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Ryan Blaney earns pole for EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix at COTA

by Mike Haag | Posted on Saturday, March 26th, 2022



By Mike Haag

Raceday San Antonio

AUSTIN, Texas – Ryan Blaney recovered from a near-disastrous spin to claim the pole for Sunday’s EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix at COTA.

During practice early Saturday, Blaney spun out in his No. 12 Menards/Richmond Water Heaters Team Penske Ford but rebounded during qualifying to win the Busch Pole Award after recording a lap time of 132.343 seconds, 92.759 mph.

This is Blaney’s eighth pole in 240 NASCAR Cup Series races and it will be his second pole and fifth top-10 start in 2022 for the 28-year old driver from High Point, N.C.

“Yeah, an up and down day and it is nice to end it on a high note,” Blaney said. “We got really lucky honestly, right there, from a mistake of mine. Really lucky I hit those plastic blocks or whatever they are. We should put those things everywhere. Then to go out and have speed to put it on the pole. I didn’t know if we were even going to be able to qualify when I wrecked and to be able to come back and have a fast enough car to make it to the second round and then get a good lap in during the final round and barely beat Daniel (Suarez) there, that was really fun.”

Daniel Suarez, driving the No. 99 CommScope Chevrolet for TrackHouse Racing, qualified second and will start on the outside front row behind Blaney. It will be Suarez’s first top-10 start of 2022.

Cole Custer, Tyler Reddick and Alex Bowman round out the top five finishers in qualifying. Custer will make his first top-10 start at COTA and his first start in six races this season. Austin Cindric was the fastest qualifying rookie and he will start 10th.

Thirty-nine drivers will start the race including Texas driver Chris Buescher from Prosper, who will start 22nd in his No. 17 Fifth Third Bank Ford.

The green flag will wave at 2:49 p.m. for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix.

About the Author

Mike Haag has covered motorsports in San Antonio and South Texas for more than 35 years. In addition to covering motorsports for the San Antonio Express-News for nearly 28 years, Mike also has co-hosted TrackSmack with Dawn Murphy for 18 race seasons. In addition to being a writer, Mike taught high school English and Journalism for 30 years before retiring in May, 2020.