Ryan: Three thoughts on Sunday’s race at Indianapolis


1 — Brad Keselowski isn’t getting the breaks: Remember how Team Penske’s No. 2 Ford won the 2012 championship? With sound strategies built on guile, guts and swagger? The last three races have seen the antithesis of that formula burn Keselowski and crew chief Paul Wolfe repeatedly. Keselowski had a Ford capable of winning at Kentucky, New Hampshire and Indianapolis. That he walked away empty-handed from each is attributable partially to circumstances, but there also have been some questionable tactical calls and pit miscues that surely have this team looking in the mirror and asking what’s changed from three years ago.

2 — Tony Stewart is taking baby steps: There were glimmers of a turnaround for the three-time series champion throughout the weekend. He posted the fastest speed in the first round of qualifying Saturday and ran as high as second after starting fourth Sunday. But it was Stewart’s team that cost him in the second half of Sunday’s race as a questionable strategy left him buried in traffic that no amount of pit stops for tires could overcome. He left without saying a word about his 28th-place finish, which, as usual, said something about the worst season of his NASCAR career hitting another crater at his favorite track.

3 — Ryan Blaney is resilient: A day after essentially giving away an Xfinity win – and manning up to it – the Wood Brothers Racing driver gamely manufactured a 12th-place finish after admitting he hardly slept Saturday night. “I was thinking about turn 2 over and over,” Blaney said, referring to where he lost the lead to Busch. “I thought about it more than I should. You just learn from your mistakes and focus on today. There were some things that happened yesterday that I applied today, and it worked out.” The second-generation NASCAR driver handled Saturday’s disappointment so well, the classy reaction stands to be remembered as much as the mistake that necessitated it.