Under normal circumstances, a win certainly would be in the cards for the Team Penske driver. This season has proven to be anything other than that, with a record-breaking 19 drivers finding victory lane this year. Blaney, however, is not one of those drivers. He is still in a position to advance to the Championship Four, but he will need to finish first on Sunday.

Blaney has seven career Cup wins, including three last season. He has won a race in each of the last five seasons, but he only has two more opportunities this year to keep that streak alive. The simple fact is that he needs a win now more than ever. Sitting 18 points below the cutline heading into this weekend, a win is the only realistic scenario in which he is able to have a shot at the title.

Last weekend looked promising until the final pit sequence at Homestead. After making his stop, Blaney was set to battle for the lead of the race when he spun on the access road. "We were in a decent spot running third on the green flag stop, and then I just made a mistake," Blaney said. "Downshifted like a complete moron. I couldn’t get back up through the field after that. That is two weeks in a row I made a mistake, and it cost us a good run."

The end result was another poor finish after what should have been a top-five result. That is what has plagued this team all season, and why they haven't been able to seal the deal when the race is on the line. "Such a boneheaded move," Ryan continued. "The 12 group doesn’t deserve that. I’m disappointed in myself and can’t have that. It’s pretty unacceptable."

The good news for Blaney is that Martinsville is a track where he could get that walk-off win. He finished 4th here earlier this season and was runner-up in the two races in 2020. He could get some help from his teammates as well, with Austin Cindric already out of the playoffs and Joey Logano already locked into the championship race.

Getting two cars in the show at Phoenix would give Roger Penske a 50/50 shot at another Cup title in a year where he has already won the Daytona 500 with Cindric and the IndyCar championship with Will Power. Blaney will have 500 laps to get the job done on Sunday, and that just happens to be Penske's favorite number.