just like we were. I didn't want to do it, but (it) just happened that way."