Ryan Blaney recalls how he ‘almost took the 88 out’ at Las Vegas

Ryan Blaney finished sixth in Sin City.

Sunday’s Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was a major success for Ryan Blaney and the entire No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing team.

Blaney, a rookie Sprint Cup driver running his first full season for the fabled organization, finished sixth on a day when he was competitive throughout and recorded his best career finish at a non-restrictor-plate track.

One of the drivers Blaney beat was NASCAR’s 13-time most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr., who finished eighth in the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy.

"It was really gusty," Blaney said of the high winds, which reached 40 mph at times. "If it was a steady wind, it wasn’t so bad. You can get into a rhythm. I got blown into (Turn) 3 one time pretty hard and almost took the 88 out. That would have been terrible."

Joey Logano, sitting next to Blaney in his post-race news conference, chimed in.

Blaney, a 22-year-old and second-generation driver, credited his spotter and other spotters with helping drivers not get blown into each other.

"It was brutal," he said. "But our spotters, they did a great job of letting us know if it was picking up or what direction it was going to. They always do a great job with that. It was different today, dust and rain at times, definitely one I’ve never been a part of."