ARCA driver Brennan Poole faces the stands to celebrate after winning the Patriot Pumps 200 at Michigan International Speedway
BROOKLYN, Mich. — While Brennan Poole celebrated his win in the ARCA Patriot Pumps 200, race runner-up Ryan Blaney didn’t hold back his feelings when it came to finishing second.
Blaney won the pole for the 100-lap race Friday at Michigan International Speedway but took exception to an in-race ARCA ruling that shifted his spot on a restart and may have cost him the race title.
With less than 20 laps left in the race, ARCA officials ruled that Blaney did not line up in the proper spot on a restart, which forced Blaney to move to the back of the restart order.
"I don’t usually talk bad about a series,” Blaney said, “but they screwed us today."
While Blaney lamented his bad luck, Poole considered what he overcame to win the race.
Poole blew the engine of his car six laps into Thursday’s practice but qualified second, then was able to avoid a near-collision with teammate Justin Boston during the race.
“Behind Justin, I’d get behind him and just the air, I couldn’t turn,” Poole said. “I almost ran into a wall a few times into Turn Four. I got side-by-side with Justin and we were racing hard, and I honestly thought that I’d hit him. I thought that I’d wrecked him. Justin and I are really good friends.
"I kind of felt bad about it, but we didn’t touch. It was kind of a freak deal, with the air.”
Blaney chased Boston on the last lap of the race before finishing 0.567 seconds behind Poole.
“I knew he was coming and I knew we had a good car all day,” Poole said. “I don’t know how the changes after that pit stop were going to be, so I just held that thing to the mat and a few times, kept my eyes closed.”
Blaney stormed back after he was penalized with 18 laps left in the race.
Blaney lost a lap when he made a green-flag pit stop; a caution came out and he became the beneficiary and regained that lap. However, an ARCA spokesperson said that because Blaney returned to the field under a caution and did not go to the end of the longest line, he had to move to the back of that line.
“We short-pitted there on that green-flag stop,” said Blaney, who led 64 laps of the race. “We thought everyone was so spread out and it would cycle through.”
At the caution, Blaney didn’t think he’d have a problem on the restart.
“They’re telling me I have to get behind him,” Blaney said. “I had to drop all the way back and let him by, then make our way back up there. I think we were 6 1/2 seconds back and we were coming on really good.
"I thought we could have got there but I just burned my stuff up trying to catch [Poole].”