Blaney admits his swerve at Byron was a near-miss

Ryan Blaney said he nearly hit William Byron accidentally when he swerved at the Hendrick Motorsports driver Sunday at Darlington Raceway.

Blaney, the reigning series champion, was knocked out of the race after a lap 129 incident when he was put three-wide with Martin Truex Jr. and Byron. Byron was running the bottom and Truex, in the middle, came up into the left rear of Blaney’s car and knocked him into the wall.

The damaged No. 12 Ford Mustang Dark Horse was not repaired within the DVP clock, ending the team’s day. But before going to the garage, Blaney came onto the track in Turn 1 and swerved at Byron as the field paced side-by-side under caution before the restart.


“I’m not going to hit him,” Blaney said. “I’ll save that for another time. I almost did on accident, actually. I got on the apron and the toe link was busted; I almost actually hit him when I didn’t mean to. I just wanted to show my displeasure, so we’ll see where it goes.

“I just wanted to show that I wasn’t happy. After watching the replay, I kind of deserve not to be happy. He used up some good track that I thought he didn’t have to use up.”

Blaney finished last, 36th. He earned four points in the Goodyear 400.

“Me and (Truex) got put three-wide, and it’s just a tight corner,” Blaney said. “The replay I saw, (Byron) took up probably more racetrack than he should have after kind of rewatching it back. I thought it was just kind of got tight, but you can’t run three-wide through there. Nobody wanted to lift and I got tagged and then collected a few guys. The 24 took up more track than I would have liked, honestly. He kind of sandwiched the 19 into me, but it’s a really, really crappy end to our day.

“I thought we got pretty good. We came from not starting great and drove up there in the top 10 the first stage and finally got good pit stops and restarted sixth. I was ready to look forward to the second half of the race and never got a shot, and then the guy that causes it gets away scot-free. That’s what normally happens. It’s an unfortunate end to our day. I thought we could have learned some stuff today that could have helped us for the future, and hopefully we can still take from what we learned today and apply it later on.”

Byron went on to finish sixth.

“I felt like I was ahead of them,” Byron said. “The exit is really narrow right there. I hate if I did come up a little bit. I was surprised I was even in that spot. I felt like I would never get to the bottom of a three-wide there, but the lane was there into (Turn) 1, and my car turned really good.

“I got almost clear of Martin and then yeah, I hate that it happened. I don’t want to crash, especially that early in the race, so I didn’t really expect that to happen. I probably could have given a little more room, it just gets really, really tight right there.”

Story originally appeared on Racer